Interview with Clayton Gerrard, author of The Misadventures of a Life Less Lived

Can you tell us a little about your book? Is it your debut novel?

It is my debut novel! The Misadventures of a Life Less Lived is the story of Doug, a secretly-bookish college junior who lies to his friends to maintain their good opinion. Doug wakes one morning to discover his life has spoiled. (Because he kept it in the fridge to maintain a chill lifestyle, but somebody left it out overnight.) As a member of a popular fraternity, having no life is social suicide, so he embarks on a quest to find another life before anyone can discover he’s a temporary loser.

It’s New Adult – Magical Realism, so it has a strong fantasy element. It’s also satirical, absurd, and uproariously funny. It’s being published by REUTS publications. You can read the publishers blog here: http://blog.reuts.com/reuts-signs-satirical-and-snarky-the-misadventures-of-a-life-less-lived/

Are you a plotter or a free writer?

Both, actually. Like several greater authors before me, I liken my process to driving a car at night. I know my destination, but I can only see so far in front of me. Often there are unexpected curves and detours, but those are the aspects of the work that I love. Being surprised by my characters is the best part of creating a story. As long as they don’t go too far afield.

Is your book part of a series or a standalone?

It’s truly a standalone. I do have a mind to take some of the characters on another journey later, but the two books won’t be interrelated at all. My intention is you could read the second without even knowing there was a first and still feel as though you had a whole story.

Do you require silence when writing or do you listen to music?

I sometimes need something soothing, but non-distracting, so I’ll occasionally listen to classical music or Gregorian chant. Still, I’ll only listen during the rough draft. Revision requires total silence, or rather, white noise. A strong fan in the room helps.

Are you writing your next book? Can you share a little about it?

I am working on my next. The working title is A Hero Twain, and it’s the first in a dark, adult fantasy trilogy. It’s still too fresh and tender of an idea to share much more. I will say it’s as different from my first novel as Stephen King is from Douglas Adams. There’s nothing like jumping genres with your first two books. I may be shooting myself in the foot by not furthering the fan base that may come along with Misadventures, but Hero Twain is demanding to be told.

How long were you writing before getting a publishing contract?

I’ve been writing all my life, or at least trying to. The most success I’ve had prior to signing a deal with REUTS is having a handful of plays produced at small, community or collegiate venues. Misadventures is not only my debut novel, but the first novel I’ve been able to sit and write start to finish. The first draft took about a year, finding time here and there, and came in at a whopping 125,000 words. Then came the rewrites, and the whittling of a full fifth of those pesky words. I put in three full revisions, spanning two more years of work, before I was happy enough to put it in front of others. I’m spoiled, and tremendously lucky, that the first publisher I sent it to wanted it. I also fell in love with REUTS Publications, their mission, their transparency, and their love of what they do. I couldn’t have found a happier home for my novel.

When does your book release?

Our tentative release is February 2016, but it’s not a certainty yet. We’re still awfully fresh in the process, and wheels of this industry turn slow, as I’m sure you know. My fingers are crossed that we meet all our deadlines early.

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