A Scattered Thoughts Spotlight Interview with Chase Potter
Author of The Race for Second
ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to welcome Chase Potter, author of The Race for Second, a marvelous story of one young man’s pivotal year in Germany.
Chase has brought with him a copy of The Race for Second to giveaway. To enter to win, leave a comment below and an email address where you can be reached. Contest ends 5/9. That’s it! Now on to the interview.
I had quite a few questions I wanted to ask Chase after reading this wonderful story and it evolved into this interview with the author:
STRW: 1. What made you set the story in Germany?
I wrote what I knew. The setting and pacing (but not so much the plot) of The Race for Second drew from my own year abroad in Freiburg. Moving to a foreign country is an emotional rollercoaster, no matter how prepared you are. I wanted to capture both the feeling of isolation and the satisfaction of eventually assimilating into a new culture and learning a new language.
STRW: 2. Some might say this is a “Gay for You” story, how do you see this “coming of age and coming out” novel?
I think that “Gay for You” is an interesting and enjoyable sub-genre, but generally these books are hard for me to identify with. I have a lot of straight guy friends, and I’ve even had crushes on a few of them over the years. But no matter how much you want something to be true, you can’t change someone in that way. I think that this is a common fantasy – wanting to “turn” your straight best friend – but life rarely works out this way.
Is it fun to read about the “closeted” star of the football team falling for the out skinny guy? Absolutely, because that skinny guy was me in high school. But is it realistic? Probably not so much. (The music video “All-American Boy” by openly gay artist Steve Grand is a great example of this)
I wanted to tell the story of what happens when our interest isn’t reciprocated the way we want, and I wanted to show how difficult it can be to get past our feelings, especially the ones we try to bury. It’s only when we pick ourselves up afterward that we see our own strength and resilience. This is the struggle and the triumph that I wanted to explore, and it’s how I ultimately see this novel – as a triumph of spirit.
STRW 3. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Editing, by far. I can create an outline and hammer out a first draft in a couple months, but the rounds of editing really get me. I know it’s worth it, though. The final product of The Race for Second might not be perfect, but it’s barely recognizable when compared to the first draft.
STRW 4. Which character was the hardest to write/conceive?
Ethan was definitely the hardest for me to work with. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest one is that since the story is told from his perspective, we are in his head during every single moment. As a result, we get to know Ethan better than any other character.
Another reason was that Ethan experiences a lot of personal growth, sometimes quickly and often unwillingly, and it was challenging to make sure he was always true to himself through these changes.
STRW: 5. Is any of the plot based on real events?
My close friends who have read The Race for Second will sometimes accuse me of this. Yes, I studied abroad in Freiburg, and yes, I leveraged my own experiences to be able to tell the story of a college student living abroad, but the vast majority of the story is purely fiction. There are a few exceptions – one being the incident where Ethan trips and smashes an entire case of beer on the stairs in his dorm. This actually happened to me, except there was no Daniel to help clean it up.
STRW: 6. The ending is somewhat open-ended. Do you have plans to continue their story in the future?
In short, yes. I’ve spent enough time with Ethan and Daniel that the idea of letting them go makes me sad in a way. I’m really looking forward to telling the story of what happens to Ethan after his year abroad ends. Currently I’m just finishing the first draft of my second novel, which isn’t about Ethan and Daniel, but the third book will include characters from both The Race for Second and my current project.
You can connect with Chase Potter through any of the following ways:
The Race for Second is a gay coming of age novel about an intense friendship that develops between two college students – an American studying abroad and a young German man. Told from the first person perspective of the American student, this story relates the hardships of adapting to another culture while exploring the intersecting lines of a relationship that struggles to define itself as somewhere between friends, brothers, and lovers.