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Novel Idea Reviews: Farewell Keystone is your debut novel. Can you tell us a little bit about this story?
Cory Clement: It's about Owen Reilly, a sort of lost soul trying to maintain sobriety and find a balance in life with some inner-peace. He can't find a job, is close to losing his apartment and in the midst of a disintegrating relationship. He always felt like if he could just get out of his hometown of Philadelphia, he could possibly get a better chance....and out of nowhere he ends up actually getting that opportunity from a stranger by the name of Sonya, whom is on her way to a small town in Ohio to perform at a Pro Wrestling event. The two embark on a road trip and as the miles pile up, the question marks get resolved more and more and Owen begins to find himself, not without some drama and bumps in the road of course.
Novel Idea Reviews: Give us some insight into your main character. What is it about him that makes him unique and perfect as your main protagonist?
Cory Clement: I think the thing that makes Owen perfect is the fact that he is anything but...he's full of flaws and uncertainty. He isn't sure of himself, lacks confidence and is worrying way too much. In other words - he's realistic. He's a true person and human. Maybe I'm bias on this one, but I feel like it's very easy to connect with him. At some point in life we were all the shy, fragile, mask wearing type. He doesn't shy from admitting that and confronting that. Everyone in their twenties has experienced in some way the things Owen is going through...you either have already, or will, or are in the very present. I like being able to dig into the character and step back and say "whoa, that's me...that's so me. That's my situation or my past. He gets it, I'm not alone."
Novel Idea Reviews: You chose to self-publish your debut novel. What were some of the disadvantages and advantages of choosing this method of publication?
Cory Clement: I wanted it a hundred percent my way. I didn't want anybody telling me to take out a certain scene or character, or tone down something, or focus more on another thing. I wanted to write my story as I felt and saw it, and put it out there with no other brains throwing in their two cents. So self-publishing works perfectly for that. I also can admit to being impatient with many things in life and I didn't want to sit around for years to find someone willing to give me the time of day in terms of a publisher. I didn't want to deal with paying off agents, I didn't want to have my vision shattered and altered. I just wanted to write Farewell Keystone and put it out, so I did. Simple as that. Paying out of your own pocket when not making a great amount of money in life obviously sucks and getting attention and promoting the book isn't the easiest of tasks....but I also enjoy knowing it's up to me. I can push myself more to try and get hundreds or thousands to check the book out and hear about it or I can settle for just ten to fifteen friends and family members patting me on the back telling me good job. It's all on me, and I like that.
Novel Idea Reviews: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing process. Is there something not many people know about you and/or any writing quirks you may have?
Cory Clement: The biggest thing I have to do in my writing zone is cast the characters, every single one of them, as if it were a movie. I write my stories with the idea and hope that they can some day be adapted into movies, so I always cast the characters - even the random people in the background or the waitress who doesn't say a word. It's just an absolute must for me, and it's also fun. Besides that, just lots of instrumental music....stuff like Stars of the Lid, Giorgio Moroder, Riz Ortolani, and Pino Donaggio.
Novel Idea Reviews: What inspired your novel, Farewell Keystone? Are your characters based off of real people or all unique to your imagination?
Cory Clement: Life itself inspired Farewell Keystone...my struggles with loneliness, depression, isolation, sobriety and relationships all merged into the daydream I've always had of wanting to get out of Philly (a daydream I currently am in the midst of making come true). From the daydreams of just getting up and leaving Philly one day, to the movie fanatic in me, and the many personal things I've gone through....it just all merged into something I find pretty magical. I always say that there is a little bit of me in all the characters I make, but obviously Owen is the top one. He was just a straight-up diary for me basically in a manner of speaking, and since I was feeling very down and unsure and beat up at the time, Sonya was sort of the encouraging voice, the steady shoulder to lean on type of person that I sort of made and used to in real life actually motivate me. Some characters are inspired from random happenings in life, some are just purely created. Like Tammy Watson - I got inspired to make her character have cerebral palsy and the forearm crutches off of a random woman I walked past one random rainy late afternoon. I was just finishing up work at a job, cranky and pissed off at the world about nothing too serious...basically just whining about having to work and being an ungrateful brat to myself thinking negative things and such, and I walked past a shoe store and these two ladies were leaving the store with a young five or six year old kid. The one had the forearm crutches and I could hear the sort of slurred speech from her, but that isn't what hit me...what hit me was how incredibly happy this woman was. The brightest, purest smile I ever saw in quite some time. It put me in my place and made me realize how I need to stop complaining so much and should just shut my mouth. I don't know why but that random woman just stuck with me for days and it just so happened to be days when I was writing.
