I had the pleasure to interview writer Adam Chesin this time who is 33 years old. He was raised, and currently resides, in Philadelphia, PA. He has been married for about a year now and he has been writing since he was a child. Adam graduated from the University of Delaware with an English degree, and has been working in background investigations while attempting to become a professional author.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Adam Chesin: The first story I clearly remember was a short horror story. I don’t remember the title, but it was the story of an abused and neglected boy who kills himself, then rises from the grave to take revenge on his family, and eventually the neighbors who he also sees as responsible.
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
Adam Chesin: I was very much inspired by the horror movies I enjoyed watching, especially the “Friday the Thirteenth” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” series of movies. I’m not very proud of the bloody, clichéd tale I produced as an eight year old, but at the time it was very enjoyable, and a necessary and important creative outlet.
Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?
Adam Chesin: Writing is my talent--the gift I was given, like some people are great athletes. I could no less not write than they could not play ball. I love pouring out my thoughts into an immense work of art, which I love to make. I love sharing it with others, having an audience, touching them with my words and having the reader connect with it. I’m a quiet and reserved person who doesn’t talk much aloud--I guess it’s one of the ways I can communicate and connect with others.
Books & Writing: How do you overcome writer’s block(if you experience this of course)?
Adam Chesin: There are always moments of writer’s block. One of the most important ways for me to overcome it, is to remind myself to be honest with myself—to not lie to myself, and to stop holding back. To write what I want, how I want, no matter what the reader might think, no matter if it might turn off an agent or publisher.
I learned two important things while working on “Draug”, which had several parts that were difficult for me to get through. One was to stop trying so hard, and to think of the simplest storyline that I possibly could. Another was to go on what I dubbed a “vision quest”, which entailed sitting with ear plugs, and my eyes closed, and to just see what I saw. And by doing that, several decades worth of plot unfolded in my mind.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book “Draug”?
Adam Chesin: “Draug” is a vampire novel. It is an epic tale about a vampire named Richard Drake, a native Philadelphian. The novel focuses a lot on Philadelphia history, though he travels all across the world. It begins in 1691, not long after the city was founded, and continues to about the present time. It follows his adventures and hardships, and tales of love and friendship over the centuries, often with Philadelphia as the backdrop.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for that?
Adam Chesin: For a while now, I had been planning to write a vampire story that focuses on my home town. I made most of it up as I went along. There are a few things that came to me well in advance, such as knowing how I wanted the character to spend certain moments in history. I find that when writing a story like this, it’s best to just pick a time and place and run with it—to see where history takes me.
Books & Writing: Did you need to do lots of research for the book, because I understand it spans a few eras.
Adam Chesin: I did an extensive amount of preparation for each part. Some nights, I had to forgo writing and just make notes as I studied history. I find that when doing historical fiction, it’s best to get the most important facts, and make the rest of it your own imagining. The key to the research was studying Philadelphia history. That gave me an idea of when I wanted him to be at home, and when he should travel the United States and the world.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about the main character Richard Drake?
Adam Chesin: Richard was born in colonial Philadelphia in 1691, to English colonists. He was raised Catholic, not Quaker, as one might think of early Pennsylvanians. As a result of being neglected by his father, and growing up without a mother, Richard becomes a career criminal, and narrowly survives a prison sentence. It is a mix of ruthlessness, intelligence, restraint, goodness and love, that he is chosen to become a vampire, by an ancient and powerful bloodsucker. He is a far better person as a vampire, than he ever was as a human.
Books & Writing: I understand you also wrote several poems collected in the anthology “Perfect Crooked Thing”. What attracts you in poetry?
Adam Chesin: I haven’t written poetry for many years now. Losing a lot of new work on an old computer had a hand in steering me back towards prose. But I took up the interest during my senior year of college, and adored writing it for a while--long enough to produce an anthology. That period was extremely bad for me at home and at school; I didn’t really have the patience or drive to write a novel at the time, so poetry became a wonderful outlet for my writing. I looked at it as taking a photograph in words, creating something that I hoped people could read in an anthology and see what I saw at the time I wrote it.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Adam Chesin: My best piece of advice would be to write what you want, how you want. Don’t try to sound like your favorite author, just sound like yourself. Don’t hold anything back--write unabashed and unafraid, and be completely honest. Writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint. Do a little bit each day, and when you’re ready, send out e mails to as many agents as possible in hopes of finding one.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
Adam Chesin: My favorite authors include Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, Anthony Swafford, and most of all, Poppy Brite, who wrote my favorite vampire novel, “Lost Souls”.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Adam Chesin: “Perfect Crooked Thing” is available through Amazon.com. I’ve yet to have a novel published professionally, but I hope that “Draug” will be in stores eventually.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter @AdamChesin, and have a personal website with blog @ http://www.adamchesin.com/index.html.
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Adam Chesin: If this book should be published, I hope fans of vampire-fiction will check it out. I suspect there are many other people like me, who have disdain for some of the modern vampire fiction, which emphasizes the sex appeal, and caters to children. It was my intention to write something much more artful, in the vain of “Dracula”.
Below is an excerpt from his upcoming horror novel Draug!
Music was provided by a string quartet. There was an abundance of wine and food that all smelled very pleasant even to me. I headed deeper into the enormous house, dozens of people there. I said hello to my host, and he introduced me to his wife and oldest sons. I held onto a glass of wine, and some hors d’ouevres now and then, which I disposed of privately. It really wasn’t that difficult or unpleasant--everyone was very kind to me, interested as I was a newcomer to their social group. It was apparent that many of the ladies found me attractive, I saw thoughts, desires, all very tempting. I said hello to Delegate Samuel Atlee, and we chatted briefly about the War and the future of the US before his attention was needed elsewhere. I knew I shouldn’t stay long lest I make some blunder--if someone should notice me only pretending to eat and drink. I watched the clock nervously, as though dawn were so much closer than it was. And then I sensed someone looking at me, almost the way I sense another vampire. I froze, wondering for a moment if there was one. I looked around and I saw a pair of eyes, a fair and beautiful face, and light brown hair. I didn’t even think to discern her name--a girl in a blue dress with a slender figure, watching me with green eyes. I thought at first it was no different from the attention of so many women, then realized it was nothing so fleeting. What’s more, I found myself very taken with her as well. I was about to probe her mind, then realized how much I wanted to talk to her, so I refrained. I stood tall, and straightened my coat a bit, and I saw her laugh softly. I began making my way through the crowd of people, heading towards her, as did she.
We stopped a few inches from each other. She was tall for the day, just a few inches shorter than I. Even lovelier close up, and perfumed lightly.
I said, “Good evening, miss.”
“Good evening, Mr…?”
“A pleasure, Miss Leeds.” I took her soft hand, raised it up, and kissed it lightly.
She said, “I’ve never seen you at one of these before.”
I wasn’t sure what to say. I wasn’t new in town, or to business or wealth. I said, “I don’t usually care for such parties.”
“Neither do I. But my parents insist on bringing me.”
“Oh--is your father John Leeds?”
“You know of him?”
“Not personally, but I know something about his business. Ironworks I believe.”
“And what’s your primary interest, Mr. Drake?”
“Richard, please, my dear.”
Softly, she said, “Richard.” She smiled beautifully. I began to notice how at ease I felt speaking to her. It was rare--improper for a girl that age to start talking to a strange man at a formal affair, without someone having introduced them. She didn’t seem to care.