I wasn’t able to run while on the RV road trip between the driving and the killer tooth ache. I finally got in a nice long run in the park on Sunday and it was glorious. It feels so amazing that there are points in the run when time stops and I am absolutely convinced I could run forever. I don’t know that I’d call it euphoria, more like a vast, all encompassing contentment. Not being religious I think this serves as a mechanism for centering myself. There are times this feeling goes so deep I would need a few seconds to remember my name if asked. I’ve been tempted more than once to imbue a character with this and try to describe it in more detail, but honestly, I don’t know if I will. It’s like trying to define being in love. You are, or you aren’t. When I’m running, I just am. But then there are times when I am writing and that same endless plain spreads out before me and I, well, I just am. Maybe the two activities aren’t as different as I thought.
I write, I am.
I run, I am.
I cook…ah, who am I kidding, I cook, I burn my oven mitts. Some things I am not.
Manga Maniac Cafe were kind enough to host a giveaway contest for the series and to conduct an interview with me. You can read the entire interview HERE, but I’ve included some of the highlights below:
[Manga Maniac Café] What have you learned about yourself through your characters?
[Chris Evans] That I should seek professional help as soon as possible! It’s a bit surprising at times to see how dark or how brave (or cowardly) one of my characters can be. There’s a temptation to want to read something about yourself in that, but when you write fiction you really are going beyond your own experience. I’ve never charged the enemy with my sword drawn, but I grew up playing hockey in Canada so I suppose I have some experience with battle at close quarters. I suppose the most interesting thing I learned is that there’s more to me than I realized. I think all of us slowly take on a few roles in our lives – profession, spouse, parent etc. – and start to forget how limitless our imaginations used to be as kids. Writing for me connects me with that childish wonder.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Chris Evans] I need to be wide awake and focused. I can’t write worth a darn when I’m drowsy or pre-occupied. I need silence, or at least random background noise. I’ve tried many times, but I can’t write with music playing, even songs without singing. I need a pen and pad, or better yet, a leather journal. Even if I am typing on my laptop, I still need to be able to jot down notes. I love the feel of a pen in my hand and the sound it makes moving across the paper.
You know those days that feel off kilter and out of focus and just won’t sync up? If this was Star Trek I’d pin it on a temporal anomaly, but as it’s not that it still seems like a plausible explanation. Despite having all the papers and ID I need to get my NY driver’s license it turned out I didn’t, or something like that so I need to go back next week. Very confusing. I stopped off at a bookstore and was looking at the new Jane Fonda bio and I now have a huge crush on Jane Fonda…from the 1960s, although I’m conflicted about her visiting Vietnam during the war. To top it all off, I’m listening to Skrillex right now which suits my mood to a tee.
Road trips rock. They’re fun, unpredictable, chaotic and bone-jarring all at the same time. You feel exhilarated one minute and exhausted the next. If they make a movie of this one day it will have to be a comedy because I had a ton of fun, although I doubt we’ll pitch it to Disney. Popping Vicodin while cruising down the road in an RV doesn’t sound like their kind of movie.
Any road trip is going to have its highs and lows. Here are some of mine:
Meeting fans from all over the globe, well, certainly from as far away as Ajax, ON to Elizabethtown, KY. It turned out that included some of the booksellers as well which was an extra bonus.
Only getting to spend a few minutes talking with people before having to saddle up and move on to the next town.
I’m still vibrating from spending a solid 12 days in a succession of planes, cars, RVs and trains.
I can make my own shakes without a blender.
Spending time with my parents.
Spending time with my parents. OK, I’m kidding. They really are spectacular. It was my father who said we should double back and check out the museums which turned out to be a brilliant move because I discovered a fascinating military museum, and it was my mother who insisted I go see a dentist about my tooth. Vicodin…really cute dental assistant…need I say more.
Toothache that had me wishing for a pair of pliers so I could yank the burning piece of hell from my mouth.
Meeting Dr. Corey and his staff Ava, Cindy, and Amy at their Ft. Wayne, IN clinic and being prescribed the lifesaving medications of antibiotics and painkillers. I don’t know how those folks who don’t believe in science do it.
