Hello, Internet! I’m Lex Chase, and the super amazing Melanie was kind enough to let me drop by today to talk to you about my DSP Publications release Chasing Sunrise.
It’s about King Sevon Marate, ruler of the cannibalistic†aisa, as he struggles to escape domestic violence and save his crumbling kingdom. It’s a dark story, featuring torture, war, genocide, but also one of hope and escape is possible. But make no mistake it is a story of how far would you go to survive and how love makes monsters of us all.
Melanie has me in the hot seat today as she asks some burning questions! So here we go!
Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?† A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?
Chasing Sunrise is kind of drawn from all over the place. One of the toughest topics it deals with is domestic violence. I myself am a domestic violence survivor and I draw upon my own experiences for some of Sevon’s traits. Domestic violence is a complicated situation, and for those that have never experienced it have a tendency to be highly judgmental. From the victim’s POV we†believe we can “fix” our abuser and we†believe that if we’re obedient that our abuser will love us, or being†convinced the victim has nowhere to go, or how will they live. From an outsider’s perspective they often think the victim is “stupid” for staying or “deserve” what they get. Isn’t that terrible? We’re all taught to†say†something, yet pass judgement.
Sevon’s story with domestic violence is†far more complex because courtly politics is involved. If he doesn’t cooperate his entire kingdom will crumble and his people will surely die. And he can’t just†leave because he’s terrified of humans, and if they discover what he is, he’ll be killed. He†can’t seek asylum in another†aisa kingdom because they’re allies of his abuser. He’s completely convinced he can’t survive on his own, but he has to do†something.
That is… until an opportunity for escape presents itself in the form of the kindhearted shifter named Jack. But Sevon’s sense of trust has been so completely distorted that he wants to trust him but is conflicted if it’s another trap. It’s called hyper-vigilance, a very real symptom that comes with trauma and ptsd. While someone may show him kindness, any slight†sign that something might be amiss leads to panic. Even if there’s no such signal, and the kindness is genuine, you just never know and expect the other shoe to drop at†any moment.
Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And †why?
I’m a planner. A†super hardcore†planner. I’m a very scattered person mentally, and I write my outlines in a numbered list. My outlines run 10 to 15k a pop (like a short novella basically) where essentially it’s like I’m “pre-writing” the book. I call my outlines “The Directions” and as long as I follow them, it all works out. They sometimes include entire chunks of dialogue for a scene, or an entire chapter, or fight scene, or all the above. That way when I get to the scene I can just cut and paste into my doc and revise it to fit the story.
Also when I plan with as much detail as I do I actually†do have the ability to go ahead and write non-linear if I’m stuck on a scene and I can skip ahead. I actually don’t believe in the “oh! The characters do whatever they want to do!” That’s a sign of someone who’s a pantser. I’m in complete control of my characters. I acknowledge if I want to pursue tangents. I understand my ideas change. If something isn’t working. I come up with something different.
I listen to that voice inside of me, not†The Muse everyone talks about, but my†own voice, my gut, when I feel something is or isn’t right. If I kill one of my characters (and I’ve killed quite a few!) it’s a decision I consciously make. It’s even in my outline that this person dies, and how, and the fallout. I’m not GASP surprised or oh noes! I didn’t plan for that! Now do I sob hysterically while I do it?†Oh hell yes! I cry over my books all the damned time. And by the way, that’s not weird either no matter what people think.
Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?† Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?
Memoirs actually! I looooove memoirs! Reading about “Real People Drama” as I call it helps inspire “Fictional People Drama.” Also people telling their stories and certain turns of phrases they use, or sentence structures and vocabulary. One of my favorite memoirs I always come back to is Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge where he narrates the audiobook version as well. Just wonderful word choice told by a fascinating person!
If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?
Ooooh. Tough one. I think it would have to be Memphis Rook from my first DSP Publications release†Checkmate Ever After.†We never see his POV in the anthology, but in the first book, I had deliberately written him as the stereotypical comic book anti-hero. And while some readers adored him, I think he was missing a little more depth. In the first installment I feel he was a little cardboard and wooden. And while he gets a thousand times better as the anthology progresses.
Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?