Novel Idea Reviews: What genre would you say you enjoy writing the most? Are there any genres or topics you would like to attempt for your future works?
Cory Clement: I grew up being a huge horror movie nerd, and still proudly am to this day. The cheesy, low budget 80's slasher flicks and monster movies galore played such a pivotal role in me wanting to write and create....so I would love to someday write a screenplay for a solid throwback horror movie. Right now though, the next story I'm set to write is Clean Slates, which is more in the veins of Farewell Keystone, just a lot darker and almost in a reverse effect of everything. Instead of leaving the place you don't want to be in or feel trapped in, it will explore having to come back to that place. It will also explore a main character that has relapsed and isn't putting up as much of a fight as Owen does. It's going to be a lot darker and more visceral and brutal. Once I'm done with that, I see myself trying to do something horror related. But as I said, I want all my works adapted into films...that's the goal from the get go and the idea. I always write as if my stories are movies, not novels. I just find it easier and deeper to write in the form of a novel as opposed to screenplay.
Novel Idea Reviews: As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing and publishing process? Least favorite parts or lessons learned?
Cory Clement: I honestly don't have a least favorite part yet, besides maybe wishing I had more money to promote and market and goof off with. The favorite part...was and is everything up until this very interview now. To have daydreamed and fantasized about writing, being a writer, actually finishing something and getting it out there for SUCH a long time, and to finally have done it...it's awesome. Simply awesome no matter what's to come in terms of financial gain or loss, negative or positive reviews...it can't take away the feeling of knowing you did what you wanted to do all your life.
Novel Idea Reviews: Is there something about Farewell Keystone that you would like your readers to take away from it? A message, moral, etc.?
Cory Clement: In a prior interview, I answered this question by stating that I feel it's up to the reader really to take away what they want or do. Every pair of eyes has a different outlook and opinion, so every reader will possibly extract different meanings and analysis on the story, and I'm fine with that. If you pay to read a book you deserve that right. If you are striving to try and write yourself and do what you've always wanted to, I guess I would say I hope you see the four or five typo's and mistakes in the book. Look at the them, and know that I am okay with them, because I went after my goal and did it. You should do the same. Don't worry about a few mistakes, don't worry about what others think, don't worry about anything other than doing what you wish to do.
Novel Idea Reviews: Can you tell us about the cover art for your novel? How important do you think the cover art and overall appearance of the novel are to the novel’s storyline and the purchasing decisions of a potential buyer?
Cory Clement: Jenny Laatsch did the artwork for the book, front and back...and I could not be happier. She was insanely easy to work with, fast and responsive and totally 'got' what I was thinking of right off the bat, which is a huge compliment to her as I have a weird and odd way of seeing things and explaining things. She was also ridiculously affordable....and I urge anybody looking to get their artwork done to go to her. She rules. The exact vision I had in my head for the movie poster (remember, I see my novels as movies), I sent to her and within no time she made it a reality.
Novel Idea Reviews: What are you working on now? Where can your readers connect with you and stay up to date on your upcoming projects?
Cory Clement: As mentioned earlier, I'm in the rough stages of beginning Clean Slates, while also still trying to push and promote Farewell Keystone, on top of the whole 9 to 5 workload, while saving up to move (and make my own little Farewell Keystone happen)!