I met Sean Beaudoin in his office in Fremont, a humble place in a building full of Internet startups, small businesses and other artists. The floors are plywood and the building reminds me of a storage facility. He tells me he’s been here for a while but only knows the guy right next door. It’s a place for work, but Sean has managed to make it his own. The view does add to the ambiance, looking down at the massive bronze statue of Lenin which has become a bit of a landmark in Seattle. Sean himself is friendly, funny and fast, which shows in the answers he gave to my questions.
Enjoy this interview and don’t forget to watch the trailer for Sean’s most recent book, You Killed Wesley Payne. One lucky reader will win an autographed copy of the novel, all you have to do to enter the drawing is watch the trailer and answer a simple question. Giveaway details posted below the interview.
SB: I believe it was Danielle Steel who said “there are only twelve elemental stories, and everything else is a derivation of one of them.” Or maybe that was Joseph Campbell. At any rate, the idea for YKWP came from jazz, the French New Wave, a solid left hook, and the clack of leopard-print heels. It also came from a man who looks good in a hat, racing a car around a tight corner at ridiculous speeds, the words “pulchritudinous” and “female” dying to be in the same sentence together, and the flash of inhumanity in a too-perfect smile.
AP: What kind of research did you do for YKWP? Did you go back to school? Hang with amateur detectives? What was your approach?
SB: I watched a million movies and was repeatedly spurned by an unattainable blonde. I also lived through four years of a public educational experience which indelibly scarred me, and more or less informs everything I write. Actually, that’s not true. It really wasn’t that bad. But I do feel more than qualified to comment on the hormonal sturm and libidinal drang of those years without having had to do any additional research. As far as the detective stuff, I just winged it.
AP: On your website, you write that pen, paper and coffee equals a book. Would you elaborate on that a bit? Do you write everything by hand in a coffee shop? What is your writing process like?
SB: Well, I was being sort of reductive. My point was that writing a book really requires no tools at all, just the discipline to sit down and do it. Of course, having a few ideas and a facility with language can’t hurt. If I wrote by hand, I would still be unpublished, because it’s entirely possibly that I have the fourteenth worst handwriting in the western hemisphere. It’s a true story that in second grade my handwriting was so atrocious that they had me tested for brain damage. My process is to spend the morning typing new material into my fancy laptop. I take a break and then go back and revise that raw material in the afternoon.
AP: What is the hardest part of the writing, editing and marketing process for you, and how do you overcome it?
SB: Writing is usually fun. And I think I’m sort of unusual in that I enjoy revising. So editing is not the chore for me that it may be for others. Marketing? I’d trade my eyelids to never do one second of self-promotion again.
SB: It’s harder to make money as a novelist now than ever before in the history of man. Or, at least since parchment was invented. I could write a twenty-thousand word essay on why, but I imagine these days there is an equivalent difficulty in most professions — except drug dealing, foreclosures, and divisive cable punditry. Today’s market is shrinking. It’s that simple. People read less, eBook royalties are smaller than regular book sales, publishers are pumping out twice as much product to keep up – a policy saddling them with the requisite dip in quality – and Julia Roberts keeps getting cast in adaptations of novels that make people feel worse about themselves. So, things are grim. On the other hand, the cache of being able to say “I’m a writer” at parties is as inexorable a draw as ever. Standing between ferns while dazzling guests with descriptions of your book, while it waits on a shelf somewhere across town, ready to be purchased, is such
an intoxicating experience that we will never lack for a sufficiency of writers, no matter what they’re paid.
To enter watch the trailer for ‘You Killed Wesley Payne’ and answer this question in the comments below: Which of the characters presented seems more suspicious to you? Bonus if you include a reason why. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Thursday, March 31st. The winner will be contacted using the email address used when leaving his or her entry. Multiple entries will not be counted towards the draw, only the first one submitted. The drawing runs on Another Passion as well as on Puget Hound – it is the same drawing and comments posted on either site counts as an entry.
You might also enjoy:
- Paul Michel – Writing and Lost Treasure
Paul Michel is a multi-talented man. His first novel, Houdini Pie, hits the shelves...
- Dane Kuttler Hardworking Poet
It was Dane Kuttler who suggested we meet at the Seattle Public Library, one...
- Review: The War of Art
Steven Pressfield wanted to write a book for people suffering from writer’s block but...