I’ve been reading Chrys Fey’s blog for six months of so. She is an author from the sunny state of Florida. The focus of her blog is to help others improve their writing and she is always providing good ideas and tips. I am honored to interview her, especially since she has a new publication, Ghost of Death, that recently become available.
Sage: Chrys, you are from Florida and some of your writings are set in the Sunshine State, but not all of your stories are set there. What role does “place” play in your writings?
Chrys: Place plays a big role. In Hurricane Crimes, I wrote about Florida during hurricane season. In 30 Seconds, the setting is Cleveland during the winter, so I had to make sure to write about snow, which I’ve never experienced. And in the sequel to Hurricane Crimes, which I just submitted to my publisher, I wrote about Michigan and California, and both of those places are home to some very big events. It’s crucial to get settings right, because places are another character.
Sage: Debra Dean is the author of The Madonnas of Leningrad. Half of the book is set in Leningrad, at the Hermitage Art Museum during World War II. When she wrote the novel, she had never been to Russia. What advice do you give for authors writing about a place they’ve never experienced?
Chrys: Research, research, research! Get nonfiction books about the country, state, etc. Then read fiction books and watch movies set there. Also study photographs of places that your characters will visit. Anything you can get your hands on about that setting will help you tremendously.
Sage: When not writing, what do you enjoy doing? How do your other interests play into your stories?
Chrys: I draw fashion designs, write songs, and garden. My passion for fashion has helped a lot with my stories. Many of my heroines have worn my designs. ;)
Sage: You seem to enjoy the horror genre. What draws you to such stories?
Chrys: Ever since I was little I was interested in the supernatural and horror. I can’t really put my finger on what draws me to them but to say...I like them! :D
Sage: What do you hope your reader will take away from your stories?
Chrys: My first goal is for them to be entertained. I think reading should be an experience, so I want my readers to feel connected to my characters and to be drawn into the story line. I like them to be on the edge of their seats and maybe even get teary eyed. So, in other words, I want them to have a reaction. And hopefully a good one.
Sage: Looking ahead 50 years, as you look back on your life, what will be your Magnus Opus?
Chrys: I’m not sure if I have a Magnus Opus in me, but there is a series that I feel is my best. I wrote a long time ago and I am still perfecting it and trying to get representation for it, which is far easier said than done. I hope to publish these four books one day and then maybe you can tell me if they qualify as my Magnus Opus.
Sage: Great answer, Chrys! But I bet you have a Magnus Opus in you! Let me ask you a few more personal questions to get to know you better. In responses in my blog, you have mentioned having never kayaked but that you’d like to try the sport. Will you? There are some nice rivers in Florida to paddle.
Chrys: I think I would like to try it with a few experienced kayakers. Funny thing is, Beth Kennedy, the heroine in Hurricane Crimes, loves to canoe Florida rivers, and I haven’t done that either!
Sage: We got to get you in boat! You have also mentioned in your blog, or maybe it was in a comment in mine that you have a rod in your back. I am sure that can be limiting. You don’t have to answer this, but I am curious. Would you care to share with us how this came about and if it limits your activities?
Chrys: When I was fourteen I was diagnosed with scoliosis. My spine was curved at a 45 degree angle and twisted. I needed surgery with fusion and a rod to correct this and ease my pain. Except, pain is something I still deal with day to day. It limits a lot of my activities, including how long I can sit, stand, or walk. I can’t even hula hoop anymore and I used to be a champ at that!
Sage: Don't worry, I could never hula hoop! And I am sorry that you have to deal with constant pain for I can't imagine what that would be like. Your grit and determination is to be applauded. Somewhere along the way, I remember hearing that Kurt Vonnegut once said that if one wanted to be a writer, they should stay out of writing programs at college. In your blog, you indicate under “education” that you have a GED. Congratulations! It appears your work hard on your craft. What advantages and disadvantages do you see as an author having less formal education?
Chrys: Thank you, Sage! My GED is something I used to be ashamed about because it’s not your traditional high school diploma, but I enjoy knocking down the stigma that many (not all) people have that GEDs are for slackers. I think that if you mention you have a GED, some people may not take you as seriously, so that’s a disadvantage. An advantage would be the opportunity to prove them wrong, as I have done. ;)
Sage: Chrys, your hard work is evident. Thank you for taking time to have this conversation with me. I wish you success in your writing and happiness in life. For my readers, I encourage you to check out Chrys’ blurb for Ghost of Death:
Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost can...by stalking the lead detective on the case.
Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.
But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.
BIO: Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.
When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.
You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers!