Featured Author: Chris Rodriguez has retired from the horrors of conventional life. She now lives on the brink of inspiration in a 100-year-old cottage in Pocatello, Idaho. Her works have appeared in various themed anthologies including Rhetoric Askew, Kelly Jacobson’s, The Way to My Heart: An Anthology of Food-Related Romance, Anchala Press’s Flash Fiction for Flash Memories and several by Horrified Press/Thirteen O’Clock. You can find her latest at https://www.chrisrodriguez-onthebrink.com or https://www.amazon.com/author/chrisrodriguez-onthebrink.
Featured Author: Chris Rodriguez Interview
- How long have you been writing?
- What/who inspired you to be a writer?
- What genre do you prefer to write in?
- Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
- What is your daily routine as a writer?
- What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
- Do you have a set number of words each day or a goal?
- How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
- Do you prefer short stories or full-length novels in your writing?
- Can you give some us some insight into your story?
- What advice can you give other writers?
LHP: How long have you been writing?
Chris Rodriguez: A natural story teller long before starting school, I cracked the mysterious code of the alphabet in record time. My first poem in third grade was featured on the PTA Parent’s Night bulletin board and by fourth grade I was writing sci-fi/horror stories for sale to my friends for $ .10 each to finance my comic book addiction.
LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?
Chris Rodriguez: An eclectic writer, my inspirations and interests change often. I dabble in poetry, have done romance, creative non-fiction and much more. My first published works were for children’s magazines. I enjoy writing for children, or stories for adults about children. Currently, horror seems to be readily streaming from my fingertips to the keyboard like ectoplasm from a spiritual medium.
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LHP: What/who inspired you to be a writer?
Chris Rodriguez: I suppose I would give first universal rights to The Lord. After all, it is a natural gift. Encouraged by family, friends, teachers and later, editors, it was up to me to study and practice to transform the gift into skill and talent.
LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
Chris Rodriguez: Dancing in “pants” for sure. Often, I get inspiration or prompts from my Creative Writing Group. Someone will present an idea or picture in which an immediate story germ forms in my head. Other times, I am given the work through spirit. I swear, the entire story almost word for word will stream into my head and lodge there day and night until it is written down. My short stories haven’t been so complicated to need an outline, but if I ever decide to write a book, I may have to resort to one for organizational purposes.
LHP: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?
Chris Rodriguez: Since I retired from conventional life, I try to avoid routines. Although there is structure in my life, relying on inspiration, mood and okay, boredom, is more often the catalyst prompting a creative episode. Still, there probably isn’t a day that goes by without looking at my list of ideas, submission announcements or marketing my work in one way or another.
LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?
Chris Rodriguez: Facebook plays a major role for me. Though I didn’t care for it as a social connection, it has become invaluable to connect professionally to other writers, editors, publishers, etc. I spend a good deal of time checking out new submission opportunities and marketing my published works which are also linked to my own author website and author page on Amazon. YouTube is a wonderful place to learn virtually anything you want. I don’t Twitter, Instagram or even Pinterest (yet). I take advantage of any and all resources available both on and off the WWW. Learning is life. Once you stop learning, you might as well move on to the next plane of existence where I guarantee you will begin the learning process all over again.
LHP: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
Chris Rodriguez: Due to life choices, I didn’t begin to write for publication until later than most. After a serious illness that affected my memory and thinking process forced me into early retirement, I had to work much harder to learn my preferred form of creative expression. Though my faculties are restored, my energy levels are often low for long periods of time. Though I use it diligently, my biggest challenge in writing for children these days is remembering to include technology.
LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?
Chris Rodriguez: I’m not seeking Stephen King’s level of fame or fortune. I don’t have a daily or even weekly target though I am often pushed, in a pleasant way, to meet submission deadlines – much like the urgency to complete a project for a birthday or holiday gift. If there is an editorial deadline, I am inclined to complete an assignment as scheduled since I would like to be invited to submit work again.
LHP: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?
Chris Rodriguez: I’ve been on fire with flash fiction since my return to writing a year and half ago. It was a great way to get my foot in the door again. My stories have been getting gradually longer as I see publishers’ requests for various anthologies, plus the longer stories get more pay which is going toward my vacation fund. At first, I didn’t feel I had enough time left in my life for a novel but have recently begun to rethink that self-imposed limitation.
LHP: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
Chris Rodriguez: The process of writing a story is usually less than half the job if you write to publish. Being an administrative assistant most of my work career with many years in educational institutions, I am organized, enjoy research and love marketing. Probably a lot more time is spent in this area than the actual creative part of the process. Half the fun is window-shopping markets open for submissions. A fair part of my resting day is spent in these pursuits.
LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story?
Chris Rodriguez: Born in 1949, I was indoctrinated into the 50’s sci-fi horror era during the height of the drive-in movie experience. On hot summer nights in Phoenix, we often took advantage of this convenient form of family entertainment. My stepfather was delighted to let the kids choose the movie. Guess what we wanted to see every time? The more the action shocked and scared us, the more we loved it.
LHP: What advice can you give other writers?
Chris Rodriguez: Keep on keepin’ on. I can’t speak to novel writers, but if you create short works, don’t take (most) rejections personally. Your work doesn’t always fit. If you do get a personal note regarding your story or writing, take it to heart. Whether or not the criticism was good or bad, the editor used their valuable time to comment. If you are a beginner, don’t expect your hard work to become a “get rich quick scheme”. Give a few pieces away like tossing candy to your adoring public. It’s not for nothing, you will be building a solid foundation for your writing credits in future.
Chris Rodriguez recently authored “The Mating Moon” for Mindscpaes Unimagined on sale now.
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