‘ALL AUTHOR’ AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Billy Ray Chitwood Interview Published on: 19, June 2019…All Author:
Crime fiction writer Billy Ray Chitwood came into the world as a ‘blue baby’ in rural Tennessee, during the aftermath of a big depression, and into a world of poverty, malaria, and broken homes. He had an abusive father, but was blessed with a hardworking and wonderful mother that did everything in her power to keep the family together. To Billy, writing is his therapy and he finds it hard to imagine good writing coming without passion. Though inspired by many English Romantic poets in college, he didn’t start writing till after the end of his first marriage. Many, but not all, of his eighteen books stem from some real life’s true crime cases. He is currently working on a book which is temporarily titled, THE SOUL DOME PROJECT, a novel about three young lifetime friends, enterprising businessmen who love to fish in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, who encounter other-worldly treasures in lieu of fish. This book is a different genre for the author, and he’s having glorious fun writing it. Hopefully, it fits in the SciFi genre. The young men are more than simply fascinated by one of their fishing adventures. They are overwhelmed in a major way. I’m working hard, trying to fuse my brand of humor into what is a first-class, supreme world shocker kind of book. Obviously, it is my hope that I can ‘pull it off’, as they say (whomever ‘they’ are supposed to be). I just wish it to be a fun read by the reading community. I’m still some months out on this ‘fishing boat’.
Here is ‘All Author’s’ Interview with author BR Chitwood:
AA Question: Tell us about your life and your struggles.
BRC Answer: Wish I could put a ‘smiley face’ on my life and struggles, but I must be truthful. I came into the world as a ‘blue baby’, born in a clapboard house up a muddy lane in a sawdust hamlet of rural Tennessee. It was the aftermath of a big depression. Poverty was everywhere as were malaria and broken homes. I’m rather fond of a phrase I used in my memoir: ‘I ate a lot of emotional soup as a kid and have been trying all my life to digest it’. The broken home, family, the times, the world were vague message carriers at the time. There were emotional and physical abuse by an itinerant father. There was a strong and hard-working mother who tried to keep the family together, working as a telephone operator by day, in war assembly plants at night, and as a boarding house cook. She was a wonderful mother.
AA Question: How passionate are you about writing?
BRC Answer: Writing is my therapy. I find pieces of me on and between the lines of what I write. Writing for me is as much about finding those loose ends of my life smack in the middle of a sentence or paragraph as it is writing a polished piece of prose that readers will enjoy reading. Nothing gives me more pleasure than grabbing a word or phrase that says exactly what I want it to say. It’s difficult for me to imagine good writing coming without passion.
AA Question: How long have you been writing and what inspired you to become a writer?
BRC Answer: Most of my life. As a kid I played around with words, writing silly poetry, mimicking the famous singers of the day – loved to sing. After a ten-year marriage came to an end, I played with the ‘lotus eaters’ for a number of years – booze, gin mills, piano bars, pretty ladies, and lonely motel rooms…wrote my maudlin poetry on bar counter napkins and motel stationery…my ‘self-pity period’… In college the English Romantic poets – Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge – appealed to my emotional hunger, as did the group known as the ‘Naturalists’: Emile Zola, Thomas Hardy, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris, Jack London, et al.
AA Question: How did you get the idea for your first book?
BRC Answer: A dear actress friend of mine was brutally murdered in Phoenix, AZ. She was twenty-six years old, a mother of two small children, and had her entire life in front of her. Her body was found in the desert six weeks after her disappearance and savage murder, ravaged by the summer heat and denizens of the desert. My first book, PROBABLE CAUSE, was published and went out of print. That book became the first ‘mystery’ book out of six of the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ (Books 1-6) – AN ARIZONA TRAGEDY – A BAILEY CRANE MYSTERY (Book 1 of 6). The book was my way to say goodbye to a lovely lady whose life was cut short by an evil predator…the killer has never been caught, so far as I know, and the case remains a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix Police Department.
AA Question: While choosing a name for your characters, what elements do you consider that will determines what you finally call them?
BRC Answer: For me, the sound of the name, how it reads to me on the page, means a lot. Also, if a name comes to me that somehow seems to fit the character’s personality, in her/his strength or weakness, I will use it. Names are important and should be chosen with care.
AA Question: Do authors in general and you in particular plan series beforehand or do they just happen?
BRC Answer: After the Bailey Crane Book 1, there was another gruesome murder in Phoenix, a decapitation homicide of a lovely young lady. That gave rise to the Bailey Crane Mystery Series (1-6) and would become Book 2 of the ‘Series’…my fictionalized version of the crime. That homicide was a cold case for some years until just recently. The Phoenix PD finally found the killer.
AA Question: How do you choose which stories to tell?
BRC Answer: Many of my books have some basis in fact – not all, but, some. A story can come from an interesting news article – like my novel, MAMA’S MADNESS…a story of a mother in California who tortured and murdered two of her daughters and an ex-husband. The torture events and murders are related in the book, but there is also my fictional narrative.
