Name Russell Chapman
Where are you from I was born in Erith Kent; my family moved to the Cathedral City of Canterbury when I was aged five, where I lived until I went to university. I now live in a small village near Hayle in West Cornwall.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Graduated from Bristol University (BSc Maths). I’ve previously pursued successful careers in accounting, sales and marketing. Married for twenty five years, my wife and I share our home with the family cat. A keen traveler when younger I flew on Concord, cruised on the QE2 and rode on the Orient Express.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?Russell: Outside of writing I am involved with three potential startup business ventures, in a sales and marketing capacity. With regard to writing I am working on the ‘Second Chronicle of Gaia’, which will probably be titled ‘The Demon’s Assassin’. I am also busy marketing ‘Roads of Destiny’; book marketing is proving to be a steep learning curve.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Russell: I started writing my first book at the end of February 2014. It is something I have always wanted to do but until then never found or made the time. I find it relaxing and an excellent form of therapy.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Russell: When I published ‘Roads of Destiny’, until then it was merely an aspiration.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Russell: During February 2014 I visited my father; sadly it was obvious that he was terminally ill which was confirmed by the doctors one week later. Writing and publishing a novel was my one unfulfilled career ambition. I started writing it immediately in the forlorn hope that it would be published before my father died. Unfortunately the book took eight months to write and publish; my father only lived until early April.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Russell: Probably but I’m not sure how to describe it. It is best to allow the readers to be the judge of that.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Russell: The series title ‘Chronicles of Gaia’, is derived from the name of the mythical world in the book. Gaia was the primal Greek mother goddess. ‘Road of Destiny’ is a euphemism, used in the book, for the journey we call life, hence the title ‘Roads of Destiny’.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Russell: Throughout history and today organized monotheistic religions are perpetually misused, by governments and the political elite, to maintain power and enforce their will. Your beliefs are unique and your relationship with your God(s) belongs to you, don’t let anyone else tell you how to conduct that relationship.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Russell: The book is a fantasy story. There are parallels with both the ancient and modern world, in terms of the extreme and violent misuse of organized religion to satisfy individuals’ greed and desire for power.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Russell: The book’s examination of sin, atonement, forgiveness and redemption is based on personal experiences and those of others. As with many books there are autobiographical elements of the author’s life within the story.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Russell: The Bible, the Koran, Das Capital, Mein Kampf, The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and the works of Charles Dickens.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Russell: C.S. Lewis
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Russell: Tales Of The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Russell: I enjoyed the actor John Barrowman’s first book Hollow Earth co-authored with his sister Carole.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Russell: Writing ‘The Second Chronicle of Gaia.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Russell: A group of online friends of various faiths. Both their support and religious insights were invaluable.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Russell: It would be great if writing became a full time career, but reality suggests that income from writing would need to be supplemented by other activities. I have no desire to write non-fiction.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Russell: The book went through multiple re-writes before I was satisfied with it, then edited. I wouldn’t change anything in it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Russell: No, especially as I hated reading up until I was eleven.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Russell: The Second Chronicle of Gaia, charts the religious wars in the mythical land of Mangaia; driven by fanaticism and the ambitions of powerful men. All the powerful men harbor the same ambition to conquer and be worshipped by the Gods.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Russell: Ensuring the book is consistent throughout as I prefer to work without the restriction of a story plan.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Russell: C S Lewis. His writing demonstrates a remarkable ability to convey his fantasy world concisely and ignite the reader’s imagination.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Russell: As the books are in fantasy world I don’t need to travel. I have travelled but not for the purpose of writing.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Russell: Jerry Banberger
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Russell: Parts of the book, based on or reflecting personal experiences were very difficult to write especially when they related to not so good memories.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Russell: Writing the book made me consider my own spirituality and beliefs. At the end of the process they have not changed. To forgive is divine but sometimes it is not possible; maybe some of us are more divine than others
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Russell: Be true to your vision and don’t be upset if others don’t like the result.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Russell: ‘Roads of Destiny’ raises many questions about religion and the paradoxical relationship between good, evil, love and hate. Hopefully the readers will both enjoy a good yarn and think about the issues raised within the storyline. Some will be shocked by parts of the book but it is no more horrifying than real life.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Russell: Coral Island by R M Ballantyne
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Russell: A range of quality comedy makes me laugh from slapstick to subtle. I particularly enjoy black comedy. Cruelty to animals upsets me. Things that make me cry are usually silly little things of no consequence.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Russell: Tony Blair. I would love to understand how he could believe he was doing God’s work with ‘Shock and Awe’.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Russell: ‘Write something here to make you smile’ I’ll be dead so I won’t care; the living should be happy.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Russell: I enjoy watching football and visiting old battlefields.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Russell: Dr Who; Vampire Diaries; historical dramas and documentaries. A film that I could watch repeatedly is the 1970 epic Waterloo. The battle scenes in the book were influenced by it.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Russell: Favourite food, the easiest question to answer so far. Roast beef dinner, with Yorkshire pudding and grated horse radish. Like bees, my favourite colours are at blue/violet end of spectrum. I enjoy a range of music but if I had to choose a selection it would include Led Zeppelin, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Russell: I would love to be able to paint, but my career as an artist ended at young age when I was expelled from art class at school.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? I am in the process of setting up the blog. It will include a series of illustrations by an artist, Jane Burton who lives close to me. The domain name http://gaiagods.com temporarily links to my Facebook book page.