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. Today is Charles Terhune. Stay tuned as additional authors are added every Monday.
Editors, Trust & Treachery
Charles (Chang) Terhune
Born in 1968, Chang holds a BFA from Emerson College in Writing, Literature & Publishing. He’s been writing since he was twelve years old. In October 2006, he was selected to participate in the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Mentorship Program mentored by John Scalzi. In 2008 he attended Viable Paradise XII. Chang was a participant at Readercon 21 in 2010 in the Viable Paradise Group Reading. He lives in Portland, Maine with his wife Alice, daughter Sophia, cat George Foreman and dog Sparky. There he own a yoga studio, Portland Power Yoga. He is the author of 4 books, all awaiting publication. He’s currently working on writing short fiction as well as novels. For more information about Chang you can visit his website or find him on Facebook and Twitter.
“The Girl With The Wrong Shoes” is my very first publication and I am very excited about it. I’ve been writing SF actively since 2004 so if it takes me another 8 years so be it but I’m getting more stuff published. Wait and see!
What inspired you to write this story?
The novel from which “The Girl…” comes from was first conceived in 1988. Back then I had a whole novel planned and the HeavyBoys were just a small part of that. I had notebooks full of notes that unfortunately got destroyed in a flood. Since then I’ve seen many ideas of the original story come true in the world. But these boys in their black suits stayed with me. A few years ago I decided to write about one of them and that’s where FuturePop was born. The funny thing is he didn’t stop there. He’s now become the focus of a new novel born of those old ideas and some new ones. And it’s shaping up to be a pretty amazing world he lives in.
What books and/or authors have most influenced you?
So many but if I could only name a few I would say: William Gibson, Elizabeth Bear, Charles Stross, John Scalzi, Charles Burns, Alan Moore, Cathrynne Valente, Joan Aiken, Neil Gaiman, Dennis Lehane, Charles Willeford, Paolo Bacigalupi, Peter Watts, Mike Mignola, MJ Locke, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Chester Himes, John Irving, Jim Thompson, Ross Macdonald, Maya Deren and Jonathan Lethem.
What are you reading now?
Homicide by Ed Burns, Plague Zone by Jeff Carlson and Space is The Place: The Biography of Sun Ra.
What are your current projects?
Many, many things. One is the novel from whence “The Girl…” comes from which is called “Tribal Malfunctions.” Another novel, “A Garden Galactic” is the first book in a quadrilogy I began in 2004. Then there are numerous short stories floating around in various states of production and disrepair.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I recently had a talk with a friend’s 10 year old daughter and this is what I told her: “Just keep writing, for God’s sake! You will get ten thousand tons of writing advice in your lifetime and not all of it will work for you. Just write and find what fits your style and your life best but keep writing. I struggled with trying to write mainstream fiction for almost a decade until one day I realized I didn’t care about my characters one bit. So I stopped writing for another eight years! Then one day I realized I really loved science fiction and had begun writing it at the age of 12 but stopped when people made fun of me. I hid it for many years until finally I realized I couldn’t anymore. Honestly – and I do not say this lightly – it would have been easier if I came out and said I was gay. I just love writing science fiction and it’s who I am. So find your voice, write and stick with it.”
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Believe. All fiction writing is suspension of disbelief and asking “What if…” whether it be “What if there were a private detective in modern day Boston?” or “what if aliens built the Taj Mahal for their kangaroo gods?”
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
I collect quotes and use them frequently in my day job as a yoga teacher. There are many parallels to teaching and practicing yoga and so many quotes I find are applicable to each. This one is a favorite and oft-repeated: “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown.
Reciting this frustrates me then makes me get off my ass and do what must be done.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
I’m a lucky guy. I’ve got a great wife, a great kid and my own business. I’m healthy, I have a good family and I’m doing the things I love. Really, beyond that it’s just all around a good thing.
What inspires you to write and why?
I’m not inspired to write: I’m driven. I express myself in a number of different ways; through music, writing, yoga. But writing is special. It’s creating worlds, transmitting ideas, putting thoughts down on paper and organizing them in such a way as to make them as gentle as a lover’s touch or as destructive as a nuclear bomb. When I don’t write I get unpleasant and drive away those around me. When I do write I exorcise an uncertain demon and exercise certain mental muscles.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
At Viable Paradise John Scalzi told me that I used sarcasm as a crutch. That he was right wasn’t bad enough. That this is the same thing my yoga teacher Baron Baptiste said to me nearly brought me to tears. They were both right and in that moment I had the weirdest merging of two very distinct and separate areas of my life. Scalzi sent me home from VP with homework: write something with 0% sarcasm or snark. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but I did it. And it completely changed my writing.
Also while at VP, Elizabeth Bear told me I write believable female characters. As I admire and know a number of strong women it is incredibly important to me that I be able to convincingly portray them through my writing. So when a woman of Bear’s caliber says you did it then you know you’re on the right path.
Tell us something unusual (or fun) about you.
I’m not really from this planet. I was stationed here in 1968 and I’m just waiting for my ride back. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying your local delicacies and customs.