Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Interview with Christopher Stone, author of Going and Coming

Going and Coming Book Banner

Inside the Book:

GoingandComing Cover Promo
Title: Going and Coming 
Author: Christopher Stone 
Publisher: MLR Press 
Genre: Mystery/Metaphysical 
Format: Ecopy/Print

For gay, metaphysical sleuth Dr. Minnow Saint James, the workplace spans time, space, dimensions, and the entirety of the vast, incomprehensible affair that is God's Creation. At forty, Dr. Minnow Saint James, "Minn" to his friends, is a gay, metaphysical sleuth who, through Past Life Regression therapy, spans time, space, dimensions, and the entirety of God's Creation to discover the past, or future, life origins of his patient's most challenging present day problems. Minn did not always hold his current beliefs. He was born into an affluent, atheistic, Republican family in Beverly Hills, California, and raised to believe only what his five physical senses reported. In 2001, after receiving his doctorate from UCLA, Minn opened a highly successful traditional Hypnotic Regression therapy practice in Beverly Hills. For six years he enjoyed his life, until a patient spontaneously regressed herself to a past life in Eighth Century Coba, turning Minn's world upside down. Soon he was questioning his entire worldview. Now Minn is hoping that his past just might save his future.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

That’s easy. My pride and joy is the family I’ve created with my spouse of almost twenty-two years.
Professionally speaking, Going and Coming, my just-published novel, is the work of which I’m most proud. That’s because it has been simmering on the back burner of my brain for several decades.
I take great pride in having finally written the book, and I’m most grateful to MLR Press for publishing me.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

My beloved parents were simple people with extraordinary work ethics. I’ve applied their work ethic to my writing.
Also I was raised to cultivate and value personal discipline. A person must be disciplined if s/he is going to write.
And growing up, I was told to always exceed my employer’s expectations, as regards the quality of my work. In my writing, my goal is to always give readers more than their money’s worth.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing in third grade, at Ernie Pyle Elementary School, Fresno, California. I wrote a trifle of a one-act play that my class performed in the school auditorium, at the end of the school year.
I started writing because I inherently believed that it was what I had come into this world to do.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I am an avid reader, and I always have been. As a young boy, I picked up my hardcover copy of Black Beauty, and thought, I can do that! What’s more, I will do that.

What inspires you to write and why?

For starters, writing is how I best communicate with others and, to some extent, with the world in general. I’d much rather text or email something to you than have a phone conversation.
As for the Why?  I can only say that writing is my default form of self-expression.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I love writing things metaphysical, as I have in Going and Coming. Maybe that’s because I’ve been a lifelong student of metaphysics. I’ve even taught Meditation and Psychic Development in classes. And my personal development bestseller, Re-Creating Your Self, was largely based upon metaphysical principles and processes.
But I also love humor. Although Going and Coming some important, weighty issues, including past lives, reincarnation, and the eternal nature of the individual, I serve it up with large doses of fun and humor.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I had created a blueprint for personal change, based on metaphysical concepts. I called it Re-Creating My Self. I used my blueprint to become a better, happier, and healthier person.
Later I shared my blueprint with interested others. One of them suggested that I morph my blueprint into a self-help book.
Et voila! Re-Creating Your Self.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

Once the computer was on, and I actually started writing the book, I turned constantly to what I had learned about how life works and what makes things happen from my metaphysical teacher of twelve years, Carmen Montez.
Going and Coming is dedicated to her, as was Re-Creating Your Self.
Also, my ongoing independent study of things spiritual shaped my work.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

Getting it right.
For me, writing thoughts into a blank document is the easy part. Stringing those thoughts together, coherently and artfully, through numerous rewrites, is my greatest writing challenge.
I can easily face the blank document, but once the words are on it, morphing them into artful, entertaining, and insightful scenes, is my struggle.
I commonly write ten to fifteen drafts, start to finish, of every scene in my novels.

Did writing Going and Coming teach you anything and what was it?

Every project is a learning experience. With Going and Coming, I learned how much I enjoyed authoring a first person narrative. I’d never done it. You see, in my new book, my leading man, Dr. Minnow Saint James, a metaphysical Sherlock Holmes, speaks for, and about, himself.
I learned many other things; too, I’m certain. But above them all was learning “the joy of writing a first person narrative.”

Do you intend to make writing a career?

Writing has always been my career, with a few detours taken to put food on the table.

Have you developed a specific writing style?