Yes! And I have so many for differing reasons. Among my favorites are Taylor and Corentin from the Screw-Up Princess and Skillful Huntsman series. Despite being fairy tale characters, they’re so†ordinary and they’re doing the best they can with what they have. They’re not exactly living high on the hog, but they’re just two totally normal guys who are kind of a pair of fuck-ups…and one happens to be a dude princess and the other a huntsman.
Also I love Jack and his brother Kaltag from Chasing Sunrise. Jack is probably the most genuine and†good character I’ve ever written. He’s patient, kind, and compassionate to a fault. Kaltag is brave, proud, pretty sassy, and stands up for what he believes in, and is a devoted father. And while it’s mentioned in passing, he and his wife Mirabelle are both bisexual.
If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?
Considering I visited LaGuardia all of once when visiting fellow DSP Publications author C.S. Poe, I’d want her novel The Mystery of Nevermore coming late this summer. It’s the first in her Snow & Winter series and I got to read the proof. Holy crap I have such feelings. C.S. makes me want to be a better writer, hands down. It’s about a completely colorblind antique dealer, Sebastian Snow and a hard as nails detective Calvin Winter as they try to solve a mystery involving the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I can’t stop telling people about this book. I’ve never felt this excited before. She’s been sending me bits of the sequel and I’m like nnnnngggghhhhh *grabby haaaannnnds!*
How early in your life did you begin writing?
Like… seriously as a career? Or telling stories in general? In general when I was about 11. I came up for the world of Chasing Sunrise when I was 13. Yes it’s that old. As a career, I’d say about seven years ago when I first seriously pursued publication. Chasing Sunrise was actually rejected 15 times until I completely revamped it and submitted to Dreamspinner Press and Sweet 16 was the lucky number.
Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?
In third grade, our teacher read to the class after lunch. Two of the stories that stuck with me were Eddie and Gardenia by Carolyn Haywood†and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. There’s a nod to Eddie and Gardenia in Checkmate Ever After, and James and the Giant Peach gets a reference in the upcoming final Screw-Up Princess novel Urban Fairy Tale. While childhood memories are hazy, I very clearly recall my teacher hesitating with shock and tears at the end of Eddie and Gardenia because spoiler alert, things don’t end well for Gardenia. James and the Giant Peach was just total bananas. It made me want to live in a giant peach and fly away to New York City. When Tim Burton made the movie with stop-motion animation it was just….so delightfully odd.
What question would you ask yourself here?
Question: How can you†possibly†have loved the ending of Lost! It was such crap!
Answer:†Shut your face! It was beautiful. It was about the journey, not the destination. I will take you to the carpet.
If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?
Dr. Chase: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Learned To Love The Bombshell
Thank you for having me Melanie! And noooow a question for the crowd! Sorry Melanie, I have to crib it! If your life was a romance novel, what would the title be?
Series: The Darkmore Saga: Book One
Published: April 5, 2016
Publisher: DSP Publications
Buy: DSP Publications†| Omnilit | Amazon |†Barnes and Noble†
The once glorious aisa kingdom of Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon MaratÈ is trapped. Sevon endures unrelenting abuse and is used as a scapegoat by Lord Dominic Ravensgrove, who rules Darkmore from the shadows. Coping by dressing in gowns and jewels, the effeminate king relishes the scraps of freedom he is given to be himself.
As a verkolai, Sevon possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift provides a chance for escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. When Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous shifter land of Priagust, he manipulates Sevonís desperation for his peopleís survival. Out of options, Sevon has no choice but to cooperate.
On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men abduct a shifter named Jack. Despite being tortured for information, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But Jackís knowledge about Darkmoreís history unsettles Sevon, and a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevonís mistrust, Jack is determined to tame the beautiful kingís wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom.
As war looms, Sevon fears Jackís kindness is another trap. Conflicted, Sevon wonders if he should risk chasing the sunrise or remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.
1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2014.
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Totally cribbing off Melanie with much love! If your life was a romance novel, what would the title be?
About the Author:
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, ìWeíre all going to die, Iím just trying to make it a little more interesting.î Now, sheís on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventureóand depending on how she feels that dayóLex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If youíre going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldnít last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.
You can find in the Intarwebz here: