We have the pleasure of meeting William Denslie, a character from Lipstick Trace.
We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Chad McClendon, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...William!
Marie Lavender: Hello, William. Please have a seat.
Character William Denslie: Hey Marie! Thanks for interviewing me. It’s nice to get to talk to new people. I love talking to people.
Marie: Great! We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay?
William: All right.
Marie: So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
I’m a student right now, in high school and I am pretty solid. I get B’s, some A’s now and then. School is all right. I got nothing better going for me right now, and it’s a good way to learn new things!
Marie: I see.
So, tell us...what is your family like?
Well, to start with I guess my Dad’s alright. He was what we like to call a ‘hippie’ nowadays. I guess my Mom is too. They fought against a bunch of causes when they were my age; they were doing all of these cool protests and demonstrations. It’s cool to know that they were fearless, and I want to be like that.
Oh, I still live at my childhood home. We have bean bags, swag carpet, incense, old record players spread throughout the house. Music has always been important to us, and comfort. We have a big backyard; my old treehouse is still standing, I like to chill there sometimes still.
Marie: All right.
I really like to listen to music, and work on crafts. I make Cosplay, or costume play if you’re not familiar with that. I go to Renaissance Fairs and role-play.
Marie: Oh, I adore Renaissance Fairs! Stepping into a different time period is a lot of fun!
So, what is your greatest dream, William?
To change the world through art is what I look
towards as my goal. I want to make sure that long after I’m worm-chow, that
someone says “Man, that William Denslie. What a card!”
Marie: (Laughs.) I have no doubt you're going places! :)
Let's try a different question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
William: I dunno, I wanna be like my parents, I guess. Like I said, they’re fearless, and in many ways I look to them like they’re my heroes. Course, Boy George is pretty freakin’ awesome too. Can I say freakin’ here? Sorry if not.
Marie: (Smiles.) Your secret is safe with me...
Let's move to something else.
Who was your first love?
William: Amy Jo Johnson. She was the pink power ranger at the start of it all, and she’s still the cat’s pajamas to me.
So, tell us. What's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, William?
William: My goldfish died, and in the same week, my cassette tape of my favorite band got screwed up. I know it sounds lame, but those things meant a lot to me.
Marie: Oh, so sorry! It's hard to lose a pet...or your favorite music.
Let's try another question, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved that dream, why not?
William: I’m still growing up. I am nowhere near ready to be an adult yet. But my biggest dream is to be on stage with a modest crowd singing along to my words.
Marie: Wow, that is a great dream! :)
So, who is your role model, William?
William: David Bowie. He has inspired me so much to be okay with not being like anyone else. I get weird looks from people sometimes. They think I don’t notice, but it doesn’t bother me anymore.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
William: I don’t like to fake things. What I do like is to work past what I dislike and get to know the real person. Because every one of us is something special, and worthwhile.
Marie: That's a really admirable way of looking at it. :)
So, what is your deepest desire, William?
William: I want to fall in love, get famous, have kids, finish every episode of The Brady Bunch and retire early.
Marie: (Laughs.) All right. What is your greatest fear?
William: Cooking a baked potato and it’s insides be all black and disgusting. I hate hate hate bad potatoes. Mostly because they’re one of my favorite foods and to be all set to go and discover that the potato you’ve waited five to seven minutes for is bad, is just disappointing.
Marie: (Smiles.) Yes, very disappointing.
Well, it looks like we're running out of time, William. Thank you for visiting us today.
It was so interesting getting to know you. (Waves at her guest as he heads off the stage.) Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective. We have Chad McClendon on the stage today!
Author Chad McClendon: Hello! It's so nice to be here!
Marie: (Smiles.) Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age!
So, we just got to talk to a male character from your story...William Denslie. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
William is actually one of the two main characters in my story, Lipstick Trace. He is a boy of sixteen who is more confused than others in his age group. He’s intensely loyal but hasn’t yet lost his innocence, and as a result, he can’t see things that might be dangerous for him. William is a balancing force in the story, and keeps everything moving forward.
