A writer like you: Eddie Cantrell
Meet Eddie Cantrell, a short story and novel writer who enjoys the ancient sword fighting martial art of Kendo with a self-proclaimed unhealthy Samurai obsession.
In fact, his current urban fantasy work in progress will probably have a few samurai-like critters running around. He created his pen name by combining two of his favorite rock stars: Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam and Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains. His favorite books include The Gunslinger and Under The Dome by Stephen King, Animal Farm, The Poet by Michael Connoly, and The Godfather by Mario Puzo. The playwright Steven Berkoff changed his life.
You’ll love Eddie’s perspective on why we need stories, how to stay motivated, and our relationship with the Muse.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
What has shaped you into the writer you are today?
For me, it’s been a combination of the books and films I loved. They’ve shaped the way I tell stories. Film, Music and Books have been and still are my biggest inspirations. But one changes as one gets older and I also find life itself is shaping how I write these days.
What have you learned about writing so far?
So much! It’s not as easy as I thought. There is such a big technical aspect to writing and crafting a story. On another level though, writing has taught me a lot about myself and has shown me my own strengths and flaws. It’s shown me how stubborn I can be when it comes to editing, how I can clutter a sentence up with too much information. In life, I can be that way too. But it’s also shown me that I can be quite gritty and determined to get a thing done no matter what anyone says. I’ve learned to deal with rejection too. I’ve become a master at dealing with that one.
Why are reading and writing so important to you?
You know, it’s an escape. It’s true immersion. One becomes sucked into not only the world you’re writing about but the craft itself too. As scary as it is sometimes to plant that ever-widening behind in that chair and write something people are going to read and maybe be entertained by or bored stiff with, it’s incredible how quietly powerful the process of telling a story can be – and is.
What is the role of the writer in society?
That’s a great question. And I have no idea! Hahahaha! Stories inform, inspire, entertain. People need stories like they need air and water. I really believe that. Even the president (at least most) sit down with a book or feel the intrigue of hearing a good story. It doesn’t matter who you are – a soldier, doctor, factory worker, movie-star, every one and anyone needs a story. So the writer is an important story-telling vehicle in that regard.
How do you think writers can change the world?
I’d like to think so. In some ways, it depends on the type of writer and what they write. Also, I suppose it’s difficult to quantify the impact a writer and their work has on the world and if it’s significant. George Orwell wrote Animal Farm and that book must have had an impact on how we regard our leaders. The highly successful and often maligned Twilight series got teens reading and dreaming. That changes the world, I think.
How do you define writer success?
Lot’s of folks reading your work. And paying to do so. I know that sounds pretentious but that’s how I would define a successful writer. If you’re asking whether a ‘successful’ writer is synonymous with a ‘great’ writer, well, that’s another story. Sometimes great work goes largely unread and maybe not-so-great work sells a million. I’ve read some amazing work that never even got published.
Do you have any tips for staying motivated?
Stephen King, I think, said that you can’t always wait for your muse. Sometimes you have to sit down and work. Reading that was a motivation for me because it made me realize that writing is something you need to work at to get better and the biggest difference between a finished story and an unfinished one is the hard work that goes into it. Okay, the other difference is the word count. And the one is finished and the other...never mind.
Describe your typical writing process or routine.
My process is a little scattered. I love research which I’ll often do before starting anything. Ideally, I write at night. I play some music to cut out other noisy distractions, put my desk lamp on and start. But often, I’ll sit down if I have half an hour here and there, whether it’s in a coffee shop, the bus station on a train, whatever, and write. I find that the act of writing is vital and should be done as often as possible regardless of setting.
What writing advice would you give other writers like yourself?
Write because you love it. That’s the only real guarantee you have. If you enjoy it that’s enough reward and it’s the reward you’ll always get no matter what.
What are your current writing goals, and how do you plan to achieve them?
There’s this novel I’m threatening people with, you know, like I’m going to write it. One day. Also, I’m writing two short stories, I’m excited about getting out there.
What are you currently working on, and what makes you excited about it?
I have a short story appearing the Fairfields villain anthology, Don’t Be a Hero. This will be the second story I’ve done with them and I’m soooo excited. They’re a wonderful team and their books are always fun and interesting.
What is your ultimate writer dream?
Talk shows -radio and TV, I don’t mind. New York Best Seller list. Movie adaptation. And quitting the day job so I can write everyday and night.
What authors or books are inspiring you lately?
I’m loving The Game of Thrones novels at the moment. I’m a little late on that train but loving it anyway.
What are you favorite writer resources?
Scribophile is a great site and very rewarding in networking with other writers and getting your work read.
Where can we find your work and connect with you?
To free the writer this week, let’s remind ourselves of why we are writing. Hopefully, like Eddie advised, we can remember that we write because we love it. Everything else falls under that umbrella of motivation.
Let me know how it goes in the comments below.
Keep freeing the writer,