One of the things we want to do here at Trust & Treachery is give you a chance to get to meet our authors. Over the next few weeks, you will see bios and Q&As for our amazing contributors. Although we continue to run behind in our posting schedule, today is Eric Howald. Stay tuned as additional authors are added every Monday.
Best, Editors, Trust & Treachery
Eric A. Howald
Eric A. Howald likes people who feel trapped, and helping them find a way out. Unsurprisingly, these individuals often appear in his fiction. He’s a journalist, ghost writer, editor, and seems to be working on his first novel. Howald is a graduate of the journalism program at Auburn University and working on his MFA in creative writing at Antioch University. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Ameya, in Keizer, Oregon. You can find him online on Facebook, Twitter, and theshiv.net.
Do you have any recent events to announce (of publications or anything else exciting)?
Not so much about me, but I had the chance to interview and play a game with a cribbage hall of famer recently. The results can be found here: http://keizertimes.com/?p=11600
What inspired you to write this story?
The Peculiar Testimony of Dok Oculus is about a real life superhero, the titular C-lister Dok Oculus, and his run-ins with the city’s two A-listers. I love that there are people in the world combining cosplay and good deeds. This story is a way of lifting them up.
It started as an attempt to piss off a mentor who kept telling me all the things I couldn’t do. It evolved from there to become something about what keeps people moving forward and an attempt to impart a piece of wisdom gifted to me by a very smart man.
What books and/or authors have most influenced you?
Warren Ellis, Greg Rucka, Raymond Carver, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
What are you reading now?
I’m working on my MFA in creative writing, so I’m reading at a much slower pace than the norm, but more widely than I ever have before. Two of the best, recent reads have been Alistair McLeod’s No Great Mischief and The Bird Artist by Howard Norman. I also blew through Rob Roberge’s short story collection Working Backward From the Worst Moment in My Life on a weekend break from all things school-related and thoroughly enjoyed it.
What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on a few more stories in the real world superhero realm (I keep trying to tell the story of the main character, Icarus Jones, and discover it’s really a story about another character.) Also, working on my first novel.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be courageously honest in writing. When I think about the writing that bored its way into my heart, its the stuff that dared to call it like it lay or wasn’t concerned with being naive.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Like the story or hate it, let me know either way. I’m always interested in the things that strike a cord with people.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“You’ll break hearts you never wanted.”
-Sarah Langan, from Audrey’s Door
The depth of meaning in those six words blows me away every time I think about them. And it begs the addition of three more words: “Especially your own.”
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I’m most proud that I’ve been able to make a career out of writing. In the past dozen years, I’ve been a reporter, editor, ghost writer, marketing writer, communications consultant, a PR flack and even published a magazine for a too-brief period of time. Now I’m adding author to that list. I truly feel as though being open to writing of all types has prepared me in some way for what I’m trying to accomplish in fiction.
What inspires you to write and why?
Unanswered questions and sharing the answers I’ve arrived at to see if they resonate with anyone else. I’ve been lucky to be a writer who started out as a journalist. It made me interact and try to connect with people totally unlike myself. But, for each question one person answered, another popped up. I’m finding fiction to be a useful tool for reaching the truths that aren’t readily available in what I do as a journalist.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
You write great dialogue./You write great dialogue. (Inflection is everything)
Tell us something unusual (or fun) about you.
I fell down a laundry chute to a bare concrete floor when I was 18 months old. Everything else between then and now can probably be attributed to the moment when I hit the ground.
(Photo by Terri Jacobson, http://terrijacobson.com/)