Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.
As a professional sailor, writer, scientist, and life-long gamer, writing nautical and RPG tie-in fantasy came naturally for Chris. His Scimitar Seas novels from Dragon Moon Press have won multiple gold medals from Foreword Reviews Magazine, and his Pathfinder Tales novels, Pirate’s Honor, Pirate’s Promise, and Pirate’s Prophecy from Paizo Publishing have received high praise. Though he’s built a reputation writing pirate stories, his magical assassin, Weapon of Flesh series has also become a Kindle bestseller, culminating last year with the sixth novel, Weapon of Mercy. He’s also branched into the Horror genre with his soon-to-be released novella The Deep Gate, an Arkham Horror tie-in story from Fantasy Flight Games.
His recent short works include Dia de Los Muertos, in the Drawing Destiny Shadowrun anthology, First Command, in the Women in Practical Armor anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media, and a series of short stories for the Starfinder compatible Legendary Planets Adventure Path by Legendary Games.
Lastly, he has published the Cheese Runners Trilogy of satire-science fiction novellas available in digital, paper, and Audible versions.
Drop by jaxbooks.com and sign up for his mailing list.
Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?
Chris: I think it would be a spinner dolphin. They are always playing, perfectly at home in their environment, and seemingly effortless in their grace. They’re social, quick, intelligent, and beautiful. I’ve watched them for hours under sail while they ride the waves, darting and dashing about, jumping from the sea to flip and spin in acrobatic antics. Yeah…I could totally do that.
Wolf: Dolphins are cool. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Chris: I spent a couple of summers on foreign fishing vessels as a NMFS observer, and ate whatever they ate. One vessel was Japanese, and I ate like a king, gaining about 15 pounds in two months! The other was Korean, and I lost weight, not because the food was not delicious, but it was very spicy (all three meals a day were spicy) and it took my stomach about a month to get used to it. A lot of octopus, squid, pickled jellyfish with sea-urchin roe, pickled bits of this and that, and fish head soup (which is actually delicious, if you can ignore the eyeballs).
Wolf: It all sounds yummy. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?
Chris: I’d have to ask for what purpose? Survival in the Zombie Apocalypse, home defense, or just to hang on the wall? And can it be magical? Can it be science fiction? I’m not a fan of guns, but I’m not averse to them either. For home defense I’d probably choose an automatic pistol with some knock-down. For zombies, maybe a katana (you never have to reload a sword). I do own a broadsword, which would do nicely.
Wolf: I’ve always been partial to blades, myself. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.
Chris: There is a great line from one of the Patrick O’brian novels. Stephen Maturin wants to name a tortoise after Jack Aubrey, but he says “Oh, no. Name a shrub after me. Something prickly and hard to eradicate. Yep…that’s me. Prickly and hard to eradicate. Maybe a blackberry bush, because they put out sweet fruit every once in a while, too.
Wolf: I like that. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Chris: I’ve lost too many friends and loved ones over the years not to wish for the power to heal. If I could eradicate disease, injury, illness, and pain, I would be a very happy person.
Wolf: You should check out Star Touched, by A. L. Kaplan. There are several characters who can heal, including the main character, Tatiana. What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?
Chris: Depends on the cataclysm (Would there be zombies, aliens, monsters?) but I think I’d want a really nice sailboat (fully equipped, of course), a water purification system, a good hunting rifle, some really top-notch fishing gear, and an e-reader with every book ever written on it.
Wolf: You’re definitely a seafarer. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Chris: I created a courtesan/spy/sorceress for my Pathfinder Tales novels, Vreva Jhafae, who is probably my favorite. She is beautiful, smart, and courageous, but also not entirely “good” if you know what I mean. She’s on the right side but will stoop to nefarious means to achieve her goals. If you took James Bond, made him an omnisexual woman, gave her magic and a snarky feline familiar, you’d pretty much have Vreva.
Wolf: Sounds interesting. I’ll have to read them. What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)
Chris: The Caribbean, without a doubt. I fell in love with the sea at a very young age and spent years on the deck of my father’s fishing boat off the Oregon Coast, then more years in Alaska, the Bering Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and now the Caribbean and Atlantic. I’d love to sail the Greek Isles and see the Great Barrier Reef one day. Second favorite would be Crater Lake, Oregon…just because it’s so utterly awesome.
Wolf: Yup. A seafarer through and through. What story are you working on now?
Chris: Always have more than one project at once. Right now I’m working on four; two rewrites of previously published works and two new stories. The one that I just finished and has not gone through edits yet is a story about a shape shifter. It’s set in my own fantasy world, where I’ve already written about fifteen novels, so the world is pretty much built and the magical “rules” set. He’s a war veteran and carries a lot of PTSD. He has a snarky animal companion, Max, who helps him by “stabilizing” his shape shifting, and the two become embroiled in a revolution of sorts. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s set in a middle-eastern themed area of desert, ancient tombs, djinn, and a tyrannical male-centric society. You know that’s not going to last, right? There is also magic, romance, and other shape shifters involved.
Wolf: Sounds cool. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Chris: I’m kind of a nature buff, and I love the sea, so probably either sailing or snorkeling. My wife and I own a sailboat that we have taken from Maine to Trinidad, and are now exploring the western Caribbean. I prefer warm water, and we try to snorkel as much as possible. There’s always something new to see, and my wife Anne, is a marine biologist, so she can actually tell me what we’re looking at. We’ve been blogging our sailing adventures for nine years. If you want to have a look, check out sailmrmac.blogspot.com
Wolf: I will. Thanks for visiting. Connect with Chris through these links.