Chauncey Rogers (Unknown – Present) writes thriller and suspense novels.
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Hello readers! My name is Chauncey Rogers, and Jay’s honored me with the privilege of being the second author alert. I’ve taken the liberty of writing up my own introduction. James is amazing, but I couldn’t let him do everything!
I chose the word chicken for the 365 Daily Challenge word. Hopefully, you’re wondering why, otherwise this will probably be very boring for you.
First, let’s talk about chicken as an insult. Hopefully everybody’s seen the Back to the Future trilogy. If you have, you know that nobody calls Marty McFly chicken. At least, not without Marty immediately buckling to peer pressure and kicking off some action sequence or other. Why? Because Marty really is a coward, whose great fear is to be seen as a coward by others. It reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books, The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
“I may have said somewhere in this chronicle that I am too imaginative to be a really courageous man, but that I have an overpowering fear of seeming afraid. This was the power which now carried me onwards.”
I suppose my point is that fear can force us to be brave, to take risks, to dare mighty things. Trepidation and the label of chicken may sometimes force us to play the part of the bold and brave, rather like Anna in The King and I, who whistles at fear until she discovers her courage. And, once forced to play the part, we may learn that it suits us just fine.
But I suppose we’re here to talk about me, not just cowardice and courage. So, how does it tie together?
I began writing professionally out of fear. When I’ve spoken with people about it, some have commended me for my bravery in going after the difficult and oft-unrewarded goal of being a novelist. Others (I assume) have known better than to compliment me on what they deem to be a fool’s mission. And I must admit, the task is daunting and often frightening. It’s scary to invest hundreds of hours and thousands of words into manuscripts, all the while wondering if maybe I really am just wasting my time. I believe anyone who writes in hopes of moving some unknown reader has felt that anxiety.
And yet, it was fear that started me on this path, and a greater fear that keeps me bravely–some would say–moving forwards each day. And that greater fear was this: That I would never try, and thus never know.
When I finished schooling, I, as everyone does, stood at the hub of many different life paths. I knew what I wanted to do–what I’d always wanted to do, since I could hold a pencil and scratch out words onto paper. I wanted to write. I wanted to create characters that readers could care for, and then bring both characters and readers through a perilous forest of danger, twists, cliff-hangers, and words, until both readers and characters arrived at an ending that we had all made together.
But I don’t think that the desire to write would have been enough in and of itself. Fear had its role to play, and it continues to play a part in my writing life, as I’m sure it does in all our lives. I was afraid of being stuck doing something I didn’t love doing. Afraid that I’d live out my life always intending to write, and that here and there I might scribble down a couple hundred words, maybe outlining and beginning stories, but never finishing any of them. Driven by that fear, and empowered by my darling wife’s courage and confidence, I’ve chosen to write full time and try to build a career as a novelist.
So why do I write? Because I’m a chicken, and I was afraid of the uncertainty, regret, and unending what-ifs that would have come with any other choice.
How long I’ll be writing may be another question entirely, and one whose answer I don’t know. Have I made a fortune? Not even close. But I have written two novels, and they’ve both been well received, if not widely received. For now, we’re living very cheaply, working hard, and holding on to the promise of the next sale, the next glowing review, the next novel finished. If our stamina runs out before we catch this dream, then we’ll at least rest easily knowing that we tried, and we’ll have to let that be enough. Until then, we’ve chosen which fears to stand up to and which fears to be pushed along by. And, in that sense, I’m okay being called a chicken.
But that wasn’t my only reason for choosing “Chicken” as today’s word. The other reason is that my debut novel, Home To Roost, is about chickens. It’s a piece of dark literature, based on the true story of a chicken my family owned some ten years ago. I blended the life story of that chicken–a bantam rooster named Brad–with a series of mysterious events that occurred that same time around our small family farm, and told the tale from the perspective of Brad the rooster. As I said, it’s dark literature. On Amazon, I classified it as “Literary Horror.” Readers have compared it to Watership Down blended with Stephen King, or Animal Farm mixed with Lord of the Flies. Both of those claims sound pretentious to make myself, but hopefully you can excuse me for reciting them back to you.
In keeping with the earlier theme of courage and cowardice, Home To Roost is a story of those same traits. Characters within it are driven by fear of death, fear of loss, and fear of change. Quite a bit of courage is summoned by some characters, but not always with the best results–especially as they permit passions to rule their decisions. But I will say no more! If you’re curious, you can pick up a copy! It’s on sale this week, and I think you’ll find it worth your while, even if it were at its full price.
