Today, it’s an interview with another new author in the 4HU, Christopher Winder.
Interview: Christopher Winder
What is your quest?
My quest is to write stories that I’d love to read. Stories that make people laugh, cry, get angry, feel joy, or smack their foreheads really hard.
By doing that, I want to move into full-time writing. For me, writing is play – not work. I’m mentally exhausted after a long writing session, but I have yet to sprain my ankle, get a sliver, break a leg or suffer third-degree burns because I wrote something. Yes, it’s work. Yes, it’s hard. But no, it’s not hard work. I love it.
My greatest influences in writing are Stephen King (his non-horror stuff, except Four Past Midnight, which was absolutely wonderful), and R. A. Salvatore. Both, but especially Salvatore, could drag me around by my emotions, beat me over the head with them, and force me to come back asking for more. I’m not there yet, but one day I’d like to surpass even that master of words.
What is your favorite color?
I don’t really have a favorite color overall. For cars, it’s copper. I love the look of a copper-colored vehicle – where it looks like the whole thing was made from the same stuff as pennies.
For book covers, I love contrast. I admit that my favorite covers are those of the vampire genre. Dark grays and black with a splash of red. Sometimes literally a splash… because vampires… you know. I don’t write in that genre – at least not yet – but their book covers are gorgeous.
As far as colors having influence on my writing, as far as I know, colors don’t influence me at all. I say that, but I try to surround myself with as much green as possible. I read somewhere that green helps people think scientifically. Since my main genre is science fiction, it seems to fit. I don’t know if it helps or not, but I do like the color.
What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?
The most frustrating thing about being an author, my greatest challenge, is staying on task. I can’t visit the grocery store without thinking-up a new story idea. I can’t sit down at the computer without seeing another story that I really want to write – that isn’t going to write itself. Staying on task until each story is complete is the hardest part of the job.
The next-hardest part is character names. I know that once I write them, I’m stuck with them. I guess it’s the equivalent of jumping out of an airplane, trusting that your parachute is folded correctly. Because, once you jump, you’re committed. (Rob’s Note: Behind the Names is awesome, especially the Random Name generator)
Besides that, I also struggle with imposter syndrome. I feel a little better knowing that most authors do, but I wish none of us did. Sometimes it’s paralyzing, but I push through by reminding myself that I enjoy the task of writing even when I think it’s no good.
What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?
The one thing I’m good at more than anything else is learning. I can learn anything I put my mind to. I learned how to write by listening to others, reading others and reading books. Throw a few YouTube videos into the mix and POOF – author.
My second magic power is teaching. I’ve learned that anyone can be taught, and the more I teach something, the more concrete it becomes in my own brain. So, I do my best to teach new authors everything I know because not only does it help them, it helps me.
Speaking of which – my doing so does not hurt my own sales. I don’t compete with them. We write in the same genre. People consume our work and move on to the next. It’s not something like a refrigerator where they buy it and hold onto it as long as possible. We are entertainers, and once the entertainment is over, it’s time to move on to something new. (Rob’s Note: Agreed, we’re not competitors because it’s not a zero-sum game)
- Favorite Muppet? Mister Snuffleupagus
- Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchy
- Favorite Sports Team? Winnipeg Jets
- Cake or Pie? Pie, but only if it’s chocolate.
- Lime or Lemon? Lemon
- Favorite Chip Dip? French Onion
- Wet or Dry? Vacuums? Both. Personally? Dry.
- Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Nikki McFarland (Nikkitanix)
- Whisky or Whiskey? Whiskey, on the rocks.
- Favorite Superhero? Magneto. He counts, right?
- Steak Temperature? Rare
- Favorite 1970s TV show? M*A*S*H
- Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Winter
- Favorite Pet? Max my tabby cat.
- Best Game Ever? 7 Days to Die
- Coffee or Tea?Coffee
- Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Mostly Sci-Fi, but only 51%.
Tell me again where we can find your stuff?
- Website: http://www.chriswinderbooks.com
- Podcast: http://www.sfshenanigans.com
- Stay tuned for several new releases both from me alone and from myself and JR Handley with our co-written stuff. Plenty of Pew-Pew, red shirts getting decimated and starships. The first should be released in October.
And where can we find you?
I’ll be at 20 Books Vegas in November. Just look for the charming, handsome, tall, great-smelling, hysterical, humble guy.
Do you have a creator biography?
Chris Winder is a United States Marine Corps veteran who spent nearly half his eight years training other Marines in the fine art of field wire and switchboard operation.
Each class was dosed with a big helping of humor, which he learned is the key to helping people absorb and remember information. Therefore, Chris tries to sneak some humor into every book he writes.
His first novel, Cloud Development, is a technothriller revolving around a ten-year-old boy, his parents and the corporation his father works for. For years, LumoTech has been trying to unlock a dangerous secret and when their research targets the little boy as the key, his parents aren’t given much of a choice.
He currently works as an Information Technology Specialist for his local government where he spends much of his days wondering if there’s life on other planets, if aliens will be bipedal and if they think we are delicious space-cows.
Chris lives in a small town in northern Arizona with his wife and son, (his two oldest, daughters, are grown and live in the greater Phoenix area), his two cats, (Squeaker and Max), and his elderly dog, Scout.
Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not?
Everyone has a dream – a really big thing that seems like it’s out of their reach and it too hard to accomplish. You should have asked what’s my really big dream?
And I would answer it’s to teach kids how to write creatively. I find that writing is not only fun, it’s therapeutic. I have at least a million words which will probably never see the light of day because I wrote them for me and me alone.
I’ve confronted demons which I’ve held deep inside for decades. I’ve learned things about myself I’d forgotten. Most of all, I’ve learned to be okay with who I am.
My dream is to travel the state of Arizona speaking to kids about how to do what I do. I’d first like to visit juvenile detention, residential treatment centers and the like. Once I have a cadre who can learn to write, who I’ve helped build the confidence in, I want to publish their work and donate all the proceeds to the charity of their choice.
Once that’s done, I’ll move on to the adults.
That’s the great thing about being an author. We don’t need resumes. We don’t need job experience. Nobody cares if we had a rough past, if we’re in jail, if we have a history of drug abuse, or anything else. So long as we can string words together in a way that is entertaining, we can make a living.
I’m not the same person I was before I started writing. I’d like to pay that gift forward to as many people as possible. Even if they don’t become full-time authors, they will know they have the ability. If they only publish one book to prove they can do it, that’s still a win.
Writing makes people better.
Thanks to Christopher for taking the time to answer my questions.
If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.
Also, thanks to you for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326. If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.
Have a great day.
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels
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