1. I am honored today to do an interview with Chrys Frey. She is promoting her new book, A Fighting Chance which is released this month. In this book, she tackles the topic of domestic violence and has established a website to help those caught up in the web of violence to escape. Way to go, Chrys! Not only do you write about tough issues, you are providing resources for others caught in real life situations. Chrys is active as a blogger as well as an author, often supplying tips for writers. Enjoy:
have written a series of books on natural disasters. I can see you in a Farmers
insurance commercial where the dude tells about a freak situation and ends with
“Farmers covered it.” Beth and Donovan are so "high risk" for
insurance. That said, have you considered writing about other types of
disasters that are not so "flashy," but much more common? I'm
thinking about ideas such as an illness or an economic crisis that results from
a major employer closing down?
I’d love to be in a Farmers Insurance commercial!
I wouldn’t really call natural disasters “flashy,” although
they can certainly appear that way when Hollywood creates movies with Dwayne
“The Rock” Johnson (whom I love, by the way), but considering earthquakes,
wildfires, and even volcano eruptions are happening more frequently and so
close together, they are becoming very common these days.
I do not have any desire to write about economic crisis,
though. Nor do I want to write about a pandemic after what we all went through
in 2020 and are still going through, but I do have a work-in-progress for Young
Adults about cancer. I don’t know when or if I will finish that one, though. Years
ago, I also started a novel about a zombie apocalypse. Ha! Now that’s flashy,
not to mention still pretty trendy. That project will require a lot of research
and writing and time, so, while at some point I want to write it, I don’t know
when that will be.
2. While I know you have experienced hurricanes
(you live in Florida, after all), I am pretty sure you've not experienced
earthquakes and tsunamis (and maybe not forest fires). Do you disagree with the
old adage that a writer should "write what he or she knows?"
I actually write much more of what I know than what I don’t
know. Hurricanes and tropical storms for Hurricane Crimes. Flaming
Crimes is about wildfires, and every moment of that story dealing with fire
is taken from and based off my own memories of a brush fire that almost took my
While I never experienced a tsunami, in Tsunami Crimes
there’s a scene with a rogue wave that I took from my real life. What Donovan
goes through in that moment is what I went through as a teenager on a beach.
On the FAQ page
on my website, I discuss the disasters I’ve experienced and
link to 10 blog posts from the tour for Flaming Crimes
in which I share scenes in the story and my memories of the fire that inspired
But you’re right that I’ve never been in an earthquake or
I love to put my life, my memories, and my experiences into
my stories, and I do that for every single story I write. With A Fighting
Chance, my new release, I pulled from my history of sibling abuse to help
me write about Amanda, a domestic abuse survivor.
3. You obviously have invested time into
reading about such disasters? What kind of research do you engage in to prepare
yourself to write?
This answer kind of follows my previous answer. I use my
past, my memories, and my experiences as a large portion of my research. I did
have to do more research for earthquakes and tsunamis, though. I read
non-fiction books for details on what those disasters are like (including
scientific facts) and watched a lot of movies. The Impossible, based on
the 2004 Thailand tsunami, was a huge influence, but so were the dreams I have
at night. Believe it or not…I have a lot of tsunami dreams, and those helped me
so much in writing the tsunami scenes.
While writing A Fighting Chance, I read a book with
accounts from sexual assault survivors that gave me valuable insight that came
into play later in the story.
4. While you pair your disaster with a crime,
have you ever thought about addressing other social issues in your writings? I
am thinking here about another Florida author, Carl Hiaasen, who
"disasters" can be funny but also show a great social problem. Two
examples are the rip-off artists who flock to disaster areas after a hurricane
as in his book, "Storm Warnings," or the environmental problems
created from fertilizer runoff washing through the Everglades in "Skinny
I don’t go into writing with the goal of writing about specific
social issues. If I do, it happens naturally or emerges while I’m plotting the
Per your examples, in Seismic Crimes, I do show
looters in action. It’s just that those things aren’t the main focus.
There’s actually a lot of crimes that take place in each story
rather than just one. Throughout the Disaster Crimes series, my
characters help to take down corrupt cops, a drug dealer, and a man who
brutalizes prostitutes. I may not ground the story in those issues or make them
the main conflict, but they are there.
