Tag Archives: cyborgs

Author Interview: C.I. Chevron

Definitely ADHD—C.I. Chevron loves to write everything from Christian to hard science fiction. Problem is, she loves to read just as much and has a hard time deciding which to do first. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author CI ChevronI began writing at a very young age on anything I could get my hands on, including, don’t kill me, my picture books. When I was nine, my great grandmother took out her old typewriter and taught me to type. What a revelation. I wrote all the way through high school. Then college, marriage, kids, and showing horses competitively got in the way and I stopped. About ten years ago my mother (my greatest fan and supporter) passed away. Then not too long after, my stallion. I was floating without the will to do anything. So I turned back to writing. It’s been full steam ahead since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I wrote this monstrosity of a fantasy book when I was sixteen. My sister loved it and read every word asking for more. The validation of having a devoted fan—yeah, I know she was my sister—made me think, hey, I can do this. Even if it took a while. My mother kept the book. A huge file of loose single spaced scribbled on mess. Sometimes I take it out and look and it and think—maybe this year.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Metal and Bone is a fractured CinderElla fairy tale set in an alternate steampunk timeline of 1870. Ella is a modified human, forced to work as a servant and thief for her stepmother, a German agent. Of course, there is a handsome Prince, returned from the warfront when his brother, the crown prince, is killed. At loose ends, he works with Scotland yard to apprehend the thief Cinder. Unbeknownst to him the woman he has fallen in love with, Ella, has a lot of secrets. As does the thief Cinder.

What inspired you to write this book?

Quite simply, I love fractured fairy tales. I read as many as I can get my hands on.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I used to be a pantser, but after several saggy middles and stories that just didn’t go anywhere, I pretty must plot my stories now. The outlines are fluid and tend to change—a lot. But when I get stuck, I look at the outline, and away I go.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

My main character, Ella, was modified by her godmother using a secret method from the Egyptian tombs (since lost again) that fused wires (metal) to nerves and bone. Thus—Metal and Bone.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I really don’t tend to write with a message in mind, but I do write strong women. Basically, do what you need to do women.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Not at all. I am an escapist writer and reader. I want to fall into the story and disappear, and I want to take the reader with me. Of course, there are a few things that may be traced to people I know or things I have seen or done, but I’m not admitting to anything.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Too many to count. Any person, indie author or traditional, that can take me on a journey, who has a good story to tell, I will read. Not matter mistakes, even plot holes. It’s all about the story for me.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

The people of NETWO (Northeast Texas Writers Organization) have been my mentors for the past eight years. They are supportive and offer up the best constructive criticism ever.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Steven Novak did this cover and I love it. It won the People choice at the 2019 NETWO conference’s cover contest. Steven is easy to work with, and you just can’t beat that. He gets back to me, is willing to change things up over and over again until we get it right.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find a critique group that meets regularly or put one together yourself. I am in a group that has met at a local coffee house every Tuesday for over a year and a half. They are great for bouncing ideas off, finding plot holes, running book trailers by, and discussing marketing or just the book world in general.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

MetalBone_CVR_SMLC.I. Chevron
Cookville, TX


Metal and Bone

Cover Artist: Steven Novak


Lit Up OC: Author Open Mic

Kean Coffee Tustin 2
Kean Coffee in Tustin, CA

I drove down the country road with anticipation, a small box of my books in the trunk of my vehicle and wearing comfortable, but nice clothing. I did my best to quell my nerves and remind myself that I’ve done this before, but it had been almost a year since I last performed an author reading in public. I felt that I might be rusty. This was no ordinary author series either. It was Lit Up OC, the series attached to my local writing guild and most of my writer friends attend it. Would I lose my voice? Would I blank out when my friends grilled me with writing questions that would go far beyond a typical layperson? Of the three authors reading, which one would I be? First? Last? I wasn’t sure.

