Name: Christopher Challice
Where are you from: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
A little about yourself your education Family life etc
I grew up in a little town called Cobourg by Lake Ontario. My father died when I was 12, my Mom raised by brother and I by herself. As a kid I spent a lot of time in my own little world, fantasy novels and roleplaying games facilitated that.
I left Cobourg to attend Trent University in Peterborough Ontario and I got my B.A. in English. Afterward, I earned a diploma in computer programming and analysis from Sir Sanford Fleming College. I also met the love of my life Jennifer Doleman, we’ve been together for over 12 years.
I’ve had many jobs: house painter, camp counselor, phone tech support technician and quality assurance annalist. Through all this, I’ve written and told stories. In the past few years, I’ve been giving it a go professionally.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve teamed up with Andrew Valkauskas to write Seith and Sword, a novel for his Fate of the Norns RPG setting. Right now it’s a Kickstarter when it’s funded it’ll be a fully published work.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Right after my dad died. I was filled with regret, sorrow, anger, and loneliness. I wrote fantastical stories to console myself. As I got older I shared these through games and written works. This helped me get out of my funk; I grew up, made friends and am now very happy with my current circumstances.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was a camp counselor and storyteller in Jungle Cat World, Orono. I crafted my own mythology from the animals in the zoo and acted them out for the campers. They loved them and this gave me the confidence to know my stories are worthwhile.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The plight of the Jotun in Norse mythology. If you read the Eddas carefully you’ll see that they’re not simple stories of good and evil. Yes, Jotun can be greedy and dangerous but so can the Gods. At the beginning of Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok Andrew Valkauskas spells out the Jotun grievances and they have a very a strong case.
Given this, I wanted to write a story that held sympathy for the ‘bad guys’.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I trade flowery language for plot. My style is direct and tells as much as possible with the fewest words. At my best, I can guide you through a lifetime’s journey in a single chapter.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Seith and Sword a play on sword and sorcery. Seith is a type of magic in Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok. Its practitioners draw upon the spirit world to affect the physical. It’s a dangerous power full of awesome narrative potential. The main character uses it to great effect.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
People, at their very nature, are good. However, that doesn’t’ stop them from making terrible decisions and causing all sorts of bloodshed and chaos.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It’s set in the Viking age but won’t be historical realism. I’d describe it as a mythic Norse saga. All the characters are human with realistic goals and motivations. However, their actions will be larger than life. Might, magic, valor, all that will be very common.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Oh yes. As a child, I felt like an outsider. The protagonists of this novel are also outsiders.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Stephen King’s Gunslinger series. His Roland is mythic but also real and grounded. If I can be half as good as Stephen King is I’ll have achieved something.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturlson, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Jim Butcher. His stories are dark and mystical but have a gritty, common man undercurrent that I like.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Seith and Sword of course.
Before that I was working on two pojects: A series of comedic adventure books about powerful sorcerers, and a novel about the Norse Goddess Hel growing up in the underworld.
These projects have been put on hold until after I finish Seith and Sword.
If Seith and Sword does as well as I believe it will, I hope to work with Andrew on other projects.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My big brother, from the big brother’s organization, David Bayette. He helped me deal with growing up without a dad. Without him and my Mom, I don’t know what I would have done.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
For the past few years I’ve tackled writing as my part time job. Thanks to that I’ve written a lot, more than I have at any other period in my life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not as of yet.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I had a vivid dream that I was flying a starship. I wrote it down and discovered how much I loved doing it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Vanadis and Gamli are the sole survivors of a seith curse that wipes out a prominent Nibelung family. The Nibelung hero, Hardegon the Trusted, pursues them across the Baltic Sea.
It’s told from Vanadis’ and Gamli’s perspective so I hope the readers emphasize with them. The only thing is, Hardegon’s not an evil man. Given the information he has, he has every right to hunt them.
This’ll be a grim tale but not joyless. Desperation and bloodshed will be broken apart by moments of joy, love and laughter. If I do my job right the readers will see this conflict as a wonderful tragedy.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I get way wrapped up in my own perspective. I see so clearly what’s in my head that I sometimes forget key parts in scenes. Fortunately I have merciless proof readers who’ll point out when my work’s missing clarity.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Hands down Stephen King. He brings the horrifying and fantastic to the real world in ways that I can’t help but admire.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Nope. I do everything from my H.Q. here in Peterborough.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Natasa Ilincic, she’s done work with Andrew before in Denizen’s of the North. I love her cover of Seith and Sword.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I have a very tight schedule and as such won’t have much free time until this book’s done.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
How to organize. I drafted a solid plan in a short time, it’ll serve me well
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write at least an hour every day for the rest of your life. It’s worth it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. My primary concern is weaving a story you’ll love and remember.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first novel I ever bought was Wizard’s Bane by Rick Cook. It’s the story of a computer programmer who becomes a wizard in a fantasy world. I was learning the basics of computer programming at the time and as such I could relate.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Goofy stories that have sudden bits of tragedy. Take One Piece by Eiichro Oda , the sorrowful back-stories of his characters get me every damn time.
I also once burst into tears at Sarah Sanderdon’s Magic Garden. I heard it on YouTube and thought it as the song the spirit of death sings to children who are killed in war.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’d like to talk with my grandpa Clifford Challice. I should have seen him more often while he was alive.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“My labor is no easier but now I know I’m not alone.” It’s a line from my favorite song. Lady In Black by Uriah Heep.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m an avid table top gamer. I play several games a week
Also, I’m cursed with a love of Nintendo DS rpgs, so convenient.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Goofy, heartful anime such as Eiichro Oda’s One Peice.
The History Channel’s Vikings. I watched 1 episode, five minutes later I purchased both seasons through iTunes.
My favorite movie is Treasure Planet,
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Porcupine, it’s a sort of meatloaf with rice, grains of rice stick out of it giving it it’s name. Lemon meringue pie. The lasagna carbonara my friend Savior made.
Also plain tomato soup. I had heart surgery when I was five. Campbell’s Tomato soup was the first thing I ate when they got me off the machines.
Color: Black, but I got an excuse: I’m red/green color blind.
Music: Mythril and symphonic metal. Political rap. Folk music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Definitely voice acting.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, check out www.taoofchall.wordpress.com . You can read many of my stories and articles there.
FATE OF THE NORNS
So proud of my son. Love you now and forever.
It was a pleasure to DM for this amazing young man. I learned as much from him as he perhaps learned from me. We spent a few years together gaming and I can say he was a talented gamer then and after reading his novel I can honestly say he is just as talented writer.