And in A Fighting Chance, I tackle the issue of
domestic abuse and sexual assault, something that carries through a lot of the
stories I write. Most of my characters are survivors of some kind of abuse or
are advocates for survivors of abuse.
5. Can you see yourself coming back to Beth and
Donovan when they are older? Maybe as grandparents? What might their story be
I cannot see myself writing about Beth and Donovan when
they are older. Their stories centered around disasters and people who were
after them. Frozen Crimes was their final book. I can’t put them through
anymore, which is why I gave Thorn and Amanda the tornado in A Fighting
Chance and a volcano eruption in The Disaster Curse. More details
about that short story below. :)
But I will say that I see Beth and Donovan as utterly
happy. Totally in love and living their best lives. Even as grandparents.
6. Having completed this series, what topic
will you tackle next?
Next, I have many different stories in the works or waiting
for their time. There are paranormal romantic-suspense books about a heroine
who went through so many horrible things in her childhood but still grows up to
become the most powerful woman in her world, a sweet romance with a mixed-race
couple, middle grade stories with a biracial girl who has a wheelchair-bound
twin brother and a best friend from France, as well as a story about rivaling
families of witches that dips into abuse, racism, and more.
But that’s not all.
So many stories about so many different things! That’s what
I love about being a writer. You don’t have to limit yourself to one genre or
*A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster
Crimes series, but it’s a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be
read as a standalone.*
Thorn has loved Amanda from afar, giving her whatever she
needs as a survivor of abuse—space, protection, and stability. He yearns to
give her more, though, to share his feelings, kiss her, love her, but he's
worried the truth will frighten her away.
And Amanda is afraid. She’s scared of her attraction for
Thorn. Most of all, she’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby
where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates,
jeopardizing their happy ending.
Up against an abusive ex and Mother Nature, do Thorn and
Amanda have a fighting chance?
Links: Amazon / Barnes
& Noble / Kobo / iTunes
Amanda looked up from the current list of up-to-date
payments for classes. A movement outside the glass storefront caught her eye.
She tilted her head to see a man coming up the sidewalk from the side where the
picnic bench sat. Through the vertical blinds, she glimpsed a square face—a
short, rugged beard and long, dark hair pulled into a man bun. Her breath fled
from her lungs. Her body went from icy cold to flaming hot in the span of a
millisecond. She dropped to the floor and slid under the counter, beneath the
ledge where they put their purses and cell phones.
“What—” Beth peeked at the windows. Then she snapped her
fingers at April and pointed at the stools.
April jumped into action. She pushed the stools in so they
blocked Amanda. The bell attached to the door jingled as April removed the
jacket she wore and draped it across the stools, creating a curtain to shield
From a crack, Amanda watched Beth move to stand in front of
the twins, who were in their walkers playing peacefully. “I’m sorry, but we’re
going to be closing.”
“I don’t give a shit. I’m here for Amanda.”
The sound of Damon’s voice had her heart beating even
harder. That voice had haunted her nightmares, had come back to life in her
Beth cocked her head to the side. “Who? There’s no one by
that name here.”
“Don’t bullshit me. I know she works here.”
His voice was closer now.
FOR A LIMITED TIME***
Links: Amazon / Barnes
& Noble / Kobo / iTunes
Note: I wrote The Disaster Curse to answer a few
lingering questions readers may have after reading A Fighting Chance,
and to tie the whole series together with a neat, shiny, perfect little bow.
Plus, there was one disaster that I hadn’t written about yet. *wink*
Disaster Crimes Series:
Crime Before the Storm (prequel)
Crimes (novella, #1)
Crimes (free short, #2.5)
Fighting Chance (spin-off, #6)
Disaster Curse (short story, #7)
exclusive story to newsletter subscribers.
TheFightingChance.org is a
website dedicated to domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. Inspired
by the Disaster Crimes series.
Hurricane Crimes (Disaster Crimes 1) and Seismic Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2)
eBooks (mobi or epub), Hurricane Crimes Playing Cards, Girl Boss Sign, and a
Volcanic Blast Scented Candle
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique
concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure
Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur
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