I am pleased to tell you about Charles French, an accomplished author and educator who is publishing his new book, Maledicus: Paranormal Investigative Society Book I. Let me start at the beginning of my story of Dr. French; his blogging, teaching, reading, and writing. Gee, those adjectives are just what describe me, too.
When I began writing my blog, Charles French was an early follower. He often commented on my posts with incredible enthusiasm as if he were telling the world, “You must read this, it is really important!”, and as if he were a teacher in my classroom. I became his blog follower as well, and I marveled at the breadth of what he had to say. His posts encompass the best in literature and education and writing. In the words of my husband, “Charles is teaching the students you first taught”. Exactly. I’m so glad to have this link from early childhood to young adulthood, from my teaching and writing to his. Thank you, Charles. Keep sharing your wisdom.
I had the privilege of interviewing Charles French. I am quite excited to read his brand new book, and also to give support and a kick-off to his blog tour. Please visit him at https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com
Interview with Charles French:
1) When did you start to write?
I have been writing in some way or other for most of my adult life, but much of this was student writing or academic writing. I committed to being a novelist over 5 years ago when my wife challenged me to do so. I had worked on and off on several projects previously, but I had not completed them. Since I made the decision to be a writer, I have completed one novel, am near completion on another, and have written first drafts of several others. I should also mention that I completed my PhD. dissertation in English Literature in May 2014.
2) What books inspired you as an adult, and what books did you love as a child?
I have been reading for as long as I can remember, so the list of books that have moved me is large! As an adult, some of my favorite books are The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin, all of Shakespeare, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Stand and Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King, A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle, and the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I could add many more, but I would rather list a few than make this a massive accounting.
As a young person, from early childhood through my teen years, I read a wide variety of books, but those that stand out to me as being very important include the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne, Dracula by Bram Stoker, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Narcissus and Goldmund by Herman Hesse.
3) Can you tell me about a moment in teaching that was memorable?
I have been fortunate to be able to engage much of my adult life with one of my passions, and that is teaching. I have been a teacher, in one capacity or another since 1988. I have had many wonderful moments, but one that stands out is from a summer class at Muhlenberg College Renaissance Plays in Process. We were studying Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, and I believe strongly in using experiential education in the classroom; therefore, the students conducted a “star-chamber trial” of Marlowe in which he faced charges of heresy and treason for the issues in his text. This was a class with both traditionally aged college students and adult students. They banded together in an extraordinary fashion and served as prosecutors, defense, and jury. I was the judge, complete with robe! Their approach to the trial was deeply engaged, and they learned much more about the text than if we had simply studied it. I am very proud of what they accomplished in that exercise.
4) Do you read aloud to your students?
Even though I teach college, with some exercises, especially those relating to writing, I still read aloud to them. Shared experience of a book or story is a wonderful feeling.
5) Who are your favorite authors?
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Stephen King, William Shakespeare, Cervantes, Herman Hesse, Mark Helprin, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Anne Rice, Harper Lee, Roddy Doyle, Umberto Eco, and Isabel Allende. As with a previous answer, these are only some of my favorite authors.
6) Why did you choose to write a horror novel?
I have loved horror, gothic, and speculative fiction since I was a child. It has been a part not only of my reading experience but also of my academic study and teaching. Horror and other such genres allows the opportunity to explore very real issues but in an environment that is somewhat different from the real world.
7) Briefly, what is the story about?
In Maledicus: Paranormal Investigative Society Book I, three retired gentlemen, all of whom have suffered the loss of a loved one to death, need to know if there is life after death. They are close friends and decide to form a ghost-investigation group. In their efforts, they are confronted with something that is far worse than a ghost. It is a demon that, in life, was a sadistic and sociopathic pimp, torturer, spy and murderer for Emperor Caligula during the Roman Empire. In death, he has become an even worse demon that is able to manifest on earth and target people to corrupt, make ill, die from disease, and cause to commit murder and suicide. This demon has targeted a 5 year old girl in the town in which these men live. After determining the problem is not a haunting by a ghost, they are forced to confront the contemporary ethical problem: is this their fight, or do they walk away, essentially saying “find someone else to help.” The three older men, along with a few friends, choose to battle this demon to save the child at the potential risk of their sanities, their lives, and their souls.
8) Is there anything else you would like to say?
I would like to thank you, Jennie, very much for you kindness in being willing to be a host in my blog tour. I am grateful, and I hope readers will continue to follow your excellent blog.