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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Author Spotlight / Interview & Giveaway Streaks Of Blue By Jack Chaucer 10 / 17 - 10 / 29

Cover for 'Streaks of Blue: How the Angels of Newtown Inspired One Girl to Save Her School' a Rafflecopter giveaway    

Q # 1- Where did you grow up and in what ways(if any) did it impact your writing?
A: I grew up on Chaucer Drive in North Kingstown, R.I., and that's how I came up with my pen name of Jack Chaucer.

Q # 2- When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
A: When I was 7, I launched a little Chaucer Drive neighborhood newspaper that we wrote by hand and passed around to all the parents at the block party every August. I think we did that from 1979 through 1984 and I still have the copies somewhere in the house. I also still work at a newspaper (in Waterbury, Conn.)!

Q # 3- What was the inspiration behind Nikki's character?
A: She's not based on anyone specifically. I just wanted her to be a good, deep-thinking teen who wants to do the right thing, but she gets frustrated and scared like anyone else would in this extraordinary situation she finds herself in. I always pictured her with streaks of blue hair, right from when I was conceiving this novel. I was amazed when I was able to tie that in with the mountain climbing theme I wanted for the book, too. The streaks of blue paint marking the trees up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire do in fact exist. And the streaks/tears of blue we're all feeling in the wake of all these senseless shootings just tied everything together.

Q # 4- Who is your all time favorite author and Novel?
A: I remember as a kid being blown away by Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, but right now it's hard to top what George R. R. Martin is doing with his Game of Thrones series. Awesome world-building, an amazing array of interesting characters, gutsy plot shifts, masterful storytelling/writing and a mind-blowing HBO series to top if off. If you're looking for a new, relatively unknown standout writer, try England's Harry Nicholson and his historical fiction masterpiece, "Tom Fleck," which I reviewed on my blog last year.

Q # 5- What would you say influences your writing style the most and why?
A: I would say that my style is unique and still under development, but I know my approach involves trying to visualize each scene and chapter like a movie. And I try to really hook the reader at the end of each scene to get him/her to keep reading, keep guessing. I also try to be unpredictable. I definitely err on the side of a quick pace and quality over quantity. That's why my two most recent novels are both just over 50,000 words -- taut and engaging throughout, hopefully. I think that's important in this fast-paced, short-attention-span world. We've all got long TBR lists. The writer needs to get to the point, get the message across and step aside. Except for George R.R. Martin. He can write all the 1,000-plus-page epics he wants.

Q # 6- If you could change one thing concerning the world today, what would it be?
A: This is a question that hopefully my book attempts to address. It's an epidemic that begins in school and only seems to get worse from there in this American society. I would like to see people change from labeling and rejecting their peers because of differences to an attitude of accepting and embracing their peers because of differences. Every person is unique and special despite his/her socio-economic background, popularity, mental/physical disabilities or whatever. There needs to be a complete attitude change in this country, a new level of mutual respect. Until that happens, we can argue about gun control and mental health all we want, but it won't make a damn bit of difference. The basic relationships between people, starting when they're young, need to improve drastically or we're going to continue to see those who have been cast aside and rejected walk into schools, malls and government buildings and blow people away. It's a very American thing. You don't see people in Japan and Sweden and Canada and South Korea doing this sort of thing every other week.


Q # 7- What would you say your favorite genre of writing is?
I definitely prefer fiction because I like to tap into my imagination and not be limited, but it really depends on the project. I like to try to push the limits of certain genres. With my previous novel "Queens are Wild," it's an adult thriller, but it's also political science fiction. With "Streaks of Blue," it's YA, but it's also very relevant and realistic. Some bloggers have even wondered if it's based on a true story. Sadly, it is. It's based on Columbine, Sandy Hook and every other shooting we've suffered through over the past couple of decades.


Q # 8- Streaks Of Blue is an amazing novel, do you have any book ideas your working on now or in the near future?
First, thank you for that awesome compliment. I never get tired of hearing it. Second, after four novels in four years, I'm taking a break for a while. I need to recharge my creative engine. But I would like to tackle a trilogy at some point. I want to do something involving the dualistic power of water and how, with the effects of global warming really ramping up and being unleashed over the course of the 21st century, this critical source of life could, in the end, literally drown us. The best novels and characters involve great change. Well, Earth is about to undergo huge changes and, as a result, so are we. I have a feeling there's a "Mammyth" story for me to write about this subject at some point and I look forward to it when the time comes.


Q # 9- For all the aspiring writers out there, do you have any tips or ideas that could help with the whole writing process?
Write one scene or one chapter, preferably by hand (too much time staring at a computer is no good in the early stages of a novel), and you'll be amazed at how many more ideas come flooding into your brain in the hours following that initial writing session. Not every concept will work. I've abandoned several, believe me, and you'll know that pretty fast. But when a concept does begin to come together, that's when the magic happens. And when that does happen, you have to immerse yourself in it and write nearly every day or you'll lose the momentum. I wrote the first drafts of my last two novels in three months each. I never really had writer's block. My pen couldn't move fast enough. Unfortunately, after the first draft is written, then the real work begins: revisions, editing, polishing, packaging, marketing, etc. In short, you have to be passionate, persistent, creative and a little crazy.

Q # 10- Do You Have Any Questions For Me?

Please rank your three favorite scenes, situations or conversations in "Streaks of Blue?"
Answer:                                                                                                                                                        There are so many to choose from so I will go with my absolute favorite one, While Nikki was camping she has a very realistic dream, in which a little girl named star asks her to go with her to her classroom, {Which is outside} This is when she is told about Adam, and that he is planning to do something horrible, and he needs her help. I liked this part for two reasons, #1) this scene gave the story an paranormal feel to me, like something bigger was in control and was trying to intervene behind the scenes. #2) I liked that the little girl's name was Star, and that the way she showed up seemed heavenly!!! Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!!!!!!!

That was fun. Thanks for your great questions, Billie Jo!!! :)


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