Chris will be awarding a $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour at Goddess Fish.
At fifteen, Justin is already a cynic. He’s experienced too many betrayals, too many disappointments. He doesn’t want to be involved in anything. He doesn’t want to be popular. He doesn’t even want friends anymore, since they only ever let you down. He just wants to get through high school and the best way he can come up with to accomplish that goal is to simply be invisible.
His self-imposed exile from high school life is threatened when Liam, the scary stoner, reaches out to him. What starts out as a strange and unsettling encounter with the unnerving, pot-smoking teenager evolves into the sort of friendship that changes the course of a person’s life.
But as Liam drags the reluctant Justin out of his shell, Liam’s own secret is revealed.
Fearless is the story of the myriad shades of love, how to find one’s courage and the transformative power of friendship.
Hello and thanks for stopping by and visiting with me and the bunnies. It is so nice to have Chris O’Guinn here. Readers I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Oh, hold on Chris, every time someone new stops by the dogs and bunnies go crazy.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I occupy myself with plans for world domination…. But when I’m not doing that, I am contributing to the gay entertainment website, TheBacklot.com. In my free time, I obsessively watch shows like Arrow, Revenge and Warehouse 13. Or I slaughter the undead on my computer in preparation for the zombie apocalypse.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your book or getting it published that you would change?
I’d pay for a cover artist to draw me a cover. These photo manips just aren’t working anymore. I mean, the cover is okay, as is, but it’s not what I was looking for.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
I have to choose? Hmm, go back in time to before there was indoor plumbing or to the future where a polluted wasteland awaits me? I think I’d go with the far future. It would be neat to see what this planet is like in a few thousand years.
Night owl, or early bird?
Night owl, all the way. My muse doesn’t even wake up until after midnight. When I was writing Fearless, she had my up until after dawn when my fingers were going numb.
Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
Paris. One day, I will see Paris. I hope. But really, there are so many places I want to go like Rome, Athens, Cairo…. The list is endless.
Red, or white wine?
The person who got me started with wine (I don’t much like alcohol) was sure I would be a white wine drinker, but I rarely find a white I like. Merlots, cabs, Boudreauxs, those I almost always find a winner with.
Do you prefer print books or ebooks?
E-books, hands down. No dust-choked shelves, no broken spines, no torn pages. And best of all, no hundred-pound boxes when moving day comes around.
Do you prefer snow or rain?
Rain. I love a good downpour that splatters off the roof in an endless torrent of sound. Snow is too quiet—and it also requires shoveling.
Coke or Pepsi?
I am in a pitched fight to preserve Coke’s place in the world. The evil forces of Pepsi are spreading darkness across the land, infiltrating restaurants across the country. Pepsi is villainy and it must be stopped.
Tell us about the first story you ever wrote and how old you were
I swore this would stay buried, but okay. I was 15. It was a huge, I mean huge novel. It starred Escapalion, a young slave who flees his overlords only to find himself drafted into a quest to save the world. Escapalion was embarrassingly overpowered, his story was a hot mess of random plot points and inexplicable angst. But hey, we all have to start somewhere, right?
Do you prefer to live in a big city or in the country?
I grew up in the sprawling metropolis of Southern California where ever city bleeds into its neighbor. Now I live in quiet little Spokane, a smallish town in eastern Washington and I consider it heaven.
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
Oscar Wilde. What a mind he had. Homophobia robbed this world of one of its greatest thinkers.
What types of books do you write?
Good ones. Or so I hope! Right now I’m focused on the gay YA market. At some point, who knows when, I may get back into writing fantasy novels.
When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
My main weakness is my linear way of thinking. It makes it hard to create mystery. But I’m working on it. I am really proud of the work I’ve done on my next book, Hybrids: Arrival. I think it has lots of twists and turns.
I like to think my work shows an attention to detail. I also believe the humor I inject into my stories makes them more fun. But I think my greatest strength is that my stories are character-driven. To me, the most important thing is to be true to the characters.
What do you think of this term- Writer’s Block? How do you overcome it?
Oh, I hate Writer’s Block. Every writer does. When you are trying to find the next twist, the next answer, it can be so frustrating. I do several different things to fight it. First off, I sulk. That goes on for a day or so. Then I try to identify the problem—why am I stuck? Once I know what the problem is, I can usually find a solution. But the trick is making that solution interesting. Often times, the only thing that really cures a bad case of Writer’s Block is time away from the story.
Are you self published or traditionally published?
Sef-published and proud of it. I have a network of beta readers, editors and cover artists that all help me create a professional product. This gives me the greatest amount of creative control, which is good for my obsessive nature.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. I wrote Fearless in four weeks. I gave myself that long to write it because it was interrupting another project I needed to get to. Generally, a month or two to get the novel hammered out. Then there is the editing, the revisions and the fretting over details.
What’s the latest news you’d like to share?
I have a new book coming out. It’s the first in a series, and it will be the first series I have committed to writing. Hybrids is a series about aliens (Extraterrestrial Life Forms, or ELFs) coming to Earth. Arrival introduces the cast of characters, including Joaquin, a human teenager who finds himself swept up into the mystery of why the ELFs have come to Earth. It’s a very action-y story and I hope people will love it.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
Voodoo rituals in the black of night. Well, very nearly. Usually, there is just a germ of an idea, some little scene or moment that pops into my head. This happens all too regularly. A lot of these ideas go nowhere. The ones that bug me for a few days get some consideration and if they amuse me enough, I jot down the ideas I have into my “doodles” folder. That’s mostly for stories that may or may not ever get written.
Fearless came into my head and when I tried to stuff it into the “doodles” folder, it rebelled. It demanded to be written. It’s been a long time since a story was as clear in my head as Fearless was.
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today Chris. It’s been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.
“If I was just going to ask some dude out, like, just out of the blue—which I totally am not—it wouldn’t be Jimmy.”
“Ah ha!” he crowed. “So, who’s the lucky dude who has your eye?”
I wasn’t sure he could be trusted with my crush, but I supposed I had to stop thinking that way about everything. “This guy in my science class, Zach.”
“Ew, gross.” Snyder was a mouth-breathing Neanderthal who was always picking his nose in class—when he wasn’t scratching his crotch. “I have better taste than that, come on!”
“Then which Zach is it? I can name like five—no, six—guys with that name.”
Liam’s eyes lit up. “A senior! Wow, you really do go all out with a crush.”
My cheeks were burning. “He’s just this really fantastic guy—like, a really nice person, you know?”
“And the fact that he’s smoking hot doesn’t have anything to do with it?”
I fidgeted. “You think he’s hot too?”
“Dude, the guy is so good looking even straight guys want to do him.”
I snorted laughter. “You’re awful.”
“So ask him out.”
“Okay, no. I prefer admiring from afar—really far.”
Liam elbowed me. “Homecoming isn’t far off. You should ask him.”
He said it in this sing-song voice that didn’t make the idea sound any smarter. “For one, he’s a senior and I’m a freshman,” I said, ticking the irrefutable points off on my fingers. “For two, he’s so far out of my league that I don’t have the slightest chance. For three, if I tried, I’d have some kind of seizure and die. And fourth, oh yeah, he’s straight.”
Liam grinned at me. “One, two and especially three are lame. I’m throwing them out. So, let’s talk about four. How do you know he’s straight?”
I’ve been writing since I was fifteen, not that those stories will ever be allowed out of the dark hole I buried them in. I focused primarily on the Fantasy genre for the first two decades, occasionally diverting into modern fiction. In 2010, I embarked in a self-publishing career, focusing on the young adult novel genre. When I’m not writing, I am contributing to TheBacklot.com, a gay entertainment website.