Marie: All right.
Let's try a different question.
What are your character's greatest strengths?
William is the embodiment of that childhood goodness that we have all lost as we got older. He is able to make friends easily, but his good friends are harder to come by. He is somewhat socially awkward and as a result people sometimes avoid him as that weird kid in class. He’s not well off, but he’s not dirt poor either.
So, what are his greatest weaknesses?
Chad: He is so very trusting, William, and the world is a dark place sometimes. William has to learn that things cannot always go his way, and that there are consequences for his actions.
Marie: Well, that is a lesson we all must learn eventually.
So, what are some of his favorite foods?
I’m pretty sure he already told you about baked potatoes. He’s also fond of hot dogs, soups, salads, and the occasional smoothie.
Marie: All right.
What's a positive quality that your character is unaware he or she has?
Chad: Unfailing kindness is something that William always demonstrates; he to my knowledge has never intentionally hurt another person, or creature for that matter. He would catch a spider in a jar rather than smashing it with a sandal.
Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Chad: Readers will fall in love with William, and they will do so because he will grow on them. Look past his oddities, and see the special person in him.
Well, now that we have a real taste of William Denslie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for Lipstick Trace?
Lipstick Trace started in a coffee shop in Park Hills, Kentucky known as Reality Tuesday. Yes, shameless plug. It is a very keen little place that eventually was the reference point for “The Keen Bean” in Lipstick Trace, the location where William takes on his first job.
Marie: All right.
So, what is your writing style like, Chad? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Lipstick Trace has always been me recording the story. I didn’t have to think about how it would work, all I had to do was keep up with William & Quincy’s lives. With one other story, I have done it as a plotter. I didn’t like it, though it was the one story that was finished in record time.
Marie: Well, I think every project takes a different approach.
So...I'm throwing this one in for our aspiring writers.
Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Lipstick Trace, or getting it published? What would you do differently next time?
Oh, Marie, there are so many things I would do differently. Lipstick Trace actually took me ten years from final revision to publication. I have a stack of rejection letters an inch thick that nearly tore me apart. They were the hardest things to read. They would all say the same: “Thank you, but no thank you. We’re not going to tell you why it was rejected.” Eventually, I got feedback from editors on why they didn’t want Lipstick Trace. And that is when I wished that I would have saved all of my rejection letters. I like looking at them now, and saying, “I beat you.”
To the new writer, save your rejection letters. You will want that satisfaction one day.
Marie: Very true!
It was such a pleasure having you on Writing in the Modern Age, Chad. We hope you can come back sometime soon!
Chad: Thank you for having me here.
Marie: Of course! :)
Readers, here is a blurb for Lipstick Trace.
Two unlikely young boys become best friends and fall in love with the same things; women, glam rock, and in some ways each other. Follow Quincy Abrams & William Denslie as they form a band in a world that is in a boy band decline of the early 2000’s. Together they overcome questions on sexuality, friendship, and the limitations of true love.
Here is an excerpt from the book.
Quincy Abrams had been in his “new” high school for exactly seventeen minutes before he had earned his first detention. It hadn’t been his intention to cause such a ruckus, not as the transfer student, not as the boy who’d only been here two weeks. Quincy just happened to catch a dangling strap of the football player’s gym bag, which caused it to fall off the window sill. He also might have just coughed in a way that sounded like he had said something like, “piss brain” as the football player passed.
Quincy had issues. He had no delusions over this incontrovertible fact. So after watching the football player juggling footballs, and attracting whistles from the cheerleaders, Quincy reacted badly.
He had talent, but he never really expressed it, mostly because nobody was there to compliment him. So, anyone who could express themselves he considered to be a show-off. He reflected on this complexity as the football player introduced Quincy to his fist.
It was a quick brawl, and Quincy’s first in this school. The Anatomy teacher who heard the scuffle interrupted it before it could get too anatomically intimate. He was given a slip that was to be returned with his parent’s signature. This slip soon found a new home in the boy’s bathroom and was promptly forgotten. Not like his parents would sign it anyway.
