Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spotlight on Scott Cherney - Author of Red Asphalt

Alright everyone! Spotlight #2! Scott Cherney is an awesome author. I had the great opportunity to read and review his book Red Asphalt. Check out the review here. Also he was kind enough to do a little interview with me!!! First A Quick Bio:

Born and bred in Stockton, California, Scott Cherney has worn many hats in his life and times, among them a cowboy hat as a stunt performer on the streets of the Pollardville Ghost Town, a western amusement park that housed leftover sets from the William Wyler film The Big Country.  He then ventured to the Palace Showboat Dinner Theater becoming a triple threat actor/writer/director of their melodrama/vaudeville stage productions including, Song of the Lone Prairie and California Follies
Cherney is an award winning actor with roles in such shows as Angry Housewives, Sylvia and Move Over, Mrs. Markham.  His film credits consist of appearances in Under Arrest, Omega Cop and Backstage Pass.  In 1986, Scott was the winner of the one and only San Joaquin County Stand-Up Comedy Competition. He spent time as an on-air film critic for KUOP-FM and even inside a giant raccoon suit as a radio station mascot. 
Scott’s first book, the non-fiction memoir In the Dark: A Life and Times in a Movie Theater, was published in 2003 followed by his novel, the road rage thriller Red Asphalt, a collection of original comedy sketches entitled Now THAT’S Funny! and a travel journal, Please Hold Thumbs: A Not-So-Round Trip to South Africa.
He currently lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Laurie.

Fun Random Questions:

Hardcover or Paperback?  
Paperback. I aspire to be hardcover.
Bookmark or Dog ear a page? 
Bookmark, even if it’s just  a scrap of paper.
Coffee or Tea? 
Coffee. I live in the Pacific Northwest. It’s required.
Pepsi or Coke? 
Coke, now and forever. 
Vanilla or Chocolate? 
Favorite fictional character? 
Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye. 
Favorite movie? 
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Have you met anyone famous? 
Anthony Bourdain from The Travel Channel’s No Reservations, Robert Blake, way before the murder trial & Adam West.
Favorite Quote?
The dreams that possess you may blossom and bless you or run you insane.-Kris Kristofferson lyric from a song called El Gavilan (The Hawk).

Serious Questions:

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Stockton, California where I lived most of my life. My interests didn’t seem to coincide with the real world especially in that town. It wasn’t until I found a magical playground on the outskirts of Stockton called Pollardville. It was a roadside attraction that housed a fried chicken restaurant with an authentic western ghost town amusement park behind it and a melodrama/vaudeville theater called the Palace Showboat. I was able to play cowboy out in the ghost town, performing in the gunfight recreations out on Main Street. Later on I moved into the theater where I was able to do everything I ever wanted to do in show business-act, write, direct, stand up comedy.It was a great training ground and place that lives forever in my heart
I moved up here to Oregon in 1999 and concentrated on my writing, turning three books in the process.

When did you begin writing? Who or What were your inspirations?

I began writing at around ten or eleven, mostly secret agent stories since I really loved the James Bond movies. The main character’s name was Dick King, agent AB-98 of ACE (American Counter Espionage). Real original stuff. I’d try to write bedroom scenes but they didn’t turn out anthologies from Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. They were these neat little murder mysteries with great little O’Henry twists at the end. These inspired me to write a bunch of similar stories in a short period of time. And soul. When I wrote comedy sketches at Pollardville, I was inspired by years of classic comedy that I studied and enjoyed over the years, but for the melodramas I put together, I found inspiration from Jay Ward cartoons like Rocky & Bullwinkle and George of the Jungle. 

Do you have a favorite place to write or a favorite time of day?
I used to write anywhere and everywhere, but now I hole up  in my office at just about any time of day or night.

What made you write Red Asphalt? Were there any scenes or situations you had to leave out for any reason?

Red Asphalt was meant to exorcise a lot of demons in my life. It’s based on a period of time when I was going through very similar things as my main character, Calvin.. I had the same sort of job as a medical courier, picking and delivering bodily fluids and parts throughout Northern California. I could feel all my hopes and dreams start fading away until one day, I scared the crap out of myself. I had always had that fabled “fire in my belly”, that passion that keeps hope alive in dreamers like me. One day, a felt the fire go out. It was like someone just blew out the pilot light. I never felt so empty before…and honestly quite scared because I was trapped with no way out. The story of Red Asphalt came out of this panic because I started writing about myself, or at the least my worst case scenario. Eventually, I fictionalized it, you know like that killing part, but if I was to be completely honest I’d have to say that it’s about 60% non-fiction. Writing it really saved my soul. I believe that. As for anything I left out, they were too minimal to recall. 

What genres do you like to read in your spare time?
All kinds. I’ll look through anything and everything related to film. I’ve tried to expand my horizons over the last few years and try different things. Lately I’ve been interested a little bit more in hisorical non-fiction, especially after reading Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City. Lately though I’ve been crazy about P.G. Wodehouse, a British author who wrote these hysterical stories about upper class twits, like those featuring Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves who always saves the day like some kind of Zen master in a waistcoat. They just kill me.

Is writing your full time job, or is it just your super hero persona?

The latter, though my cape’s in the dry cleaners. I got printer ink on it.

I see you have a blog. Is there anything in particular you like to blog about?

Scott Cherney’s Etc. is about movies, TV, theater, show biz…nothing of any importance to anyone but people like me. Sometimes it actually has some substance, but I could be wrong...

Do you have any quirks or special rituals you must do before writing or when completing a story?

Music inspires me so I try to play some specific CD while I’m creating. For Red Asphalt, I played a New Agey album with rain forest sounds. I don’t know why, but it seemed to work. 

If you could be a character from any story who would it be? Why?

Bond, James Bond. I still hold onto that adolescent dream.

What are your thoughts about books that become movies? Do you prefer to read the book first or see the film?

They are two different things. A book is usually the work of one person while a film is a collaborative process which takes many. If a movie is faithful to at least the spirit of the book, then sometimes that’s the most you can hope for. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The Lovely Bones is a better book than a film, but The Godfather was a classic film and a crappy book. I don’t read most bestsellers so I don’t read something that's going to be made into a movie usually. Depends on what I get to first. Of course, I’d love to see my own work on screen I still have that dream.

Are you currently working on anything right now?
I just finished the second edition of my first book, In the Dark: A Life and Times in a Movie Theater. I updated some key elements that began to look kind of passe’ and  I wanted release it for the first time as an e-book. It’s just been released. I also just put together a long gestating project, my very own website called Written by Scott Cherney, at you guessed it, www.scottcherney.com  

I would just like to thank Mr. Scott Cherney for taking the time to share a bit about himself today.

Scott Cherney is the Author of:
Red Asphalt,  In The Dark,  Please Hold Thumbs,  Now THAT'S Funny! & Song of The Lone Prairie or Poem on the Range.
Visit Scott Cherney @



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What I've Read.

Fahrenheit 451
To Kill a Mockingbird
Mistletoe Murder
The Devil Wears Prada
Breaking Dawn
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Lovely Bones
Like Water for Chocolate
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Bridget Jones's Diary
Life Seemed Good, But....
The Nanny Diaries
Exiled, Book 1
Beautiful Sins
The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood
The Hunt for Red October
The Silence of the Lambs
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Ashley's favorite books »