Today we have a guest blogger with us, author Christopher Loke. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about him and his debut novel The Housekeeper’s Son from Jolly Fish Press. Christopher is also the Executive Editor at Jolly Fish. I had the opportunity recently to meet him and his is funny and energetic. He loves to read and is excited about the book business.
Agent or no agent? Both. Agents always bring pristine work and authors already polished and prepped for the exciting and challenging industry of books and publishing. On the other hand, unagented authors are a delight to work with. Either way, I love discovering new authors and perpetuating their career.
Audiobook, ebook or paperback? All of the above. Lately, I have been sucked into the world of audio books—I’ve come to enjoy the pleasure of merely listening to words being read.
How many books do you read in a year? I read an average of 10 books and manuscripts per week (it’s my job). You do the math.
What is your favorite genre to read? Literary fiction, both adult and YA.
What are you currently reading? I just recently finished THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Dianne Setterfield and THE BOOK THIEF by Marcus Zusak. Both of these books had left me in a mess for days—I wept at the end of each of them. I am now starting to read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and GONE GIRL.
Why did you start writing? Because I have a story to tell and a reason to tell it. Because words fill my mind and I won’t sleep until I let them out. Because in my previous life, I was the son of a storyteller.
What inspired you to write The Housekeeper’s Son? My mother and my wife.
Introduce us to Eleanor Ethel Rose. What motivates her? Eleanor is a woman who is haunted by her past; and while she is unable to change her past, she is determined to rectify it. Her guilt motivates her, just like many of us. Our courage comes from our fear of the past, and our determination to right our wrong.
What would you like your readers to take away from reading The Housekeeper’s Son? Is there an underlying theme or message? It’s all about sacrifice—how far would you go for love? I often hear people say, “I love you!” But they say often say it without a sense of responsibility. Whenever someone says that to me, I always think, Do you really love me? Will you sacrifice some things for me? Or do you love me out of convenience? Because love is, after all, an inconvenient thing. THE HOUSEKEEPER’S SON focuses on the internal conflicts of men, the war we wage every day with ourselves. The narrative peels away the story one layer at a time until the truth is finally revealed at the end.
How do you find time to write as the Executive Editor of Jolly Fish? I squeeze in a small amount of time before I retire to bed. Writing for me has become quite a long process nowadays.
If your book were turned into a movie who would you pick to play the major characters? Who would you want to direct it? I’d like Sam Mendes to direct it. I imagine Judy Dench as Eleanor, Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth, and Daniel Radcliffe as Edmund.
Please give us a peek into your writing life. How much time each week do you spend writing? Is your desk messy or clean? Do you have a schedule or are you sporadic? What helps you stay motivated? I write about 2 hours a day, sporadic; my desk is always clean and structured (I cannot work in chaos); I type a hundred miles per hour, so I end up writing quite a bit; I edit in sections before I proceed; and I always write in my English persona, interestingly.
Do you have a current WIP? Yes, I am currently working on two projects, one of which is my first YA novel. Both of my WIPs are very different from each other. The working titles of my novels are named THE GENTLEWOMEN’S BAKING CLUB OF CECIL AVENUE and A CLEVER LITTLE DEVIL respectively. While I can’t disclose details, I am quite excited about both of them. Finally, something lighthearted to ease the soul.
Given all of your experience in the book business, what is the one thing you feel is important for aspiring writers to know? Aspiring writers need to know their audience and who they are writing for. Writing is a craft, and it is important to know your competitors. Don’t be generic, but be unique. Craft your narrative to best tell your story, develop your characters, and make sure you read quite a bit. But as storytellers, we always need to have a good story to tell and the reason to tell it.
Watch the trailer for The Housekeeper’s Son.
Description: 72-year-old housekeeper, Eleanor Rose, is witty, gentle, and a remarkable cook. To the people of Amalga, Utah, she’s a petite old lady who wouldn’t hurt a fly. And to her employer, she is the perfect housekeeper–at least until she is found with a bloody knife in her hand beside the dead body of Katherine Cunningham, her employer’s 12-year-old daughter.
Eleanor quickly admits to the crime and surrenders herself, pleading guilty before her trial even begins. But to Victor Lee, a young and ambitious journalist who is assigned to cover the story, there is more to Eleanor’s confession.Through his interviews with Eleanor within the confines of the penitentiary’s visiting hall, Victor pushes for the truth and finds himself drawn into her world where the line between right and wrong is blur–nothing is what it seems. What he discovers is a secret that, if revealed, will not only explain Katherine’s death, it will also challenge the moral obligation of every mother to her child. It is a secret that started forty-two years ago on the night Eleanor took the life of her only son.