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:
1. You 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 childhood home.
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 them.
But you’re right that I’ve never been in an earthquake or tsunami.
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 Dip."
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 story.
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 then?
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 topic.
Heat Rating: Hot
*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?
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 Amanda.
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 memories.
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.
***FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME***
THE DISASTER CURSE
Author’s 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*
The Disaster Crimes Series:
*The Crime Before the Storm (prequel)
Hurricane Crimes (novella, #1)
Seismic Crimes (#2)
Lightning Crimes (free short, #2.5)
Tsunami Crimes (#3)
Flaming Crimes (#4)
Frozen Crimes (#5)
A Fighting Chance (spin-off, #6)
The Disaster Curse (short story, #7)
*Free exclusive story to newsletter subscribers.
***LAUNCHING A WEBSITE***
TheFightingChance.org is a website dedicated to domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. Inspired by the Disaster Crimes series.
Prizes: 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 Press. https://www.chrysfey.com