Q&A With Christopher Swann

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Q&A With Christopher Swann

This afternoon I’m doing a Q&A with Christopher Swann who is the author of “Shadow Of The Lions,” “Never Turn Back,” “A Fire In The Night,” and his latest novel coming out in August titled “Never Go Home”. As well as being an author Christopher is a Highschool English teacher too. 



Q: How do you juggle being both an English teacher and an author? 



A: Sleep is overrated. I’m very fortunate in that my school is supportive of my writing habit, and during the summer break I tend to get a lot of writing done. 



Q: What advice do you give to anyone wanting to be a writer?



A: Don’t quit. Aside from whatever talent I may have, the only reason I am published is that I didn’t quit. I’ve wanted to write books since I was 13, and my first book was published when I was 47. I won’t say I was writing steadily from age 13 to 47—not at all—but there were so many moments on that journey when I could have just given up. My two pieces of advice: read as widely as you can, and go to conferences or author readings at bookstores and listen.



Q: What advice do you give to anyone struggling with writers block?



A: I’ve never really suffered from writer’s block in the traditional sense, where I can’t think of anything to write about. (I’m knocking on wood right now as I type this!) For me, I can at times be sluggish about getting started—“I’ll read one more article online / I’ll watch one more episode / I’ll read one more chapter,” etc. And then it’s too late and I have to go to bed. I’d suggest that when you are writing, stop before a scene is completely done—leave something in the tank, to paraphrase Ernest Hemingway (I think it was Hemingway), and that way you have a good place to start from the next day. 



Q: If you had to choose out of all your books you wrote so far, which one was your favorite? 


A: That’s like asking me which of my sons is my favorite! Honestly, they are all different, and I was different when I wrote them. If I’m forced to answer, I’d have to say it was my first, Shadow of the Lions. It wasn’t my favorite to write, necessarily, because I stumbled a lot and took a while to figure out how to tell the story. But in terms of the entire experience of writing a novel and then publishing it—it’s hard to beat your first.



Q: I saw that you were a guest in Friends and Fiction pre chat show with Karin Slaughter. I don’t always get to watch their videos, but all those ladies are so kind. What was it like being a part of their pre-chat show?



A: I was actually a guest of the show that evening—Karin Slaughter went first and had to leave at 7:35, so I came on after her. It was my second experience on Friends and Fiction, and just like the first one it was a lot of fun. Those four authors—Patti Callahan Henry, Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Kristin Harmel—are amazing storytellers and hosts, and they do a wonderful service for the writing and reading communities with their show. They made me feel more than welcome and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. I still have moments when I consciously think, I get to do this? I get to write stories and then meet folks like Karin Slaughter? Somebody pinch me.


Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so can you spoil a little bit of what its about?


A: I just turned in a rough draft of my fifth novel, which is a sequel to Never Go Home and stars the same protagonist, Suzie Faulkner. Never Go Home ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and the next novel—still figuring out the title—picks up the story a year later.



Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your novel yet?


A: Not yet, but we’re working on it. (Any film agents out there looking for new material, hit me up.)