On this gorgeous summer day in South Carolina, author Chris Shuler has kindly agreed to join me on couch in wintry Melbourne to talk about his young adult paranormal book, The Watchers Rising. Thank you, Chris, for taking the time to chat to me. Please sit down, get comfortable and let’s begin.
About Chris Shuler
Chris Shuler was born on October 19, 1971, in Columbia, South Carolina. He has two children: a boy and girl. When he is not spending time with them he loves to read and write. He still resides in Columbia, South Carolina. His first book, The Watchers Rising, was published in November of 2016.
Tell us a bit about The Watchers Rising
After the death of his father, Topher and his mother have moved to the small town of Newfoundland, so now Topher must face a new school, a new town, and new friends. Soon after settling into his new school he discovers that Newfoundland and his new friends hold a secret….a secret that thrust the weight of the world onto his shoulders and he must face the greatest evil the world has ever known.
If there was a film or TV adaptation of your book, who would you like to see play your characters?
Ashley Benson from Pretty little Liars to play Shannon and Rachel Lutrell from Stargate Atlantis playing Amanda. I would have to think about the rest.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
They are extremely important. I named each character in both books after someone who has crossed my path at one time or another in my lifetime….except one anyway.
Give us an insight into your main character. What makes them unique?
Topher, finding out he is an Archangel … that is unique. Finding out he has all this stress on him but still acting like a teen is amazing all in itself.
If you could choose ten words to describe your book, what would they be?
Supernatural meets Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson.
Where do your ideas come from?
I see them in dreams … sometimes when I here a song or take a walk something appears …
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think they are cool and would love to try one but don’t have the talent or resources to make one.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Being the father of two beautiful teenagers.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully still writing, and working on a novel with some amazing writers I’ve met.
Have you always liked to write?
Always loved it. I finished my first short story when I was in the sixth grade. It was based on a dungeon I created for a Dungeon and Dragons campaign.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Keep pen to paper, fingers to the keyboard. Don’t let anyone tell you not to write. Writing is a part of you … your very soul … writing keeps you whole.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Probably still my day job … selling cars.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do, yes. I look at this way with the bad reviews. You can’t make everyone happy. If it’s a legitimate bad review I will listen to it and learn from it.
What is your best marketing tip?
Cross promoting with other writers, giveaways, this awesome website called The Prolific Reader and instaFreebie.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Watching the story unfold. Watching how the page fills up with your creation.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Cruelty to children or animals.
Do you have a favourite conference / convention that you like to attend? What is it?
I would love to go to the San Diego Comic Con … I’ve seen picture of the people who cosplay there and they look so happy to take a break from reality for a few days.
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?
I usually have a hard time writing a scene that has four or more people. It … I have a hard time with balance and rhythm with it.
How long does it usually take you to write the first draft of a book?
If I’m in the zone, usually 30 days.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the third Watchers book and outlining its spin off series the Caretakers.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Well, in the third Watchers book about 80 to 90% of it takes place in a hospital and the horseman Pestilence is making a house call.
Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
When I know what scene I’m about to write I try to find a song that would put me in that mood. Like a romantic scene I will try to find a romantic love song by Rachel Platen … or if it’s going to be an action packed one I’ll find a rock song of some sort.
How has your environment or upbringing impacted your writing?
My mom and dad made sure I had an endless supply of books. There was a room in the house grew up in that had floor to ceiling books. It was my favorite room in that house.
Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
A deck by some forest or mountain that has a view of the sunrise or sunset.
Why should a potential reader buy your book(s)?
As a friend of mine said it’s a guilty pleasure to read and escape to.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your book?
The book of Enoch and how angels fell in love with humans. Also how the Egyptians were scared of angels so much that they invented Qere to kill them. They even used it in their mummification process to ward off angels in the afterlife.
What’s something you’re really good at that few people know about?
I’m a great cook.
What’s an interesting fact about your book?
There is a scene that happened to me in real life …I won’t say which one, but it was very emotional when I wrote it.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I didn’t choose to write in my genre. The story wrote itself into that genre. When I finish this series whatever story ends up in my head at that point will probably be in a different genre.
Where did your love of books come from?
My mom and dad.
How long have you been writing?
Pretty much all my life.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I wouldn’t give myself advice. Every decision I’ve made in life brought me to this point. So what if I needed to turn left instead of right? I’m here now and thankful for that.
What would the main character in your book have to say about you?
That I’m a big old meanie for making them go through all the stuff I’m making them go through.
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?
I’m a car salesman. Don’t hold that against me, I’m one of the honest ones!
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Shannon because she is so loving.
Are your characters based on real people, are they imaginary or a combination of both?
They are based on real people …
When you’re writing, do you listen to music or do you need silence?
Oh yes, I love listening to music when I write.
Who are your favourite authors, and why?
King because he introduced horror, Twain because of his quirky style, and Doyle because I love mysteries.
What’s the best thing about being an indie author?
Total control of everything! I love learning about the business side of things, like marketing.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Finding time to do it!
Available formats: ebook