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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Trevor J. Houser shares the inspiration behind his new novel, The Prumont Method.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Trevor J. Houser about his life and career, what inspired his new book, The Prumont Method, and his creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m work in advertising and live with my family in Seattle. My debut novel, Pacific came out in 2021. My second novel, The Prumont Method comes out August 15th.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I wanted to write a book since I was a kid, but first I had to build up my stamina with comics and short stories.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I wrote comics when I was in elementary school. Then in middle school and high school I branched out into short stories and newspaper writing.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
In 2017 I wrote short story that was only five or six pages. But it sparked something in me and I decided to take it further. That turned out to be my first novel, Pacific, which was published a little over three years later.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
I had the basic idea sometime in 2018, but didn’t sit down to write the novel until 2020. It took me six months to write. So it will be around four years from first idea to release.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Prumont Method?
Gun violence is seemingly everywhere nowadays so I began imagining other ways we might prevent them outside of politics, which led me to mathematics. I also wanted to approach the subject matter from a different vantage point so that maybe readers would think differently about it, too.
What were your biggest challenges with writing The Prumont Method?
There were two main challenges. How to write intelligently about the Method while not getting too deep in the mathematical weeds. The other challenge was the bleak subject matter, which made me think of war novels. My favorite war novelists approached war with soberness, but also irreverence. If Heller or Vonnegut wrote about mass shootings I think there would still be all that ugliness and sadness, but there would also be absurdity, even humor.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
Far too many news headlines.
What is the inciting incident of The Prumont Method?
When Roger’s wife cheats on him he locks himself in the study for days, which eventually leads to his creation of the Method.
What is the main conflict of The Prumont Method?
Roger Prumont vs. his legacy and the next mass shooter.
Did you plot The Prumont Method in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I had a general idea of where the book was going, but since Roger Prumont was pretty fly by the seat of his pants it seemed fitting to write it that way too.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Prumont Method need?
I did get some editing support, but nothing substantial on the narrative side. Mostly needed some eyeballs to check my math.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Other than setting some goals and expectations I would say let your initial idea brew for a while. Play with it. Poke holes in it. Write some notes about it here and there. But tell yourself you aren’t really writing a novel yet. That way there isn’t any pressure. After a few months you’ll have a substantial foundation with which to “officially” start your book.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Just before death some terminal patients suddenly regain consciousness or mental clarity. It’s called paradoxical lucidity. Usually it only lasts a few minutes or hours, but in the book I’m currently working on a woman escapes her death bed and experiences this lucidity for weeks, which sets her son off in quixotic pursuit.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I got my first book published at 47 and my goal was to publish a second novel before 50. Definitely worth it.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
The Prumont Method:
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