Here’s what Spotlight is about; it’s an interview that promotes you! It will feature questions that are formatted to your needs. Questions will be focused on your work, upcoming work and some personal [but not intrusive] questions for your fans to get to know you more!
Oliver F. Chase
About your writing;
When did you start writing? I suppose all kids write and I was no exception. When Mrs. Baumgartner, my 3rd grade teacher, gave out assignments, I knew she was gunning for me. The assignment was to write a story and I got to thinking about Paul Revere making that lonely ride. Nobody ventures into the night without their trusty canine companion so I gave Paul my dog. Queelin and he dashed about the countryside, conversing about the Sons of Liberty, the dastardly British, and how saddlebags made a lousy way to ride a galloping horse. I don’t recall my grade but do remember Mrs. Baumgartner very well. In order to get to 4th grade, I was consigned to summer school. Guess who taught the class?
What inspires you to write?
The mere act of writing in a disciplined, reader-oriented approach allows me to release the character that’s begging to get out. And I tell you, once that person climbs inside your head or once that plot ferments within, you do not have a choice. It’s either the nuthouse, or get him, her, or it, out. There is no other way.
My first, full length novel was the loose assemblage of an airline pilot, a home in the Washington State mountains, and the tragedy at Waco/Mt. Carmel, Texas coming together. I always wanted to fly big airplanes. The latter two factors represented real moments in my life. The book was a natural. Everyone who spent the sixty days at Waco was affected. Some took America’s failure to save the children and the disturbed adults harder than others. I lived among the heroes of Waco and hated the media’s misinformation afterwards. The book came forth.
How has writing changed you as a person?
Anyone who has put pen to paper to give character’s life knows that writing is hard work. I’ve always enjoyed a challenge whether gaining my Naval Aviator wings or creating a new workbench for the garage. Nothing, however, matches telling a story to someone willing to listen. If I’m skillful in that pursuit and a reader pauses to ponder a thought that I might have put there, I get pretty pleased with myself.
Adding some fun;
Share a couple of your favorite things and or things you like.
I like flying first thing in the morning. As a military trained helicopter pilot, I usually flew with a crew, another pilot, or maybe a crew chief. Dawn Patrol, like in the old movies. These days, it’s usually just me in my little airplane. Lifting off at the first light and climbing into the blue of the pre-dawn is like finding a brand new earth at your feet. The world is never the same place twice.
What couldn’t you live without?
That’s easy: Wife and kids. My family of brothers, and sister, nieces, nephews, cousins…you name them. Humans are social creatures. The loners that I’ve known and sometimes find their way into my books have an empty spot that hurts. The love that people exchange, whether it’s taking someone fishing or holding the door for a stranger fills that place in our hearts just as drink quenches a thirst.
In the literacy world who do you think is a misunderstood character and why?
Instead of just misunderstood, let’s talk complex and include misunderstood, heroic, tragic, confused, passionate, and human. Jake Epping in Stephen King’s 11-23-1963 is just that guy. Think about going back and changing the seminal event of the 20th Century; an event that changed the most powerful country in world history from innocent and optimistic to something completely different. Jake is goaded into accepting that challenge – looses everything and gains himself in the effort. Mr. King weaves his story and his character into each of us. Jake Epping never listened to me even though I warned him quite thoroughly through both my reads of Mr. King’s book. And they danced.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about writing?
When I read James Lee Burke or John Sanford, I’m in the presence of the masters. Every book, plot twist, car chase, success or failure has me thinking. Many times, I’ll listen to their books commuting. When Burke is on the audio, I hope for a traffic jam.
Is there a character that annoys you in the literacy world? Or even one of your own? Okay, okay. I’m going to make the public mad at this one. I’ve never cared for Dagny Taggart of Atlas Shrugged. I love strong characters, strong personalities, and strong men and women. Ms Taggart missed the corner of my heart reserved for strong women. Sorry, Ayn.
What do you look for in a publishing company as they will end up representing your work?
That’s easy. You look for a company with an eye toward the qualities you expect in the people of your life: integrity, honesty, energy, and personality.
How do you stay confident in yourself, especially by putting yourself out there in the internet world?
Can I let you know in a month? I may have written a half-dozen novels, but Marsh Island and Blind Marsh will be my inaugural offering.
How do you handle rejection? What advice can you offer to moving past it? Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Deciding to write for the world instead of yourself means to reject rejection. There is nothing sacred in literature. No author and no work was ever above a critic’s pen. No piece of music was ever uttered without someone disapproving. No poem, verse, stanza, or rhyme ever found its way to paper without sad soaps muttering they could do better. Well, let them. Accept advice and constructive criticism, reject what you don’t like. Be a critic of the critic but don’t get into a fight and waste energy. Hunker down and get it on paper (or pad). Be a learning being. Everyone can teach us something if we’re willing to learn.
Featuring your work and or upcoming work;
Tell us about your book[s]
I’m publishing two books in the Hirebomber Series Marsh Island and Blind Marsh. Our hero is an everyday, everyman guy named Phil Pfeiffer. He is also an ex-Army Ranger and private detective chasing a wayward husband who suddenly dies in a boating accident. In Phil’s attempt to get a simple death certificate for the widow, he manages to tick off the wrong people and ends up staying one step ahead of a psychopathic and talented mob hit man. Kicking the ant pile was not his intention. Phil is relentless in his pursuit but also tormented by his own vision of what he could have been, and the bizarre world in which he finds himself now.