- Do you write full time, no specific other day job?
Yes and no. I spend most days writing, but every now and again I’ll go out as a day laborer. I enjoy it quite a bit. Most of what I do is just spade work–literally digging holes and trenches for people. But it lets me meet new people and see inside their homes, which, creepy as it may be, provides wonderful inspiration and material for my writing. And I get some exercise and a paycheck, both of which make my wife happy.
- What else makes you ‘distinct’ to mention to everyone?
I suppose I’ll mention two things. First is that I write clean books. I know that some readers really appreciate knowing that there won’t be graphic violence, sexuality, or language. Of course, elements of all three of those things might appear in my stories, but I try to keep the language and sexuality from forcing a blush, and the violence within the PG-13 boundaries.
Second, is that I believe that the reader’s imagination plays an active and important part in the storytelling. That theory allows me to focus my descriptions in a way that some other authors may not. I tend to focus my descriptions on movement and contrasts of light, and not details like character’s facial features or room decor.
I experimented with this in my second novel, Cleaving Souls, where I honestly don’t recall any physical descriptions I made for my characters. Skin, eye, and hair color are left to my reader’s imagination, as are many other aspects of the character’s physiques. Although I don’t mention those things about the characters, readers whom I’ve asked to describe the protagonists all could. They provided detailed descriptions of how the characters looked–descriptions which they’d invented on their own, yet felt certain had been included in the book. Why? Because their own creativity was actively running while reading, and created the physical look of the characters to match the personalities in the book. In that way, I feel my readers get to connect more with the story, because they are helping to create it, even if they don’t know it.
- Home To Roost and Cleaving Souls are both horror novels. Is that your genre? What are you working on next?
At this point in my writing, I’m not ready to commit to a genre. I don’t think I ever will be. Home To Roost is slower and more literary, with a long burn before the ending. Cleaving Souls I crafted to be more of a thriller–shorter, with a faster moving plot. Both have a reasonably strong horror element.
My next book is more of an adventure and romance story than anything else, though. I’d love to give some specific details on it, but I’m still hammering a lot of that stuff out. But the original idea came from my daughter, who wanted me to write a Cinderella story. That’s already been done a million times, but I think I have a new enough take on it to make it worthwhile. And, with how cute my daughter is, I had to at least try.
My initial plot idea for it was that a gang of thieves and con-artists were going to pull of a royal heist–swap out the famous glass slipper for one that the protagonist–a tough, hard-hitting heroine crew member–could fit into, thus fooling the prince, gaining access to the palace, and stealing the “happily ever after” away from the original characters (if their plan worked, that is). The story has changed and evolved since then, but I suppose that gives you the rough idea.
- What about your role as a blogger? You’ve got some posts to check out…
Yes, I do blog. I think mostly I just see what other bloggers are up to, and which books people are getting excited about. But I do post sometimes. My blog is called “The First Million Words.” The idea is that it takes a million words before a writer is any good. I’ve got a long way to go to reach a million words, and the blog is the chronicle (more or less) of my journey towards that lofty word count. I post (or intend to post) bits about my life, marketing experiments, writing thoughts, creative writing snippets, storytelling principles, and reviews.
- You read a lot. Do you have any favorite books, authors, or characters?
Well, our son’s middle name is Samwise, so I suppose you could call me a fan of Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings, and Samwise Gamgee. I would not deny it. We’re also big Star Wars fans (Yes, even the prequels. And, yes, the books, too). In fact, May 5th may be our daughter’s favorite holiday, owing to the fact that it’s when she gets to see the next Star Wars movie–and I don’t mean the latest movie. I mean the next one. We started her on A New Hope and are making her watch them in order, with one year waiting periods.
But I’ll just try and fire off three answers for each of those categories, since I’ve already talked enough.
- Favorite Authors: Brandon Sanderson, James M. McPherson, and J.K. Rowling.
- Favorite Books: Jurassic Park, A Sand County Almanac, and Lord of the Flies
- Favorite Characters: Samwise Gamgee, Hannibal Lecter, and Winnie-the-Pooh
My apologies to all readers for being so long winded. I swear, my books are more streamlined than things I put up on blogs! Thank you, Jay, for giving me some digital space to talk about myself. If anyone ever wants to connect, I try to be very reachable. Drop me a message any time, or just comment on this post!
- Website: http://chaunceyrogers.com
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