Hello Readers and Writers!
We want to introduce you to a well-received author with 18 books to his name, all highly reviewed! Primarily an author of Romance, this author has a strong grip on your heart from the first chapter. His ability to create bright, lovable, and humane characters makes the heartfelt relationships and drama intriguing from start to finish.
Introducing Chase Connor!
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
CC: I don't remember a time that I didn't write, and wrote my first book when I was a teenager. However, it wasn't until 2018, when I self-published my first book at age 26, that I got paid actual money to write.
RL: What's your current work in progress?
CC: I'm currently working on a sequel to BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE that will be released in 2022 through The Lion Fish Press. However, my next release through TLFP is slated for June 5th, 2020 and is titled A MILLION LITTLE SOULS. It's an LGBTQ+ YA Fantasy novel set in a public library. It should be a fun, exciting read for my readers or anyone interested in YA Fantasy. The English language audiobook rights for BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE were also recently acquired by Tantor Media, so we're working on that project as well.
RL: You write Romance, LGBTQ+ YA, and Paranormal Romance, as well as general LGBTQ+ fiction. Which of these genres or sub-genres is your favorite?
CC: I love almost every genre, but anything that is LGBTQ+ with literary fiction leanings is what I'm drawn to writing right now. Tomorrow may be different.
RL: Does anything in your life influence your work?
CC: Writing LGBTQ+ stories and being a gay man, my life informs my stories quite often. Additionally, themes of immigration, being considered "other," growing up poor or economically disadvantaged, familial relationships - these are all themes that inspire me to draw from my own life. In regards to immigration, I think there is a real misconception, particularly in the United States, that "other" means people who look different than yourself, and that immigrants are always the brown people our current government would like to cast as the villain. We tend to want to cast blame and villainize people who look different. I hope that some of my stories help people realize that we're not all that different from each other, regardless of how similar or dissimilar we look. Also, I hope to inspire kindness and compassion in readers, as well as inspire them to look beyond the surface. Above all things, that is probably my biggest wish.
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo in your genre?
CC: I think that because I write a lot of LGBTQ+ YA, paranormal romance, and LGBTQ+ general fiction, people expect my stories to be sappy romances with no substance. When I write a story, I do often have romance elements that I include, but I hope that the reader takes away much more than that--because life is much more than that, regardless of who we love or how we love.
RL: Do you have any plans to write outside of your current genre?
CC: I think LGBTQ+ will always be at the forefront of what I write, but I am releasing a fantasy novel soon, as well as a magical realism book in the future. Believe it or not, I've even got a Middle-Grade story set for release in the future. I hope to lean more into literary fiction and realistic fiction as I continue my writing journey.
RL: Your first book came out in 2018. How has your writing grown since then?
CC: I've learned to be a bit more poetic with my style and I've accepted that sometimes the perfect word can replace five words. As I've worked and practiced, I've learned to listen more to the people who are there to help me so I can more efficiently self-edit as I go. My first drafts are not 2 to 3 times longer than necessary like they were in the past. I've been guilty of overexplaining in my writing in the past, so I am learning to cut the nonsense out and focus on what makes a tighter, clearer story for the reader, yet still has plenty of plot and character development.
RL: Which one of your books is your favorite?
CC: I hate to make a Sophie's Choice joke, but... If forced to choose, I would say that BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE is nearest to my heart.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
CC: Growing up, traditional publishing was end game. We're told that's the goal all authors strive for, right? As I learned more and even dipped my toes in the waters, I realized that creativity and individuality can really be hampered by traditional publishing. It's not for everyone and is a difficult world to break into, especially if you a person of color (especially a woman of color), LGBTQ+, or what is considered "other" by the industry. So, after tons of encouragement from a friend, I chose to try my hand at self-publishing. There was really nothing to lose. Luckily, I blossomed in that environment and learned quite a bit. So far, it has worked out really well for me. In late 2019, I signed with the indie imprint The Lion Fish Press, and I couldn't be happier. Now I only have to worry about writing and doing my edits and giving input instead of directing everything myself. I still get treated like a "real writer," my voice and input are valued, plus I have more time to just write, so it's been a perfect relationship so far.
RL: How do you plan out your book releases?
CC: Previously, it was kind of willy-nilly because I was a self-published author just doing the best that I could with the resources I had. When I finished a book, I'd start marketing it on social media and having beta readers give me input and help to get the word out. Now that I'm with The Lion Fish Press, what was once very free-spirited and unstructured has become a process that lasts months if not longer. There's a lot more behind the scenes stuff that goes on as far as picking the right release day, editing, developmental editing, proofreading, marketing, beta reading, sensitivity reading--but most of it is not something I have to deal with directly. For a previously self-published author, it can be very frustrating because you no longer are beholden to just your own timetable. Things don't happen as quickly as you'd like, but almost always the product is exponentially better. So, it's worth the wait.
RL: How do you manage writing time? Is finding writing time an issue for you?
CC: With COVID-19 and self-isolation going on right now, time is abundant. I write 6-8 hours a day. However, before COVID-19, I would normally write from 1 to 6 hours a day, depending on the day and my other responsibilities. I'm very privileged in that I do not have others (besides my partner) who require my time, plus I have another job besides writing, and I am healthy ninety-nine percent of the time. Finding time to write is fairly easy. Sometimes I have to force myself to write when I just don't feel like it, or I am too tired. Admittedly, some days I choose to do fun things instead of forcing myself to work as much as I should. We all need to recharge, right?
RL: What are your hobbies?
CC: Spending time with my partner is always one of my highest priorities, but we are both very career-oriented, so we are mindful of each other's need for space and time to do the things that fulfill us. Running daily with my dog as well as playing with him in the backyard is essential. I love to read, which I know is shocking. I like to crochet--more shocking--as well as cook and bake. Cleaning is meditative for me because it keeps my mind busy and makes the voices a little quieter. If food is a hobby, then Cheetos and Pad Thai are two other hobbies.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going in the future?
CC: It's not a lofty goal, but I hope to keep selling enough books so that writing and releasing books continue to make sense. When I started on my self-publishing journey, I had no idea that anyone would even care to read anything I wrote. I certainly didn't think I'd sell enough books to still be doing it and be signed with an imprint. Anything more than what I've accomplished so far will just be the cherry on the cake. Also, if Netflix wants to buy the film rights to one of my books, that would be super cool.
RL: What are you reading now?
CC: I just finished reading THE MIXTAPE OF MY LIFE by Jake Martinez, a Deep Hearts YA author. I also just finished my one-millionth (this might not be hyperbole) re-read of THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Barbery. It's a beautiful French novel that has been translated into English if anyone is interested, and it's obviously one of my favorite books ever. After this interview, I plan to finish reading FIND ME by Andre Aciman (the sequel to CALL ME BY YOUR NAME). After that, I think I will start reading the mountain of books on my bedside table. For safety reasons.
RL: What can readers expect from you in the future?
CC: I have at least a dozen books planned with The Lion Fish Press, so more LGBTQ+ YA, paranormal romance, LGBTQ+ general fiction, I have my first ever Christmas story coming out during the 2020 Christmas season, and I hope to write more new adult and realistic fiction. I'm often inspired when I least expect it, so you just never know what else might come about.