Saturday, 23 November 2013

An interview with Oliver F Chase

As a special treat I have another Author interview... Oliver F Chase

I grew up on military bases throughout the country. Like all boys, we played good guys and bad although I always favored the good. Coaxing me into an afternoon of baseball or hiking the Southern California hills didn’t take much unless a book grabbed me first. When the time came for the writs of passage, my best buddy Herb and I raised our hands and swore an oath joining a Marine officer’s program before college. Herb soon had his fill of school however and decided to get the war over to move on with his life. Six months later, he was dead in a Vietnamese rice paddy.
Eighteen months after graduating from college, I stepped onto the Da Nang tarmac not far from where Herb died. Thirty one other guys and I flew days and nights over the mountains and the Ho Chi Minh Trail trying to stem the North’s invasion. That didn’t work out so well. Two of the five guys in my hooch didn’t make the first year. One more made it home but never quite found his stride again and died a few years later. Maybe we all changed a little. Those weren’t the best of days.
The Smith Corona portable that I used overseas replaced yellow pads and a number two pencils. The Smith and I traveled from Vietnam to grad school, to a teaching stint on the Navajo’s Checkerboard reservation, and to several years with a police department. Somewhere along the way, I joined the FBI, too. Stories were always my release, escape, and sounding board. Sometimes, stories were the only way I could right a wrong. Life is a big damn boat that sometimes just refuses to turn when you want it to. That doesn’t mean, any of us should stop pushing. So, I’ve never stopped writing. The Smith was traded for a Zenith, a Mac, and a PC. A hardened Toshiba Satellite goes where I go now and can usually be found at the bottom of my duffle. I’ve written a box full of short stories and a couple novellas. Novels number five and six are called the The Hirebomber Crime series published by AEC Stellar. The series includes two books Marsh Island and Blind Marsh that stars the soldiers and airplanes I’ve known all my life.

Do you write as yourself or under a pseudonym?  Why?

I use the name Oliver F. Chase. Obviously, I like the name and have a great deal of respect for the Chase family, an original immigrant from England in the 17th Century and most pointedly Margret Chase Smith, a pioneer in American politics and the first woman elected to both the Senate and House of Representatives. She stood alone and against popular thought, defending our right to criticize, hold unpopular beliefs, protest, and to have independent thoughts. We don’t have to agree with her, just respect her.

What made you want to be a published author?

The act of publishing is the completion of the writing process. Every writer has a story. If there’s nothing new under the sun, then something must set your effort apart. Writers need to hone thoughts, clarify story lines, make clues and reader hints succinct, sharpen dialog, find ways to heighten interest. Few are able to topple these mighty trees without the line editor, copy editor, critical reader, and redraft…and then do it all again. Our work should have the goal to be read, enjoyed, become a topic of conversation, and something a friend recommends.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write mystery thriller. Humans are most real when under pressure. Hence, they are most interesting. A mystery is one more device that lets a reader look safely into the life and actions of another.

If you could talk to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?

Limit your baseball – enjoy it and don’t count on it.
Stretch your mind beyond its limit – baseball will soon enough be your spectator sport.

Have any other authors influenced your writing through theirs?

Contemporary authors – James Lee Burke, John Sanford, Jan Burke
Classics – Hemmingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck

If you are a self-published author what made you take this route and what was your experience (good or bad)?
Self publishing is tough, maybe too tough for me. I chose to publish cooperatively using my story, sweat, and funding to get my work from desk to desktop.

How would you rate your writing?

I’m a good writer when it comes to situation, dialogue, and plot. My weakness lies in my inability to control my characters and to convince them I know best. Too often, characters take my work to a place different from what was intended.

What influences your choice of book covers?

I listened to my editor and publisher, eschewed my original thoughts and chose an artist.

How do you balance your writing with your real world responsibilities?

By rising early, earmarking certain weekend hours, and devoting all other time to job and family, a modicum of balance is achieved.

Do your characters drive the plots of your stories or do you plan out your plot?

I plan my plot and put the chessmen out. Each are assigned a personality and driving characteristics. Each may or may not have a private agenda – hidden political ambitions, a seminal incident somewhere in their background. I blow the whistle and we begin working our way toward the plot’s conclusion. Pretty exciting watching as everyone assumes their place and fortifies their positions. Along the way, new characters, incidents, and situations are encountered and the story reacts. I’m the guidance counselor who must separate the combatants and assure our progress. I also function as puppet master – God is far too strong a concept – and give the reader what they want. A thrill ride.