Who is your favorite character and why? [If you can share without spoiling your work]
Phil Pfeiffer is a great guy but my favorite character is Adam Michaels, the hero of Terrorist Mirage. He’s also a mystery because no one, including my editor, have read him yet. Set to release in the Winter of 2014, Terrorist Mirage is the story of a smart, young soldier caught in America’s rush to judge and the media’s willingness to exploit human misery. Scourged by his contemporaries and excoriated by his peers, Adam foils an Al Qaeda plot that would have worldwide consequences. Hope you like all three books.
What character do you hope readers understand?
I like Lisa Calendar in the Hirebomber Series. It’s tough to start out as Martha with hope and talent, and then have your life tailspin when you don’t have enough of what it takes. Lisa comes to grip with just that reality and makes real decisions most storybook characters don’t face. Growing beyond a personal shortfall makes for an exceptional person – real or imagined. I like Lisa and think you’ll like her, too. But please, don’t hate her just because she’s beautiful.
Do you have a favorite part of your own book (s) ?
Since Jaws in the 1970s, everyone is afraid of sharks. Heck, sharks are scared of other sharks. Our hero, Phil Pfeiffer, isn’t unnerved by man-eating fish, he’s simply trapped and must do what a man must do. When I wrote this sequence, I recalled my times swimming far beyond the breakers, on top of reef, and beyond sight of any land. A visit to the shark’s world is pretty sobering and survival is pretty simple. If they’re hungry, they eat. Introduce something different into their environment, and life is suddenly unpredictable. When Phil finds himself swimming with the sharks, he must draw deeply on his own will and guts to survive. His is not the act of a hero, however. Phil’s display of guts is not unlike what is inside each of us whether our test is to remain steadfast for an unpopular principle or shout “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” All of us possess fortitude like Phil’s with opportunities to excel every day.
Choosing a character or even yourself, can you give us a sample playlist of music that would follow said person? Phil Pfeiffer’s playlist is much better than mine. I tend to be stuck in generation old C&W, rock and roll, and folk ballads. As you get to know Phil, you’ll recall he is an audio system expert. His favorite .45 caliber pistol was payment in exchange from a fellow soldier for installing a sound system in his home. In fact, it is Phil’s expertise that foils the plot to kill….no, no. Can’t tell you that. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Phil listened and appreciated his grandparent’s music: Sinatra with perfect pitch; Doris Day, Teresa Brewer, Rosemary Clooney with crystal melody that makes your heart ache. His Dad was all about the New York Philharmonic and the old masters. Phil loved to put the top down on the old convertible and hope for Toby Keith “Should’ve Been a Cowboy. I guess there’s just no accounting for some people.
Have you had trouble writing about any of your characters?
Actually, no. They pretty much write themselves. Once they find their way to paper, they are headed off to parts unknown and I’m just there to chronicle their journey. I set the stage and they write their stories.
How is this world a better place because of your books?
Interesting question. My books shouldn’t have any impact on our world, except to encourage a reader to look below the surface before judging a person; give yourself a little break now and then – we are all our own worst critics and apologists; and escape once in a while. Everyone needs a little down time, now and then.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would (they / it) be?
I’m probably supposed to say Phil or Maff, but I met Lisa Calendar one evening. In real life, I mean. She was the charming and lovely wife to the Capo of a major American City. He was on the run and I was his inside night-security guy. She sat up one evening with us talking. He was lonely and I was interested in the end-of-life of a mobster. The next day, the Capo and his Lady were on his way to testify and then to disappear. I read sometime later that he passed away after an automobile accident. The fictional Lisa Calendar was never heard of again, either. Apparently, she was not in the car.
If you had to write a scene for a character of your choice that would put them in an awkward situation how would it go?
Phil Pfeiffer of Marsh Island and Blind Marsh is a guy caught between the generations. The difference between the 80s and 90s is as socially stark as that between his parent’s generation, the 50s and 60s. When Phil failed at marriage – ending really with a joke instead of tears – the personal devastation was as long-lasting as the scar from the car bomb. When Lisa Calendar returns to his life, he is ill adept, fielding the intricacies of later-in-life relationships. Every misstep and opportunity is met with a moment of decision. When that final commitment comes, as we all know it must, Phil makes a life-changing choice that may not be what the reader expects or wants.
What do you do for marketing?
AEC Stellar handles that for me. What a great group! They’re young and ambitious, bursting with impressive ideas and yet thorough and considerate. The company officers spent many months and years researching every aspect of print and electronic book marketing, editing, and publishing. They’ve created proprietary guidelines, workbooks, hints, white papers, and step-by-step processes. I’m never left in the dark and I know exactly what to expect next. Much of my early adult reading involved stories surrounding the publishing and literary world. Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk was one of the scariest novels I’d read. I wanted to write and have people drop alms and praise at my feet. In Youngblood, the hero worked himself to death trying to payback earlier debts while facing huge personal disappointment over his lack of publishing success. Sound familiar? Damn publishers! (Present company excepted, of course.) Thank goodness for today.
Promote your books in a sentence or less 🙂
Marsh Island (Hirebomber Series, Part One)– Phil Pheiffer, Army vet turned private detective, must see how far his charm and rusty skills will take him as a mob hit man and serial killer make him a pawn in their maniacal game.
Blind Marsh (Hirebomber Series, Part Two)– Phil is back on the case when the beautiful Lisa Calendar sheds some light on the subject, and the two take a terrifying trip down a rabbit hole they may never escape.
What are you working on now?
I mentioned Terrorist Mirage is currently in rewrite. The story is about a young Army Officer returning from Afghanistan. His tour was fraught with controversy, blame, and self-recrimination. The results are a broken marriage, loss of friends, and an espionage cell on American soil that target him. A final confrontation asks that he pay the bill for an America too quick to judge and too shallow to forgive.
Find out more about Marsh Island on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marsh-Island/113770255495678
Connect with Oliver F. Chase on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/O_Chase_Author