Entering his homeroom for junior year, he heard his teacher, Mrs. Flegler, lecturing someone at the other end of the room. Quincy rolled his backpack from his shoulder and flung it towards the general direction of his desk. The brown haired boy who sat behind him stared at him inquisitively. Quincy didn’t make eye contact, but instead slumped into his desk and pulled out his prized binder. He caressed it softly and opened to a fresh page.
He heard the chirping of teenage gossip from behind him, and turning his head slightly, he noticed the blonde haired girl on whom he was currently crushing. Alice Mendell was her name, and he committed her name to memory the first time he had heard roll called.
Quincy often admired her from around corners. Alice wore a light blue spaghetti strap top and a form fitting black pair of jeans. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a simple pony tail.
Around her were her best friends, Valerie Fallon & Jenna Tillman. Valerie’s hair was red and slightly obstructed her heart-shaped face. Jenna sat in a desk that seemed far too small for her; Quincy was reminded of a giraffe.
He suffered through the morning announcements and focused on his writing; it was his morning exercise to remain sane. From the cobwebbed sleepy corner of his eye he saw a wrinkled hand grab his paper. His throat constricted as he fought back the urge to curse.
“Well, let’s see what type of Magnum Opus Mr. Abrams has for us today.”
Mrs. Flegler cleared her throat and read aloud. “Not today. I don’t want it to be today. If I could just stop you, why do I let you guilt me into this stockade? I believe it is, and will always be, the end of my day. Knowing you. Wanting to teach you too. Just let me do it.
Oh, but not today. It’s not going to be today. It’s always going to be tomorrow. That’ll be my day, tomorrow. Tomorrow it will rain for me, the day after I’ll be the bitter regret rotting between your teeth. I can always hope for that, can’t I?
To be the better end to the story, that’s what I hope for. But not today. Today I’m just the reassurance of your own superiority. It’ll be sunny today, I hope it rains soon. But remember, not today; today I savor ridicule.” She finished. “What contrived self-pitying melodrama is this, Abrams? Certainly this isn’t your homework!” She crumbled the paper and threw it into her wastebasket. Several students laughed, Alice among them.
Quincy held his hot face and made a mental note to steal his entry from the garbage on his way out. He listened as she began talking about a special group project. His eyes bore into her, his face burning, and he envisioned her lips being sewn shut.
“Back on to business now. Drop that rubber band, Jamison, and team up with someone. Should you not find a partner I, personally, will partner you.” She gravitated back to her desk.
Quincy got a tap on his shoulder and turned around. His eyes popped; he wasn’t entirely sure how he had managed to not admire this oddball more closely before. His face was lightly tanned, and from behind chestnut colored hair peered inviting brown eyes. The boy wore necklaces, crucifixes and pentagrams, and he had multiple piercings. He smelled like his father’s cologne cabinet, and the boy chose to smile at Quincy.
“Hey, I’m William! Wanna team up?”
Quincy stared at William’s eyes, judged his posture, and came to the conclusion that he was serious in his inquiry. Quincy gave him a quick nod. “Cool!”
Quincy stared at the rubber band bracelets that were around William’s wrist. “I’m Quin.”
“Oh! I remember a TV show a few years back, it was called … lemme think. Oh yeah! Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Are ya talkin’ that kinda Quin?” William bounced in his seat.
Quincy felt his tongue stick to the roof of his mouth and he tilted his head to the side. “What?” He had to blink several times before continuing. “What the heck are you doing? Did you just compare me to a medicine woman? Don’t know if you noticed … but I’m a guy.”
Amazon Universal link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01EI7YQTQ
Sounds interesting! Readers, don't forget to pick up a copy of Chad McClendon's awesome new book, which releases on May 20th! Pre-order it today! :)
About Chad McClendon:
Chad McClendon is an author who grew up in Silver Grove, Kentucky. When not writing, Chad is solving technical support issues and turning his callers into characters.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chad-McClendon/e/B01EB19SB0/