Author Todd Charlton now has three books on our companion site, bookbooster.com - Death Lust, Dust and Chaos and Everyone Else is Collecting Feathers. They are all good meaty reads. We asked the industrious Todd to write a post for the blog. Here it is:
I took John D MacDonald's advice in the introduction to Stephen King's Night Shift. Don't tell people you want to be a writer.
As with anyone, my early attempts were terrible. I wrote a fantasy novel called The Keeper Of The Godsword about the ultimate power and how it was coveted by all. What else is fantasy about? Although I liked the themes, it was pretty bad. Personally though, I kind of like it.
I wrote about 20 short stories and was nearly published in a sci-fi mag with a story called Penumbra, but I guess it just wasn't good enough.
Funnily enough one of my early stories, Proportions, was awarded a Highly Commended by a group called WRITERS WORLD in Queensland. It was about someone who loses his house and all his possessions. The twist at the end was that he was playing a game of Monopoly. That was in 1991 after I took a correspondence course.
I toiled on and off for years but I had no real experiences on which to draw inspiration.
Then I visited Nepal.
Out of that came Dust and Chaos, my first published work on Bookbooster. It was a simple enough novella, but I learned to write simple sentences that drive the story instead of trying to be smart with complicated drivel.
My second work to see some light, Death Lust, is a zombie novella which comes from my own experience and attitudes.
Write what you know.
My novel, Everyone Else Is Collecting Feathers, has ruffled a few. It is my attempt at an honest, ballsy little ditty about wasted lives. It began in 1995 as a truly horrible screenplay, but after years of polishing and hard work, it too was published.
The key to success is work. And more work.
I can't call myself successful yet because I haven't paid for anything with the proceeds of my labours. But I write for myself, not financial gain.
I've always loved the works of Stephen King but could never hope to imitate him. It was only when I read authors like Richard Laymon that I said to myself; I can do that....
Jack Ketchum is also a big influence. His stories based on real life terrors, written in deceptively simple prose is the thing I strive to emulate.
Right now I'm about to embark on a non-fiction book about American movie.