Interview with Chris Wonnacott

What is your writing process?
Since I write period pieces, the writing process begins with research. Usually, this involves travel to a specific location. In the case of "The Catbird Seat," I traveled to Shelby, Montana. I toured the museum, met the people, and then ventured on to other cities within the state.

As you journey through Montana with the characters in "The Catbird Seat," their steps are my steps from the railroad station in Shelby, to Dempsey's training camp (which is now a children's playground) to the capitol building in Helena.

Upon completion of my research, I return to Texas, and create a character board, depicting locations, hotels, time periods, fashion, houses, etc. Then, I sit down to write until the book requires additional research. Then I am off again, exploring libraries, photo archives, the internet or another location.
Do you remember the first story you ever read that had an impact on you?
Every book has an impact on its reader; it may be good or it may be bad. Obviously, "The Old Man and The Sea" was not my first read. However, I consider it an inspiration to writers. The world told Mr. Hemingway he was finished as an author. Then he amazed the world and wrote "The Old Man and The Sea." History tells the rest about Mr. Hemingway and this wonderful classic.
How do you approach cover design?
In keeping with the historical period, I like to use sepia. My sister drafts a cover. I send it to Jeremy Taylor; and he completes the cover design. I let the experts design the cover.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
As a writer, I love to read. I would be hard pressed to single out five books or five individual authors.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy reading historical non-fiction; it helps me discover ideas for new novels.
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I was able to hold a pen in my hand, I started to write.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Self-publishing has opened up a world of opportunities for authors. Before eBooks, authors sent hundreds, sometimes thousands, of letters to agents for representation, but more often than not, the letter was rejected based on a paragraph or two in the cover letter. A cover letter is one form of writing while a novel is another. As an Indie author, the public gets to decide if the book is good.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean the world to me. Without their encouragement, I would never have published an eBook.
What are you working on next?
There is an excerpt for my upcoming novel entitled "Johnstown" in "The Catbird Seat." It is a soon to be released historical novel based on actual events.

On May 31, 1889, an earthen dam burst, releasing twenty million tons of water on the unsuspecting residents in the valley below. Over 2200 people died in the flood and the inferno of debris. Only a hero could have turned this tragedy into triumph. His name is Charles Wiseman.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing, writing and more writing.
Published 2015-03-04.
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