I’d like to introduce you to the eighty-first interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. He is Eric Praschan.
Hi, Eric! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer?
Thanks for inviting me, Susan! I caught the writing bug at age 11, and I’ve been pleasantly infected ever since. I mainly wrote poetry, short stories, plays, and songs during high school, but I began focusing specifically on suspense fiction novels in college. I was always hesitant to submit my work for review or publication out of fear of rejection. Then, a few years ago, a series of bizarre health episodes left me temporarily paralyzed and mute, and, at that point, I decided not to live in fear anymore. Thankfully, I was able to recover from my health struggles and pursue my dream of being a published writer.
Your latest psychological thriller, Blind Evil, published in February, 2014, is set in Missouri. Can you tell us about the book?
I originally set Blind Evil in Columbia, Missouri, a city I’ve come to love after living here for the past six years. The first draft even included some scenes on the University of Missouri’s campus. However, I soon realized that the setting needed to be a fictional Missouri town because the psychological thriller elements of the story proved troublesome for my beta readers because they hit too close to home. After reworking the setting to the fictional town of Silverwood, Missouri, I feel the novel has been strengthened by the change, allowing readers to get wrapped up in the story without any comparisons to real life settings or experiences in Columbia.
What was it like using Missouri—the state in which you live—for the book’s setting? Did you do much research for the book? Is there anything surprising that you discovered?
I love the geography of Missouri, ranging from the dense forests to the fields and farms. The scenery of Missouri provides a down-home, nostalgic feeling, but it also holds mystery and a breadth of history in it. I used real life locations around Missouri as inspiration for the fictional settings portrayed in Silverwood, Missouri. I’ve visited many of those places in person, but I researched other locations that I haven’t visited so I could present a sense of believability for the setting.
You published The James Women Trilogy between the middle of September, 2012, and the end of October, 2013. Can you tell us about those three books—Therapy for Ghosts, Sleepwalking into Darkness, and The Reckoning?
The James Women Trilogy is a suspense family saga that explores the lives of seven women in the James family over the course of a 100-year period. Their lives are interconnected by a family curse, dark secrets, and bizarre behaviors. In the first book, Therapy for Ghosts, Cindy James experiences resurfacing memories of a past that she had completely forgotten. As she rediscovers parts of her family’s history, she realizes that she must resist her family’s legacy in order to forge a new path for herself. In the second and third books, Sleepwalking into Darkness and The Reckoning, Cindy’s journey leads her across the country in a desperate search for answers, as she attempts to unravel the mystery of her past and determine how it will impact her future. What she discovers changes everything she knows, and she is left with the choice of either falling victim to the family curse or fighting to save her family.
How long does it take you to write a novel? Are you working on a new book?
It usually takes me 2-3 months to write a novel. My goal is to release a book every 4-6 months. I’m currently working on another thriller set in a fictional Missouri town, entitled The Founder of Secrets, which should be released in early summer 2014.
You’ve done numerous book talks and book-signing events. Do you have a favorite? Are you planning any events in the near future? Will you do any outside of Missouri?
Every year, I present in creative writing sessions at my Alma mater, Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, during their Homecoming event. This is my favorite event because of my love for the school and the invigorating interaction with students who are aspiring writers. My next event will be the Author Book Fair at the Daniel Boone Library in Columbia, Missouri, on Saturday, April 19th. I’m not planning any events outside of Missouri at this time, but I’m always open to participating in any type of book event. The more, the merrier!
Do you have a favorite review of any of your books?
My favorite review of Therapy for Ghosts is from Sarah Kernochan, two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter of the movie What Lies Beneath and the novel Jane Was Here. ‘Eric Praschan’s book comes with an amusing premise, charting the meltdown of Cindy James, a cognitive behavioral therapist, who is in critical need of…cognitive behavioral therapy. The story quickly turns serious, as Praschan explores her tortured psyche, leading us to the unimaginable trauma that keeps her imprisoned, like a ghost, in a house already haunted by her childhood tormentors. Judging from the crackling dialogue between Cindy and Tony, the therapist who loves and helps her, Praschan is well versed in the challenges of the doctor-patient duet. This is a fine and well-written psychological thriller. And I am partial to any male author who seeks – and succeeds – to create a full-dimensioned woman narrator.’
What books or authors have most influenced you in your own writing?
Some contemporary authors who have influenced my writing are Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Chelsea Cain, and J.F. Penn. Some of the classic writers who have influenced my writing are Joseph Conrad, Edgar Allen Poe, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and Henry James. In terms of the craft of writing, Stephen King’s On Writing was a Eureka experience for me.
Do you have a writing routine, or a special place where you like to write?
I write at my desk in the upstairs office at home while playing hard rock music. It’s actually hard for me to write without music playing. The louder the music, the faster my fingers type! I try to write an hour or two during each weeknight and then a few hours on the weekend. Writing and publishing novels on a consistent basis while working full-time can be challenging, but it forces me to prioritize and maximize my time. Writing actually keeps me healthy; it’s not only a creative outlet to keep me motivated but also a de-stressing tool to keep me balanced. Writing adds spice to life, and there’s never a dull moment when you’re discovering new characters, settings, and scenarios while developing a new story!
Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your book. Thanks!
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Eric-Praschan/e/B009AEAM46