You can say Chase is a father, avowed revolutionary, and author in that order. Born and raised in Bridgeport, CT he grew up in a proud Afro-indigenous family from the deep south with strong roots to the military, activism, and public service.
After years in the indie hip-hop scene as The Legendary Thug Poet, he was forced to put the mic down after a near fatal car accident left him with a traumatic brain injury. Now he mainly sticks to activism, historical martial arts, and writing great books, while proudly serving as Managing Editor of SF/For the Culture; the fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction side of W. Clark Presents Innovative Publishing!
1.Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
When I started writing, my life was in a state of crisis and flux, and one day my nephew looked at me and said…”If you write a book, your life will change”. With myom was struggling with cancer, and the closest thing to a dad I ever had, dying from it, I desperately needes a change. After leaving the hospital one night, I was gonna go to the liquor store to drown my sorrows…instead I wrote a book. The crazy part is, I was an indie rapper, I had never intended on writing books ever, but this book from the weapons the characters use to the battlefields I chose, this book had been building itself in my imagination since I was a little boy.
2.What is it about your genre that speaks to you?
I always gravitated toward fantasy, sci-fi and historical fiction. Because I grew up in the Bridgeport, CT. When I was little, they would call my city Beirut, and sometimes I could look outside and see something out of a movie. I love the hood, and I always will, but I needed stuff outside what I could see in my day to day life to truly inspire my imagination. I did the gang and the street stuff, I lived and still do live in a real life dystopia, so when I wanted to disconnect from that, speculative fiction gave me the out that I needed.
3.Without giving any spoilers, what is your favorite thing about this book?
The fact that the system is in a state of collapse.
4.If I were stuck in a room with your main character, what would we be doing?
Probably sparring, there’s a lot of me in my main character…there can only be one!
5.When you are writing, tell me about the emotions that are running through you and what it takes to work alongside them.
Oh man, so it’s a much different experience writing now than it was when I first started. After writing The Road of Resistance, I was in a serious car accident and sustained a TBI in the process. So, what little sense I had is now totally gone. What used to be live just in my imagination, seems to have totally blurred the lines. When I write a dark scene, I’m all in I’m there. When I write a battle, I choreograph the fights in my armor with my sword in hand. I ride the wave and at this point feel like less of an author and more like an instrument for the story to tell itself.
6.Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds them back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?
I have a Traumatic Brain Injury. Cognitively I’m not as sharp or focused as I would like. Everything takes more time and more patience. I now have the attention span of my toddler, who is determined to be the world’s cutest distraction.
7.You’re going to go back and visit yourself when you first started writing, at whatever age it was, and you can give yourself one piece of advice. What would it be?
To 18-year-old me that wrote a brilliant novella for 12th grade English…submit that damn assignment and don’t be a bonehead. To older me who started writing The Road of Resistance, promote the book as you query, build a fan base and connect with other authors.
8.Let’s talk about tools. Do you have a word processor that you would tell us to use? Is there a certain computer that has become your favorite? What do you look for in a keyboard? What would you absolutely have to have if you were to sit down and write your next book?
The computer hurts my head, I’ve written every book I’ve written on my phone. I’m fond of the Novelist App.
9.Describe your workplace.
Anywhere I can use my phone. Usually at home, I’m posted up in my living room where we have a table and I sit by the window and write.
10.If you could live anywhere other than where you are, where would it be?
Honestly as a Afro-indigenous person, I’ve been to Mississippi where both my mother and fathers people are from and have been from since before colonialism. I’ve had the opportunity to dig my toes in the earth and feel that connection to the land. I would like to find out where my ancestors in Africa are from, and live there to see if I get the same sense of connectivity.
11.You have a chance to hang out with any literary character for one day. Who would it be and what would you do?
Probably Kellenved of Shadowthrone from The Malazan series, and I would probably spend a full 24 hours glorying in unleashing abject mayhem.
12.If you could choose any other writer, living or dead, to be your mentor, whom would you choose and why?
This is a hard question, because Charles R. Saunders was the first person to jump to mind. But I recently learned that in 1859 Martin Delaney wrote Blake, or the Huts of America. It’s the tale of successful slave revolt in the southern states and the founding of a new Black country in Cuba…so it’s tempting to want that experience due to the striking similarities, but I would have to say the great N.K. Jeminson, because her storytelling is incredible and her award-winning pedigree speaks for itself. I want to win awards like that one day.
13.What are the things you’re most proud of in this book or series?
I’m most proud of the lives I’ve been able to touch. I will never forget how proud my son was holding my first ever paperback. From my family, to the people in my neighborhood who are thrilled that homie from down the block wrote a book set in Bridgeport, to all my readers and fans that I’ve connected with through my journey as an author.
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