Interview: Christopher Pascale

Christopher Pascale is a former United States Marine and the author of Manson, a short dark novel following the life of reclusive alcoholic, Hank Manson. He is also a freelance journalist and writer for Suite101. Enjoy this interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

I was born in Queens, NY, and began writing when I was 9. At the time I only read Archie comics since I couldn’t find any new books I liked, so I wrote a 20-page (typed) story about kids playing little league baseball.

When I was 16, I began writing a full-length novel. 50 pages into it, my father replaced our computer with a better one, and I learned that I didn’t actually know how to save to disk.

One year later, I began writing short novel. The first draft was 25 pages. The second draft that was published under the title Manson was 50, which came out to 78 pages paperback.

Tell us about Manson. How did you come up with the idea for this book? What do you hope readers take away from it?

Manson is the story of a reclusive alcoholic, Hank Manson, who finds minor fame following the publishing of his first novel.

I just began writing one day at school and couldn’t stop. After that, I would get home, put on some music, and when the CD stopped, so would I. I was, at the time, reading a lot of work by Charles Bukowski, who has remained one of my favorite writers.

When people read Manson I’m always surprised to hear two comments. One is that they began to read it before going to bed and ended up staying up to finish it. I’m a slow reader myself. The other is that they thought it was funny. This story was a release of a large amount of depression and hopelessness that I felt was going to be my future, so I never quite get that, but I do enjoy hearing positive feedback.

When people read my work, I’d like them mostly to enjoy it. But if there is one thing I’d like them to take away from Manson, it would be the knowledge that it was not the inspiration for the Showtime tv series Californication. However, both books were inspired by the life and work of Charles Bukowski.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

For 2010, I will finish a new full length manuscript. With that, I’ll hire a copy editor to review it. Then, I will submit it to more than 100 agents and publishers.

In the past, I’ve written manuscripts, thought my first drafts were final drafts, and let the agency lucky enough to get me, get it. To follow this statement, Manson officially went out of print last month (Nov, ’09) as I received the last 280 copies, and I currently have no literary agent.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

These vary with genre.

For relationships, The Five Languages; finance, The Millionaire Mind; modern military tactics: The Tiger’s Way; favorite novel: Post Office.

In fiction, I’ve found the work of Herman Wouk to be incredibly interesting, not just as a reflection of the time and how people were during the periods he wrote about, but also how much work must have gone into his books. To complement the beasts that are his novels (several are over 800 pages) they read so easily because of what a great story teller he is. In reading The Winds of War, for example, I found it very interesting for President Roosevelt to be referred to in such ways as “pathetically crippled” on several occasions both in narrative and dialogue.

Favorite authors?

Charles Bukowsi, Kurt Vonnegut, Edgar Allen Poe, Bill Cosby, Herman Wouk, and William Christie, who also writes under the name FJ Chase.

Book you’re currently reading?

War and Remembrance, by Herman Wouk.

Where can we learn more about you?

I have a personal MySpace page. There, one can view some of my poetry that I add to every once in a while, and they will also learn that I have no idea how to load photos. The one I have was done by a friend.

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