Tuesday, June 9, 2015
An Interview with Erika Chase
Interview with ERIKA CHASE by Pamela James
MM2: I'm always interested how an author starts her writing career. How did you decide to write books?
I’ve been writing all my life, it seems. I tried my hand at writing a novel when in eighth grade, thanks to the encouragement of a very savvy English teacher. I went on to work on the school newspaper, making editor in my senior year and while working part-time on our local paper. In university, I took Journalism and went on to more writing until my son was born and I became a stay-at-home mom. When he started nursery school, I started a creative writing class at our community college, and enjoyed it so much, I kept on doing it.
MM2: What is your average writing day like?
The mornings are my business hours, devoted to emails and social media. You’d be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t, how much time that takes. It’s very important to authors to connect with readers so it’s time well spent. After lunch, I usually sit down for several hours of writing. I try to get a minimum of 1000 words a day but depending on the muses, this could vary.
MM2: Since you write a book club mystery series. Are you a member of one?
I’m a member of a general book club and am trying to ease them into the delights of murder! In my former life as a mystery bookstore owner, I would often speak to mystery book clubs about themed mysteries or new releases. I think book clubs are invaluable in providing a shared enjoyment of books and also as social communities.
MM2: I enjoy Lizzie Turner and her group. Tell us how you create the characters and give them the names and setting you do in the series?
With the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries, it’s a house series which means my editor at Berkley Prime Crime had the idea and my agent connected me with her. The character’s names and general locale were her idea. The challenge for me was making those characters my own as I love to start with names which speak to me about the character’s traits. I’m not quite sure at what point they truly became my characters but we have all bonded and they’re old friends.
MM2: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Never give up! On the other hand, know when to give up. Sounds strange but I mean keep pursuing your goal, your dream. Keep sending out those queries and incorporate any advice you get in return into perfecting your manuscript.
However, there comes a point in your writing when you have to stop and send it out. It’s very easy for author’s to get caught up in the editing process and keep refining the words on the pages. It’s not going to sell if it isn’t out there. So learn to let go and get on with the next one. Oh, and always have a next one on the go. You may need it sooner than you think.
MM2: When starting your writing career. Who gave you the best writing advice?
Probably that creative writing instructor from years ago, even though her forte was romance writing. She stressed the value of attending writing groups and it was through our local crime writing association that I met up with five other keen writers and we formed a critiquing group. That was many years ago and we’re still best of friends and each other’s most earnest critics. We call ourselves The Ladies Killing Circle.
MM2: Leave us with some words of wisdom from Lizzie Turner.
Lizzie would probably tell everyone that friendships are the most important aspect of a person’s life. Be true to your friends and by all means possible, keep them out of jail!
MM2: Direct us to your blog, website and of course last but never least...do you have a favorite book, movie, meal or place to vacation?
My website is www.erikachase.com where you’ll find a sneak preview of book #5, Law and Author which releases Sept. 1st. Favorite book – too many to choose just one although I do love the ones that provide some armchair travel. Movie – Chocolat. Meal – must include West coast salmon. Vacation spot – Victoria, B.C. because my son and DIL live there!
Erika, thank you so much for agreeing to our interview.
Thank you for the opportunity! It’s been fun.
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