Featured Interview With C. M. Halstead
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
When asked "Where I was raised?" my reply is always the same, I grew up everywhere! I am one of 5% of Americans who are children of military personnel. Also known as military brats. The term of endearment is a misnomer of sorts. We brats moved every 1-3 years for the extent of our parent's enlistment or upon graduation from high school. It is hard to relocate so often without gaining an eyes open perspective of America and other parts of the world as well. Although military bases that host families tend to have all the needs taken care of and rationing is rare, we also have the ever present threat and acknowledgement of what governments are involved in and the dangers presented to our parents during the act of doing their jobs. I call it "Mayberry with War". We had fast food restaurants, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and generally the bases were safe enough for children to wander around at will, with the knowledge that when the street lights came on it was time to go home. In the background were the sounds of military aircraft taking off and landing, alert sirens, air raid drills, bomb dogs, and the occasional statement from Dad, "I will be gone for awhile."
Growing up everywhere instilled a wanderlust in me, that or it is deeper in my genetics, somewhere around a few hundred years ago my ancestors migrated from the island countries of Scotland and Ireland, then under British rule, to Northern America where they did their best to propagate at will and move to any where they could make a home. Now we can be found in every state and have a long history of service, both in the U.S. Military and as teachers, socials workers, ministers, coaches, the list goes on.
After a stint in the U.S. Marines I found myself in Upstate, NY for a few years.I adventured from there. Multi-day motorcycle trips and solo overnights in the Adirondacks were my escapes. Approximately 16 years ago now I relocated to the state of Arizona. I was stationary for about 10 years, a multitude of adventure trips, both local and far reaching, helped me reside in Sedona before once again becoming nomadic. I took up canyoneering, a combination of rope skills confidence I picked up in the Marines and my natural desire to play in the mud with only a friend or two. I was also known to drop in the Grand Canyon and hike 17-20 miles in a day there and at other playgrounds. When I was done with Sedona I spent five years living in a 32 foot bus, moving it from forest to forest, blm land, deserts, mountains, all in search of more beauty and less human interaction. The pandemic forced many Americans into mobile lifestyles and me out of mine. I was seeking a place to call home.
My partner Amy and I are currently developing a parcel of land forgotten about for 800 years or so. The first two legged inhabitants since then, we have a lot of work to do. Intermingled with our adventures our goal is to create a self sufficient personal paradise. most importantly, a place that is quiet and free from human noise.
This military brat, eyes-wide-open, albeit patriotically influenced, perspective is apparent in all my stories thus far. A belief in being as self-sufficient as possible while relying on a small group of others to increase your chances. My first eight works have a team oriented, military influenced style to them. With HBD being the birth of a primary character in future works and simultaneously my transition into learning parables, myths, allegory, fairly tales, that sort of thing. I intend to stick to my pantser writing style and only using the basic hero's journey outline. I enjoy discovering my works with a discerning eye just as much as the next reader.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
My fascination with books came about in my transition from toys to something else. I still needed that alone time, just had a desire to dissolve into something else. Reading became that place. The Hardy Boys series, a male morph of the Nancy Drew series, became a staple in my younger years. The first 102 books were read more than once. I now know, it was the repeating style that kept me hooked on what trouble these friends would find while out in their boats etc. As a middle schooler, they contained adventures I was yet not allowed to go on. The Choose Your Own Adventure series, was another one that I read a lot. It is one of the first places I learned about options in life. That we can choose different paths if the one we are on is not serving us positively.
I did a minuscule amount of writing in high-school and maybe a poem or two in my twenties. I didn't really allow myself to become that writer. An Author. In my forties, I hit the ground running and cranked out as much material as I could for a few years and learned to self publish it. I've experienced the good and bad of having others edit and of self editing with software. All along the way I am a creative-in-learning. I plan to be in-learning and experimenting with my passion until i am physically unable to do so. I write because I am possessed to do so and I am walking dead when I am not creating. I've created a healthy addiction. I do say so myself.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Besides the multi-author series's above, I've also enjoyed Stephen King most of my reading life. Bruce Lee is also a human I admire, he has written works and his overall life philosophy is an inspiration as well. I have a memory of getting my hands on some of my Dad's Louis L'Amour books and Longarm books way before I should have. Such is life. They were bawdy adventures for a youngster to explore the rougher sides of adulthood. At least the author's wild west version. The Sharp's series. Clive Cussler writes great adventures as well.
What inspires my writings? A blend of all that my observing nature takes in, combined with a desire to take the reader on adventures, help them feel the good and bad emotions of a thriller, and help them escape their version of the grind. If you pick up a C.M. Halstead story and can't put it down, then we both have a win. Enjoy.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Latest release hit Amazon and distribution networks this past August. HBD (Here Be Dragons) is a culmination of three different NaNoWriMo writing sessions. If you are unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo it is a support structure for authors. I utilized it to learn to crank out words. 50,000 words in 30 days is the goal. I've succeeded more than I haven't. Three, 50,000 word rough drafts were whittled down to about 130,000 words while combining them into one story. There is still a little fluff and opinion, overall I am happy with the results.
HBD (Here Be Dragons) is NOT a tale of medieval influence and proportions, other than it being the source of the working title, Here Be Dragons. On maps of old, there often existed sections of the hand written maps that had not been explored, either on that trip or at all by the country funding the boat and or expeditions. In these areas the map makers would write and draw, pictures of mermaids, dragons, and other mystical creatures or the words, Here Be Dragons written to represent areas to NOT be explored. Off limits. Things of danger lie here. Or really, we just don't want you to know.
HBD (Here Be Dragons) by C.M. Halstead is a thriller taking place in present day USA.
Book Blurb: Marty Roberts has an opportunity to save the world, not from itself, but from the humans that dominate it. He sits, thinking. Determined to find a solution, no idea how lost he is.
Agent Joanne Clay urgently moves forward in her career, hell-bent on making her reputation and moving on from her family’s. She, a new generation of FBI agent.
Enter a clandestine agency, a psycho or three and the race for power gets violent. A whodunit, full of power and personal struggles. Who will prevail, the young, FBI-backed agent or Marty Roberts, alone and on mission?