Rachel Smith, an education student at the University of Nevada recently interviewed author Chris Platt.
1) Rachel: What books/authors influenced you when you were growing up?
Chris: “When I was a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on by horse book author, Marguerite Henry. Her book, King of the Wind, is still one of my favorites. Also, my seventh grade English teacher introduced me to the late, great, sci-fi author, Ray Bradbury. I loved all of his books, but my favorite was Something Wicked This Way comes. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and On The Beach by Nevil Shute were a couple of my other favorites. ”
2) Rachel: You write in the realistic fiction genre. Do you ever consider writing in another genre?
Chris: “I would love to write in another genre, I just don’t have the time for it right now while I’m finishing up a contract for my current publisher. But I do have a young adult book and several romance books left unfinished under my bed.”
3) Rachel: When writing Willow King, did you live in Oregon or Nevada?
Chris: “I lived in Nevada when I wrote Willow King, but I had lived in Oregon for 12 years before that. I like to add enough detail to a book so that, even though the reader might not have ever been there before, they’ll immediately be able to picture the place in their minds. ”
4) Rachel: Are the girls in your books based on your experience growing up?
Chris: “Yes, I like to use my life experiences in my books. It adds to the realism. Every bite, kick, buck-off and stomp that happened to my main character in Willow King, really happened to me in real life. lol”
5) Rachel: Did you have trouble making friends when growing up?
Chris: “No, I was kind of a shy kid growing up, but it didn’t stop me from making friends. I was never one who liked having tons of friends/acquaintances around, or being around a lot of people. I usually had one or two great friends that I spent all my time with.”
6) Rachel: Why do you incorporate a boy into your books for the girl to have a crush on?
Chris: “I like putting a boy character in my books because, even though most of my readers are girls, if a boy chooses to read one of my books, I like having a character he can identify with. Plus, girls the age of my characters start getting interested in boys at that age. It gives them an extra interest in the book, and I like being able to show an innocent relationship between the two characters, without all of the crazy stuff that happens in a lot of today’s books. ”
7) Rachel: I notice that your charactions grow throughout your stories. What values do you find important that you instill in your characters? Are you tryihng to model good behavior for your characters?
Chris: “When I first started writing, I didn’t really think about a lot of the rules of writing, or what I should or shouldn’t do. I just sat down and wrote a book. And it just so happened that a lot of my own thoughts and values ended up in my characters. I come from a family of hard-workers and had a Christian upbringing. My main characters always seem to have those kinds of values. Call me old fashioned, but I like my main character to have to work hard for what she wants, and she doesn’t always get what she wants, either. I like writing innocent books where the kids can be kids. I’m not knocking books that take a more risque approach. I just choose not to go that way for now. Especially with this young age group.”
8) Rachel: What do you value more, plot or character development?
Chris: “Even after having 15 books published, I still feel like I don’t know much about writing. I learn more every day. I used to use a lot of action to move my stories forward, but now, Im learning to use character development and plot to move things forward. Character is probably more important to me than plot. You can have a great plot, but if your characters are flat, the book won’t go far. “
9) Rachel: Besides the fact that you love horses, why do you put them in your stories? Is there more of a learning point in writing about them?
Chris: “Most horse book authors write people books with horses in them. I write horse books with people in them. I write horse books because I still love horses (and own 4 of them). These books made me happy as a kid. I’m hoping to pass on some of that joy to other young readers.”
10) Rachel: What do you want children to get out of reading your books?
Chris: “I want them to get enjoyment out of reading my books. That’s the main thing. And if they happen to pick up a good work ethic along the way, or learn a life lesson, well, that’s okay, too.”
11) Rachel: What is your writing process for working on a book?
Chris: “My writing process, hmmm… I’m what they call a “pantster.” I write by the seat of my pants, as opposed to someone who sits down and writes out every detail of a plot. I know where I want to start the book, where I want it to end it, and a few things that are going to happen along the way. Then I just sit down and start writing.”
Rachel: Thanks for the interview. I enjoy your books.
Chris: “Thanks for the opportunity to share some information. I enjoyed it.”