BIO: Christopher Cloud began writing children’s fiction after a long career in journalism and public relations. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism, and worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist for newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. His work has appeared in many national publications, including Time Magazine. He was employed by Sun Oil Company as a Public Relations executive and later operated his own PR agency. He wrote A Boy Called Duct Tape in 2011.
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Christopher. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
A: Two of my adult novels have been published under the name Ron Hutchison. I wrote the middle-grade novel A Boy Called Duct Tape under the pen name Christopher Cloud. It is my first novel under that pen name.
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
A: My satirical novel Santa Fe Crazy was published in both hardcover and e-book.
Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
A: As all writers know, most novels are rejected again and again and again before finding a home. Santa Fe Crazy was no exception.
Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
A: To be honest, rejections have never bothered me that much. It goes with the territory. There is a story that Truman Capote was the only major writer of the 20th century who never received a rejection letter. I don’t know if that’s true, but it makes for an interesting story, and reflects the struggles most writers face.
Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
A: Sunstone Press, a regional press in Santa Fe, published my satirical novel Santa Fe Crazy. Sunstone liked the story because of it sassy politically incorrectness. That could not be said for other publishers, many of whom believed the story too racy.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
A: I attended many book signings throughout New Mexico. Upon returning to Albuquerque, where I was living at the time, I celebrated each signing with my friends at Silva’s Saloon in Bernallilo.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
A: The book received good reviews, with the exception of Publisher’s Weekly. The reviewer said it reminded him/her (the reviewer was anonymous) too much of a film called The Crying Game. I took delight in pointing out to the reviewer that Santa Fe Crazy and The Crying Game were about as far apart as two stories could possibly be. Every other review was positive.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
A: Last year my dystopian novel Latitude 38 was published by Stay Thirsty Media. Having said that, I feel more comfortable writing middle-grade and young adult stories. I plan to stay with that genre.
Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
A: I should have exercised more self discipline. Because I had experienced successful newspaper and public relations careers, I believed early on that I would also succeed at writing fiction. I was in for a big surprise. Fiction is incredibly competitive.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
A: It took some time to find the genre with which I was most comfortable. Finding the genre has been a big step forward.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: Film director.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A: I’m happy with the way things turned out.
Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?
A: I hope to write at least one middle-grade or YA novel each year for the next decade.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A: Find a genre with which you are comfortable. Create some interesting characters, write smart narrative, keep the tension high throughout your story, and give it hell. A good story will always find a home.
About A Boy Called Duct Tape
Pablo Perez is a 12-year-old poor kid without much going for him. His classmates have dubbed him “Duct Tape” because his tattered discount-store sneakers are held together with…you guessed it, duct tape. He can’t escape the bullying.
Pablo’s luck, however, changes after he finds a $20 gold coin while swimming in a river near his home. Pablo later buys a $1 treasure map at the county fair. The map shows the route to the “lost treasure” of Jesse James. Pablo can’t help but wonder: Is there a link between the map and the gold coin? He is determined to find out, and he, his 9-year-old sister and 13-year-old cousin hire an ill-natured cave guide, and begin a treacherous underground adventure in search of treasure.