Chris and I both like to participate in ‘Friday Phrases’ on Twitter which is awesome by the way and I think that was how we initially got talking. One of the most inspiring things about Chris is his low bullshit tolerance and his independence streak with his writing. I really admire that. He also named my latest book so he will be forever awesome.
You have a lot of short stories that pack a punch on your site! Any favourites? How were you inspired to write your favourite?
I think my favorite is The Princess. I wrote it in Japan while on vacation to visit my wife’s family. It was around New Year, and it was cold, and the house wasn’t well heated. So I sat in the cold and wrote, and forgot about everything. The story itself tells how it was written.
When did you begin writing?
The first thing I wrote for pleasure rather than school assignment was a fanfic scene based on The God Emperor of Dune. I wrote a partial scene between Duncan and Siona. I realized I could write, and the need to express in writing has been with me since.
Do you have any writing rituals or routines?
I write by hand, even though I can type fine. I feel writing by hand is slower and lets my brain think more about the words. I always find my handwritten words to be better. I’m very picky about pens and paper. I need very smooth paper. I try to get Japanese pen and paper notebooks.
Do you have any writing influences; places, other writers?
Places? Japan. I write wonderfully in Japan.
Writers? That’s harder. I love The Lord of the Rings, though the writing style isn’t the best. The Dune series has moments of great writing but overall isn’t great either. The stories are awesome though. I really like James Clavell too, but only Shogun and Taipan.
What are your publishing and/or writing goals for 2016?
I’m planning to self-publish a book, my first, early in the year.
Writing-wise, I think I will sharpen my skills at a couple of things: writing better descriptions of fabric, clothing, different kinds of surfaces. The second thing is to try to write description of music in a way that lets the reader hear it while reading. That will be very difficult but I think I’m up to it.
Are you currently writing, anything you can share about it?
I’m writing Jaek, a sci-fi thing with intrigue, interplanetary travel, genetics, that sort of things.
How do you deal with writers block?
I don’t write when I have writer’s block. I do something else. I read, I eat, I work, whatever. I don’t blame myself for not writing. I think one cannot write unless one has thought, so I spend my time thinking. After thinking a good while, the writing just comes out.
If you could live any part of your life again, what would you change and why?
I would have more sex when I was in my early twenties. Why? Well, I was very shy and sensitive and passed up a lot of opportunities. So I would change the shy part.
Tell us something about yourself we might not already know.
I play air-violin and like to compose music, which I sing or whistle. My wife is a classically-trained pianist and has studied composition and says I have a talent for writing music.
I may do this after I retire.
Advice for aspiring authors?
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TAKE WRITING ADVICE FROM OTHER PEOPLE.
Akira Kurosawa was self-taught, and he became one of the greatest, if not the greatest, movie director of the 20th century. Nobody knows what great writing will look like in the 21st century.
Let’s play This or That
Cake or Ice-cream? Ice cream
Winter or Summer? Summer
Beach or Forest? Beach
Airplane or Car? Airplane (Because that means Japan)
Paperback or eBook? Paperback
Cat or Dog? Cat
Country or City? City
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Late nights or Early mornings? Early mornings
Small talk or Deep and meaningful? Deep and meaningful.
Where you can find Chris online:
I met her in Rome.
It had been years since I’d been there, yet I clearly remembered the city. Jovial people at all hours of the night, music pouring onto the narrow streets attracted me to the poorer side of town. She was getting out of a taxi, designer high heels first, followed by endless slender legs the color of coal. She stood statuesque in a red leather dress but I did not linger on her shape. Her eyes and wide prominent cheekbones drew my eyes. Bright full red lips, wide nose, shaven head and black stud in each ear, nearly the color of her skin, and I knew I was in trouble. I also knew I would never have enough money, if it came to that.
I was not the only one looking at her. Every eyeball, male and female, fell on her and held interminably. She seemed to bask in the attention. Knowing my chances shot, I returned to walking on the sidewalk, eyes downcast, focusing on the smooth stones at my feet.
I had almost driven her out of my mind when I heard the clicking of heels catching up to me. I turned. She was thirty centimeters from me.
“Where are you going?”
I saw the whitest teeth when she spoke.
“I… I don’t really know... Just walking.”
The night was warm in early July, yet I felt a chill throughout.
“And after just walking?”
I tried to see what malicious hook she was planting in me, but her eyes remained perfectly guilt-free, and the chill fled, replaced by a sudden flush of my cheeks.
My voice quivered as I spoke and I instantly regretted having said that. I felt the eyes on us.
She reached her right hand and lifted her finger to my face. With the gentlest touch she pushed back the lock of hair that had fallen near my eye.
She had me. She knew it. I knew it.
She gave me the brightest smile. He eyes sparkled with excitement and vigor.
She stepped once and kissed me. My hands naturally came around her waist. Her arms encircled my head and pressed me to her. She poured herself into my soul that day, and our bodies melted together in the crucible.
The rest of Rome was a blur. For four endless days and nights she owned me and I owned her. Our skin remained in contact the entire time, either by the barest fingertip or pressed together from head to toe, her blackness and my whiteness jumbled up like a mad kaleidoscope spinning in a man-made chemical trance.
Wine, food, coffee, pastries, more and more until each time a wilder reprise of our chamber concerto, a crescendo of strings led by two maestros, duelling with their bodies, perfectly tuned, like rare Stradivariuses beating the tempo of life, now frenetically, now languorously, but always passionately, each note drawn from within with an insane love and a dark sadness, with skill, dedication, and full awareness we were playing a masterpiece that could never be replayed, that would not be forgotten but would be endlessly recalled with every fiber of our beings for a long as we both lived.
At the airport we cried hot tears and hid our faces from the world. She went first, back to her land, so extremely far away, and I sat in a chair trembling at my gate and swore to never forget.
© Christopher Mahan
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