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Christopher Meeks’s Short Stories are Bestsellers—Just Took a Few Years

"The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea" and "Months and Seasons" Topping Charts

 
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Christopher Meeks headshot--smaller
Christopher Meeks headshot--smaller
PRLog - Jan. 25, 2014 - LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Over the last month, short story writer and novelist Christopher Meeks has seen his first two collections of short stories hit the top of the Amazon bestseller lists. This comes a few years after their launch. His first collection, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea was in the Top Ten for short stories for half of December, often in the #1 spot. Now his second collection, Months and Seasons, is there.

The stories in both collections, like Raymond Carver’s stories, focus on ordinary people in critical situations. His characters leap to life.

Amazon Top Ten reviewer Grady Harp has written extensively on Meeks’ short fiction and novels, and says, “He writes with a blend of hilarious humor, significant angst, philosophical bents in the manner many people inhabit 'beliefs' to continue their lives in this somewhat discombobulated world. [He] offers us fresh views of ordinary people whose lives for even a few moments become extraordinary.”

Author Gina Nahai (Caspian Rain) says of Meeks’s fiction, “If the object of art is to capture the reality of the human condition one glimpse at a time, then Christopher Meeks succeeds gloriously. His stories are delightful and heart-rending, surprising and eerily familiar—chronicles, all, of the epic battles fought by ordinary characters one day at a time.”

Humorist Sandra Tsing Loh (A Year in Van Nuys), adds, “Christopher Meeks's quirky stories are lyrical and wonderfully human.” Meeks’ two books have also have hit #1 on the Amazon literary humor list.

After his two collections of short fiction, he published his first novel, The Brightest Moon of the Century, which follows a young Minnesotan, Edward, through middle and high school, onto college and life, always looking for purpose and the right woman. As Cherie Parker in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune described it, “In his debut novel, The Brightest Moon of the Century, Christopher Meeks chronicles one man's path to middle age and, in doing so, illustrates how choices and circumstances— even those that seem arbitrary at the time—have a way of irrevocably cementing a person's future.”

His second novel, Love at Absolute Zero, centers on a physics genius who researches what happens to matter near absolute zero, and then he zeroes in on finding his soul mate using the Scientific Method. He’s giving himself three days. The Midwest Book Review gave it its highest recommendation describing the story as, “Thermodynamics are nothing; it's that love thing that is so frustratingly hard to figure out.”

From there, the crime novel with a humanist bent intrigued Meeks, and Blood Drama came out recently. It’s the story of graduate student Ian Nash, who, while applying to be a barista at a coffee shop in a bank, is taken hostage in a bank robbery gone awry. He must survive. Says reviewer Grady Harp, "Meeks may have daringly stepped into new territory, but he continues to remain in the rarefied atmosphere of fine contemporary authors.”

That led to his upcoming novel, due out in May. In A Death in Vegas, the president of a beneficial-bug company finds his life changes drastically when the young woman who had worked as a sexy lady bug at his convention booth is found dead in his Las Vegas hotel suite—and he had nothing to do with it. When he’s about to be arrested, he flees, determined to find who set him up.

Meeks is at work on a third collection of short fiction. How does he explain the range of his books, which at first glance seem so different? He says, “I love writing interesting stories. I’m not driven by carving myself into a particular niche. Rather, I love great characters. The fact one is Dracula at a Halloween party to impress his wife, as in one of my short stories, and another is a master scientist working in quantum physics to tie science and love together as in one of my novels—they’re both driven to succeed. I can’t help that my writing can be both intense and quirky. That’s just the way I see things.”

Why did it take a few years to find recognition? “In America, there’s the notion that if you do something brilliantly, you will be recognized instantly. Not true. I’ve taught at CalArts and now at the Art Center College of Design, and I see incredibly talented people all the time. It’s about persevering. As the great mythologist Joseph Campbell always said, ‘Follow your bliss.’ He wasn’t recognized until his later years himself. I’m just happy people are starting to find my books.”

It’s not as if he hasn’t received appreciation before. Months and Seasons had been a finalist in 2008 for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the single biggest prize in the world for a collection of short stories. That year the €25,000 and award went to Jhumpa Lahiri for Unaccustomed Earth.

Additionally, Love at Absolute Zero was a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year finalist two years ago, and many of his books have landed on critics Top Ten lists for Fiction of the Year, such as on Book Chase. The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea was included in a list of seven “indie” books in Entertainment Weekly.

This month, too, he has stories in the literary magazine Rosebud and the book The Best of Lit Noir. Meeks says, I write because I see the world more clearly by doing so. I’m pushed as a person. Fiction writers are in many ways philosophers. You see the world in a certain way, and you show it through story. My stories are dreams that might help you if not also entertain you.

White Whisker Books is a small press with four authors based in Los Angeles. To see more of what it offers, go to www.WhiteWhiskerBooks.com.

For more information, call White Whisker Books at 323-344-7132.


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