Travis Erwin - The Meat Man Cometh
My friend Travis Erwin recently published an e-book of three stories titled WHISPERS. It's available for both the Kindle and Nook. I've known Travis for a while via my blog and a few others, and he wrote one of my favorite short stories, "Plundered Booty" in my short story anthology, DEADLY BY THE DOZEN. Travis stopped by to chat about WHISPERS and a few other things.
Mark: Tell me about Whispers.
Travis: Whispers is collection of three stories. Two of pure fiction and one as absolutely true at least according to my memory and view. The stories are vastly different in setting and point of view, yet they share a common spirit of hope, fear, and love.
Mark: You wrote a mystery/crime story for my anthology, Deadly By The Dozen, but your writing leans more toward mainstream, doesn't it? Or does it? How would you describe a Travis Erwin story?
Travis: I hope it could be described as rich in character. Outside of that I'm not sure I can label my writing as a whole. Which has been a problem for me in trying to place the stories I write. It's been better than a decade since I started writing seriously, by seriously I mean with publication being the goal, and in the the beginning I had no idea what I was writing or who the intended audience was. I suppose I was writing the kind of story I liked to read, but the problem is my taste like my style is very eclectic. With one exception. I care about characters more than I do plot. Unfortunately many of those early stories had absolutely no plot and very few writers can get away with have their characters wander aimlessly about. Fictionwise, I have written genre romance, mainstream with a heavy Women's fiction bent, and a few projects that might be considered literary. That is if literary can carry a decidedly Texas drawl to it's tone.
Mark: I know you do some other types of writing, nonfiction. Tell me a bit about that.
Travis: I wrote a coming-of-age memoir about my misspent youth working for what I believe was and is the world's most morally bankrupt man. My boss owned a dusty Texas feedstore and while the experiences were not always, or perhaps ever, healthy I can't imagine my life without them. And despite my description of my former boss I still consider him a good friend to this day. Currently I'm working on a humorous food book titled Lettuce Is the Devil: The Culinary Dogma of a Devout Meat Man. It's 40% humor essay, 40% memoir, and 20% cookbook. I also write for a football magazine here in Texas that specializes in looking at the many High school teams here in the Lone Star State. Yes, Friday Night Lights is a very real thing here.
Mark: Whispers is an interesting mix. Why'd you want to try an e-book?
Travis: I have you to thank for planting the seed in my brain. I enjoyed being part of Deadly By the Dozen and heard lots of postive feedback from people that read my story Plundered Booty, but it was an innocent throwaway comment by a coworker that really made me put Whispers together. I've been fortunate to find more success with my writing lately which is definitely a good thing. Most of what I've written the past two years has been humorous maybe even bordering on absurd, but once upon a time I wrote stories dealing with darker or at least heavier emotions. So my buddy, knowing this, says to me "You should have ditched all that emotional women's fiction stuff a long time ago and started writing things that make people laugh." That comment stuck with me for days as I pondered my writing history. I debated within my mind the possibility that I had wasted thousands of hours and lots of years writing stories that dealt with fears, love and hope. But I couldn't conjure up a single ounce of regret. Is till believe in many of those stories including the three in Whispers and I know writing all of them made me the writer I am today. I guess on some level Whispers is my attempt to prove that point.
Mark: When not writing, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Travis: When not writing I'm usually doing honey-do for my wife or trying to entertain or ramrod my two boys. We spend a lot fo time mucking about in the great outdoors hunting fishing and geocaching. I enjoy cooking, meat only of course, and reading -- which in my mind is a prerequisite of being a good writer.
Mark: How are you doing in gaining 10,000 twitter followers for Lettuce Is The Devil?
Travis: 9600 more and I'll be right where my agent wants me to be. I have a lot of fun with that account, but frankly I about shit myself when instructed to get my follower count up to 10k by the end of summer. The fact this project has landed me a literary agent after a decade of querying is somewhat surreal. I only started my Lettuce is the Devil campaign a few months ago and I have developed a pretty involved following of several hundred on Facebook and about 400 on twitter since then, but I suppose my agent is right, publishers wanna see real interest in a project and apparently 10K is the magic number, so help a meat man out and sign up ... http://twitter.com/#!/lettuceisdevil