The rough tally for the trip works out like this:
3 books in the trilogy
4 doors in the truck we drove in pulling the trailer. It offered everyone a clear view and control over a window as well as an egress. Very important on road trips.
5 plus another 30 equals the number of bookstores visited
6 x 50 equals the number of books signed
7 is the number of times my mother asked me to explain again what the difference between a tweet and a blog was
8 is what we did at restaurants and locales as diverse as my brother’s house in Belleville, ON to a blurred mix of fast food restaurants along the 401, I 69, I 24, I 65, and I 16 which included such discoveries as side salads at McDonald’s and fried apple pieces which turned out to really be baked at Cracker Barrel.
9 equals the scale from 1 to 10 for the pain in my tooth before seeing Dr. Corey
10 x 250 equals the approximate distance covered in miles, x 150 equals the same distance in miles
11 is just the start of the number of people at S&S in the US and Canada who helped along the way
12 is the number of the lane we picked when crossing the border which turned out to be fast and friendly
13 x 20 equals the number of photographs I took at the Kruse Victory military museum
14 is the number of pretty women I fell in love with along the way
15 on a scale of 1 to 10 every time I paused to consider how very odd it was that we were camped out in a Walmart parking lot, and that we weren’t the only ones
16 times I was amazed at how my father was able to maneuver that monster RV in and around parking lots designed for cars. 16 is also the number of times my mother cautioned my father on maneuvering that monster RV in and around parking lots designed for cars.
1,000 fan mark crossed on FaceBook while out on the road!
1,000,000 is the number of thank yous I’d like to extend to all the amazing people we met along the way. From booksellers to truck drivers, waitresses to fellow RV-ers, from fans to dentists, from the information ladies in the rest area huts all along the highways to the airplane pilots and train engineers, and most of all, to my parents, for having sex. I may not like to think about it, but if you hadn’t gotten busy one night, I wouldn’t be here.
The Iron Elves are off the road and sitting comfortably in a bar. As one, they raise a glass to you, their readers.
Sailed through Atlanta like it wasn’t even there. Beautiful looking city. No traffic at 8 in the morning on a Saturday. Heading for Savannah where I’ll be boarding the train back to NYC. Might get a chance to stop at a bookstore in Macon if we make good time.
Our little backwoods campsite turned out to be right beside a busy freight line. Those trains sounded like they were going to come right through the trailer! Luckily they stopped blowing their horns after 11pm so it was a restful night.
While I am looking forward to going back home, I wouldn’t mind if this roadtrip lasted a few more days. I’ve met so many amazing people including many fantasy readers. Turns out there are a lot of us out there.
Resting comfortably in a rather dark and spooky campground in a pine forest in Georgia. Traveled from Shepardsville, KY and made it a little north of Marietta, GA. The tooth seems to be responding to the antibiotics and the Vicodin is taking care of most of the pain. As far as I can tell the purple unicorn that’s been galloping beside the RV is just heading south like the rest of the herd.
Tomorrow morning we’ll be heading for Savannah which is where the Fellowship of the RV Tour breaks up. My folks will continue on to their winter nesting grounds in Florida while I will take the not exactly midnight train from Georgia back to NYC. It’s been a terrific trip. I got a chance to retrace a lot of familiar ground in southern Ontario and visit new places in the states. And of course, I’ve been able to spend time with my parents. I’ve learned a lot. For example, I know have a pretty good idea of the various medications I’ll be taking when I get older.
The photo is from a rest stop in Tennessee. I saw the blue star and read that it was dedicated to the Armed Forces and I thought of the blue star and the Iron Elves in The Light of Burning Shadows so it seemed like a little more serendipity at work.
Had a great visit at this store (see photo of me leaning all cool like against the truck). Bianca, the store manager, is also a sci fi fantasy person. She’s even met Isaac Asimov. Very cool to talk to. Highly recommend this store if you ever find yourself in Tennessee.
I think had just taken a Vicodin before I took this photo
I remember seeing dinosaurs earlier, but I think that was a park.