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Interview with Chuck Waldron, author of ‘Tears in the Dust’

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U.S. born, Canadian novelist Chuck Waldron is currently working on his fourth novel, a thriller about an investigative blogger who uncovers more than he ever imagines…and has no idea what to do with his discovery.

His first novel, Tears in the Dust, is a mystery set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War in 1937.  When Alestair Ferguson volunteers to fight in the International Brigade he doesn’t realize the true price he will have to pay.  Chuck’s second novel, Remington and the Mysterious Fedora, is a quirky fantasy, a story about what happens when a young man sits at the keyboard of a manual typewriter and puts on an old fedora.  When the fedora and its mysterious power begins to whisper a story to him, the young man has a strange adventure indeed.  His third novel, Served Cold, spans decades and stretches from the countryside of rural Ontario to a quiet artists’ studio in Tucson, Arizona.  With lots of murder and mayhem in between, the story is what happens when a long-standing feud erupts into hot-blooded vengeance.

Chuck wrote over thirty short stories before setting out to write novels that are affordable and entertaining.  He has attended writing workshops in Iowa, Florida, Georgia and Ontario, Canada.

“I grew up,” Chuck said, “listening to my grandfather, an Ozark Mountain story teller, spinning tales of the caves on his farm, describing them as hiding places once used by the Jesse & Frank James’ gang.  It didn’t matter if the stories were true or not.  Those legends set fire to my imagination, creating images that emerged slowly over the years, finally igniting as my short stories and novels.”

Now, thirty-plus short stories and three novels later, ideas keep coming, with more novels under development.  Do they share anything in common?  Each has its own unique voice and tale to tell, yet, at their heart, his stories tell about the human condition – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Chuck adds, “stored images that echo in my writing include train whistles in the night, Norman Rockwell childhood scenes, U.S. Army memories, blue collar jobs, university, a professonal career, and finally retirement.  Many of my images are drawn from this pool of memories: places visited, sights seen, and people met.  The rest I filled in with my imagination: dreams of places yet to be visited, sights yet to be seen, and people yet to be met.”

His literary roots were planted in the American Midwest and thrived when transplanted – over thirty-nine years ago – to the rich, cultural soil of Ontario.  He and his wife, Suzanne, spend their summers in Kitchener, Ontario and are warmed by a winter sun in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

You can visit Chuck at http://www.writebyme.ca and at www.chuckwaldron.com.     Visit him at Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/writebyme and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wordstir.

About Tears in the Dust

Tears in the Dust is a contemporary novel with gleams of hope intertwined within the despair of life. This is a story which serves to lift the reader up, only to take him back down into the darkness that lurks around the corners of one man’s life. Alestair “Alec” Ferguson beings a journey as a young man, off to enlist in the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Samuel T. Harrison is a dark and warped detective with a deep hatred of communism. He is the dark and violent nemesis who makes his way into the ranks of the detective agency where his boss uses his violent talents. People disappear whenever Harrison comes to town. The story chronicles Alec’s journey to Spain to fight in a war filled with personal loss and disillusionment. While in Spain, Alec falls in love with Tamarah, a convoy drive for the International Brigade. The war takes a heavy toll on Alec, and he learns just how high the cost of war can be. Disheartened, Alec fights on despite the damage done to his once strongly held beliefs. When Alec returns to his home in Vermont, seeking healing and the redemption of his ideals, what he finds there instead, causes him to flee to Canada and live the rest of his life under a false identity. But, no matter how far he goes, Alec cannot outrun Harrison, who pursues him through years and countries, only to catch up with him in a stunning conclusion to the story.

Q. Thank you for this interview, Chuck. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose to write action adventure novels over another genre?

I didn’t choose the genre, it chose me.

The inspiration for Tears in the dust was a book about Canadians who volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War.  My character, Alec Ferguson, was such a man.  Given the back-drop of war, I came up with an evil Character to hound him throughout Alec’s adventure.  It fell naturally into a novel that would feature action and adventure.

Q. Did you outline before you wrote your book or did you just go with the flow?

I’m a ‘pantser”, writing by the seat of the pants.  I did have a general outline in mind, but my characters often have a way of taking different directions than I intended.  I have learned to get out of their way when that happens.

Q. Who was your favorite character in Tears in the Dust and why?

It’s a tie.  My protagonist, Alec Ferguson, had to find out the price he would pay for his convictions.  Did I put a bit of ‘me’ in Alec, probably?  But I found myself delving into the darkness to come up with his adversary in Samuel T. Harrison, a man who did things I would never dream of doing.  So how could I imagine those things?  I like to keep the answer to that locked away in a secret part of my mind.

 Q. Who was your least favorite character?

The man who recruited Harrison as a detective and used his talent for evil, knowing the harm it caused.

 Q. Can you tell us about the setting and why you chose it?

I wanted to combine U.S., Canadian, Spanish settings to portray the international character of the thousands of men and women who joined the Republicano cause between 1936 and 1939.

Q. What was the hardest part to write?

The horrible things my antagonist, Samuel T. Harrison did.

 Q. What was the inspiration behind the story? Where were you when you came up with the idea?

The Gallant Cause: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, by Mark Zuehlke.  I read his book and realized I had written a short story years ago, about a day and night in the life of a man on his way to fight in that war.  My novel created a back-story for that day and night, and concluded with what came after.

 Q. Do you plan on writing more action adventure novels?

 I have written Served Cold, a story that begins in the quiet countryside of Ontario, Canada, moves to an artist studio in Tucson and back.  There’s lots of murder and mayhem as Sean Parker has to choose the form his vengeance will take.

I am currently working on The Lion’s Head Deception, a dystopian thriller about a blogger who uncovers a conspiracy and has to decide if he has the courage to go public.

Q. Thank you for this interview, Chuck. Do you have any final words?

I write for myself first.  If the story lives up to my standards I love sharing it with readers.  The link between writer and reader happens when someone buys, borrows or steals the book.  I would prefer the buy choice.  Take a leap and buy Tears in the dust.

Thanks,

Chuck Waldron, author

Tears in the Dust

Served Cold

Remington and the Mysterious Fedora

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of his new release, Chuck will be attending Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including a paperback copy of Tears in the Dust! Visit the official party page here!

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