I recently spent time in the company of Earl Chessher. He is an amazing man, with a strong passion for all things writing. I was delighted when he agreed to answer some questions for me and be a guest on my blog. So on with the interrogation, I mean interview!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I've put a lot of living into 66 years, and am nowhere near a stopping point now. One thing, however, that has been consistent with me is the insatiable urge to read, write, hear people's stories and preserve those stories. It lead me to my major lifetime career as a journalist and newspaper publisher, and funnelled me into video production as a secondary career.
A huge collection of personal notes, accumulated stories and interviews on audiotapes, and literally stacks of journals were lost to me in a fire that destroyed a home I was building in East Texas. I escaped with me, a light jacket, a pair of jeans and a pair of cowboy boots. That was around 30 years ago. I have been accumulating new journals, more stories, and now, videotaped interviews, rebuilding my literary stash ever since.
Now, I enjoy the luxuries of the Internet, digital recording and a social networking system that has made the world a much smaller place. I also enjoy mentoring, interacting and following members of an 8,000-plus Facebook group I am the administrator for, called Fiction Writers Group. We also publish anthologies, collecting stories submitted exclusively by FWG members.
What genres do you like to write in?
I am a self-confessed genre-jumping writer. There are very few genres I do not like writing in, or that I will not tackle as I continue my third career. My preferences are contemporary fiction, adventure, psychological thriller, low-level horror (not slasher), western storytelling, romance and quality erotica. And I gladly dabble in fantasy writing.
What is the title of your latest book, (tell us a bit about it)?
I have two, actually, part of an ongoing endeavour, along with a very special group of dedicated writers, to revive western storytelling. Stilts is about a young man who loses his legs when a group of thugs shoot them out from under him, murder his parents and kill their horses. He overcomes this handicap, finds a new life with good friends who admire him, and eventually brings the the gang of thugs to justice in the western tradition.
In Buried Memories the ghost of a girl who was murdered along with her parents haunts an especially unique cowboy with a horrible loss and dark past of his own, and together they find justice, in addition to the restoration of love for this unique cowboy who needs someone to share his heart with.
What are you currently working on?
Gosh, so many … another Writers of the West novella, featuring another unique character, I think, who isn't your run-of-the-mill cowboy. I intersperse my longer projects with short stories of various lengths, of which I am currently working on three. I have two novels to complete, hopefully, by end of year, and the second in a fantasy series of three books.
I hope to achieve these goals because I have a major new undertaking that will consume my writing time for probably the next two years, with a great, I think, new adventure/action/thriller project featuring creatures that will provide a bit of relief from the usual vampires, werewolves, shape changers and superheroes. It had better work, because this will be the most serious and focused project of my literary career.
When and where do you like to write? Have you a favourite place?
I spend much of my time in my writing cave—my single bedroom is a video editing and writing office. I do, however, really enjoy sitting outside on my patio, or at an area coffee shop to write and research, as well as a huge local library. I also occasionally get to meet with a very special writing friend, and we both sit at our laptops, tapping away, sometimes commenting and sharing. That is a seriously refreshing change in my usual writing habits.
Has there been a defining moment in your career that made you think, ‘Yes, I am a writer’?
Many, many years ago, after countless submissions to magazines, I managed to place two in one year. Getting the acceptance, and then that check, in spite of having already established a newspaper and journalistic career, I felt that I had arrived. This, reinforced by a series of contest awards for personality profiles and human interest stories, as well as my ongoing personal creative writing column, gave me faith in myself and firmly established my self-confidence.
What is next for you?
I have no fewer than a dozen—actually more like twenty—projects I want to bring to fulfilment before I move on to the next life. In addition to these stories and titles, I plan to establish a program that will enable serious writers to achieve their publishing goals. I intend to develop a marketing program that will build my own success, and that will also help me help others to realise their potential. I plan to help those who believe in me, and those whom I believe in make it happen. Together, I believe, dedicated writers can learn that isolation isn't a required element of successful writing.
Thank you, Mary, for inviting me to participate in your blog and your writer interview project. I am honoured to be a part of your program.
Stilts: Blurb to entice you further
No way in hell can a boy survive with his legs shot out from under him. Harsh realities dictate that the weak perish while the strong survive, and there’s no compassion for those who cannot fend for themselves.
Life without your legs is a sure sign that you’ll die ...
unless you’re born with a lot of heart and a will to live long enough to serve your own kind of justice.
Randy learns to get along perfectly with his powerful arms and shoulders, and a pair of stubs ending just above his knees. But a set of wooden legs designed for him by Father Jeremy, a priest in need of saving, become weapons no outlaw can outshoot. Will Stilts manage to keep his soul in the process?
Available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1Kg5H6m
Buried Memories … blurb
Diligent Barker has pushed the past aside in an effort to find his future. He’s a hardworking wrangler who likes to whittle and adores kids. The buried memories he holds for a lost daughter, brutally murdered, are rekindled by a young girl who shows up in his new life. Love and loss help this hardened cowboy accept strange and wonderful things, even the possibility that his own little girl might be channeling back to him through another precocious child … a child looking for her own parents’ killers.
But evil runs deep in Diligent’s town. He’s not the only one with something to hide. What the others are up to makes Barker’s past look like child’s play. Forced to face his own dark past, Diligent is guided by a girl who may not be real, but is willing to be as alive as it takes to find justice. Will Diligent find a way past his own darkness and into a new light?
Available on Amazon at :http://amzn.to/1Jbwor7
Find Earl Chessher at: