F.A.Q.

Today on Chase Connor Books, I thought I’d give myself a break from trying to think of unique and exciting topics to write blog posts over. Instead, I thought I’d answer my most frequently asked questions as an author.

On Twitter, on the website here, Goodreads, DMs, and emails, I respond almost every time to any question a reader or fellow author poses. As long as I have a helpful answer and I feel knowledgeable enough to give a decent answer–and it’s not too personal. However, not all questions get asked in the same forums–or even publicly–so some readers and peers might miss those conversations.

Why not compile them here? Readers will get some answers they want and my peers will get my take on certain aspects of the publishing world.

Let’s do this!

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I started writing when I was very young–13/14ish–and wrote my first novel at age 17/18. I can’t remember if I had turned 18 before I finished the first draft.

Q: Why did you decide to self-publish when you started out?

A: After researching all of the options out there, it seemed best for me. A bad experience with an agent and a publisher were the final nails in the coffin. Self-publishing fits my needs, desires, and sensibilities best.

Q: How are you so prolific? You started publishing 3.5 years ago and you’ve released 20+ books!

A: I wrote my first novel at 17 years old. I didn’t publish it until 9 years later. In those 9 years, I’d written the first draft of a dozen other novels. When I started publishing, I had a TON of work to draw from and develop. That’s how I was “ahead of the game” when I started. Additionally, I now do this for a living, so I can devote my entire workday to being in front of the keyboard. I also have no kids and my partner respects my workday, so I have no distractions other than what life will throw at a person from time to time.

Q: Which is your favorite book that you’ve written?

A: I hate this question just so we’re clear. LOL This is a Sophie’s Choice situation. I love all of my books for different, unique reasons. I’m proud of my first book because it was first. I’m proud of another book due to its message. I’m proud of another book because I feel my prose was *chef’s kiss*. Also, I hate choosing because I don’t want readers to think any of my books are not worth reading–I think they’re all entertaining at the least. However…if forced to choose…a book I have coming out in 2022, POSSIBLY TEXAS is one that I am particularly proud of at the moment. I can’t wait to share it with the world. I think 2022 is the year I show people what kind of author I can really be. This all sounds very egotistical, and I’m sorry, but I feel like I’m really starting to hit my stride as a writer–really discovering who I am as a writer. I think 2022 and beyond will really show that.

Q: Which of your characters is your favorite?

A: See the above answer for the requisite disclaimer. I can’t choose just one as my absolute favorite. However, recently, Davud from SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS AND OTHER TOTALLY NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIORS (coming December 3rd, 2021) was a character I really enjoyed writing.

Q: Do you consider yourself an LGBTQ+ author or just an author?

A: I am an LGBTQ+ author. I am comfortable being referred to as Gay or Queer. Also, there are demisexual sprinkles on top if anyone cares (that falls under the “A” in LGBTQIA). Even if I write a book one day where the main character is not one of the letters, I am still an LGBTQ+ author. I’m not going to bristle at being labeled as such. However, I do hate that books need to be labeled as LGBTQ+ if they are not erotica or educational about LGBTQ+ issues/history. It seems like low-key censorship and high-key pearl clutching.

Q: What’s the best thing about being an indie author/small imprint author?

A: The community, sense of freedom, and unhampered creativity. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity, talent, hard work, and networking/marketing skills (with a nice dash of luck).

Q: What’s the worst thing about being an indie author/small imprint author?

A: There seems to be more competition and infighting in the indie world. A lot of people want to undermine other writers’ confidence. There is a lot of rudeness disguised as helpfulness or critique. There is still a big stigma about being indie because obviously, “you aren’t good enough for traditional publishing.” There are also baseless beliefs that no indie author can write as well as a traditionally published author. The lack of understanding of what goes on in the trad pub world and what happens in the indie world is mind-boggling at times. Everyone knows better than you. It gets frustrating sometimes.

Q: What advice would you give to new/unpublished writers?

A: Learn who you should take advice from.

Q: My spouse/partner/parents/friends won’t read my manuscript/book! Do you think that’s unsupportive?

A: Support comes in many forms. For example, my partner does read my books. If he didn’t want to, he’s still so supportive in so many other ways. He encourages me and is my biggest cheerleader. He tells me how proud he is of me. He gives me his love and respect. It would be fine with me if he didn’t want to read my work. However, if these people in your life don’t read your work AND they treat your dreams and goals and YOU with disrespect–that is something you need to think about at length.

Q: Do you like it when readers tag you in reviews?

A: I don’t read reviews anymore. Having said that, I don’t care if I’m tagged. I have an unspoken deal with my readers. You can write honest reviews and I won’t get mad at you if they are less than 5-stars, and I won’t read your reviews and you won’t get mad at me for letting you do you. LOL These are just my thoughts and feelings. I would advise readers/reviewers that you don’t know what type of day someone is having. Maybe they lost a loved one or pet. Maybe they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or they’re dealing with mental health or general health issues. Maybe they just don’t have great confidence or aren’t good with handling critique. Think really hard before you tag them in a scathing 1-star review. Today might not be the day to kick them in the teeth, ya’ know? However, if they’re like me, they wouldn’t know anyway. LOL

Q: Will you ever do signings or podcast/video interviews? Why are you so private?

A: Maybe in the future I will do signings, readings, or interviews (though, fair warning, I am not a great interview–I go off-topic A LOT). I’d certainly never say “never.” I’m private because I am selling my stories, not myself. I’m not a rare, luxurious commodity, but at the end of the day, I’m all I have that’s truly mine.

Q: Do you still enjoy writing? Do you ever get tired of it?

A: There are days when making the words move from my brain to the screen is arduous. Some days aren’t as easy as others. That’s any job, yes? However, I am still deeply entrenched in my love affair with the written word.

Q: Which of your books should I start with? There are SOOOOOOOOO many!

A: LOL! I get this one A LOT. Totally understandable. A SURPLUS OF LIGHT and BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE seem to be readers’ favorites, followed closely by JUST A DUMB SURFER DUDE TRILOGY and A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF NORMAL. You can find all of my books listed here by genre.

Q: If you could choose one of your books to be made into a movie or T.V. show, which would you choose?

A: Hands down, A SURPLUS OF LIGHT. I think with the right screenwriter and director, it would make a great LGBTQIA coming-of-age movie. I have a book, THATCHER GRAVES AND THE DEMON’S CURSE, coming out next year. It’s the first in a planned series. It’d be a good Netflix or Amazon Prime series. JACOB MICHAELS IS… would be great, too. But I guess I can only choose one, so SURPLUS is the one.

I suppose that’s it for now. I’ll save other questions for another day when I’m feeling lazy and uncreative.

My next book, an LGBTQIA YA novel–SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS AND OTHER TOTALLY NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIORS–comes out December 3rd, 2021. You can find it by clicking on that link and you can read more about it here.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase

The Rulebook

Today on Chase Connor Books, I felt that it was time to announce a hill I’m willing to die on. Buckle up, my friends!

Readers probably won’t be as bothered by this as my fellow writers might be…

Grammar, spelling, structure, tense-agreement…there are a lot of ways to make mistakes when writing a story. When it comes to writing, especially in English, there are so many grammar rules that a person can easily mess up without even realizing it. With practice, patience, and education, a writer becomes better at following all of the rules, but in the end, we’re all still humans. We’re probably going to make mistakes no matter how well we write. It’s just a fact of life.

I imagine Joyce Carol Oates sitting at her desk and muttering: “Fuck me.” quite often.

These rules are in place to make the messaging clear, to convey information accurately and concisely, and to help with readability. Rules are good. We should all learn The Rules and follow them as often as is needed in our writing. As far as I’ve seen, there aren’t many writing rules to get angry about. Some rules seem arbitrary–and, admittedly, some are a bit outdated–but they’ve all served a purpose at some point in their existence.

I can think of at least a handful of English writing rules that seem unnecessary and/or outdated and their stringent followers can be quite pedantic. A misused semicolon will have them declaring a book is utterly unreadable. That is neither here nor there.

The Rules are there for a reason–to make people better writers and conveyers of information–and it’s good to learn them to the best of one’s ability. For me, that is not up for dispute. The Rules are simply good.

Now…here’s where I declare that I will gladly die on a hill.

Rules are meant to be broken. Even proper grammar rules. Rules have their place, but when it comes to creative writing and storytelling, sometimes the rules do not apply.

If a college student is writing a dissertation or a thesis, the rules should absolutely be followed to the letter. When writing a work email, the rules should be followed for professionalism. If you are writing a note or letter to someone you are not well-acquainted with, it is best to fall back on following the rules out of respect and for the sake of clarity. At least until you are more familiar with the person and know their communication style.

Creative writing is another ball of wax.

Novels are not always written in a formal structure. The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Push by Sapphire, and Moonrise by Sarah Crossan come to mind immediately. Their structure does not conform to The Rules. The authors–though educated and aware of The Rules–chose to tell a story in a creative way that best honored the story. When a rule needed to be broken, they broke it.

Often, in first person POV, the reader is reading the story in the main character(s) voice. People often do not speak and convey information by The Rules. Some people do, but for the most part, people speak in a way that fits their personality, not the criteria established by the Grammar Police. If a writer wants to immerse a reader in the first person POV and make them feel like they are looking through the main character’s eyes, they may choose to write the story the way the character would tell it verbally. Mistakes and all.

That doesn’t make the author wrong or their story lesser than other stories written 100% by The Rules. It’s simply creative writing. It’s artistic.

Even if a writer wishes to follow The Rules, stories often contain some amount of dialogue. Even a writer who stringently follows The Rules might break a few when writing dialogue because they want a character’s personality to shine through. Books don’t have all of the devices of, say, a T.V. show or movie, to convey the nuance of characters’ personalities, so writers often have to get creative to make a story shine and connect with readers.

For example, when I write blog posts, I try to write them in my voice. Because we’re connecting as author and reader, and hopefully, in a friendly, informal way. I follow the rules (mostly) where appropriate, but I want readers to feel like they are getting to know me.

Not every story can be told by The Rules and have the impact that is intended.

To me, creativity is hampered when a writer becomes overly concerned with whether or not they will look stupid for not following The Rules. This way of thinking can be limiting and stifling. Following The Rules 100% of the time can take a great story and make it an “okay” story.

Writers should feel free to break all of the rules when writing their story because they can always go back and fix things if their creative way of writing just didn’t work for whatever reason. Creativity is the most important aspect of writing a story. Yes, readability, grammar, structure–all of those things are important–but if a reader is not entertained and inspired, is it a great story?

I don’t think that it is.

That’s just my opinion.

Writing rules have changed and evolved since the dawn of written language. Who’s to say that the rule you chose to break today won’t become common and accepted one-hundred years from now? That’s how the evolution of written language occurs–by adapting to the needs and desires of the people who use it.

So, learn The Rules. Abide by them as necessary for clarity, readability, and respect for the language in which you are writing. Do your best to know those rules inside and out. That way, when it’s time to break them, you know how to do it so perfectly that the Grammar Police don’t even know what to say to you.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase

Love Letter Synopsis

As those of you who follow me on Twitter might have seen this weekend, I released the first video promo for SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS AND OTHER TOTALLY NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIORS (December 3rd!). It’s a super sweet video that The Lion Fish Press created featuring the song Leave Me Alone that Punk Ass Unicorns graciously allowed us to use.

Shout out to A.J. Urbanek, my sibling from another parental unit who is the bassist for Punk Ass Unicorns! A.J. is also now my imprint sibling, having just signed a publishing contract with The Lion Fish Press!

I’m so proud to have this video as part of my promo package for SLLTAaOTNHB (it’s a long title, let me have this)! I think it perfectly captures the angsty/fuck-off attitude that goes along with one of the characters of the book. There’s also an emo/angsty attitude to another character, but that will come in a later video promo…

Regardless, I thought I’d do something a little out of character today and give a more in depth synopsis of the book.

In SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS… (another shortcut), Ryan Offsteader is a gay teen whose family accepts and loves him–even if his older sister treats him like an older sister is wont to do. His school is LGBTQIA friendly. His friends love him for who he is, even if they’re all imperfect. He does pretty well in his classes, belongs to the Journalism Club, loves Broadway musicals, and is leading a fairly average American high schooler’s existence.

Ryan spends his free time with his Dad–when forced–and hanging out with his best friend, Jules. Most nights, Ryan and Jules watch horror movies–or movies his other best friend, Davud, recommends. Some nights, if their friends apply enough pressure, they hang out at the Low Key Cafe, an all-ages club that plays songs that have been popular on TikTok, serves drinks like Boba Tea, La Croix, and Ramune, and has decor that is “Instagrammable.” Everyone hates the club because it’s so trendy, but they all low key love it. Hence its name.

All in all, it’s a pretty mundane, yet typical, experience.

One day, Ryan’s journalism mentor, Ms. Tabatabai switches up all of the assignments for the 6 members of the Journalism Club. Then, she assigns buddy projects in her English class. That would be fine for Jules and Ryan, since they normally partner up for those types of assignments. However, due to an odd number of students, and the fact that Ms. Tabatabai decides she will pair up students herself, Ryan finds out that Jules will not be his partner. When the new student arrives in a few days, he will be paired up with them.

Again, Ryan decides that this is fine. It’s just another day in his boring high school experience. However, when the new student shows up, he realizes that this new student is not a stranger. His high school experience suddenly goes from boring, to terrifying. This new student knows a secret about Ryan and absolutely hates his guts.

As if things weren’t falling apart fast enough for Ryan, Ms. Tabatabai signs him up to help the Drama teacher, Mr. Melvin, with the spring singing recital – A Night on Broadway. Even if Ryan wanted to focus on figuring out how to deal with this new hiccup in his life, he might be too busy.

Before he knows it, all of his friends are begging for more of his time, he’s struggling with his new Journalism Club assignment, and his new partner is doing everything he can to make the project impossible to complete.

Unless Ryan can confront his history and right a wrong, his whole world could fall apart. Will he choose to confront his past, or will history repeat itself?

SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS AND OTHER TOTALLY NORMAL HUMAN BEHAVIORS is a story about confronting our past and present, and deciding who we want to be in the future. Because we may not be able to control a lot of things, but we get to decide who we are.

More information to come on pre-order dates, formats, and the like–but the official release date is December 3rd, 2021! I can’t wait to share this story with all of you!

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase