REBECCA CHASTAIN is the internationally bestselling author of the Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series among other works. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. She has been employed as a VHS sales clerk, bookshelf straightener, government pseudo-employee, professional finder of lost sporting goods, and strategy guide wrangler in the video game industry. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats. To find out about new releases and behind-the-scenes information, sign up for Rebecca’s newsletter: http://www.rebeccachastain.com/newsletter/.
What inspires you to write?
I’m not sure I’m inspired. Writing is more of a compulsion. I’ve been writing since I was a preteen, and I’ve been making up stories for much longer. Becoming an author gave me an outlet for all the worlds that were building up in my head. Now if I go too long without writing or working on a story, say, three or more days, I get into a funk. I guess you could say my desire to maintain my sanity is my inspiration.
Tell us about your writing process.
I plan out series like a kamikazi bungee jumper, but when I sit down to write each novel, I plot out EVERYTHING. It starts with brainstorming, in which I open a Word doc, set it to a bulleted list, then write down every idea, big and small, that I could fit into this novel’s universe. Somewhere in the process, I hit upon ideas that resonate and become their own fonts of inspiration, almost writing themselves. I’ve done this a few times, so I know the feeling of a story ready to take off. At that point, I transfer all the bullet points I want to use to a new Word doc, putting them in order this time.
From this, I build the outline, fleshing out ideas and making sure themes and conflict are paced appropriately. Then I open a new Scrivener document and start writing the actual novel.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters don’t talk to me in a literal sense, but I’d learned that when a scene that should flow easily feels like I’m clawing it out of my brain, I’m usually trying to force a character to do something that isn’t in their nature. I do a lot of preliminary character building before writing a novel—most of which never gets seen in the story. This helps me get to know how a person with a specific background, education, magical abilities, family life, fears, and goals thinks and responds emotionally. When I try to force them to be someone else, the scene stagnates.
Oh, and occasionally I speak the character’s lines out loud as I’m writing dialog to see if it sounds like something they’d say.
Who are your favorite authors?
I’m a fantasy junkie, so most of my auto-buy authors write fantasy. The highlights include Ilona Andrews, Kim Harrison, Jacqueline Carey, and Patricia Briggs.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I worked for two decades perfecting my craft, and during that time, I wrote 6 novels. Some time in the second decade, I started submitting them to agents, and when I started getting positive rejections (“I love your writing style, but this story isn’t for me”), I decided to self-publish. It was the best decision I could have made!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
People will always want stories. The medium might change, but there will never be a time when people don’t want to immerse themselves in another world and spend a little time playing make-believe.
What genres do you write?
urban fantasy, fantasy, paranormal romance
What formats are your books in?