Hello everyone and happy new year!
On this January 4, 2012, I have the pleasure to feature an amazing author – please welcome Frank C. Balara! I’m promoting his latest short story on my blog and on the Women’s Literary Cafe blog as well. As you know, I have the honor to be an elite blogger for the WLC hosted by the extremely talented Melissa Foster. Please visit the WLC website for more details on the WLC’s elite bloggers and other opportunities for readers and authors. www.womensliterarycafe.com
Without further ado, I present to you Frank C. Balara!
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your current projects.
I’m a stay-at-home dad moonlighting as an independent author. As I write this, I’m busy publishing my first short story, Manufactured Pleasures, as a Kindle Single.
Q: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing in earnest at the age of sixteen. It was heartbreak that got my pen moving. I created some of the saddest, sappiest poems and stories ever written. I think I managed to destroy most of it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it somehow became required reading for writers who go to hell.
Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first felt like a writer during my third and final attempt to finish my English Literature/Creative Writing degree. I was 25 and my classes and teachers were opening my eyes to so much beyond the self-absorbed writing I had been doing since the age of 16. I was learning new ways to write and new subjects to write about. I was finally able write something besides a tragic love story about myself.
Q: What inspired you to write your first story?
When I was in the 3rd grade, a 6th grader had managed to have his mystery story published in our local paper. He got his photo in there and everything. I thought that was pretty cool. So, instead of reading his story, I went to my room and started writing my own story about a “vanpier” that lived under my bed. I never managed to get it in the paper, but I did scare myself silly and refuse to sleep in my room for a week.
Q: How did you come up with the title of your work?
The title, Manufactured Pleasures, and the idea for the story both come from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. There’s a chapter in there – I think it’s 21 or 22 – about the dispossessed Okies having to manufacture their pleasures as they headed to California. They would stop at campsites each night and pool what little they had to entertain each other: someone might play the guitar while someone else sang, the kids would all make up games to play together and there were storytellers, too. It seemed to me that they weren’t doing anything I didn’t do as a kid, but I wondered if kids today could say the same thing and that was the idea that got me writing my story.
Q: What’s your writing style? Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not sure what my style is or if I even have one. I know each story I write seems to sound different from the others, so maybe the stories themselves dictate their style of writing? I hope that makes sense.
I think my biggest message in Manufactured Pleasures is to unplug now and then and talk with your kids. I know everyone pushes the drug, sex and bullying talks, but talking doesn’t always have to be so weighted. It can be light and fun and silly sometimes. Share a funny thing that happened at work or an embarrassing moment or just make up a story.
Q: What books have influenced your life most?
Each for different reasons:
Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
For The Time Being by Annie Dillard
Q: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have several favorite authors, but if I had to pick one I’d say, John Steinbeck. What really strikes me about his work is that while it has many serious themes there’s always room for some humor and kind-heartedness.
Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is to not sit in a vacuum like I did for so many years. It’s so easy to find writing groups online these days. Find some other writers and share your work with them.
Q: Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read my work! I hope I made you smile at least once and maybe gave you something interesting to think about. That’s my goal with every story I write.
Please check Frank’s website at http://frankbalara.blogspot.com/
To read more of his intriguing short story Manufactured Pleasures, please visit Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006SHW3C2
Thank you Frank for taking the time to answer a few of my questions and good luck with your future endeavors!
Until next time! 🙂