What is Chas' favorite part about writing? You just might be surprised. What's cool to know about Chas' characters?
Find out in our next author interview!
Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?
Ever since I was a kid, I've enjoyed writing stories, but never took it very seriously
until I started writing Giraffe Tracks.
I served an LDS mission in South Africa, and I have to be honest, I was one of those annoying RMs who was always blabbing my mission stories at every possible occasion. One day, about four years after my mission, I thought it might be fun to write a book about my mission, using a sort of novel-like format (I'd not yet heard of the term, memoir). I started, and absolutely fell in love with the art of writing. I haven't been able to stop since.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?
I can't do freehand. It's too slow (I can only freehand at about 35-40 wpm, but I can type at 60), and I just end up having to transcribe it later anyway. Plus, for some reason, it always comes out sounding too technical—blegh. I'm all about the laptop. I have a desk at home, but I can write anywhere, as long as there's no spoken audio in the background (including people talking to me). Sometimes, if there's conversation or talk-radio in earshot, I'll pop on headphones and turn on instrumental music.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
There are so many things I love about writing! It's one of the most powerful forms of pondering I know. I love playing with words. I love writing banter. I love writing humor. I love shaping sentences into something beautiful. I love turning abstract thought into a concrete idea. I love plotting. I love mentally developing backstory. I love inventing species, histories, worlds, characters, and philosophies. I love, love, love, making a difference for good in people's lives.
I don't like marketing. I'm working on that...
How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?
I'm one of those weirdos that feels more like characters are coming to me. They're constantly correcting me on what they did, said, and experienced, but I feel like my characters are real, just in a fictional universe. They are influenced by real people around me, to be sure. Ever met someone and thought, Man, he reminds me of my cousin Fred? Yeah, I kind of see my characters that way.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
Facebooking, blogging, Pinteresting, podcasting, videos, booksignings, and public speaking have probably been my most active marketing strategies. But, like I said, I think marketing is where I struggle the most.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I write whenever I can. I wish I had a one-hour a day, or a so-many-words-per-week plan, but don't. I get up early some days, stay up late others, write on breaks, at lunch time, and while waiting for stuff. I never write on Sunday or during family time.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I'm writing a book on making family history work awesome. If it goes well, it will be a “sequel” to my book that just came out called, “Scripture Study Made Awesome.”
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
My many fiction projects are on the back burner right now. I'm usually working on 2-5 projects at a given time, but I'm getting better at keeping that number low. My fiction is mostly middle-grade fantasy, about some kids that find out they're fictional characters in a middle-grade fantasy book. That's been fun to write, I can tell you.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Write, write, write, write, write. Any person who can put words on paper is, or can become, talented in some type of writing. Keep writing, and your talent and your sparkle will come out. On rough days, think like Dory, and “Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing!”
Thank you, Chas! Learn more about Chas below, and see some great book trailers!