Author Christian Towers began writing at the age of nine. That was also the age he began creating short comic books incorporating superheroes and other types of action heroes of his creation. ‘This eventually flourished into a love for films and filmmaking. Also, at about the same time, I decided to pursue a career in filmmaking after growing up. Despite opposition from the family, the dream persisted several years. However, as the years passed, and when I entered high school, I felt what mattered to me was not so much making films but being a storyteller in general. That is when being a film director became less important to me, and the author life grew more appealing,’ the Florida-based author, who hails from Puerto Rico, begins, speaking to the Literary Express in an exclusive interaction.
The twenty-six-year-old, whose mother tongue happens to be Spanish, lets us know that when he’d graduated from high school, his family strongly suggested that he pursue a ‘real career’. ‘So, I went on to study to become a pharmacy technician. Writing would take a back seat in my life for the following six years. Inevitably, I came to find that pharmacy was not my calling, and so I made the decision to leave it and pursue my career in art and writing,’ he shares with us.
Talking about his debut novel that was published while he was working in the pharmacy sector, the author says his working in pharmaceuticals was, in fact, the reason he came up with the book. ‘Though the pharmaceutical profession in itself has its rewarding moments, they, unfortunately, do not outweigh the greed and corruption that one inevitably encounters in the industry. It was after witnessing this corporate greed that I got the inspiration and idea to write Case File: Maple Ridge,’ the author says.
He elaborates, ‘This book tells the story of a Portland, Oregon police detective, Brian Walker, who is assigned to assist the small town of Maple Ridge with a case regarding murders that have taken place in a forest where a park is set to open. With the mayor of the town refusing to postpone, given the amount of money which has gone into the project, Walker must work alongside the town’s Sheriff, Matthew Larimore, to close the case before the park opens the following week. However, things take a turn when the evidence begins to confirm a local urban legend of a beast living in the forest. And what’s worse is that nobody wants to believe the beast exists.’
Mr Towers, who begins his day listening to Beethoven, goes on to state that his second book entitled ‘Encounters in Moca’ is based on true events. ‘In late February of 1975, a farmer in the town of Moca, Puerto Rico, awakes to find his animals dead and completely drained of their blood. For the months that followed, people across the island would report sightings of strange aerial phenomena and encounters with a creature that would become a legend. Though the matter was investigated by both the Puerto Rican and the US governments, the events that followed remain unexplained to this day,’ he tells us. He goes on to add that the work explores the events that were reported by the actual citizens of Moca in Puerto Rico while also exploring the fact that despite everything man has come to know throughout his existence, he knows little to nothing about the universe. ‘And we need to learn to be okay with that, using it as an encouragement to learn as much as we can,’ he avers.
ENGAGE WITH EXPRESS | Fancy reading Christian Towers? Well, you can buy yourself the books Case File: Maple Ridge and Encounters in Moca by clicking on the books’ cover images underneath.
A Pantsing Plotter
On being asked if he tends to have the plot in mind before beginning to work on a novel, Mr Towers tells us that before putting pen to paper, he normally tries to have a concrete idea of the plot, characters, and overall message. ‘Nevertheless, as it probably happens to many writers, my characters eventually take life on their own, and in their way, they guide me to tell the story,’ he says.
A fan of HG Wells and George Orwell, Mr Towers likes to read John Steinbeck and Earnest Hemmingway as well. ‘Wells and Orwell I enjoy because of their admirable knack for taking reality, as it was known in their time and bringing it together with fiction. They did this in such a way that they even predicted many things to come decades after their passing,’ he explains, adding, ‘Steinbeck and Hemmingway have a very honest way of writing. They say what they mean, and mean what they say. Steinbeck, however, I particularly admire for his descriptions of settings and people.
And was becoming an author a conscious decision he made? ‘Yes,’ pronounces Mr Towers, who tends to write at night when it is quiet. He says that becoming an author was a well-thought-out decision in the realization that he wanted to devote his life to telling and sharing stories. Be that as it may, how does he find time to juggle writing and other tasks? Explains the author matter-of-factly, ‘When juggling my craft of writing and the responsibility of mundane affairs, I find myself having to save writing for the end of every day. It is what I have to look forward to when I come home from work or any other place. I do, however, write early in the mornings, especially if I need to make up for the lost time behind the keyboard. And when I am not writing, I indulge in my other two passions in life: playing the piano and drawing.’
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Kindling the Creative Spark
When asked if he is working on a book at the moment, the author answers in the affirmative. He says that in his work in progress, he is exploring the nature of the human mind with a specialised focus on how the mind can be manipulated and controlled with one’s knowledge. ‘Topics like this one have always fascinated me, and I plan to devote my storytelling career to discussing topics that inspire and encourage my readers to think for themselves and not be afraid to dwell into that which cannot be explained by conventional knowledge. This is something I can see taking the remainder of my lifetime, and I am quite content with that,’ he shares with a smile.
Mr Towers also has a piece of advice for budding authors who are struggling with sales. ‘I would tell them to remember that sales are not a reflection of how good a writer you are. We ought not to write keeping sales in mind,’ he says, adding, ‘We write to share stories with people, to enrich their lives with the written word. Therefore, it should not be about how many books we sell, it should be about our book being available for those who will benefit from them.’
Before bidding us adieu, the author stresses that while his works reflect his passion, he would want to change one thing that sure exists: ego. ‘If I could, I would lower the ego of man to its rightful place. It is man’s overactive ego and his belief that he is above all else. And this has led to some of the most atrocious endeavours ever undertaken, namely slavery and other forms of human trafficking, fraudulent economic systems, destruction of natural ecosystems, and the like,’ he tells us as he signs off with a smile.
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