Chissick Chat with Elaine R. Chissick and Riley J. Froud
Welcome to part ten of the Chissick Chat Blog, and a special hello to a friend of mine, Riley J. Froud, a great author from the Welsh coast who relocated to France to run a small village bar.
Welcome to my blog. Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about yourself and your books?
When I’m not working in the bar, I spend my time writing and wondering – mostly wondering actually, as writing requires focus and focus is something that seems to slip away from me so easily. I started out writing serious stories with lots of drama and tension but I soon came to realise that that’s just not for me. In truth, I struggle to keep a straight face and tend to make silly jokes about anything and everything. Hence, a whole bunch of Underlings were born.
The books I write are whimsical and comical, a bit of light-hearted humour to help you release the tensions of the day and have a giggle. There are more layers there if you want to see them, but you can enjoy my writing at any level: as shallow, silly humour or as a tale with a moral (at least, that’s the plan). My first book, John Sharpe: No. 1,348, is a novella that will drag you through an eye-rolling, thigh-slapping, jaw-flapping world of magic and mayhem.
What, or who, inspires you?
Terry Pratchett is a huge inspiration for me. I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember but stupidly or not, Pratchett’s Discworld series was the first time that I realised books can contain real, laugh-out-loud humour. That drew me and grasped my imagination in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. It’s more than that though. Pratchett’s intelligence shines through his books in a number of ways. The sheer number of references to different places, to literature, to trade, to all sorts of different things flabbergasted me and I’m sure – I know – that I will have missed many of references due to my own personal ignorance. What’s more, his books are many layered – read it as a gentle humorous tale or a good book with interesting references or even look for the deeper meaning (and there always is one) – whatever way you choose to read it, it’s enjoyable. That’s an extremely clever technique that I aim to do in my own work (although, admittedly, with much less success than Pratchett!)
Do you enjoy reading the same genre as the one you write in?
I do enjoy reading in the same genre I write, but I also enjoy reading all other genres too. As a reader, I’m extremely eclectic and I even try to read the genres I’m not particularly keen on (such as romance) occasionally, because you never know what wonders you’ll miss by completely ignoring a whole section of literature.
Has any of your research taken you to an unusual place?
So here’s a confession. I hate research. I simply don’t have the patience and that is partly why I write fantasy. I still do research, of course, as even fantasy needs to make sense, but honestly – I’d rather just start writing! The most unusual place my research has taken me though? It would have to be the roman baths in Caerleon where the characters in my second book visit, absolutely disgusted by the cleanliness of the Overlings (or Earthlings, as we know them)!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on the second (and as yet untitled) book in my Underworld series – a follow-up of sorts to John Sharpe. Intended to be a stand-alone novel based in the same world as John Sharpe, book two involves Underlings going on adventures through Overworld and battles between potential kings and queens.
What are your future writing plans?
I wish the writing time I have and the ideas for books I have had a better ratio! I have lots of ideas for all sorts of books but can’t find the time to write them. So for the moment, I’m focussing on finishing the second book, noting down ideas for future Underworld books, and on my blog, where you can find short stories, book reviews, and general meanderings of nonsense.
Is there anything you don’t like about writing/being an author?
Self-promotion. I’m rubbish at it. I’m not a pushy person by nature and I’m not a fan of singing my own praises. I also think that pushing promotion and blind advertising doesn’t work – if anything, it irritates people. I hate self-promotion, so a year-or-so ago, I decided to simply not do it. I talk to people about my books if the subject comes up, I write on my blog because I enjoy it, and I’ll get involved with things like this interview if happens naturally, but I won’t go searching for it and I let the sales take care of themselves. I never became a writer to get rich, and without promotion, sales are indefinitely slow, meaning I never will get rich! I became I writer because I enjoy writing and that’s that, really. I don’t need to earn a living from it and to be honest, I love running our little bar in France so I wouldn’t want writing to become my only income stream.
Of course, that’s not to say that self-promotion is bad, or that writers looking to make a steady living from their books are stupid because that’s simply not true. It works for some writers and many even love the marketing side of things, but it’s just not for me and after a few years of struggling, doing things I wasn’t enjoying and expending no end of energy on trying to make writing work for me as a business, I decided enough was enough. I take pleasure in the things I take pleasure in and the rest of the work can bugger off!
Quick Fire Questions …
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Sweet snack or savoury snack? Savoury
Real book or ebook? Both! It’s not the material that matters but the content 😉
Cinema or DVD? Neither
Cat or dog? Dog
Weepie or action movie? Neither
And to Finish, What is your favourite …
Food? Prawn cocktail crisps (I can’t get them in France, so since living here, they’ve risen to the top of my favourite food list!)
Movie? I don’t really have one.
Book? Gah! That’s like asking me to choose a favourite parent!
Colour? Yellow – a happy colour J
Saying/Proverb? “Never mind, it’s almost Christmas”
Song? Don’t really have one.
Pudding/dessert? Hot apple and blackberry crumble with custard!
Thanks for taking part, Riley – I too share your love of apple and blackberry crumble with custard! mmmmmm!
Elaine R. Chissick ~ Wife, mother, and step-mother with a passion for writing. I have three books out on Kindle at the moment and two in paperback. One is a true story and the other two are fiction novels. I am currently working on a few new projects. I’m also one of the authors who contributed to the charity book, “Look 4 Books Medley of Short Stories”
I have an eclectic taste in music, I like to cook, and I think that my cat has the most fabulous green eyes I have ever seen.
For more information, check out my website: elainechissick.wix.com/chissickchat