"I love living in Grand Haven because of the overall 'We are in this together' mentality that the community has." - Christian McCallister
Words & Photos by: Paul & April Jendrasiak
Inspired by Harry Potter, his friends, and Grand Haven; Christian "C.T." McAllister is a bright-eyed local author with a charming personality and fantastic sense of humor. If you frequent Jumpin' Java, chances are, you may have met him before. When he's not serving up coffee drinks, he's creating characters with his imagination and bringing them to life in his writing.
His first novel, The Collectors, was published and released in autumn of this year and was inspired by a walk down a dirt road with a friend of his. When Paul and I heard about Christian and the recent release of The Collectors, we knew we couldn't let an opportunity to feature a local artist go unnoticed.
The Collectors is available at The Bookman on Washington right here in Grand Haven as well as on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. If you are interested in an eBook, you can find that online on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, Kobo, Kindle, and Apple iBooks. Go ahead and grab your copy today! :)
Tell us a little something about yourself. Something others may not know.
I have two ferrets named Zorro and Moriarty. I secretly would like to be a fashion designer or a personal stylist someday. I am an Aquarius and I like long walks on the beach! Hahahah. There really is not a lot that people don’t know about me. I am an open book (get it?). I like who I am so I see no reason to hide. But, I guess something that a lot of people don’t know about me is the fact that I love alone time. There’s nothing quite like it. Spending time with myself, reading a book or working on music or something of the like, really rekindles my spirits. Don’t get me wrong though, I absolutely adore interacting with people and building relationships.
Give us a sneak peek into The Collectors.... why should people rush out to buy it?
For the same reason every engaged couple shows off the diamond ring, parents with a newborn child introduce everyone to it, or new homeowners offer a tour of the place to all the people they know. Because I am proud of it. I like it. Now, don’t misunderstand. I am not being prideful at all here haha. But if you ask any artist, I think that they would feel the same. We truly want the world see our book, song, painting or otherwise because we are proud of it. And not only that, we pour out gut-wrenching pain and never-ending joy right from our very souls into these things. Anyway, I concur.
As for a sneak peek, here goes: The Collectors is a thriller centering on a man, Toby, who loves the fact that his life really has no importance, no rhyme or reason. He is not some hero saving the world but neither is he a villain trying to take it. But, when things that seemed to be his solid foundation get yanked out from under him, he is certainly lost. At that point in the story, two vagabond travelers seek Toby’s help with two very different missions. Missions filled with purpose? Potentially. Demise? Most likely. There are also psych wards involved, a private detective, guns, flamboyant lawyers, and plenty of other rad things. You will just have to take my word for it and go grab a copy!
"The Collectors is a thriller centering on a man, Toby, who loves the fact that his life really has no importance, no rhyme or reason." - Christian McCallister
Have you written other books that aren't published yet?
I have not written any full novels, no. But, I did start a couple before I wrote “The Collectors”. One of them was a futuristic sci-fi story revolving around the idea of punishing prisoners with virtual reality tasks. The other idea actually came from an inside joke with a good friend of mine but then I developed it into this big Tolkien-esque fantasy collection that I just did not have the patience, skill, or concentration to complete lol. Needless to say, neither of them panned out, which as a writer that happens a lot hahaa. Sometimes ideas are just better left as ideas.
Describe to us your writing style.
My style is actually very odd, to me anyway. I will usually have a random story idea pop into my head. Then, immediately, I dive into characters. I am a huge fan of film and watching movies and such, so I know quite a lot about actors. So that is where I start. I will create a character name and then attach an actor or actress to “play” said character. I repeat that as many times as needed which means until I run out of characters on my list. This way it is so much easier to see scenes play out in my mind. After that, I brainstorm on where the story should begin and usually I will generate a general story arch. Once I have done that, I get crackin’.
Are there any tactics you use when writing? Do you create an outline first or just go heads down and start writing?
My whole technique of writing is kind of sporadic and random which is really fun, but also, very annoying. I do like to have an outline, it is a need. I have to have some sort of layout of what I am going to have happen or be said in the different phases of the book. With The Collectors, I did actually have writer’s block about halfway through and I was pretty stumped on how to get from where I was to the ending that I wanted. I believe this happened because I had gotten carried away and continued to write without laying out a few chapters. But, it turned out just fine of course!
I guess I will also add that a walk in the cool autumn breeze is always refreshing on my mind when I don’t know what to write.
Where did the inspiration come from for The Collectors?
The Collectors was actually inspired by a friend of mine. We had gone out walking on a dirt road out in the boondocks and he just started talking about this idea he had. “They should make a movie with Johnny Depp and Denzel that goes like…” was how he started off the whole conversation haha. I was immediately drawn in due to my love for those actors and a thought of a dream movie with them in it. We probably talked up this movie idea for about an hour before I finally said to my friend, “I am gonna write this down. Like for real, dude.” Obviously, I made a lot of changes and created a story that is a lot more developed than the 1:00a.m. rantings of two twenty-something guys but it will always be the spawn of that fate-filled conversation.
If you could have been an author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Oh my gosh. Harry Potter. Hands down.
What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?
Honestly, I would not get along with the main character, Toby. He pissed me off as I was writing him haha. Well, I probably would not get along with another character in there either but I cannot say too much. You just gotta read it.
Are any of the characters in The Collectors based off of real people or are they all created using your imagination?
Their appearances and some mannerisms are based off of actors and actresses that I used in my head to help play the character out but only one is based off of a person that I actually know. There is a character named Aunt Lynn who is actually based off of my real aunt of the same name.
Where can people go to buy their copy of The Collectors?
Physical copies of The Collectors By C. T. McCallister are available at The Bookman right here in Grand Haven as well as on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. If you are interested in an eBook, you can find that online on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, Kobo, Kindle, and Apple iBooks.
Why do you love living in Grand Haven?
I love living in Grand Haven because of the overall “We are in this together” mentality that the community has. Everyone knows everyone and genuinely cares about each others lives. It is great to live in a place where there is so much beauty among simple, caring, and loving people from all different walks of life.