Interview with Corey Lynn Fayman, Author of Ballast Point Breakdown
14 Jul 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, Ballast Point Breakdown?
This is the fourth novel in the Rolly Waters mystery series, but the first I’ve published with Konstellation Press. Like all of the books in the series, it features the guitar-playing private eye Rolly Waters and an unusual cases he gets hired to investigate. In BPB a friend’s suicide leads Rolly the suspicious connections between a punk band, dolphin scientists, Navy SEALS, animal-rights protestors, and a harmonica-playing drifter. You don’t need to have read the previous books in the series to jump right into this one. If you’re interested in a new take on the old-fashioned gumshoe, like vivid characters and twisty, layered stories, then this book’s for you.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
From the time I was a little kid I’ve always been a big reader. I was always writing things–stories, poetry, lyrics. Then I got serious and went and got a B.A. in Creative Writing/Poetry from UCLA. But I also had a strong interest in music, so I spent my first fifteen years after college playing and performing music, as well as writing songs. It was after I stopped performing and began working for a music-related internet company called MP3.com that I first started thinking about writing a novel. The idea of a guitar-playing detective came to me and I started spending my lunch hours jotting down notes about the character and what might happen to him. It was a great stress reliever for a very stressful job and I ended up with a lot of good notes! After I left the company, I made time to work more seriously on my writing and finished the first Rolly Waters novel, Black’s Beach Shuffle. I reclaimed my creative side and I’ve never looked back.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Gringos by Charles Portis, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, The Given Day by Dennis Lehane, The Galton Case by Ross MacDonald and The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler. I think there’s a bit of influence from all of those writers in my books.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask
Well I was an English major, so if it can be anyone in history, I’m going with Shakespeare. And my first question would be “Did you know how brilliant this was or were you just making sure it rhymed?” If my guest has to be someone living, I’d go with Bob Dylan. Same question.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
One thing I’ve discovered is that creative work is essential to my own sense of self. It’s energizing and important to me as a daily practice. After quitting the music business, I needed something else to fill the void and it turned out to be writing. Any day I put together a few good pages is a great day. Even on the days I only manage to write a couple of lousy pages it makes me feel pretty good. I don’t want to get too mystical about it, but when creativity takes over, it feels like you’re tapping into something bigger than yourself. It’s a problem-solving process, too. You’re fixing problems every day (well most days) and that gives me a sense of satisfaction. The world might be blowing up all around you, but at least you managed to get that little bit of a story down on the page.
What is a typical day like for you?
Pretty quiet, especially these days. I write in the mornings, and try to get to a thousand words before noon. Some days I manage a bit more, some a bit less. I eat lunch, then go for a walk with my wife. We live near the bay in San Diego, which actually inspired some of the ideas and events in Ballast Point Breakdown. After lunch I take care of business matters for an hour or two. Late afternoons and evenings are open for music practice, reading and social get-togethers. There’s a great deal more music practice and less socializing these days because of Covid, of course. The good part is I’m reclaiming some of my old music chops, and learning a few new ones.
What scene from Ballast Point Breakdown was your favorite to write?
I’m not sure I have a favorite scene, but this is the first book in which I’ve brought Rolly’s father into the action. His parents have been divorced for some time and Rolly’s mother has been a key supporting character in the first three books. She’s still there, of course, but it was fun to describe a different relationship between Rolly and his father. I had a lot of fun creating their conversations and the dynamic between them.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
Your first draft always sucks. Write another one and make it better. Apply that to your writing and everything else in your life.
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