A list of Frequently Asked Questions that might cover whatever's on your mind:
1) Where do you get your ideas/How do you do what you do?
Most writers will tell you that they scour newspapers, the Internet, magazines and the 24-hour news channels for that minuscule little interesting tidbit tucked within some obscure story that might, just might, give them the next #1 bestseller idea. And, to a point, that's true. Writers naturally have ears that perk up at things that most people don't listen to or notice. Not because writers are any smarter than other people. But those of us who write suspense and thrillers do tend to keep up with what is going on in the world so that our stories are relevant and interesting. And yes, I did rip a page out of a magazine while waiting for my wife in a doctor's waiting room just because the story I was reading might be useful one day.
But if they are honest and blunt with you, writers will answer this question with "I have no freaking clue. It just happens."
2) When/Where do you write?
I'm weird. Stephen King in his tremendous memoir On Writing said that a writer is serious about their craft they need to write at the same time each day in a room where they can close the door. It blocks out the world and locks the writer in the world they are creating within their imagination. I write at the dining room table. With my wife watching whatever "Real Housewives" is on that night less than ten feet away. And my in-laws yelling at "Breaking Bad" fifteen feet in the other direction. And my son running toy trucks and trains on the floor behind me.
Somehow it works. Although I wouldn't recommend it for anyone else.
As for what time I write, it really depends. I'm not full-time; I have a job in education during the day so it's usually at night.
3) What books do you like/Who are your favorite writers?
A lot of writers will tell you that they don't want to anger anyone by picking out living writers that they enjoy reading. I don't care. I've got favorites. A little secret? So does everyone else. So here's my list of favorites in fiction and non-fiction:
Fiction: Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Lee Child, Brad Meltzer, Joseph Finder, David Baldacci, Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Ace Atkins, James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard. There's others that I read, but those are my favorites in the business.
Non-fiction: Stephen E. Ambrose (yes, I know he passed away, but he is the best World War II writer ever, bar none), Nathaniel Philbrick, Sebastian Junger, Bing West, Patrick K. O'Donnell, Erik Larson, and David McCullough
There's others out there that I read. And I'll be reviewing and recommending books on here. I'll also be doing interviews with newer writers, like me, to introduce you to them.
Oh, favorite books ever? The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly, The Green Mile by Stephen King, and In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. I recommend anyone who loves the written word to pick these books up and spend time with them.
4) What is your schedule normally like?
I write at night, usually after my son goes to bed. I don't have a set amount of time; I like to get at least a thousand words a day. Which isn't really a lot. Most I've ever written is around 12,000 in a weekend. But that's rare.
5) Do you read your email?
Right now, yes. And I'll reply. All writers say they try to answer every email or letter they get, but we all want to get to the place where we get too much to answer. Everyone who dreams of writing for a living has that as a goal. But I'll answer. Promise. As long as you don't break a few rules.
- First, don't send attachments. I won't open attachments.
- Second one is don't send me an idea for a book. If you've got an idea, write it yourself. Eudora Welty said something like that. And she's a lot smarter than I am.
- Don't be rude.
- Don't forward me anything. I see "FW" and my blood pressure goes up. Ditto with jokes. I rarely read jokes that my close friends send me.
Other than that, email away! Here's the address: scottchase (dot) writer at gmail (dot) com
6) What is the best way to find an agent/publisher/get my book on the shelf at my long bookstore?
Ever heard the phrase "your chances are slim and none and slim left town..."? That's the publishing business right now. At least the traditional route. But if you want to go that route (and we all want to, believe me), there are plenty of agent blogs, writers' sites, and writing forums to read and join that can give you better advice then me.
Absolute Write is the best forum in the world on writing and the publishing business.
Predators & Editors can tell you who is legit and who isn't.
Or if you think you can go the self-publishing route, I recommend you devour this site:
A Newbie's Guide to Publishing - That's Joe Konrath's blog and is a wealth of information.
8) Did you think of a particular actor when you wrote (insert character's name)?
The short answer is no. Brad Porter, the main character of The Chosen, is a real person in my head. So is his partner, Taylor Mahady. They have to be, otherwise the story isn't fresh or exciting. I know what Porter looks like; I can see Mahady in my head. And if it's close to someone I know, or someone I've seen in the movies or on TV it's unintentional. And I'm hoping that the reader has an idea about what the characters look like in their head too.
9) Who should play (insert character's name) in a movie?
It would be cool to see this story, or any of the stories I've written, on the big screen. It'd be even cooler to get a check for that experience. But as far as translating the story to a script or casting a movie, I'll paraphrase Michael Connelly on that one: if someone pays for it, they get to tell the story their own way.
10) Is Scott Chase your real name?
No. Scott Chase is a pen name. I might write a new series of books under my real name soon, and when I do, I'll let you know.