I have been asked: What makes you different than every other author? More specifically fantasy authors?
Enough people have asked me this that I wish to answer.
Here is my answer: in short, life experiences. Preferably, as an introvert, this would be my entire response. I don’t much like to talk about what I’ve done. I’d rather hear someone else’s story. I will attempt to give an objective and fair response.
Let me begin by stating what I have in common with the “generic fantasy author,” before I contrast and truly answer the question. As Socrates argued in Plato’s Republic, one must first define the terms of their discussion in order to reduce confusion and clarify one’s starting point. I will attempt to do the same.
What is your proto-typical fantasy author, and how do I relate? Well, the generic fantasy author is a bit of a geek (as am I, check). He/she can discuss meaningless tidbits of trivia pertaining to fields of knowledge that are likely useless in any other arena (check). It’s a person who typically did well academically (check). It is a person that may have achieved higher levels of academia when compared to the average person (check). It’s someone who fantasizes about new worlds and loves world building (check and check). They are often avid readers, and love the freedom of imagination (check, check). Here’s where we begin to differ.
So, now let’s finally return to the question at hand. How do I differ from the typical fantasy author, and more broadly from authors in general? Well, I think the breadth of my life experiences is the largest, single factor.
So here we go, answering the question… What does it mean, that I’ve had many life experiences? Let me list some things I’ve enjoyed doing and have done; specifically in terms of work, hobbies, and travel.
In terms of work, I began at the age of 14, and haven’t let up since. I’ve worked in a diverse set of fields. I’ve bartended, worked as a weigh master (what the hell is a weigh master!?), sold vacuum cleaners, been an event manager, worked in tourism, been a teacher, worked as a scientist, taught martial arts, worked in public relations, been a massage therapist, worked in federal law enforcement for two different agencies, and I’ve worked in two different branches of the military. This list is by no means comprehensive, but I think you get the idea. In fact, upon reading this myself, I see little rhyme or reason to string these disparate jobs together. Perhaps, one thing that sets me apart, is I am borderline mad (Note: any background investigators reading this: I’m just kidding, I’m completely sane, seriously I’m not crazy).
In terms of education, I’ve been fortunate to have had jobs that require intense levels of training, and many of these trainings have been accredited. As it stands I have three degrees, and one pending (awaiting a short training and some paperwork for a fourth college degree). I’ve received dozens of certificates in a range of fields, some of which I cannot mention, but they span some of the above-mentioned jobs.
As for hobbies, I’ve always had a passion for writing, ever since I was a child. I’ve written nine books, but pulled many from publication, mostly because I wasn’t satisfied with them. Don’t worry, the Kan Savasci Cycle isn’t going anywhere. I have studied under some incredible martial arts masters, and continued with some form of martial arts training or another, for the last twenty years. I’ve enjoyed at one point: rock climbing, scuba diving, cliff diving, motor cycle riding, skiing, water skiing, and probably some other “extreme” sports/hobbies that would raise my life insurance rates if my insurance agent were to know the full extent of my, at times, poor choices.
One of my greatest hobbies has been travel. Although, I’d say that’s been more of a lifestyle. I was recently asked if I’d lived anywhere for more than five years in the past 20 years. After a moment’s consideration, I realized I had not. I, instead, have lived in nine states and 6 countries, and traveled to approximately 60 countries.
I believe it is the great breadth and diversity of these life experiences that has most shaped me and my writing. It allows me to more realistically depict a wider variety of scenes. Finally, I begin to answer the question… I don’t have to imagine what’s it’s like to be on a ship rolling in heavy seas, or to be trapped on camel back in the middle of a sand storm, or what it’s like to be in a fight for one’s life, or to be shot at, or to lose friends, or fall in love. I’ve been there. I’ve experienced it, seen it, lived it, and I use those events to color my writing.
And one last aside, for I have seen this in some reviews. My writing is not necessarily the simplest or most common. I enjoy playing with the language at times. I’ve written a lot of poetry, and I enjoy making the page sing. I carefully choose my words to illicit images in the mind and attempt to shape the subconscious.
If any of this appeals to you, here’s my call to action. Buy my books, namely: the “Kan Savasci Cycle,” by Chase Blackwood, found on Amazon. Your purchase will allow me to quit one of my more dangerous jobs and to have kids and enjoy a more mundane life.