Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Chris Durston

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6

Each Little Universe by Chris Durston

1- What is your favorite video game of 2020 so far?

Even though I think of myself as a big gamer, I actually haven't played anything that's come out this year. Too expensive! The closest thing would be the recent Pokémon Sword & Shield expansion, which I'm currently playing and really enjoying.

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Give yourself permission not to get it right straight away. You can keep going and come back, but nitpicking for too long can hurt momentum and motivation.

3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?

A few good bits of advice that come to mind - varying sentence length and cutting down on dialogue tags are two I try to pay attention to- but I think the thing I remember the most is simply 'show, don't tell'. Sometimes you have to do a bit of telling, but if you can get the reader to know exactly what you're saying without saying it outright then you've achieved something cool.

4- What kind of discussions came up in June during your #Philosophiraga podcast all about video games and philosophy?

The June episode was an interview with my other half! Usually, the show is just a monologue presentation in which I talk about ideas from philosophy and relate them to games, but the June episode was an interview with my other half! We got to discuss how games teach us things, why they used to be more colourful and fun, and whether philosophy is actually any use anyway. (Spoilers: I think so, she's not so convinced!)

5- Would you share a picture with us of your book and a game?

6- What makes EACH LITTLE UNIVERSE a "vaguely magical realist" novel?

I think of Each Little Universe as magical realism because it's set in a world very much like our own 'real' world, just a bit more strange. Bizarre things can just happen, and people just go along with it. A big theme of the story is that people are inherently strange and special, and so humans can make seemingly impossible things happen in this world. It's an urban fantasy in the sense that a fantastical element enters a 'real' world, but I think it's 'vaguely magical realist' in that it also interprets normal, real life as being kind of fantastical on its own.

7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

I'm @overthinkery1 on Twitter, and I'd love to give a shout-out to Tessa Hastjarjanto ( @Endalia ), whose book Tales of Lunis Aquaria was a big inspiration for my current work in progress, and Chris Van Dyke ( @aboutrunning ), the very cool editor of an upcoming bizarre and awesome anthology project.

8- What’s one writing goal you hope to accomplish before you die?

I would love to have a shelf somewhere that has nothing on it but stuff I've written. I think being able to look at that would just make me feel super accomplished.

9- What most motivates you to read a new book?

I like to read a lot of different stuff, fiction and nonfiction. I think for me to get motivated to pick up a new book I just have to believe that I'll find it interesting, although the thing that makes me most excited to read a book is when I've got some indication that it's going to make me see the world differently. I love learning about consciousness, for example, and I adore 'weird' fiction that interprets things in a unique way or has a unique voice or just makes my mind feel as if it's coming across something new.

10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?

It’s come a long way in ten years! I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I think I wrote my first novel about ten years ago when I was in school. It was... pretty bad, but I knew I wanted to keep writing. In ten years I’d love to have a good ten more published books under my belt, if not a few more. I just don’t want to stop, basically.

11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

That’s a really hard question. I think I’d have to say The Silmarillion, but Tolkien isn’t on Twitter! One that comes to mind where the author is on Twitter, though, would be:
Author name: Will Wight @WilliamWight
Title: Cradle series
Love because: I recently picked up and got very into.

12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?

I hope people will laugh, think a bit about some stuff they maybe wouldn’t usually think about, enjoy hanging out with these characters, and feel that they’ve gone on a journey together.

13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?

I don’t expect to have any real impact, but the fact that some people who’ve read it have engaged enough with it to be able to have really good discussions about the characters and the themes has been incredible, and that’s enough of an impact for me for the time being.

14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?

Scrivener was super handy in getting through the second draft: working out the structure, making revisions, keeping track of what was going on. Honestly, though, Google Docs is the greatest thing and it’s totally free.

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? #WeNeedDiverseBooks

I wanted to be representative in Each Little Universe, but as a straight white cis guy I didn’t want to make their stories *about* their diverse identities. It didn’t feel like those were my stories to tell, so characters have this diversity but the story doesn’t dwell on it. The protagonist is mixed-race, the majority of characters are pansexual, and there is a non-binary character; again, though, in each of these cases these things are part of who they are but aren’t really dwelt upon. They’re all just people.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I'm woefully underaware of all the fantastic book bloggers out there; I know there are a lot I've not found yet, because I'm only really new to the writing and reading community online spaces (I'm much more familiar with the games blogging circles). That said, I really like Daniel Greene, who churns out really good video reviews and insights into fantasy books at an astonishing pace.

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

I decided to self-publish because I decided that I just had to get this book out there one way or another. I considered querying and trying the traditional route, but it got to the point where I realised I was just going to have to do it so that I could say it was done, and so far I'm happy with that decision! I also have to give a lot of credit to my other half for making me decide that I had to do it, then stay accountable to getting it done.

18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?

I think Each Little Universe probably bears the most resemblance to something Haruki Murakami might do, in that he's similarly interested in finding stranger and more magical interpretations for everyday things. That said, I tend to describe it as something like what Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett might have come up with if they were giant nerds and worked on Scott Pilgrim logic. As for other things I have in the works, I'm sort of half-deliberately trying to capture some of the vibes I get from Jorge Luis Borges, Jeff Vandermeer, China Mieville: along the Murakami lines, but perhaps even a little stranger.

19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?

What was the last book that really made you see something differently? Could be a little detail of the world that you got a new perspective on, or could be a total shift in your beliefs!

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has read Each Little Universe and supported me on the journey so far! It's been fun.


Each Little Universe is the tale of two oddball nerds, one girl from the stars, and the place we each find for ourselves in a huge, weird cosmos. It's 'funny, sad, nerdy, cool, thought-provoking, poignant', and 'one of the most out-there-in-a-good-way books ever'.


Chris Durston doesn't often know what's going on, like with anything, but he's OK with it. He's been meaning to get around to being a writer forever but has only just worked up the energy to do anything about it; now he's started, though, he doesn't plan to stop. He also hosts Philosophiraga, a podcast about video games and philosophy.

Twitter: @overthinkery1
Facebook: Chris Durston Does Words
Instagram: chrisdurstondoeswords

Each Little Universe by Chris Durston

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