Author Rewards

author event II           PSX_20171229_132728          Seattle author event

As I continue the author events for Sea of a Thousand Words, I’m beginning to notice the evolution of my audiences. This past summer saw the typical protocol; introducing the story’s premise, discussing the writing process and answering questions about the motivation of this or that plot device. However, these days as the novel’s readership widens, a larger percentage of audiences are comprised of ardent fans. It is a treat to be met with readers who want nothing more than to tell me how they feel connected with a certain character or how a specific storyline touched them significantly. I find myself talking much less and allowing the readers to share their thoughts and feelings.

My daughter predicted this months ago; before the manuscript was even published she told me to prepare for sharing my characters with the world. “You’re going to have to let them go soon and they’ll become special to complete strangers. Just imagine what it will be like to read fan-fictions based on your book.”

Dot

curly hair or wavy hair?

Since then, I’ve learned the meanings of slang words like, “canon”, “ship”, “OTP,” and “AU”. I’ve heard disagreements between fans about the specific appearance of one of my main characters and I’ve leaned back in my chair to listen as one reader explained to another their personal take on the symbolism of my raven “Monk” and orca “Saka”.

Beautiful.

As I make progress toward the audiobook creation, I’m remembering these instances and taking them to heart. The familiarity that readers develop with favorite stories is intimate and not to be trifled with. (After all, this die-hard Tolkien fan was royally ticked off when Legolas showed up as a blonde in the movie). When I heard Gray Eubank narrate a passage from my book last month, I experienced the story from a reader’s perspective. It was a valuable opportunity.

I’m currently working on the structure for SoaTW’s sequel these days and this knowledge is a powerful motivator, (or heavy burden, depending on the day). I have my favorite characters… I won’t commit to them publicly as I love them all, with the exception perhaps of one or two. I’ll wrestle with their individual fates and plot development as I bear in mind the responsibility I owe not only to my characters but to the readers who’ve come to love them and their story.

This is what makes being a writer such a privilege.

Dot at Massett Bay

Do you have a personal connection with a particular character in this novel? Is there a memorable moment for you in the storyline? Is there something you’d really like to see (or definitely don’t want to happen) in the next installment?  If so, I’d love to hear about it. Just comment below or email me directly at windlinepress@gmail.com

Thanks for sharing

~ Chris

Author Events

Last week was the first author event for my latest book, a speculative fiction novel, Sea of a Thousand  Words. I had a great time talking about the process of writing a novel about the future in this era of such fast-paced changes in our world.

3rd place books event

With important topics ranging from geo-political movements, artificial intelligence, climate change and gene drive technology–not to mention global cyber and drone warfare, I often found myself wondering if I’d get the book published before all this became history!

Quite fortuitously, I relied on the experts while writing Sea of a Thousand Words, and it’s largely due to these passionate, knowledgeable people who took time to educate this curious writer, that the book feels so genuine and realistic. I owe those folks a great deal. The amusing  consistency of all my humble experts was their surprised reaction to being included in the acknowledgement section–they didn’t think their contributions were that big of a deal. If they only knew!

I spent a fair amount of my talk describing the process I went through to organize chapters and sequencing with an ensemble cast of characters in a timeline that at times, flashes back an entire decade. Bringing the storyboard and character scene-graphs really helped to illustrate how I dealt with these challenges. One of the participants noted afterward that my theater background was evident in the complex storyboarding. She may be right about that assessment.

SoaTW

The author’s original storyboard in color-coded chapters.

The question and answer portion of the event was rewarding, as there were some really thoughtful inquiries. Several questions made me consider my motivation and specific choices as to settings and decisions about a few characters. As I explained why I approached certain chapters the way I did, it clarified the themes even more–and made my approach to the subject matter much easier to describe. I’ll remember these points for my upcoming talks.

Author events are a unique public speaking venue for me–a former national speaker on childbirth related subjects. I never had a problem speaking in front of a large audience, but these days, I’ve found that it’s not always easy to speak about my writing. I suppose it’s the personal nature of my art that makes me a little more self conscious about presenting. However, the supportive people who attend these events are making my jitters disappear each time I stand at a podium.

Thanks for attending these readings and for buying my book. author event II

Support booksellers wherever you live!

 

  ~ Chris

 

*Stay tuned for upcoming events (Most of which will happen in the fall when the audiobook is released). To request an author appearance at your book club or local library, please reply below or email me at windlinepress@gmail.com.

 

Ripples in the Water

After the last month, post-release of Sea of a Thousand Words, I’m settling into a normal pace once again. The whirlwind of setting up the author events and fulfilling special orders has passed and I’m now filling my days by contacting independent book sellers and establishing a (less-political) presence on social media.

The interesting thing that I’ve learned however is this: I expected that the most exciting part of finishing my book would’ve been the much-anticipated publishing-day, but that is not so. The most rewarding part of this adventure has been hearing from my readers–a diverse group of fans to be sure. Many of whom were drawn to the book because of its environmental and geo-political issues, others because of the action and adventure and still others for the science and technology aspects. I’ve also heard from much younger readers who were focused on the relationships between several of the characters. (I didn’t anticipate having a YA audience)! This very morning, I hopped on Twitter to discover that people were retweeting a recommendation for my novel–that’s an exhilarating feeling for an author, to be certain.

DNA_water

Perhaps it is because much of what occurs within the plot is relative to the current–and at times–controversial events that are happening (or threatening to happen), in our own world, but quite a few readers have been sending me articles about these issues. For instance, here’s a link that I recently received in an email from a fan regarding the CRISPR enzyme. It’s on a Radio Lab podcast and is quite fascinating. It got me thinking: Even though my novel is set 15-years in the future, this technology is far closer than I envisioned. Certainly, the ethical questions are no longer hypothetical–scientists are already facing these dilemmas. Give it a listen, it’s well worth it.

The genre for Sea of a Thousand Words  has been called “speculative fiction.” I feel that is an adequate description for a novel that’s not too dystopian sci-fi/ fantasy, but not rooted completely in the present. However, as I start the research for a sequel, (which will reach even farther into the future), I doubt that the follow-up novel could even be labeled “science-fiction” any longer… more like, “science-probability or science-inevitability.”

fa40f895c52649e98f9e7d651ead0d33It is great to hear from everyone who has sent their feedback. Your cards, letters and emails have been such a treat, and to hear that my characters are loved by others is more than gratifying. It quite simply inspires me to get back to work and find more adventures in which to immerse them. (Remember, posting your comments on Sea of a Thousand Words Amazon’s page as well as sites like Goodreads helps to spread the word). I’ll continue to post more reader remarks, links and sources that I get from fans of the book. Please feel free to contact me with your insights or opinions on the subjects.

And as always, thank you for supporting this indie author!PSX_20160422_172725

~ Chris