First of all I’d like to welcome Robert Chazz Chute to my blog, and it’s a pleasure to have you with us to talk to us a bit about yourself and your book Higher Than Jesus.
So please grab a chair and let us begin!
So let’s start with some history,
- So tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m from Canada, though I don’t say “eh?” or “aboot”, and I have a background in journalism and publishing. I hide in a basement office and write to the exclusion of just about everything else.
- When did you start to feel that writing is an important part of you?
As long as I can remember. I remember being a really little kid and wandering into a printer’s shop and announcing I was going to be a writer. They smiled and gave me some cut ends off the press. I tried the same to get some free paper at Staples last week and they weren’t nearly so friendly.
- Have you taken part in any local/international competitions?
I’ve won seven writing awards of varying and questionable worth. Biggest would be the nomination for a Maggy for some columns I wrote in a trade magazine. Biggest pay off was a competition for the Toronto Star’s short story writing contest.
- Did you attend any workshops or courses?
I went to Journalism School and the Banff Publishing Workshop and I’ve attended a bunch of writing conferences and such. The best training I got was working in daily newspapers. The editorial feedback came at the fastest rate in that venue, which allowed me to improve.
- What was the first book that got you interested in writing?
I remember one Christmas being sick and curling up in bed with a big tube of Smarties and a copy of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. That’s my best guess since I repress most of my childhood.
- When did you decide you want to publish?
Early childhood. I think the first motivation was vengeance.
Writing & Chazz:
- What are your favorite genres to read?
Suspense, some horror, mystery, some literary fiction, non-fiction if it includes bizarre yet true information.
- What are your favorite genre(s) to write about?
Suspense. I like twists and turns, reversals and surprises.
- When did the idea pop up into your mind that “I want to be an author”?
The womb. I was a precocious baby.
- Do you write any other form of literature (poetry , prose , quotes etc..)?
I’ve dabbled in poetry and might publish that someday, though it’s kind of dark.
- Did writing change you?
Writing expresses me. Writing full-time opened up my opportunities and has made my life much better.
Through this section we will get to know a bit about Higher Than Jesus.
- So care to tell us a bit about your book?
Higher Than Jesus is the second book in The Hit Man Series. (The first was Bigger Than Jesus.) It’s about a Cuban hit man who betrayed the mob in New York and now the mafia and the FBI are after him. He finds himself in Chicago, killing a bad guy on Christmas Day. Jesus is smart and resourceful and funny, but these books are much like a Coen brother’s movie: Something always goes awry. He ends up trying to settle an arms deal between two rival groups, dealing with PTSD, Vicodin addiction and his ugly past while wooing a beautiful young woman named Willow. She’s got lots of problems of her own, so many complications ensue.
- How did the idea pop up?
I first came up with the character of my luckless hit man in a short story from my first book, Self-help for Stoners. He appears in a story called The Inevitable as a much older and wiser assassin, but things still go wrong. That’s the key to the character. He thinks he deserves a Hollywood happily ever after ending and he understands his world through the movies.
- Have you considered changing it? Not going through it along the way?
I jump in and write fiction quickly, so I’m never tempted to abandon a project. The long ones in the drawer that stretch out past 100,000 words? Different story.
- What made you passionate about this type or genre?
I grew up reading Ian Fleming and Mickey Spillane and movies, so I’m a visual thinker and hardboiled crime novels lend themselves to aspects of writing I love: fast-paced, funny, quixotic stories that skip along. Someone called my 65,000 plus words novel a “short novel”, but it only feels like a short novel because the pace careens.
- Did you struggle to find a title for the book?
I knew the titles would follow the Jesus theme, though I sometimes questioned that choice. However, I’ve had many more people ask if anyone was offended by the choice than the number of people who were actually offended. It turns out readers who happen to be Christian have a sense of humour, too, and the title has nothing to do with religion.
- When writing do you get emotionally involved while writing any of the situations or scenes in your book?
Absolutely! I know a scene is working when I surprise myself or laugh out loud. People write LOL all the time, but I mean it.
Every writer has a muse that comes in all different shapes and forms and even sometimes it’s some sort of very delicate routine that an author cannot write without!
- What’s your muse?
- When does it appear?
When I sit in the chair in front of the keyboard.
- How does it appear?
Quicker, if I’m chugging caffeine.
- Does it require a specific time or place?
Butt in chair is the key in the lock.
- Do you scribble down notes when you are outside and an idea hits you?
I carry a notebook everywhere, write down notes of ideas assiduously and then mostly ignore those notes.
- Did you get brain freezing before? How did you handle it? And how do get back an idea you lost?
Lost ideas occasionally come back, but they are never as bright and shiny as they first appeared. I don’t get writer’s block. I get writer’s obstacles: I can’t type as fast as I think and there are too many distractions which try to pull me away from writing time.
The publishing industry is becoming more open with a lot of various options for the different types of authors, some prefer to go indie, others prefer traditional publishing but in the end each author has a dream
- What are your dreams as an author?
To be seen as one of the outliers, the success stories that others point to and say that I’ve achieved success objectively.
- Are you a self published (indie) or traditional published author?
I went indie last year.
- Which do you prefer and why?
I’m not much of a team player and I don’t like asking for permission to do things. Also, the sheer maths of publishing dictates that forming my publishing company (Ex Parte Press) makes more sense than going hat in hand to someone who cares less about my books than I do.
- Imagine you walk down a road and you see in a bookstore a few people standing in front of your book holding one of it and talking about it, how would that make you feel?
Like I must have died and gone to heaven because that doesn’t happen on earth in this dimension. My next impulse would be to find an ATM to see if my royalty check came in or if it was a crowd gathering to hang me.
- As author who inspired you to write?
I admire William Goldman’s novels very much. He’s better known as the most famous screenwriter in the world, but people should read his novels, too. He has the knack I love: making you think you know what comes next and then sucker punching you with a cool surprise.
- If you would give an advice to authors out there who are working on getting out their work, what would your advice be?
Write consistently and don’t stop. Get feedback and do another draft. You aren’t done with your drafts until you’re physically sick of the book.
Here are some questions we’d like to shoot at you just to get to know you a bit more!
- Favorite drink?
Singapore Sling, because I like to get in touch with the slutty college girl in me from the 1980s.
- Favorite meal?
- Someone you would love to have over for tea or coffee?
I’d like to chat with director Kevin Smith, Tesla and comedian/podcaster Joe Rogan. Cool people.
- Left-handed or right-handed?
Right when I write, ambidextrous when I shoot.
- If you were given the chance to change one thing about your book what would it be?
Eliminate a typo at a whim instead of dealing with formatting again.
- What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear or read these words:
- Hills/mountains: Rockies
- The ocean: South Pacific
- Song: I Want It All by Queen
- Word: The right word
- Child: Money
- Gun: Jesus’s pistol, the SIG Sauer P220
- World: Peace, because I’m a dreamer
Where to find you & your book(s):
Well after this wonderful time we got to spend with Robert Chazz Chute we would like to thank them for taking the time to be with us here and share with us their thoughts!
Thank you Chazz