Sunday, 26 June 2016

Author Interview | Christopher Husberg

Today folks I am beyone thrilled to have Christopher Husberg on my blog for what I can only describe as a wonderful Q&A. We talk about his novel Duskfall and his writing career so far. I am super excited to read this book, not only is it gorgeous but the story/blurb sounds INCREDIBLE.

Hello Chris, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview, I am pleased to welcome you to my blog.
Thank YOU for the opportunity—I’m happy to be here!
So tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you write?
Right now I live in Utah, but I’m originally from Eagle River, Alaska. I love the outdoors, video games, reading, and, of course, writing. My current series—the Chaos Queen Quintet, of which Duskfall is the first entry—is epic dark fantasy, and that’s pretty much my favorite stuff. I’m also interested in post-apocalyptic and science fiction stories too, but fantasy is where I live :-).
What would you like to tell us about your book?
Um, it’s AWESOME! I like to say it has something for everyone. If you like action, you’ll like Knot—an amnesiac assassin on the run from his former employers as well as his dark past. If magic is your thing, then you’ll enjoy Winter—a young woman with incredible psimantic potential (psimancy is the magic system in the book) who develops a crippling addiction to the drug that allows her to access the magic in the first place. Whether she can learn to curb her addiction and control her power may have global consequences. Or if you want something more existential, you might like Cinzia’s storyline: she’s a priestess returning home to a heretical uprising who discovers her sister may be at the heart of all the trouble. And I haven’t even mentioned Astrid yet—she’s become one of my favorite characters! You’ll just have to read the book to find out more about her :-).
Where do you find your inspiration?
Yikes. If you asked me where I don’t find inspiration, I’d be able to give you a shorter list. I find inspiration everywhere. History, of course, as well as mythology, religion, nature, music, film, television, literature, and stories in general of just about any kind. I draw from my own experience too, of course—I think some of the best writing happens when I truly process and translate some kind of experience or emotion I’ve had onto the page.
What can you tell me about your typical writing day and what your process is?
Up until about ten months ago, before my daughter was born, my typical writing day was pretty stable. Wake up around 6, exercise and get some personal things done, and then devote 3-4 hours to whatever project I was currently working on. Then I’d take a break—go on a walk, play a video game, eat lunch, something along those lines—and in the afternoon (assuming I hit my quota in the morning) I’d spend time blogging, worldbuilding, planning other projects, reading, or whatever else needed to be done.
But now that there’s a child around—and I’m a stay-at-home father—things are very different.
Fortunately we’ve been blessed with baby that really knows how to sleep at night, and for a while I was able to take advantage of that and wake up super early (around 4AM) to get as many hours of writing in as I could before my little girl woke. That actually worked quite well (it seems my best writing time is usually very late at night or very early in the morning anyway), but it was difficult to find consistency. If my daughter happened to wake up early, or I had to stay up late the night before, things got rough.
We’ve got some outside help now, someone who watches our daughter for a few hours each day, and that’s been helpful. Consistency is still hard to come by—it was huge for me before my daughter came along, and it has been difficult to adjust to more of a write-when-I-can” attitude—but I’m making progress. I can always find the time to do that core” chunk of writing on current projects every day, and then whatever else I can get done besides that is always great, too!
Can you tell me about your journey to publication? How did that all happen?
I’m actually doing an extended sequence on my blog about how I got published—so if you want the long story, you should check that out HERE! But the short version is this:
I always knew I wanted to try the traditional route first, and the best place for me to start that process was at writing conferences and conventions—there are events all over the world that feature sci-fi/fantasy fiction and writers, and I’m fortunate to be in a place (Utah) highly saturated with that kind of thing. Once I had a finished, presentable novel, I started researching the agents and editors who showed up at events, and eventually began pitching my novel to them.
That sounds pretty simple, but for an introvert like me it was terrifying. I actually completely botched my first pitch to my first agent—it was mortifying. I’m pretty sure I forgot the name of one of the main characters (in my defense I’d just recently changed the main characters’ names, but still). No kidding. But here’s an example of the craziness of the publishing world: after that first failed attempt, and after dozens of other failed attempts (happily not quite as miserable as that first one), I finally reconnected with that agent I’d first pitched to, and guess what? His name is Sam Morgan with JABberwocky Literary Agency, and he now represents me :-). Sam eventually sent my manuscript to Titan Books, they apparently thought it was decent, and here we are!
What are the folks at Titan publishers like to work with?
They’ve been really great! Miranda, my editor, is absolutely brilliant and gave me some really incredible notes that helped me polish Duskfall to the upmost. And, hey, they’re taking a chance on my five-book series, and I’m pretty happy about that!
What do your family and loved ones think of your success?
Well you’d really have to ask them to get an accurate response, but I imagine the thoughts range from delighted and proud to surprised and, perhaps, slightly confused. Some of my family members are very practical, and I’m not sure they ever thought this whole writing thing was going to be worth my time until, suddenly, it was. But I’m not sure I blame them—I think I had the same approach!
Really, I just have a huge number of people to thank. All of my family—especially my immediate family, but extended and in-law types as well— and friends have been incredibly supportive. I’m absolutely fortunate in that respect.
So what’s next for Chris Husberg, how is the writing going right now?
Right now I’m finishing up a revision of Book 2 in the Chaos Queen Quintet, hoping to send it off to my agent any day now. But with all the hype of Duskfall’s release, that progress has basically come to a standstill (that’s a first world writer’s problem, I know, but it’s frustrating nonetheless!). Hopefully in the next few weeks I can wrap that up. After that, I’m going to jump right into Book 3.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Chris. I’m looking forward to reading Duskfall.
Of course—and thanks again for the opportunity. I hope you enjoy Duskfall!
Pulled from the frozen waters of the Gulf of Nahl, stuck with arrows and near to death, Knot has no memory of who he was. But his dreams are dark, and he can kill a man with terrifying ease. Winter, a tiellan woman whose people have long been oppressed by humans, is married to and abandoned by Knot on the same day, when robed assassins attack their wedding. Her nascent magical abilities will lead her to a deadly addiction—and phenomenal power. And Cinzia, priestess and true believer, has returned to her home city to find that her own sister is leading a heretical rebellion. A rebellion that only the inquisition can crush... Their fates will intertwine, in a land where magic and demons are believed dead, but dark forces still vie for power.

Duskfall is the first novel in the Chaos Queen Quintet, and is available for pre-order now from Waterstones, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, Powell's, iBooks, and Kobo
About the Author
Christopher Husberg grew up in Eagle River, Alaska, where he did not live in an igloo, so don’t bother asking about it. He enjoyed hiking and camping in the Last Frontier, but only during the three and a half months when there wasn’t snow on the ground. The rest of the year provided ample opportunities to play Warcraft, Starcraft, and Final Fantasy, and read stories by J.R.R. Tolkien, Brian Jacques, Roald Dahl, Susan Cooper, and T.A. Barron. In high school he transitioned to authors like Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin, where he fell in love with Westeros, like, a whole decade before it was cool.

Chris first dreamed of being a writer in elementary school when he tried his hand at Redwall fan fiction. He failed miserably, and might have given up right there if his parents hadn’t fed him an assemblage of vaguely Seussian lines about places he might go, butter battles he might fight, and virescent cuisine he might consume (but mainly that first thing about going places). But his Final Fantasy fan fiction in middle school wasn’t much better, and when he tried writing his own novel in high school he decided it was way too hard and played a lot of video games and pretended to snowboard instead, though his obsession with writing continued festering in the recesses of his mind.

In 2003 Chris enrolled at Brigham Young University as an English major, but soon took two years off to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Southern Italy. Upon returning to BYU, Chris suffered a brief stint of ballroom dancing before his writing obsession re-emerged and he began writing in earnest. He finished his first novel, Duskfall, while taking a year off and teaching ballroom dance at a local studio.
In 2010 Chris was accepted into BYU’s MFA Creative Writing program, taking fiction, non-fiction, YA lit, and theory classes, focussing mostly on short fiction writing. He somehow managed to convince the English Department to let him teach some composition and creative writing courses as part of the program, and took every opportunity to terrorize college freshman and beginning writers with pleasure.

While Chris learned about the art of writing from his MFA, he learned about the business and the craft by taking classes from Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn series and the Stormlight Archive. With Brandon’s help, Chris realized that he could do what he loved and maybe even make a living at it if he put in the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears. Living that dream is working out well for him so far.

Chris currently lives in Provo, Utah, where he spends his time writing, reading, writing, hiking, writing, playing video games, and hanging out with his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Buffy. When the writing gets tough, he considers resorting to another master’s degree, or heaven forbid a PhD, at whatever university will let him concentrate on gender and pop-culture studies in the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer...but then he remembers how much he loves what he does, and writes some more.

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