Do you ever write what you dream? Give an example.

I think dreams are data dumps, both good and bad. I also don’t believe we have much control over our subconscious, if that’s where they come from.
I use ‘me time’ like long runs, monotonous laps in a swimming pool, long walks to develop a story, plot, characters, and dialog.

Do you market yourself or pay a professional?

I work with a professional, AEC Stellar Publishing. Our CEO is a visionary of intellect and organization. The people who work in the firm are smart, young people who have drive and a work ethic better than my own.

What are your tips for editing?

I’ll give you her name – consummate professional. When she edits, I listen and believe her. If I push back, she listens. AEC is a learning company.

What inspired you to write your current WIP or current published work?

The good and the bad that own the earth never cease to interest us, the reader. I once met Phil Pfeiffer in New York City before Marsh Island was a cogent thought. He was an interesting guy that I never saw again. I knew some of the bad guys that appeared in the book, too. Some face to face, some face behind the bars, one in my imagination. Phil, the most steadfast of characters, fooled me. He was never meant to actually reveal so much of his thoughts and disappointments. Or to be long-lived. I’m glad he was because I got to meet Lisa, Victor, and even Kazanchy – someone you’ll enjoy in Blind Marsh. You’ll have to judge for yourself but trust me when I say, Phil and Maff made me do it.

Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels or a series?  Why?

I’ve written both. Standalones enforce a mental process to write concisely, convincingly, and efficiently. The story’s got to happen in about 300 pages. The reader’s got to close the book and say, “Good. What else did this guy write?” 
Marsh Island. Think Airport book. From waiting area to taxi ride home with enough time to ask, “Okay, but what about Lisa? I really liked her.” Blind Marsh.
The series allows two big-time events the space to compete with the economy of a standalone, while engaging the same main characters in a new and interesting way. I can explain what happened to Lisa on your next trip.

If you could change one thing in the publishing process what would it be?

AEC Stellar has been too good to me. I’ve just have to learn how to be a better communicator with them.

What advice would you give to a new author?

We’ve all heard it before. But okay, one more time:
You don’t have to be totally selfish to write. It helps, but makes our longevity and creativeness limited.
Life is better with others, so keep room open for them. Schedule and divide your time and then stick with the schedule. Don’t let one drift into the other.
Be energetic.
Write like it’s for all the marbles. Don’t count them on the way home.
Enjoy the small successes and let the big ones take care of themselves. 
Drop me a line on Facebook and we can discuss.

Share a favourite quote from your book.

“…a silver form flashed at my feet. When I put my face under, I saw nothing but a mask gurgling with incoming water. The blue beneath me was bottomless and I could do naught if I’d been discovered by a predator. I flattened and swam, pulling at the water with a renewed and frightening vigor. As I turned to breathe, a fin suddenly broke the surface, twenty feet away. I wasn’t going to make it. All those dreams of walking on water, flying without an airplane, breathing when buried alive − they all came flooding into a brain exploding in terror. The monster was loosening. I fought to keep him at bay and swam straight and hard. Sharks probably sensed fear, so this one was undoubtedly in sensory overload. When my face turned for the next breath, the fin was gone. I cleared the mask and looked under the water…”

Stalker Links

After a crushing injury, Army Ranger Phil Pfeifer is left for dead in the mountains of Iran only days before the start of the Gulf War. America cannot reveal such a violation of national sovereignty mere days before Kuwait is invaded. The body may heal but the heart takes longer. Seeking a new life as a private investigator, Phil is hired to find a wayward husband who's become enraptured with stars and predicting the future. A simple case and the midlife crazies stop when a boat captain is murdered at his feet and the Mafia chases him through the backstreets of Las Vegas. Insisting that he must continue, the spurned wife sends Phil into the topics to face death, sharks, miles of open ocean, and prison.

Look forward to Blind Marsh, the second book in The Hirebomber Crime Series and the thrilling conclusion to Phil's adventure that includes a plot for murder at the highest levels that could change the face of world business forever.

Blind Marsh concludes The Hirebomber Crime series begun with Marsh Island. Hired to find a wayward husband, Phil Pfeiffer, Army Ranger turned PI up struggles with the death of his best friend. Will the partnership of a smart and beautiful woman be enough to combat a narcissistic and deadly hit man? Phil barely escapes death in a violent shootout and kidnapping as he uncovers an even greater evil. Now, he must thwart an international plot to steal billions and kill any hope of America’s return to greatness.


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