That’s for readers to decide. I’ve had readers tell me they can always spot my writing, most usually because I crack wise, whenever given the opportunity. When not given the opportunity, I can usually create one.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

In my opinion, it is my ability to say a whole lot, using the fewest words possible. Some would argue the point, I’m sure.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

My optimism. I always see the glass as half full. I’m always grateful and happy for what I have, rather than postponing my bliss until something that I don’t have comes into my life.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

I can’t suffer fools – or, at least, those whom I consider to be fools, people who are not authentic or sincere. I’d be a much better man if I could better tolerate such folk.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“Change is the only evidence we have of life.” It’s from Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, and it’s my favorite quote because, for me,  it reflects a profound truth.

Thank you very much.

Meet the Author

Born in Bronx, New York, and raised in Fresno, California, Christopher Stone’s early years were dominated by school, watching television and motion pictures, bicycling, skating, and reading avidly. Summers were spent swimming, and doing whatever it took to survive the oppressive San Joaquin Valley heat. But he also remembers fondly the yearly summer trips to New York, to visit family and friends – and to see Broadway shows.

Christopher left Fresno, for Hollywood, California, during his college years after being accepted into the Writers Guild of America’s Open Door Program, a two-year, scholarship, training ground for aspiring screen and television writers. As it happened, rather than a teleplay or screenwriting gig, his first professional writing job was in journalism – as the Los Angeles Editor for Stage Door, at that time, Canada’s equivalent of the U.S. entertainment trade weekly, Variety.

Christopher would later use his Writers Guild of America training to co-author and sell the original screenplay, The Living Legend, with Jon Mercedes III, to the Erin Organization, and later, and also with Mercedes, to write two seasons of The Party Game, a Canadian TV game show.

As a young freelance entertainment journalist, he contributed to many Los Angeles-based publications, among them The Advocate, for which he wrote a breezy film column, “Reeling ‘Round,” and the Los Angeles Free Press. During this time, he became a member of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle.

Christopher dipped his toes into the world of motion picture advertising and publicity, as assistant to the West Coast Director of Advertising and Publicity for Cinerama Releasing Corporation, in Beverly Hills. At the same time, he also did special advertising and publicity projects for 20th Century-Fox. Christopher went on to become an Account Executive for David Wallace & Company, a public relations firm specializing in entertainment accounts – and located on West Hollywood’s legendary Sunset Strip.

Returning to his first love, writing, Christopher became a full time freelance contributor to national consumer publications including Us, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, McCall’s, In Cinema, and The National Enquirer, among others. Many of his stories were syndicated worldwide by the New York Times Syndication Corp.

Another important area of endeavor for Christopher Stone was Re-Creating Your Self. A Blueprint for Personal Change that he first developed for himself, the journalist went on to teach the principles and processes of Re-Creating Your Self to others – first, in private sessions, later, in workshops and seminars, and, finally, for California State University Extended Education. Eventually, one of his students suggested he write a book version.

Re-Creating Your Self was first published in hardcover by Metamorphous Press, and subsequently published in a trade paperback edition by Hay House. It has since been published in Spanish, Swedish and Hebrew language editions.

When not writing, Christopher used his longtime interest in, and study of, metaphysics, to teach meditation and psychic development classes – first in Beverly Hills, then later, in Manhattan Beach.
He went on to co-author, with Mary Sheldon, four novellas for a Japanese educational publisher, and then, also with Mary Sheldon, the highly successful The Meditation Journal trilogy of hardcover books. Subsequently, he returned to journalism, this time, contributing hundreds of print and online entertainment features, columns and reviews to magazines and websites. For eight years, Christopher was the Box-office Columnist for MatchFlick.com, a popular online motion picture site.

In his private life, Christopher Stone met David M. Stoebner on May 17, 1994, and they have been together ever since. 
In 2008, they were married in Los Angeles.

They share a home with their three pets in Coastal Los Angeles County.

In 2013, Christopher’s pet project has been transforming their rarely used kitchen table area into a killer, retro 1950s Diner Nook, complete with a 1952 Seeburg Table Top jukebox, a neon diner sign, and a malt machine.

Christopher’s first novel, Frame of Reference was e and print published, in fall 2012, by MLR Press. A short story, Sweet Homo Alabama was published by MLR Press, December 19, 2012.

Stone spent much of 2013 writing Frame of Reference 2: The Dark Side of Stardom, a sequel novel to Frame of Reference, as well as, Abracadabra, and a short story, published at Halloween. But the indefatigable scribe also found time to contribute weekly reviews, columns and interviews to Queer Town Abbey.

As 2014 begins, Christopher looks forward to the publication of The Dark Side of Stardom, and he is developing a short story, Camelot Conundrum, as well as a metaphysical mystery novel, Going and Coming.


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