My interview with Bo Chappell

My interview with Bo Chappell

  • What is the first book that made you cry?

Hmm. There is undoubtedly something I’m forgetting, but the one that popped in my head was Watchmen by Alan Moore. The unexpected connection to the isolation and dissociation Dr. Manhattan was feeling as he was losing his connection to humanity to the point of longing to abandon everyone on Earth…that hit me dead center at the time of reading it. Dealing with depression, life can too easily lose its magic.

And the hauntingly beautiful way in which Moore described, without cynicism, that dwindling interest for the miraculous incalculability of individuality spoke directly to me at one of the dark times in my life. I was very cynical of life and occasionally still find myself there against my own wishes. It’s tough thing to wrestle with, and reading how a happy man unwillingly turned into a god describe the transition to a startling yet deceptive viewpoint on his loss, it was tear-jerking.

  • Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It can do both. The thrill of a good idea spilling evenly onto the page can keep you continuously pouring. But that can quickly drain you. (pun…Intended) I often find myself write huge chunks of material, then have long periods of recuperation before heading back in, all because I was just too thrilled to get a concept out of my head. But if I couldn’t get it all out in that session, that encourages me to return sooner than later. I tend to operate that way instead of pacing myself. I save the pacing for editing. Never force the creative part.

  • What is your writing Kryptonite?

The interwebs. The greatest tool is also the greatest distraction. I can be looking up something and find myself watching some weird ass animation completely unrelated to my topic. Knowledge is power, but abundance is distracting.

  • What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?

I can’t say I’ve had that happen to be honest. I don’t get to read as often as I want these days, and everything I read is a special commitment.

But I have had the opposite happen. One that comes to mind is Frank Miller. He had a particular grit about him coming up as a writer that served him well, but then it felt like he was feeding off his own material and got Mad Frank’s Disease. Now all his writing just comes off as brutal shock value, and the characters lose themselves to his own ego about twisting them into darkness for no reason.

  • What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Again, I’ll let my brain pop call this one and say Marvel 1985 by Mark Millar. I wish it would get turned into a movie badly. Imagine Stranger Things set in the Marvel Universe.

  • What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I research EVERYTHING as much as humanly possible before and during. I’ve even encountered new things during research that changed my story drastically.

There’s that word that should be VERY important to all writers.

Verisimilitude.

I remember watching a documentary about the making of the Richard Donner Superman movie a long time ago and learning that word. An audience doesn’t have to believe a man can fly in real life, but can you make them believe one can presented in his own universe to the point they never question it?

So doing a lot of research about everything can help you flesh out those things you or a reader would question. For example, in my book Year 47, I bet no one cares how much research I did on sewer layouts, elevator engineering, and making a makeshift torch. But I did. Even though it couldn’t be more fiction, I wanted to make sure nothing seemed implausible​ because if the reader slips out of the story, it’s hard to get them back.

  • What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)

I have to be cliche, but I focus on the younger years and their impact on who a character turns out to be. There’s so much constant calculation and adjustments going on growing up, finding out who you are is just naturally more interesting. And when you’re well defined, people want to know how you got there. That’s why superhero origins and adventure tales with kids are so damn fascinating.

  • Do you Google yourself?

Yes. With both my writing and my art, I love looking to see where my stuff travels and how people are connecting to it. I don’t consider it vain to want to find your real self by sifting through the definitions of all the pieces of your soul you have the courage to share. To quote Leonard from Memento, “We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I’m no different.”

  • What is your favorite childhood book?

The Five Chinese Brothers. My favorite part was when you had to turn the book sideways for the two page illustration of the one brother stretching his legs to the ocean floor so as not to drown. Anything that can pull you in and show you there are no rules for how storytelling or anything else can work is magic.

  • What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

The one thing you have to give up already. Time. Though, it would be cool to skip increments of practice and trade a couple years off to be better. It might be foolish, but I’d be tempted.

Thanks for having me on your blog. Anyone reading can find Year 47 available on Amazon.

Want to know more about the writer. Follow her at https://podteenn.wixsite.com/website

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