Which I did, of course, to find that he wrote books with the power to take you back to your old Girl Scout days.
We've been exchanging insults and praise ever since.
And no, that's not Indiana Jones, that's Chris.
Now, let's see what he has to say for himself.
Who are you?
Someone that struggles with meeting new people, especially when it comes to self-promotion. I’d rather celebrate the accomplishments of others. So I’m pleased to note that you have another fabulous new book coming out. I’ll be eagerly watching for page for details on The Girl on the Red Pillow.
This is the moment where we all realize that this interview is a couple weeks old already, isn't it? I shouldn't have dawdled...blame Christmas...anyway, this isn't about me, this is about you. So, what else?
More specifically about me, I’m a father of three who sometimes wishes he could relive certain parts of his childhood. That’s why I write for young adults. There are so many things I would do differently. Or maybe not. It’s fun to pretend.
Where are you?
The suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. Been in the midwestern United States my entire life, from the biggest cities to small towns.
Missouri, uh. I bet that's pretty cold right now. Which brings us to the next question. How are you? Motivated, but frustrated at times. It’s daunting to see there’s something like 9 million different book titles available on Amazon, so I really appreciate the ability to share some words with you and your audience.
Speaking of audiences, which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.
I would love to tell you all about my first ever novel – Fugitives from Northwoods. Some would say it’s a story for boys seeing how it’s all actiony, wilderness survivalist, and basically Young Adult. But I’ve actually had a lot of excellent feedback from women, especially the parents of the kids that are supposed to be reading the book. But nothing could be more gratifying than having a boy on your son’s baseball team telling you that he read it as fast as he could and loved every page.
The book is set in a not-too-distant future America. The economy has collapsed, cities have crumbled, and kids are sent to work camps to provide for the common good. Tired of their mistreatment, a group of boys and the girls in neighboring bunkhouses break out and brave the wilds of northern Minnesota on a frantic, risky run for the border.
Why did you write it?
Because I was bored. I hadn’t written anything since my school days a long time ago – at least nothing other than the occasional boring report for work. I used to read at lunchtime every day for a little break, and after I finished Catching Fire for the third time, I really couldn’t bring myself to read Mockingjay again. Nothing else sounded interesting at the time, so I figured why not try to write something.
If you could make up your own genre for this book, what would it be?
Libertarian fiction. I suppose that might actually be a real genre, but not a very common one. Lots of great dystopian books have strong libertarian leanings. Basically, it’s the idea that not many people really want to be told what to do - especially not forced to do something. I think teens can really relate to that.
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
Vacations. Every time I’m lucky enough to have a little time off work and travel away from home, it seems like inspiration strikes. There’s something about new places that brings adventure stories to mind. Thankfully, I’ve never had any epically bad experiences like my characters always seem to be running into.
Do parts of you shine through? Are some characters like you, or friends, or family?
I find the best way to get into a head of a character and bring them to life is to model them on someone you know. So, yes, there are definitely characters that are at least loosely based on people I have met. Some aren’t necessarily complimentary, so I better not share any names.
I don’t necessarily write about myself, but sometimes my characters are more like the person I would like to be, or the person I would like to have been at that age.