AA Question: Do you ever get writer’s block?
BRC Answer: Not really. I just won’t allow it to happen. Usually, a line will come to me and I’m off and running. Lazy? Yes, I get a bit lazy at times…lazy in the sense of watching a football game or golf match instead of writing at a particular time. Much of the time I look over at my lovely wife and say: ‘Give me a phrase! Any phrase!’ She does, and I write a blog post based on the phrase. Crazy, I guess, but it works for me. At least one of my books came from that process…HAMMER’S HOLY GRAIL is that novel.
AA Question: Do you have a “reader” in mind while writing?
BRC Answer: Oh, sure. That’s why I rewrite, edit, rewrite, edit, over and over, in an attempt to eliminate boring sentences, spelling errors, grammatical goofs, et al. AND, guess what? I can almost assure something will be missed. That’s why an editor is part of most authors’ output…and even they can miss something now and then.
AA Question: Who is the first person to read the first draft of your books?
BRC Answer: My wife, generally, and I have a very wonderful fan and friend, Dr. Timothy Tays in Scottsdale, Arizona, who is also an author, a noted Clinical Psychologist, and he gets the first file to read and critique.
AA Question: How do you get reviews? Which was the best review you ever got?
BRC Answer: Of course, I request reviews in promotional blog posts, tweets on Twitter, Facebook, et al. You have touched on an area in which I am remiss. I really don’t know how to promote my books in the best way. I certainly like the way All Author and ‘QUOTESRAIN’ promote my books with sample chapters. Of the many great reviews I’ve gotten for MAMA’S MADNESS, this one from Amazon UK lifted me to the heights:
MAMA’S MADNESS – Amazon Review by Diogenes – Amazon UK:
“Compelling and Disturbing” 5.0 out of 5 stars By Diogenes – Amazon UK Format: Kindle Edition Billy Ray Chitwood’s novel `Mama’s Madness’ is a real find. While many Indie authors follow well-trodden paths of `popular genres’, Chitwood’s work cuts its own route through the underclass wilderness of modern America. Based on real-life events – but fictionalised in the telling – Chitwood’s story is by turns compelling and disturbing. The central character, Tamatha Preen, is a monster for our time. Inhabiting her own self-centred and embittered world she inflicts psychological and physical damage on her daughters while keeping her sons cowed by alternating violence with affection. Chitwood has an authentic voice articulating the world of the grifter and petty criminal hovering at the margins of society. The writing is gritty, laying bare the animal beneath the thin veneer of civilisation. Child abuse, theft, deception and murder all feature in a heady cocktail of corrupted morality – yet these topics are handled without sensationalism, and at times the novel has an almost journalistic feel to it. This is a brave book, swimming against the tide of literary popcorn, and it deserves a wide readership.
AA Question: What does the word “story” signify for you?
BRC Answer: a) a piece of writing (or vocal rendering) that tells of an event, experience, short or long, true or fictional… b) a floor in a building…
AA Question: Do you think an author should be bound by Genre?
BRC Answer: Readers dictate the genre – some readers like romance, some like mystery and suspense, thrillers, true crime, adventure, ‘how to’ books, et al. Of course, the writer is not bound by genre. As far as writing in different genres, I plan on writing in most before my fingers can no longer hit appropriate laptop keys.
AA Question: Are you currently working on anything?
BRC Answer: Yes… Working title is “The Soul Dome Project” – likely will be the title. The book is about three easy-going businessmen who love fishing in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. On one of their fishing trips, they encounter some startling truths their minds cannot initially wrap around. It’s a SciFi romp for me, and, a lot of fun. Still some months away before birthing…
AA Question: Do you have a special time or place for writing?
BRC Answer: Usually during the day, after breakfast, and most of the day in the den on a Lazyboy leather recliner, I write, along with too much social media activity. Many good thoughts are lost at night when I can’t sleep and refuse to get up and put them on paper or the laptop.
AA Question: How do you promote your work? How will AllAuthor (QuotesRain) help you in your book promotion and sales, would you like to refer this platform to your author friends?
BRC Answer: Through QuotesRain/AllAuthor, Twitter, Facebook, Blog Posts, other authors, readers comments, blog posts, tweets, and referrals… As I suggested earlier, I welcome reviews of my books and suggestions for better marketing… An author can spend lots of money on promotion. I’m not a miser, but I need some assurances that the money I’m spending is leading to books being sold. Regarding referring Quotesrain and AllAuthor platform to my author friends.I’s my pleasure and no problem with that. In fact, I do some of that myself by re-tweeting some of your original tweets for my books.
AA Question: Would you like to share something with your readers and fans?
BRC Answer: I gratefully thank my fans and readers and wish them all GOOD READING. I might sheepishly ask that they write reviews of my books they read and refer me to their friends.
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Posted by: BR Chitwood – June 26, 2019
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