Chariss K. Walker Interview – Alec Winters, New Orleans, and Self-Publishing

What was her inspiration for this book? What made her think to have one character be both an angel and a demon? How much research did she have to do for this book? How many other books has she written? What are her thoughts on self-publishing? Where can her fans find her on the internet?

crescent-cityWhat was your inspiration for the book?
Even as a young child, I noticed the injustices and inequities in the lives of others. Growing up in the deep south, often called the bible belt, I frequently prayed for things to change, for someone to clean up a particular mess or make things right. I realize that “right” is often a relative concept, but I hated to watch the suffering and sorrow around me. I often felt helpless and wanted someone, something of a higher evolution, to fix the situation and to alleviate the pain.

As I grew older, my ideals changed somewhat. I don’t think I grew calloused, but still, I was tired of those who seemed to get away with murder. There seemed to be too much prejudice, inequity, and unfairness in the world. I wanted someone to punish those responsible for inflicting hurt and sorrow. Alec Winters, a fictional character, is the answer to that prayer.

What made you think to have the same person be both an angel and a demon? Or is he an angel that only appears as a demon to those who deserve his punishment?
As a man, Alec Winters is likable and loveable. He’s simply an amazing, adorable, and pure personality. Even before his transformation, his character was gentle and kind. For him to follow the prescribed destiny of his ancestors, he must comfort and protect the innocent from their oppressors. He does that as a benevolent angel with white wings of healing, comfort, and love.

demonAs a demon, he is the most terrifying creature the imagination can summon. He is ruthless and without conscience. He dispenses justice to those who have inflicted harm. He is the bump in the middle of the night that makes our hearts flutter and skip a beat. He is the terror that lurks in the darkness waiting to drag us to hell or damnation. He is the punishment for evil indiscretions and intent.

Therein lies the duality. It’s not enough to protect; he must serve the greater good by meting out a righteous penalty and retribution to offenders. Innocents only see him as an angel or man while those who deserve punishment see his darker, most horrifying persona. He is both angel/redeemer and demon/destroyer, but neither aspect of his character invalidates the other.

the Crescent City Connection and the New Orleans skyline, wikipedia

the Crescent City Connection and the New Orleans skyline, wikipedia

Your book is set in Louisiana. Have you ever been to New Orleans (Crescent City)? Why did you choose to have your story take place in New Orleans?
New Orleans is a fascinating, intriguing city. I lived there for six months and I’m familiar with the area. It’s both enchanting and dangerous, but one cannot live in or visit the Crescent City without feeling and tasting the ancient spiritual component, both good and evil.

How much research, if any, did you have to do for this book? Did you have to do much research on the city of New Orleans?
I do a great deal of research on all the books I write. I had visited New Orleans on several occasions prior to living there during early 2001. I was familiar with the area, but writing Crescent City required a more in-depth knowledge of police procedure, the Catholic Church, and the layout of the city in general as a refresher. An author desires to make the scenes as real as possible, to bring the story to life for readers. Although not essential, it helps if a writer has actually walked on the streets or been to the pub described in the scene.

alec-wintersWhat is ahead for your fans in the next book of the series? How close are you to publishing it?
Currently, I’m working on “Prelude” (An Alec Winters Series) as part of an anthology. “Prelude” gives more backstory. It covers the period before Alec’s transformation and before his return to New Orleans. I am also working on Port City (An Alec Winters Series, Book 2). Port City takes place in Mobile, Alabama as Alec goes after a sex trafficking team that specializes in teens. I expect to finish “Prelude” within the next month. Port City should be completed by early 2017.

purple-kittyWhat books have you written so far?
My fiction books are listed in order beginning with the most recent releases:
Purple Kitty (A Serena McKay Novel)
Crescent City (An Alec Winters Series, Book 1)
my name is tookie
Kaleidoscope (The Vision Chronicles, Book 1)
Spyglass (The Vision Chronicles, Book 2)
Window’s Pane (The Vision Chronicles, Book 3)
Windows All Around (The Vision Chronicles, Book 4)
Open Spaces (The Vision Chronicles, Book 5)
Stream of Light (The Vision Chronicles, Book 6)
Lamp’s Light (The Vision Chronicles, Book 7)
Clear Glass (The Vision Chronicles, Book 8)
The Journey
The Retreat

What is your favorite genre in which to write?
Thriller/Suspense and nonfiction

What kind of books do you like to read?
Thriller/Suspense and nonfiction

self-publishing, flickr

self-publishing, flickr

What are my thoughts on self-publishing?
Oh, don’t get me started… First, the traditional publishing industry is an entirely different world now. Years ago, a writer could directly contact a publishing house with query letter and manuscript. Now, an author has to know someone in order to get an audience with a publisher. It’s become a “good old boy society.” Another author or an editor has to accept your manuscript and make a referral on your behalf in order to acquire that same audience. By that, I mean that it’s who you know, not how well you write, that opens the door. It often feels weighted in favor of a select few. Even much-needed writers’ grants and fellowships, more often than not, are reserved for only traditionally published authors. I find that odd since a writer is an artist and these same benefactors honor sculptors, painters, and other forms of fine art without making such a distinction.

I regularly read reviews of the top 100 books on Amazon. There is usually a mixture of good and bad comments. Many reviewers focus on whether the book needs editing. Many complain that the characters need more development. A favorite reviewer catchphrase is “I’d like to see the character fleshed out a bit more.”

Authors need reviews. There isn’t any doubt about that. However, I sometimes find the comments amusing because it’s an entirely different world than it was five, ten, or fifteen years ago. For one thing, the education of our youth isn’t what it used to be. “English” isn’t taught the way it was in the 1960s. I’m not saying I remember everything learned from Gladys Miller, a wonderfully talented high school English teacher, but I am saying that reviewers from that particular era expect more than the “new writer” is giving. They’re more critical of a writer than perhaps a thirty-year-old reviewer would be. Some are simply stuck on whether the book is the “correct format.” If a thriller book doesn’t follow a set pattern of development, assessment of the creative work can be negative.

The introduction of the internet and self-publishing has made it possible for anyone with a voice to present his or her works. That voice might not follow a cookie-cutter pattern that was popular and acceptable in the past. The youth of our world often write a book the same way they write an email or text message. The important thing is that they are writing and sharing their story.

Today, a thriller might include paranormal, romance, dystopian, fantasy, futuristic, or horror elements. A book does not always fall into a single genre—and neither does the author. Even though I am in my sixties, I consider myself a member of “the new writers.” We can’t be stuffed into an outdated mold. We’re too unique for that.

chariss-k-walkerWhere can your fans find you on the Internet?
Chariss K Walker’s Author Page
Amazon Author
Facebook Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
Google +
My YouTube Channel

Recommended Article: Crescent City – a Review

  1 comment for “Chariss K. Walker Interview – Alec Winters, New Orleans, and Self-Publishing

  1. March 22, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Really cool interview. I find the self publishing conversation especially interesting. On one hand, it’s a positive thing to have less of a barrier of entry for good authors to get an opportunity to shine. On the other hand, the low barrier sets up the potential for having a lot of bad books being published. Like, a real lot. I wonder how a company like Amazon will deal with that as time goes on. It will be interesting to see.

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