What is Lit Up OC

I stumbled upon Lit Up OC around two years ago. It is a monthly reading series in Southern California located at Keans Coffee in Tustin. Local writers hang out with their coffee and tea while three authors read excerpts from their novels or a short story. Represented genre include mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, literary, memoir, you name it. You never know what is coming next. There are many events like this in nearby Los Angeles, but Lit Up OC is the only reading series I know of in Orange County. Our host, Madeline Tighe Margarita is the creator and organizer of the event. She handles the author introductions. Asks questions of the audience afterward about what they heard and what their impressions were in critique style. Then moderates a general question and answer session between the author and audience.

What I Read

Murder They Wrote Book Cover (blog)In December of 2017, I had a story included in a horror anthology called “Murder They Wrote” put out by Serial Sikk Publishing. The theme of the collection was speculative fiction that included a murder. My story, “We Can Rebuild Him” began as a writing prompt from an online science fiction writing club. The prompt was to write a story about a cyborg. I combined the prompt with the feelings I felt when watching the Kevin Bacon movie “Taking Chance”. It features an American escort officer returning the body of a soldier to his family. I combined this with ideas about cyborgs that I had gleaned from panels at science fiction conventions. The result was psychologically dark and although it was not technically about murder, it fits with the bloody theme of the anthology.

I read the entire story to the audience. My goal was not to sell books per se, it was for me to get out and perform a reading for the first time in almost a year. I practiced all week. Developing different inflections for the characters. Where to put in pauses for emphasis. Making sure that all technical terms flowed with proper pronunciations. Everything that I could do to make a good first impression of my writing to my peers.

What Questions Were Asked

Wendy Reads at Lit Up OC - Jan 2018
Wendy Van Camp Reads at Lit Up OC

After the reading, Maddie conducts a question and answer session. The first part of the session she asks the audience about what they heard during the reading and their thoughts about it. Considering most of the audience are authors, some with multiple books, the comments can be extremely technical and difficult to answer on the fly. I prepared to answer typical questions at the reading. The inspiration for the story. My writing voice. Experiences on the science fiction convention circuit. What national author guilds I belong to and why. The audience asked all that and more.

I’m told that I appeared articulate and that my reading was entertaining, even with the dark subject matter. Many were surprised that I had written a story in the horror genre.

I feel that “We Can Rebuild Him” is a good story to perform and I plan on using it as my main piece at the various readings I will do at conventions this year. While I don’t write dark, horror pieces as a general rule, it still showcases my current skill level as an author. If you are planning on attending WorldCon, you will hear me read this story at the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading.

Kean Coffee Reading Audience 2
Lit Up OC Audience

Why Do Readings?

Many writers are introverts who feel anxiety standing up in front of people. I can sympathize with that. When I was a beginning teacher, standing in front of 30 teenagers and trying to convey English, History or Math to them, I felt challenged. Over time, I learned to be more comfortable in front of a classroom and to speak in a manner that is engaging enough to hold the attention of teenagers. If you can do that, you can speak to anyone! An easier way to learn this skill is to join the Toastmasters in your local area. There will be fewer spitballs on your back that way!

As an author, I like to find opportunities to be in front of potential readers and give them a sample of my work. This is why I attend book fairs, do readings at science fiction conventions, and read at local salons. When you get a chance to meet readers in person, you learn things about your own work or help you match the expectations of your target audience. While these events provide me with a place to do sales of my books, that is not my main focus. I am there to make an impression on readers in the hope that they will remember me later when looking for a new author to read. Not to mention, have a good time.

Final Word

Wendy Van Camp and Maddie at Lit Up OC
Host Maddie Margarita and Author Wendy Van Camp

Being the first to read, I was able to relax and enjoy the other two writers that night.  Both were accomplished authors and I enjoyed hearing their work. Afterward, I met people that came to hear me and to purchase signed books. I’m glad that I finally gave in to Maddie’s offer to read at Lit Up OC. It was a great experience and I hope to be back again once I complete my science fiction novel. However, I will be grateful that the next time I’m at the event, I will be in the audience posing “difficult” questions to the next set of authors!