How long have you been writing?
It must’ve been 1st grade. The moment I could write words and recognize my own spelling, I was making stories for that Scholastic Books contest they’d do every year. I never won. My first one was an amalgamation of the Human Torch and the Silver Surfer, but it lost to some plagiarist with loving parents who copied If You Give A Mouse a Cookie. Nothing I did was any good until I was about 19 and learned to write though.
What was the most challenging part about writing Eidolons?
TK is a character built around deflecting conflict and yet he is the story, so it really took some doing putting him around characters who would drag out his personal crap, however forcefully, from the his vault booby-trapped with sarcasm. It didn’t always work. There were chapters I cut while editing and chapters I heavily reworked to add conflict, but I think the book and TK are better for it.
What do you enjoy the most about being an author?
The introspection. Writing as therapy and working to craft the story and characters in a way people can relate or sympathize. Eidolons started as a blog when I was studying abroad in Wales. Every weekend I’d travel to a new city or landmark. I had joined the university boxing club. I was in a high adventure program where we kayaked and did gorge scrambling throughout luscious Welsh scenery and I got class credit for it. It was the first time I was happy in my college career as a senior across the pond from Pella, my college town, and yet, Eidolons is set entirely in Pella—slightly fictionalized. Being in a new place let me pick apart the town and the environment that made me unhappy and look at the issues in myself that I’d lugged on over to the UK, no extra customs fee. Midway through, about the time I came back to America, I went on an apology tour to friends I’d been critical of and that in turn made me even happier and life really swung up thanks to writing this book. I even met my lifelong lovely because she started reading the book when it was a blog online. She’s who it’s dedicated to with a very romantic linear equation.
Is this book part of a series?
No. Originally I had a writing philosophy called Literary Drift based on web comics like Questionable Content where things happened but there was no end in sight, which worked well when Eidolons was a blog people read week to week, but the second book fizzled halfway through due to other projects being more exciting and an actual job being more pressing. In editing, I nixxed those extra chapters.
Do you have any works in progress?
I’m always doing short stories as part of my daily writing exercises, usually chiseling out one a month that I’m proud of, and I have a dozen shelved projects that were good starts but the second act of any story is where people generally get bored, even the writers. My big in-progress project now is a Romeo & Juliet with online romance where the lovers are kept apart by US-Middle Eastern visa racism and a family that supports the Saudi Arabia dictatorship for its horrid human right scores. The current back cover:
Thank you for letting me share this story with you. It’s something I want to tell you, but only in the private between covers. It’s the story of how I got engaged to an Arab girl I still haven’t met. It’s why I’m up every morning at 7 when I work 3. It’s why I sometimes leave when my phone chirps in that weird way and why I’m not a good kisser and haven’t been on a date in 4 years. It’s why I’m always sad. This is the story that broke me.
The first chapter(orangepeals.com/short-stories/typos) and a few more (orangepeals.com/untitled) work standalone so those go on my site. Each chapter is an exercise in writing as therapy. I recognize that’ll overwhelm some readers looking for entertainment, but in dark places you find some comedy. Grieving on the phone with Mom and when the sobbing settles, she gives updates on the family dog. And if that still sounds maddening, I agree, which is why for my own personal health I’m also writing a sci-fi dystopian Western set on floating islands featuring giant robots that cast magic amidst duels between cyborgs and political assassinations and a pretty potent love story.
About the Book
Author: Harrison Fountain
Genre: Literary Fantasy
When TK dies in a car accident, the Grim Reaper gives him a second chance at life, but he says it’s more fun being a ghost. As he haunts his small Iowa town, his sleek shell of sarcasm cracks to a terrified lonely inner self. Find out why he’d rather be dead.
These author bios are generally in third person, right? That’s a little weird for me so—
Harrison Fountain said, “In Kindergarten, Mrs. Augustson sent me to Special Ed because of my speech impediment, the result of a 4-year-long ear infection that garbled the input and so a few letters needed the pronunciation corrected. I had to work on my Ss, Cs, Ks, Ws, Rs, Bs, Ps, Ts, Qs, Ds, Xs, Ls, and Ns.
Every year in elementary school, Scholastic gave students a hardback book with empty cream pages for us to scribble in as part of a school-wide contest. I never won. The kid in my grade who did plagiarized If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and those biased, paid-off judges didn’t even mention my amalgamation of the Silver Surfer and the Human Torch.
Still, I kept writing, finishing my first novel in my 7th grade Physical Science spiral notebook where the narrator’s best friend was an orange alien with green hair named Carrot. My next novel about a boxer, I started in high school before I’d ever even watched boxing, and fighters called out their moves (“The Double Rocket Upper—no, wait! It’s a TRIPLE ROCKET UPPERCUT!!!”) like they were Pokemon.
No one taught me to write until my second year at college when Mr. Johnson called me to his office as he did with all his creative writing students and then he bloodied my first draft of a character sketch claiming his marks were “just ink.” I almost cried. A few visits later, I’d written a character sketch about my sister’s divorce and the family dog. He crossed out a lot like usual. Told me why. Then he scrawled an A at the top. It’d be my first published short story (http://www.orangepeals.com/short-stories/loving-a-mutt/).
The pride felt earned for once.
While studying in Wales without satellite TV or an Xbox, I started a blog called Nothing Fazes a Ghost, where I posted weekly chapters. Those 10,000 views with ad revenue earned enough for a pizza. After a few years and a few drafts, it became Eidolons.
I also teach English to adorable Korean kids who, in turn, teach me cutie poses.”
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