Blakely’s Friday Interview with A.C. Burch

Please give a warm welcome to A.C. Burch, author of The HomePort Journals.

Art MahoneyTell us a bit about yourself and what you’re currently working on or promoting.
I’m currently promoting The HomePort Journals, which is being released in TODAY by Wilde City Press. Rumors of a sixty-year-old murder have estranged two childhood friends for more than a half-century. An unlikely assortment of characters set out to find out what really happened. In the process they become a family—the kind of family Armistead Maupin calls a “logical” family as opposed to a “biological” family.

I’ve lived in Provincetown for nearly thirty years in a wonderful old house that looks out over the harbor. In addition to writing, I enjoy making music, photography, the visual arts, and sailing around Cape Cod Bay. Because I’ve lived there so long, I think The HomePort Journals does a good job of describing what it’s like to live in Provincetown, especially off-season. I’ve tried to capture the natural beauty of lesser-known parts of town as well as the wonderful, wacky, passionate people who are drawn to the place.

And now for the shameless pitch: You can buy the e-Book on Amazon today!  The Paperback will be out in May.

What genre is your book?  Do you write in other genres as well?
The HomePort Journals
is marketed as “m/m romance,” although it contains a range of relationships: gay and straight, as well as what I call a “Provincetown Marriage”—a deep friendship between an elderly Portuguese woman and a young gay man. I’ve only ever seen this type of bond in P’Town, and I wanted to write about it.

I work in other genres and am currently pitching a book of short stories entitled A Book of Revelations, where things are never quite what they seem. There’s also a sequel to The HomePort Journals in its early stages.

Do you have an agent and/or publisher or are you self-published?  If self-published, do you use a professional editor?  If traditionally published, who is your publisher?
I have a wonderful agent, Malaga Baldi, of the Baldi Agency. My publisher is Wilde City Press.  They both think outside the box when it comes to writing in today’s market.

Do you outline your stories or just go with the flow?
My characters seem to take me where I need to go, and often times I’m amazed at how well things work out without my conscious direction. I often feel as though I’m just following their lead, though I suspect there’s a lot going on subconsciously that determines the outcome. Norman Mailer called writing “the spooky art,” and I’ve come to realize he was right. Sometimes you solve more problems waking up from a good night’s sleep than you do spending a whole day agonizing at your desk.

What does your writing space look like?
It’s a 10 x 12 foot, wood-shingled shed with a big, oak desk that came from an old post office. A vintage Glenwood cook stove keeps me cozy in winter and has been known to serve up a great roast beef on occasion. I did much of the work on the shed myself, and it took me years to get the place the way I wanted it. I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful space to write in.

Do you have any writing rituals?
I put together playlists that mirror the atmosphere of the book I’m working on and write to the music. I try to begin my day’s writing with whatever piece was playing when I finished writing the day before. That seems to bring my mind back to the same spot in the story, making it easier for me to pick up where I left off. I wrote The HomePort Journals to the music of Philip Glass, particularly the scores to The Hours, The Violin Concerto # 2, and Notes on a Scandal.

Is being an author your dream job?  If so, how long have you been chasing the dream?  If not, what would be your dream job?
I’ve wanted to write all my life. I trained as a classical musician and was hesitant to tackle writing because I thought the disciplines were just too different—interpreting vs. creating— or some idiotic notion like that. When I got over myself, I realized how similar writing and performing actually were. With that, everything changed. Now, writing is my dream job.

What book are you currently reading?
How to be a Victorian
by Ruth Goodman, The Tyranny of Meritocracy by Lani Guinier, and Conversations with Walter Mosely, edited by Owen E. Brady.

Is there a message in your book(s) that you want readers to grasp?
Love is a gift that comes in many flavors. Don’t ever take it for granted, never second guess it; just enjoy every moment you are in love as if is your last on earth.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Yes, Helena Handbasket, the zany, cross-dressing housekeeper who runs the HomePort mansion and cares for the other off-beat members of her “logical” family. She’s complex, witty, bighearted, highly resourceful, and at times, incredibly infuriating. She took up residence in my head when I was working on the book and still pops up even now. Sometimes I think she wrote the book and is just letting me take credit for it.

How much time a day do you spend on social media?
Three twenty-minute sessions a day. No more.  If someone is making the effort to communicate with me, I want to respond in kind, but I can’t let anything get in the way of writing—even if Dame Edna shares a video clip I’ve never seen just as it’s time to quit.

What do you do to stay sane as a writer?
Who says those two conditions can concurrently exist?

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Yes. Auntie Mame. I read it as a young boy and it revealed a whole, wonderful, new world that was far more glamorous and exciting than anything I could ever imagine. For years, I secretly yearned to be Mame when I grew up, and at long last I think I’m starting to get the hang of it….

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Oh No He Didn’t….

I have found the writer’s community to be very supportive and welcoming. Please share writers that you recommend for us to check out.

  1. William J. Mann– A Provincetown Author. Bill’s new book, Tinseltown, is fantastic.
  2. Walter Mosely– There’s music on every page.
  3. Heidi Jon Schmidt– Another Provincetown Author. Beautiful prose and an exquisite sense of place.

You can find A.C. on his website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Click on any of the highlighted links or click below to buy A.C.’s book:

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