Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Carl Purdon to the blog. He is the author of The Night Train and is here to talk about writing and share some information about his book. If this sound like a book that you would be interested in reading, please pick up a copy using the buy links at the bottom of the post.
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IBP: Try to describe your book in one sentence.
Carl: To escape his abusive father, Jayrod Nash seeks refuge aboard a freight train and falls into the hands of a mysterious hobo named Farley.
IBP: Did you always have it in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?
Carl: I remember standing in my front yard somewhere around the age of five, with words in my head, wishing I knew how to write them down. I knew at that moment I would be a writer someday. It took decades before I felt ready to tackle writing a novel. I suppose I needed to experience life before I could write about it.
Carl: Yes, absolutely. It’s very moving when a reader likes your work enough to write a review. Good reviews can be a great motivator during those times when the words refuse to come.
IBP: Do you listen to music while writing?
Carl: Sometimes, depending on my mood. My musical tastes range from Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, to Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
IBP: Why did you choose the genre you write in?
Carl: I have to admit I’ve never given much consideration to genre. My stories typically begin with a character, or a situation, and I go from there. Most of my good ideas come to me in my sleep.
IBP: Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
Carl: I am an unapologetic pantzer. The attempts I’ve made at outlining have never made it past the third or fourth chapter because my characters often do things I don’t expect. One thing I do quite often, though, while driving to work, riding my motorcycle, or just lying in bed unable to sleep, is pretend to be my character. I put my character in different situations and see how he or she reacts. It’s a great exercise for getting to know the person you’re bringing to life.
IBP: Where do you get your inspiration?
Carl: I have an overactive imagination. It amazes me that no matter what situation you conjure up, someone, somewhere is probably experiencing it at that very moment. People are being murdered, raped, kidnapped, tortured, deceived, and cheated on, but they are also falling in and out of love, holding newborns, winning lotteries, and breaking into the Amazon top 10. For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent a lot of time (perhaps too much) imagining what it would be like to be those people. I want to tell their stories. I want to write stories people will read and say, that was me, or I know someone like that.
IBP: Do you have an all-time favorite book?
Carl: No, there are far too many wonderful books to pick a favorite. Every time I try to think of a favorite I end up with a long list. I tend to read a lot of biographies, history, and classic literature. There never seems to be enough time to read these days, what with the day job, working on my second novel, and family functions.
IBP: Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?
Carl: Twitter. It took me a while to get the hang of communicating 140 characters at a time, but now I spend more time on Twitter than all other social media combined. Someone said recently that Twitter is the great equalizer, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. If you are interesting, or witty, it doesn’t matter if you’re famous or not. People will respond. It’s also a great way to connect with readers and fellow authors. I make an effort to respond to every message that isn’t spam.
IBP: If I give you a time machine, what time period and in what place would you travel to?
Carl: I live in a rural part of Mississippi. The tiny church just down the road was founded in 1853. I would love to know the history behind the spot where I live now, so I would travel back to 1853 and attend that first church service.
IBP: Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?
Carl: Yes, I just finished the first draft of my second novel. I hope to release it sometime in April of 2013.
Abused at home and bullied at school, young Jayrod Nash steals away on a freight train with a vow never to return. His best friend tags along, but his heart’s not in it. They meet up with a hobo named Farley, who offers protection in exchange for obedience, and soon learn he’s running too.
THE NIGHT TRAIN is a novel about the struggle of innocence against brutality, written with powerful characters who allow no commentary from the author. Together they paint a picture of life as it exists too often.
Carl Purdon weaves a tale that takes the reader through the full gamut of emotions, and leaves them feeling as if they have known the Nash family all their lives. Perhaps they have.
The orange glow of the cigarette brightened and dimmed with a slow steady rhythm for the next couple of minutes then nose-dived to the floor and was gone. Not a sound came from the smoker. Nothing to betray his identity or his intent. Had he been there all along, watching them struggle to board the car, or had he joined them while they slept? Jayrod wondered in silence. Trembled with fear. His hand found Arnold’s on the dusty floor and squeezed it.
An hour passed without movement from the opposite end of the car. Had they imagined it? Could it have been a phantom? Imagination rooted in fear? The train rocked on tirelessly. Trees clicked past them outside the half-open door, little more than shadowy figures against a backdrop of black. The stench inside the car hung over them like a heavy fog that never seemed to lift. Neither boy had moved a muscle since seeing the cigarette.
Fear and fatigue took its toll sometime before dawn and Jayrod felt Arnold’s head bobbing against his shoulder like a rag doll. Like a doting mother he lowered him back onto the floor, careful to keep his head on the duffle bag pillow, then returned his own weary focus back toward the end of the car where the mystery rider lurked. In time he lay back too, and cocked his head sideways so he could see if anything moved where the cigarette had floated in the air. Sleep took him shortly thereafter and he slept so hard even the violent jolts of the car didn’t wake him.
Dawn came and went while they slept. A kick to Jayrod’s left foot roused him. He opened his eyes with a jerk and saw a man standing over him. The stranger was scraggly and looked a few years older than Jayrod’s father. His eyes were grayish green and no bigger than dimes. They had a meanness to them that made Jayrod wonder if he was about to strike them both dead with his empty hands. A bushy dirt-blonde mustache that looked like it hadn’t been trimmed in years hid his top lip. Jayrod elbowed Arnold in the ribs.
“What’s in the bags?”
Stray hairs jutted out in all direction from the tangle below his nose. One strand curled upward and touched the bag just below his right eye. Jayrod had never seen a moustache so unkempt. Stubble covered his chin and cheeks. For a brief moment Jayrod thought they might knock him out of the way if they worked together, but there was no way to communicate it to Arnold, so he let the notion slip away. The truth was he was scared. Terrified.
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Carl Purdon lives in Pontotoc, Mississippi with his wife and two of their four children. Pontotoc is halfway between Tupelo, which is the birthplace of Elvis, and Oxford, which was the home of William Faulkner. Since he can’t sing, he writes. Since he’s not an expert on anything in particular, he writes fiction.
Carl can be found