Author Interview: M.K. Chester

  1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I am a wife, mom, dog lover, history geek, and sports fan. I live in middle Tennessee but am a Buckeye through and through. I have MS (but it doesn’t have me) and enjoy documentaries, action movies, and paranormal entertainment. I’m also pro Oxford comma.

  1. What do you write (genre, length)? 

I write novel-length romantic fiction, including historical, contemporary, and (coming soon) urban fantasy.

  1. What is/are your current project/s? Please give us some details. 

I’m currently working on the third book in the New South series. Set in Nashville, Missing is the story of a young woman who learns from a handsome yet damaged PI that she’s not who she thought she was. They unravel the mystery together and fall in love. 

  1. Who (author or otherwise) or what book inspired you to write?

I’d have to say Judy Blume. I had alllllll her books. I read a lot as a kid, and one morning, when I’d read everything I had, I thought, “Maybe I can write a book.” It was game on from there. My mom always encouraged me—as an artist herself, I think she knew it was important to nurture creativity.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

My best advice is to write for yourself. Entertain yourself. Surprise yourself. Give yourself all the emotions. If you love what you do, you’ll want to learn the ins and outs. If you can do that, your stories will entertain others.

  1. What do you do for a living?

I worked in higher education for a long time, but when I was laid off a couple years ago, I took a hard look at that arena and decided it was time for a change. I started my own media company, which led me into my current, full-time position as Director of Communications for a rural mental health and addiction center. I do everything from advertising and web copy to super-sexy forms and P&P. I enjoy being able to use my skill this way and am still trying to find the balance between work/fiction writing. 

  1. Who is/are your favorite author(s)?

I will read anything from Anne Rice and Jeff Shaara—those are auto buys. Stephen King usually. And lately, because I’m married to a veteran and my son is in the US Marines, I’ve been reading a lot of military memoir, like Lone Survivor, and The Operator, and Can’t Hurt Me by Marcus Luttrell, Rob O’Neill, and David Goggins respectively. 

  1. What is/are your favorite book(s)?

On my keeper shelf is an anthology of short stories by Flannery O’Connor, everything by Jeff Shaara (and his father), and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles

  1. What’s the best compliment someone can give you as an author?

That they derived some meaning from my work. I tend to write a lot of redemption themes, so I want to convey that odds can be overcome, even if the deck is stacked against you.

  1. What is the strangest/most interesting/coolest/weirdest/scariest thing you’ve had to research for a book or short story?

When I was working on Icehaven with Kim Cresswell, we had to research a lot of odd things and behavior that might happen in an icy apocalypse. Including what human beings might taste like… let’s just say that recipes exist. The research I did on Prohibition and racing for The Bootlegger’s Bride was super-interesting as well.

  1. What is the most difficult part of writing for you? Why?

I’m a pantser, so plotting really tends to kill the buzz for me. I use Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation & Conflict to set up my characters, and I’m trying to find a good plotting system that works for me without sucking the joy of discovery out of writing.

  1. What is your favorite genre to read? Why?

I read a lot of romance—some to keep up with the market and some for enjoyment. I like military memoirs, which is what Jeff Shaara really writes when you boil it down, and unique paranormal stories—show me something different about your vampires! Classics like Poe, Shelley, and Hawthorne are there, too.

  1. What are some little-known facts about you? Hobbies, talents, anything?

I played and coached college basketball and have several friends still in the “game.” I sometimes wonder where I’d be if I’d stayed in that lane. I derived a lot of value from sports and working with a team. I can also read music and played the piano and sang throughout high school. I had to choose between basketball and music and, frankly, the basketball scholarship paid more.

  1. Do you like physical books, eBooks, or audiobooks better? Why?

I like eBooks at the moment, because they’re portable and easy to buy and have with you all the time. If I’m talking about my favorite authors, I’ll buy physical books because I like to keep them where I can see them; they make me happy. I haven’t gotten too into audiobooks, but as I have a decent work commute, I’ll probably jump in soon.

Find M.K. at the links below!

Website: http://www.mkchester.com

Newsletter: https://my.sendinblue.com/users/subscribe/js_id/34268/id/1

Twitter: @M_K_Chester

Facebook: @Author.M.K.Chester

Instagram: @mkchester

Goodreads

Pinterest

Bookbub

Amazon Author Page

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