What brought you to writing for children? Was it always your goal?
Your first book Pop Culture is about the trials and tribulations of being a father in this crazy world. Being a father of two myself and working on a writing career, can you talk to me about how you carve out time to write with your hands full? What is your writing schedule like?
CH - I write like a madman until 3PM, trying to squeeze in as much work as I can before the kids come home. I’ll be honest: It’s not easy. But I’m grateful for it in a way, because it has forced me to develop a good work ethic. I have no choice but to be efficient. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sneak into my office to work in the afternoons or evenings at times, too. But I try to save the administrative side of business for those moments. It’s really hard to focus your creativity when you’ve got two kids loudly meowing and staging a Warriors cat battle in the next room. Of course, there’s a major bright side to being a children’s author with kids — you don’t have to travel far to bounce ideas off your target audience.
Your latest book The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom puts a fun new spin on the classic fairy tales and many of their characters. Can you tell us a little bit about the book and what has changed for you as a writer now that it is published?
In your opinion, what is the most important thing a writer has to do after publication? Why?
CH - Get active in social media. I would not have guessed this even a few months ago, but I think the main reason anyone has even heard of my book before its publication is because I got introduced to bloggers via Twitter and Facebook. I had no idea that this wonderful network of book bloggers even existed. But they are out there, they are very active, they are incredibly supportive of writers, and they just might be the best way to spread the word about your book. I love book bloggers — and I swear to you I am not just pandering. (If I were pandering I would have mentioned my long-time love of comics, my continued fascination with old Ralph McQuarrie concept art, and my appreciation for people who post random pictures of Batman on their Facebook pages — all of which is true, by the way.)
Ha ha ha! I have no idea what you are talking about (wink wink)... this person sounds awesome (wink wink)... Speaking of Batman, this is a cool picture.
|(c) Erik Von Lehmann|
Outside of books, what influences your writing? What is it about those particular influences that help your writing process?
CH - My kids would be the biggest influences. My 10-year-old daughter, especially, is very vocal about what she likes and doesn’t like. It would be impossible for me to live in the same house with her and not be influenced by her. She’s not your typical 10-year-old girl, though. Not long ago, her friends were all naming their favorite celebrities and my daughter said hers was Marie Curie. Sometimes it feels like having a real-life Lisa Simpson. Speaking of which, The Simpsons has always been a huge influence on my sense of humor.
As a long-time comic book fan (oh, man, there I go — I did mention it), I’d also say my writing is influenced by that visual style of storytelling I grew up with. I always tend to imagine a scene visually before I put in down in words. Video games probably have an impact on my writing as well. I’m a big fan of the Lego video games, in which you often control a large handful of characters and need to switch between them to conquer various obstacles. When devising the missions for my heroes, I often thought in those terms. “Okay, first they come to the giant, so I have to switch to so-and-so, because his particular skill is best to help them get past. Then they need to break into the fortress, so I switch to so-and-so #2, because he’d been able to get the door open.” And so on.
So you're saying video games can help your career!? Cool!
If you were to be trapped in a fairytale and had to live in the world, which one would it be and why?
CH - I’m cheating a little, because this is not a classic fairytale, but I’d say: Post-War of the Ring Middle Earth (but definitely only Post-War). I think I’m pretty cut out for life at Bag End.
I'm just going to say it now, anything to do with Hobbit's and Middle Earth and all that awesomeness is fairytale. It has become such a part of our historical literature and shaping of many modern day storytelling we can call it FT for sure.
A HUGE thank you to Chris for stopping by the asylum and a mucho mucho thanks to Kellie at Walden for including us in this wonderful blog tour. To keep up with Chris on the rest of the blog tour dates check out the link here and spread the word - http://waldenpondpress.blogspot.com/2012/04/its-blog-tour-time-welcome-to-heros.html?spref=tw
But wait! It's not over yet. There are more goodies. Monday we posted about a tweetstakes that ends 5/4 - you can see the info here - http://literaryasylum.blogspot.com/2012/04/walden-pond-press-tweetstakes.html
And for those of us that LOVE the amazingly cool illustrations that always seem to fill the pages of children's books - Walden Pond Press has been so kind to share some of the imagery from the book by Todd Harris. Feast your eyes on this!