I’ve interviewed Chris before, but it often pays to revisit people, especially old favourites (no, Chris isn’t old… quite the opposite), so here we are…
First, I’ll start with a brief intro. Chris and I met through the blogosphere. I can’t quite recall initial contact, but I do recall finding his blog posts entertaining and enlightening. He was a self-published author while I was still writing HEALER’S TOUCH. I enjoyed his blog posts so much, I read one of his early works. Now, I’m not going to say I was blown away… but I guess I always sensed that Chris has what it takes to get somewhere in this writing world. Is he there yet? Am I? Perhaps not yet… but it’s coming.
So, I returned to Chris’ work when he released another novel. I rather enjoyed London Darkness: Infernal Inventions, and felt it was definitely a move in the right direction in showing Chris’ growing talent. And then he released His Only Star, a YA novella, and I gave that a read, too. Again, this was a step forward, and the emotions Chris managed to bring into the book were real.
The rest… I’ve yet to sit down to (though I plan to!)…
So, Chris is young, currently self-published (though looking to seek the assistance of the traditional publishing world), and just gets better and better with each book published.
He’s one to watch.
And the best way to watch an author, is to read an author… so, you know… go take a look…
And now, with no further ado… here’s that interview…
Hey, Chris. Tell us a little about yourself…
Well, first, I’m 23 years old, I’m married (I know, I know, I’m too young to be married! Or so I hear, anyway), and I love coffee. I also enjoy a few rounds of boxing (both engaging in and watching, that is).
You’ve dabbled in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Steampunk, Flintlock Fantasy and now Noir. What’s drawn your interest to each of these?
I’ve been reading fantasy since about fifth grade, and I started writing it around then, too. Nothing serious. It was essentially just fan-fiction, but I like to think it was a good foundation on which I built what writing proficiency I have today.
Over the years, I sort of stumbled upon the other genres. I came across steampunk about two years ago. I don’t recall how, really, but I fell in loving with it right away. The steam-powered machines, the gadgets, as the classiness of the Victorian era. Before I knew it, I had two steampunk novels.
I came across flintlock fantasy last year when I discovered Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan. (Fantastic book, and the rest of the trilogy promises to be amazing. I highly recommend them. No, really, go get it right now. Then come back here and finish reading.) I’d never heard the idea of mixing fantasy and gunpowder before. It’s a brilliant concept really, and I don’t see why it’s not more popular. So, I hammered out a novel entitled Black Powder Brigade.
As for Noir, I came into that by playing Rockstar Game’s L.A. Noire in which you play as an L.A.P.D. Detective right after the end of WWII. It opened my eyes to an amazing genre full of misguided intentions, sex, and power. It has this certain underbelly allure to it that was amazing to write, and I’m glad I discovered just how much fun it is.
Your next book, THE ROTTEN APPLE, comes out soon (edit: Is Available NOW!). Tell us about it.
The Rotten Apple is a detective noir mystery novel which takes places in New York City in 1950. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed novel full of cool noir-ey bits, cool cats, gangsters, and shootouts. It even has a little romance sprinkled in there. However, Detective Naomi Blake isn’t your usual damsel in distress. She’s tough and soft at the same time. It’s a lot of fun, and it was amazing to write.
As an Author-Publisher (or whichever term you prefer), how have you built your circle of professionals (editors, cover artists/designers, etc)?
I developed all of my connections from blogging. My main beta reader—Karen Rought—I discovered a few months into blogging, I believe. Not long after, she became my primary beta reader, and she has been helping me with everything literary ever since then. I also discovered a cover artist/designer from blogging—Harper Alexander—she’s a writer/artist and did the cover for Black Powder Brigade. Blogging and social media are amazing tools for writers in my position because it gives us cost-effective ways to get our work out there. Other writers are usually pretty good about trading services, be it beta reading, editing, or promotion. The writing community is full of so many great, helpful people.
What is your favourite part of the whole process? What do you find easy? What do you struggle through?
My favorite part of the process is sort of split between holding the finished product in my hands and those days where it’s impossible to stop the words from flowing. Every once in a while you get these times where your fingers are on fire, and the words dance across the page, and before you know it you’ve written 5,000 words in just a couple of hours. The feeling during and after is amazing. It’s a rush that really makes you feel like a writer. Like you’re doing something really meaningful, and you just can’t wait to show it to someone.
What have been some of your favourite books and/or movies over the last year?
While not in the past year, Fight Club is my favorite book and movie. It’s so raw and powerful, and they both sort of mock society, and show us that the powerful people in the world really are at the mercy of those below them. The waiters and waitresses, the drivers, everybody.
I would have to say that Promise of Blood has been my favorite book over the past year. The world-building is excellent, the characters are great, and the story itself is so well done. I can’t wait for the second book, The Crimson Campaign, to come out.
You’re getting involved in the writing world in so many ways: your blog, obviously, a little journalism, and now working with Brigantine Press. Is this something you’d recommend to other “aspiring” authors, immersing themselves in the world of writing?
The first think I’d recommend to authors is to never refer to yourself as “aspiring.” If you write, you’re a writer. If you don’t, you’re not. There’s no need to attach a term to it. I guess it sort of makes the whole thing a little less scary, but scary is good. It’s what gets your ass moving and puts the words on the page. Being afraid makes it so much more real. If you’re not afraid, then you’re not risking enough with your writing.
Second, yes, absolutely. I highly recommend getting as much experience in as many related fields as you can. It will make you a stronger writer overall, and you learn so much. You see other writing styles and books designs and layouts, and you meet so many more people that way. Especially now when you have the option to be your own publisher, knowing how the different parts of the publishing process works is invaluable.
How can people find you and your work?
I blog at: www.mentalsweatshop.wordpress.com
I’m also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorcstocking
And all of my books are available on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/authorcstocking
Bio: Chris Stocking is a science-fiction & fantasy author who also dabbles in the steampunk, cyberpunk, flintlock fantasy, and young adult genres. He grew up in Wayland, New York, and is currently attending The College at Brockport—majoring in print journalism.
Stocking’s hobbies include blogging, reading, writing and boxing. He has a ferocious addiction to coffee, and has recently developed an interest in marketing and academic writing.
He currently resides in Spencerport, New York with his wife, Casey.