About Rebecca Chastain:
REBECCA CHASTAIN has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. She has been employed as a VHS sales clerk, bookshelf straightener, government pseudo-employee, professional finder of lost sporting goods, and strategy guide wrangler in the video game industry. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old, and she’s incapable of stopping. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats.
What inspires you to write?
Magic. I crave it. I wanted to grow up to be the woman who could walk through walls, ride a dragon, and craft a spell. Since the closest I can come to accomplishing those fantastical feats is on the page, I write. I’m inspired by unfulfilled desires and by the world around me. I love taking the normal, everyday world and throwing magic into it just to see what happens, like I did with A FISTFUL OF EVIL, and I’m just as happy creating a world from the ground up, as I did with MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am obsessed with outlines. I plot out every single scene, and do a lot of work on the outline before I begin to write. The outline is where I solidify the character’s arc, the pacing, and the theme. I run the outline through a gauntlet of tests, ensuring it has three acts, some surprises, and most importantly, that I’m excited to write every single scene and would want to read every scene, too. It’s so much easier to fix plot and character problems here, in the outline, than later in a 300-page novel!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I’ve never talked with my characters, but I do like to pretend they’re with me throughout the day. I visualize them reacting to the same situations I’m in, or shopping alongside me. It helps me get deeper inside each character’s head, and it occasionally provides inspiration for a later story. I do the same when I’m reading someone else’s novel. I ask myself, “How would my main character respond here? What would she do differently?”
What advice would you give other writers?
Creating a novel is a fine balance between your vision and outside input. When you first start writing, it’s crucial that you put in the hours to learn how YOU write and what your style is, but there’s always a point where your writing can be improved only be the feedback of others. Make sure you’ve got a good network of fellow writers and/or critiquers who can point out what does and doesn’t work in your WIP and help you become a stronger writer.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I spent many years submitting to agents, and I got a lot of positive rejections: “I love your writing, but this project isn’t right for me.” So I did some research (okay, a LOT of research) about self-publishing and decided it was right for me. After I made a decision, I focused creating the best experience possible for my readers. Publishing A FISTFUL OF EVIL was the most rewarding and inspiring experience. I’m energized to write and write, and I can’t wait to publish my next novel, MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES. However, being an indie author means footing the bill for covers and editing. It means running a business and being in charge of every single decisions. It means being solely responsible for marketing your novel. I love doing all of the above, but if you’re hesitating, do your research before you make a final decision.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think humans have an unquenchable thirst for stories, and they’ll seek them out in whatever forms are available. Staying adaptable, keeping in touch with the changes of the market, and continuing to write are the keys to success no matter how book publishing changes in the future.
What genres do you write?: Urban Fantasy and Fantasy
What formats are your books in?: eBook