Interview with an Author: Blaine Coleman
In Blaine’s Repertoire:
A little bit about Blaine…
Although born and raised in the South, at 18, Blaine spent a summer in Escondido, California with his uncle and spent weekends in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This experience opened him to a completely different lifestyle than his southern upbringing. At 19, he enrolled in a community college, majoring in Fine Arts, and when he attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), he majored in Religious Studies with a minor in Creative Writing.
In his free time, Blaine mostly prefers to garden, followed by reading (voraciously) and writing. He currently resides outside of Richmond, Virginia, where his two rescue dogs have plenty of room to run.
What inspired you to write your first self-published book, Tunnels in the Briar Patch: Tales of Roland McCray? How much of this book is driven by your own youthful experiences?
I began writing it because I felt a pressing need to get it on paper, something I’ve never felt about any of my other writings. It was as if something grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go until I put Roland’s story on paper, so that is what I did. And I think I did it justice, but that’s something readers can decide. Roland McCray is an amalgamation of several childhood friends and the settings are places well known to me in my youth.
What was the hardest part of writing Tunnels in the Briar Patch?
Not allowing it to slip into an autobiography because the story is loosely similar to my own childhood, and then cutting enough from it to make it clear, not overly wordy. I have a habit of writing too much and then having to do substantial editing which often involves “killing off my darlings”, so to speak.
What is Tunnels in the Briar Patch about?
A coming-of-age story of a young boy living in the South during the 1960s, and his personal growth and relationship to religion in his life.
Can you share a little of your work with me and my blog followers? Blaine Coleman_Butterflies
Who are some of your favorite authors (past & present) that have influenced your writing?
[I enjoy] Ray Bradbury’s works, as well as William Faulkner’s short stories, and I enjoy all of Isaac Asimov’s work. Clint McGown helped me to write better poetic prose, something that I still strive to do in all of my writings.
At [VCU], I was fortunate to have bestselling author Sherri Reynolds as one of my writing professors and she encouraged me, long after I left the university, to continue writing. I owe my love of Southern Literature and writing to her influence and I still read her books as they’re published.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
Honestly, the list would be too long [but] I’m a voracious reader of many styles of writing and I read literally hundreds of books a year (which means a lot of late night reading). I prefer science fiction and mysteries, southern literature, and modern poetry as well as Yeats, TS Eliot, Emily Dickens, Walt Whitman (‘I sing the body electric’ is one my favorite lines I’ve ever read), and my favorite poet by far is Blake.
The most recent book I’ve read is Tobacco Sticks, a “southern writing” style book. It is set in Richmond, Virginia during WWII and the writing reminds me much of my own.
Are you currently working on a new book? Would you mind telling us a little about it?
I’ve just begun writing an ‘alternate-earth’ science fiction novel about a different America (in which I postulate what America may look like if current trends don’t change). I’ve also begun notes for a third book, a novel about Roland McCray’s life as a young adult, [which] I want to write after my science fiction novel is complete.
Do you have any advice for fellow wordsmiths trying to make it out in the world?
Yes. Read, read, read, and read some more. If a would-be writer doesn’t make time to read, then he or she will not write as well. And expect rejections: the odds of getting your first short story or novel published aren’t much better than winning the lottery. But if you believe in your work, don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. Stephen King wrote short stories for years before he was ever published and if he had given up, we wouldn’t have his wonderful stories to read now. And his advice to new writers is the same: read!
To purchase any of Blaine’s works, access the following links:
Follow Blaine on Facebook.