Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Chris Rothe
By OFW Editor: Michael Keyton
Published: April 02, 2012

Accomplishment: Author of 'Dirk Danger Loves Life.

Despite his tendency towards introversion, Chris Rothe rather quite approachable and, if you encountered him muttering to himself on the street, would be delighted to buy you a coffee and chat about life and all that. This is how he ended up on the Rack. Well that, and he begged us to torture him.

Which author makes you jealous and why?

Most of them! If I had to pick the one that makes me the most jealous though, it’s Mark Z. Danielewski. His books not only juggle an incredible number of ideas into a coherent whole, he manages to pull the whole wonderful mess off simultaneously. “House of Leaves”, his incredible first novel, is just so brim full of amazing, with paragraphs, sentences and words all bending to the will of the labyrinth at the heart of the story, curling in literal spirals around the page. It’s an endlessly fascinating read that I can’t recommend highly enough - and so incredibly ambitious for a first effort. That kind of ambition makes me nauseous in a good way.

 I’ll have to throw another one in there and include Quentin Tarantino – I’ve a fondness for dialogue and no one can make you stop what you’re doing and pour the entirety of your attention into a person’s words better than he.

At what point of your writing process do you consider the reader?
Is it while plotting or while editing?

Usually at the point of editing.
When I’m on a roll with an idea there’s little stopping to consider anything as I hammer madly at the keyboard to get it all out. When I feel an idea is really good, there’s a notion that it’s worth telling and that people other than I will enjoy it as well.

When it comes to the editing process, there’s a constant back and forth as I struggle to admit that some ideas just don’t work and have to go. Editing is all about considering the reader: are my ideas clear, am I being relatable, will anyone find this amusing in the slightest. Considering the reader is also what makes editing so hard – you have to stop being selfish.

Do you really feel you write well or did you just get lucky?

How positively I feel about my ability as a writer depends on the day. Creative folks can be pretty hard on themselves so I go through bouts of hating every word I put to paper and others where I’m slightly happier. I don’t really believe in luck – I’ve been practicing since I was 14 years old, so if I weren’t getting any better it would be time to pack it in. Keeping yourself writing is the most essential thing you can do to improve. Putting great ideas on hold until you feel ready to tackle them is also extremely important to me. You have to be confident you’re in the right place to craft the right story.

What makes your work worth paying for?

Time to sell myself, eh? Very well, I shall shake my moneymaker. I have two goals in mind when writing something that I intend to share with others: the reader should either come away smiling or thinking. Ideally, they will be smiling and thinking. Everyone could use a little more laughter in their life, right? So there it is – pay the clown and I will make you titter.

Is there an over-arching moral theme in your work, if so what?

It seems that more and more often, I’m writing about loneliness.
My characters are often so insular they begin to speak to objects or people that aren’t there, spend too much time indoors and exhibit a social awkwardness that borders on the psychotic. While this isn’t a moral theme, it’s the focal point of most of what I bring to life – I’ll leave the reader to dig the moral out and take something from it for themselves.

What do you think about self-publishing?

Not a fan. This is absolutely a personal thing, but there is so much room for a writer to be taken advantage of with self-publishing or vanity presses. I realize that there have been authors who have found an audience through self-publishing, but it’s a risky proposition that requires a lot of capital, a lot of faith and even more hard work to achieve success than going through a publishing house. Self-publishing did bring Deepak Chopra into the public consciousness though… so… make of that what you will…

Does bestseller mean good writer?

No way, no how. I’d like to make a distinction here though, between ‘good writer’ and ‘good storyteller’. Without naming names, there are several popular authors whose writing I’m not able to stomach but they do know how to spin a good yarn and keep those pages turning… and I enjoy the hell out of them, even if my eyes tend to roll to the point of aching at some of the prose. I’ll leave the notion of how whether I’m a better storyteller than a writer or vice-versa up to the reader…

With his final few gasps, barely audible over the popping of his wrists, Chris was able to tell me that his
first book, “Dirk Danger Loves Life” is now available from Atomic Fez Publishing in both paperback and e-book format. Then he managed to jerk his head in a come hither motion, so I leaned over until his blood-crusted lips were only inches from mine. 'You can follow me on Twitter, and stay abreast of signings, readings and other excitements at www.chrisrothe.ca.'  And then his eyes closed. But don't fret, in a few months, his bones will have healed and Chris will be making us titter again.

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