What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Justin Curfman. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. I now live in Germany.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Writing was the first profession that I remember consciously choosing as a child in elementary school. I remember writing a series of illustrated poems about snowmen with eating disorders and having my teacher, Mrs. Danahold, laminate the papers for me. I gave the laminated pages to my grandmother as Christmas presents. She used them as dinner place-mats. They made her happy and I liked making them, so I decided that day that being a writer couldn't be all that bad.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
I work primarily in music and puppet animation. But, whenever I have a project in mind that can only be carried out through a different medium, like writing or painting or some other means, I take that route. I just generally consider myself an artist, but I keep it to myself in conversation. I have seen enough eye-rolling in my life.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The title of my latest book is "Wrecker". In summary, I suppose "Wrecker" is something of a fictionalized purging of some of the more unusual experiences of my childhood, growing up poor in the deep south in the 1980s as seen through the eyes of a boy with a hyper-active imagination - trying to make sense of things like post-partum psychosis, house-pets with pierced ears, car accidents and DNA profiling. That is probably more than twenty words.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self publish?
My publisher is Tephramedia Publishing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
"Wrecker" took about a year to physically write, but it took about eight years to collect the material. If a book takes heavily from real-life experience, it tends to take a bit longer for me to write. It takes a while for me to wiggle all of the elements together into a cohesive narrative.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
In the immediate future, you can expect a new music release from my band, Feeding Fingers and another tour. Now that "Wrecker" is on the shelf, I will be returning my creative efforts to music for the moment. But, I will be working on another novel through the year and into next year, along with some short stories. There will be more literary output fairly soon. I am always working on several projects at once.
What genre would you place your books into?
Tough question. Probably general / contemporary fiction with a slight bend toward magical realism.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I have been writing since my second-grade teacher told me that it was okay to be left-handed and allowed me to be. I can't really say exactly what inspired me to write. It was a lot of things. I remember the first time that I ever touched a typewriter. It was an ugly, red IBM that belonged to my great-aunt's granddaughter. Her name was Stephanie. I suppose I fetishized the machine a bit and liked the act of typing itself. I remember my grandmother having mass market mystery and horror novels and stuffy old Reader's Digest anthologies all over the house all the time. I was always sifting through those terrible things. My father also worked at a paper mill for a while and would bring home boxes and boxes of comic books for me to read. All of those things fueled my imagination quite a lot as a child. There were also no restrictions with regard to books, art, film and media in my childhood home - with exception to pornography, but even that was pretty easy to come by. I have always been steeped in art and literature.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
Most often from dreams, mis-communication and my dreadfully awful waking memory.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I can only write in complete silence. I wear sound-proof, Remington shotgun earmuffs when I write.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
The titles come to me through the process of creating. I never have a title for something first and then write around it. That doesn't work for me. It feels contrived. Something just swims up through the process and seems to fit. As for the cover designs - that comes at the end. I try to think of the most simple image that I can that might be able to represent the contents of the piece. I probably dwell on those things a lot longer than I should.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I have only recently learned how to do that. Most of my life has been spent writing music or making puppet films or painting or what have you. I would work on one project until I either physically or mentally couldn't do it anymore and then I would switch over to something else. Lately, I have learned to sort of stick to one thing at a time and to focus my efforts into that one direction. So, when I take a break I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts about comic books, improve my German or read.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I have always preferred either hardback or paperback. I was skeptical about e-readers. But, I have to say - I bought a Kindle recently and I am really enjoying it. I find that it doesn't detract from my reading experience at all. So, to answer your question… no preference.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
My favorite book is probably "The Other Side" by a little-known Austrian writer and artist named, Alfred Kubin. I am not exactly sure why. It would take hours to explain. I have read it several times.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
It will be a while, but yes. Printed books, just like all physical delivery methods of information, will be replaced digitally. I think that we are probably the last print generation. I think that we will very soon come to a point where digital is the default distribution method for everything - books, film, music, you name it. And print-on-demand will be there for people who just want something tangible just for the sake of having it on their shelf to smell and look at. We're seeing it already.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I don't think that they really need to be encouraged to read. Children probably read more today than they ever have - as far as quantity of words is concerned. But, I don't think that they are reading much of anything of any real value - nothing really that refined. I don't know that they have the attention span or the discipline for it anymore. But, then again, my parents, your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents said the same thing. On the subject of imaginative writing - has imaginative writing ever been encouraged in school? Since the industrial revolution, I don't think that imaginative anything has really been seriously stressed in public schools. Creativity, in my experience, is seen as something cute and quirky personality trait, but not really taken all that seriously.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I have always been a pretty voracious reader. I wrote a lot of fiction during my childhood and teenage years. My prose slumped off quite a lot since I began working in music and animation in my adult life, but I have always found the time somehow to keep at it in between other projects.
What do you think about book trailers?
Why not? Words probably just aren't enough of a motivating factor anymore to get people to care enough about books, especially from lesser-known authors, to actually buy them. I have no problem with them.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Don't get distracted.
Where can readers follow you?
Go to www.JustinCurfman.com. There you will find links to all of the obligatory social networking sites. Just find and choose the one that suits you.
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