When not working out, he also enjoys cooking healthy gourmet meals as well as playing board games with family and friends with plenty of coffee brewing to keep the fun going until the wee hours of the morning.
VS: Welcome to my blog Scott. It really is a pleasure to have you here today. To get things started with you interview, can you share how long have you been writing?
Caseley: Since the second grade, my first short story was about nature and had a lot of personification though when my teacher told me that then, I didn’t know what the word meant. But I’ve been telling stories a lot longer than that. I used to have two imaginary friends when I was four or five, and I’d record their adventures on a tape recorder.
VS: It seems writing and telling stories has been a big part of your life. What inspired you to write your book Isosceles after all this time?
Caseley: A number of people passed away in a relatively short period of time as my college years were coming to a close and in the first couple years that followed. I started to think of various questions about death what it means to lose someone, what it means to be dead, not just for the individual that passed but for those left behind. And, when that person dies unexpectedly, why do they suddenly become enigmatic even if we may have known them implicitly? When I started the first page of the story years later, I felt those questions needed to be answered somehow, by relatable people at the time of life where these questions and their personal answers will take them from one stage of development to another.
VS: I think many, including myself, have been in your shoes asking these questions so I think it is great you did decide to publisher a book to touch on this topic. Now finding the time to write can be a challenge for some. What is a typical writing day like for you?
Caseley: I usually begin my day thinking of a couple goals to accomplish writing wise. Then while eating my breakfast, I jot down some notes either on my computer or on a notepad. I step away from them for about an hour or so, let them sink in, and do some sort of exercise, yoga, treadmill, or weights. After my post-workout shower, I start to write something based on my notes either prose or poetry. Then I begin writing for anywhere from two to eight hours. It doesn’t have to be structured, unless I’m working on a deadline. It’s just getting the feelings in my head and heart down onto the screen or the page before me. When it’s all expelled, that’s when I know the day is done.
VS: You are very lucky to have time to let the written word just spill out of you. I can’t say my day gives me that kind of time, but I hope one day it does. Well you have written an amazing book. Can you share with us a little about your current book, Isosceles?
Caseley: It is a mystery that is not a traditional whodunit, but more of a whyhedidit, my own term for this sort of thing; though I know, I’m far from the originator of this theme. My main character Sean needs to find out why his best friend Trey has taken his life at the beginning of the book. To discover the answers, he’ll have to go back thirteen years to when they first met and how their friendship and a woman named Madeline, who constantly came between them, each played a role as well as other factors such as his schooling, his parents, and numerous other issues one encounters during their formative years. Along the way, Sean will also learn more about himself and what kind of friend he really was to Trey. In short, discovery of unearthed feelings about those around us and within ourselves.
VS: What a great explanation of Isosceles. I hope those reading our interview today will check out my book review as well. Okay Scott, what did you find to be the most challenging part of writing Isosceles?
Caseley: Finding common ground and an understanding between three individuals that when you first meet them seem so completely different from each other. Over the course of their childhood and into young adulthood, the common ground they reach beyond these differences needed to bring them together in either platonic or romantic bonds that could be lasting and/or tested through the best and worst of times.
VS: Wow, really? When reading your book it seemed you just naturally knew what their common ground would be throughout their lives. Well you did a wonderful job and rose to the challenge. I’m curious, what part of your book do you feel really stands out to you personally?
Caseley: My favorite scenes in the book would have to be the moments when Sean is off by himself analyzing the situations or people that are in his life. At first he’s not trustful of his own feelings because he’s been bullied and picked on, but then over time, he comes to accept himself as a worthy person. I think that’s something that many people can relate to.
VS: Yes, I agree and one many teens face. Now here comes the big question. What character is most like you?
Caseley: Probably the character of ‘Sean’, the narrator of the piece is closest to me, mostly during his elementary school years. I was never good at sports as a kid and I turned to reading history books as my escape. I imagined I’d be better off hanging out with historical figures in a different time period rather than embarrass myself during a pickup baseball or basketball game in the schoolyard during lunch period.
VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?
Caseley: I like to constantly try new challenges and I found my latest inspiration while reading the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. It had this compelling style about it, various points of view and characters weaving in and out of each other’s storylines. She said in an interview that she was attempting this style called polyphony, a device that has musical roots but according to Wikipedia was reintroduced as a literary technique identified by Mikhail Bakhtin. I’m using it to tell a contemporary romantic caper adventure spanning across New England.
VS: Sounds interesting and I’m sure will be a great book from what I’ve seen of your writing in Isosceles. Which brings me to my next question, what do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?
Caseley: Character is what I always start with. When they first appear in my mind, it’s like someone new at school or at the workplace. They’re just wandering around and eventually I’ll start to see traits and then develop a backstory for them. Then, when I finally interact with them, I can see that my initial impressions could have been way off. In fact, I’d say how close you are or how far removed you are from the ‘reality’ of who they are is like figuring out how much you put into your mixing bowl, blender, notebook, or iPad; a heaping tablespoon, or dollop, or a sprinkle here and there.
When they begin to open up, I become like a journalist or a therapist in your head listening to them tell their story and the people around them that have made their life what it is. Let them tell you what’s going on, let them tell you what they’re about, and then you’ll know how they want the story told. Whether they are a talker or someone who wants you to tell their story but are cautious about letting the whole story out until they build a trust with me as their writer is like deciding to serve your readers a microwaved story or a tale made in the crock pot, the latter allowing the seasonings to take over the whole story in time.
VS: What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Caseley: Honesty. I cannot create a character unless they come from some truthful place. This means for me that a character needs to emulate traits I’ve seen in others or in myself and these behaviors are not set in stone in the beginning. Your story should have them go through some sort of transformation, even if they are only in a couple pages of text. Why give a character a place in your story unless they do something, right? It doesn’t have to be remarkable, but it has to be something that makes your reader understand why they are there.
VS: Scott, where can the readers of The Writing Mama find out more about and your writing?
Caseley: I have a page on the MuseItUp site where you can read a short bio on me as well as an excerpt from Isosceles, the link for that is http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=562&category_id=198&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1&vmcchk=1&Itemid=1.
Plus, I also have a Facebook writing page and that can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ScottRCaseleyWriter. Lastly, I’m on Twitter and my handle is @scottrcaseley.
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
eBook ISBN: 978-1-77127-239-1
Publication Date: January 2013
Genre of Book: Young Adult- Coming Of Age, Mystery/Romance
The novel takes the reader on a journey through the thirteen-year friendship between Sean McIntyre and Trey Goodsby and up to the tragic end of Trey's life, then goes into what effect his death has on Sean and those closest to the two boys.
About the Book:
When he finds his best friend Trey Goodsby dead and almost completely submerged in a bathtub filled with bloody water, Sean McIntyre is determined to find out if it was an accident or suicide. Did his death accidental or intentional have anything to do with Madeline Edwards, the woman who came between them constantly through their thirteen-year friendship? The tale begins with the death of Trey Goodsby, and explores his relationships with family, friends, his romances, and which of the circumstances he found himself in that led to the tragic event, and the repercussions for those he left behind.
If you have that feeling that you're coming up short...what will it take to feel equal?
Places where available for sale: MuseItUpPublishing.com, Amazon.com, Bookstrand, Omnilit, Kobo, Smashwords and B&N
You can find out more about Scott R. Caseley, his novel and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/c85xoz4