By Sean Tuohy
Rick Chesler takes his readers on watery, claustrophobic, and Jurassic adventures with each new novel he pens. His books, which feature spies, FBI agents, and techno-thrills all mixed together, never fail to take his fans on a ride as wild as any amusement park ride.
I was able to talk to Chesler between writing his new novel and scuba diving.
Sean Tuohy: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
Rick Chesler: In my late 20s I started trying my hand at writing original novels. I knew they weren’t very good yet, but I still felt like after having read so many that I might be able to contribute one of my own. I kept working at it over the years, slowly and somewhat sporadically at first, but gradually devoting more and more time to it.
ST: Who were some of your early writing influences?
RC: Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, Ian Fleming.
ST: Where did FBI Special Agent Tara Shores come from?
RC: She’s not based on any particular real-life person. I wanted to write a series of techno-thrillers with an FBI agent protagonist, and I thought female FBI agents were somewhat rare in thrillers at the time, so I wanted a female character. Then I gave her a fear of water and assigned her to ocean-based cases.
ST: If you had to pick an actress to play Tara Shores who would you pick?
RC: Jessica Biel.
ST: You have written several books with partners. What is it like to write a book with a partner?
RC: So far it’s been a lot of fun! It’s also been a great learning experience and period of growth for me. I learn a lot from seeing how other writers do things and what their processes are like. It’s always interesting to see how differently two writers can view the same story!
ST: What is your writing process like?
RC: I like to work with an outline of some kind, although some are more detailed than others. Usually I have the basic germ of an idea and then I’ll write down some notes, and from there take it to outline form. Then I do a first draft, working as quickly as possible to get the book down from the outline. After that, I read the draft through and do a second draft with some revisions and major edits, adding details from research. Then I read that second draft through and do a third draft for line edits and catching anything that still glares at me. After that it goes to the professional editor.
ST: What advice do you give to up-and-coming writers?
RC: You’ll save a lot of time if you outline first. That said, there is something to be said for experimentation and trying out different methods. But for a first-time novelist, I highly suggest outlining the entire story first and then writing according to the outline. You can always make big changes in the second draft if you think they would improve things, but if you never complete a first draft, you’re not even a novelist yet.
ST: What does the future hold for Rick Chesler?
RC: Next up from me, probably at the end of November 2014, will be my second collaboration with David Wood for his Dane and Bones Origins series. This one is called Electra and is about the search for Amelia Earhart’s plane.
December should see the third installment in my Outcast Ops series, entitled African Firestorm, co-written with Craig Reed, Jr. Think Somali pirates.
Due out sometime in early 2015 from Severed Press will be my creature feature thrill-fest, Hotel Megalodon, about a giant prehistoric shark that plagues the opening of an underwater luxury hotel. You can check out any time you like, but you can never breathe!
Then in early spring 2015, hold on tight for the sequel to Jurassic Dead, Jurassic Dead 2, co-written with David Sakmyster, also published by Severed Press.
ST: Can you please give us one random fact about yourself?
RC: I’ve been to seven of the eight main Hawaiian islands.