Thursday, May 11, 2006

Who's this Chris Well Guy, Anyway?

“I strive to tell stories that make people think about faith in a new way. In America, so many people—Christians and non-Christians alike—hear so much religious chatter that they almost become immunized. They think they’ve heard it all. My job is to find a way to fly under the radar and plant some truth in the hearts and minds of readers. It’s the model Jesus used when He told parables.” – Chris Well

Chris “flies under the radar” all right, in the most inimitable way. Through Christian crime novels full of pop culture and zany characters, with that quirky comic-book feel. In his recent release, Deliver Us From Evelyn, gangsters drop a dangled victim over a fifth-floor deck one minute (“Oops”) and blithely discuss TV shows the next:

“We gotta hurry back. The Oz is on TV tonight, man . . . You know, the Wizard of Oz.”

“Really? . . . didn’t know you had such classy tastes.”

“A man can better himself.”

From the back cover of Deliver Us From Evelyn: Kansas City, the heart of America—where the heartless Evelyn Blake lords over the Blake Media empire. Inconveniently, her reclusive billionaire husband and KC mayoral candidate, Warren Blake, has vanished. And a lot of people are climbing on the “Where is Blake?” bandwagon . . .

By day, Chris is the editor for Homecoming Magazine and a contributing editor for CCM Magazine. By night the wild and wooly characters fly. Chris’s first novel, the crime thriller Forgiving Solomon Long, was published last year by Harvest House--a fast-paced, happenin' story complete with chess-playing gunmen and a detective who likes Fruit Loops in his coffee. Quite a feat for this debut work to make Booklist's Top 10 Christian Novels of 2005.

Chris’s writing influences span all the way from C.S. Lewis to Isaas Asimov to Marvel Comics to books on theology. He’s still into comics. Even proposed to his wife under a huge Superman statue. He’s worked in radio. Newspapers. Edited a Christian rock magazine. I’m not sure what the guy hasn’t done. And the guy knows his pop culture. Comics, movies, songs—bring it on. He’ll talk circles around you.

As busy as Chris is, he’s granted us an interview. Only one hitch—his idea: You have to come up with the questions.

BGs, don’t let me down now. I know how creative you are. What would you ask a writer as eclectic and unique as Chris?


relevantgirl said...

Here's my question:

Stephen King admits in ON WRITING his penchance and affection for horror and monsters materialized after a lot of teasing in his childhood. What drew you (and what draws you now) to comic books? And how have you seen comic books influence your story telling?

Cara Putman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cara Putman said...

Here are a couple:

How do you find the right balance in creating characters that are eccentric and quirky without taking them over the line to unbelievable?

From what recess of your mind do you pull such unique plotlines?

Kelly Klepfer said...

What triggers a book for you?
Do you see a character and go from there, or a plot line or scene and build characters to fit?

Karen Kingsbury says she sees her story, kind of like a movie, and describes what she experiences. Do you see your stories as comic books?

Jason said...

Do you worry about your cultural references making your books dated, and what do you do to combat that?

Which do you like more - DC or Marvel? (Gotta give a hard question!)

How did you find time to write with all of your other responsibilities?

D. Gudger said...

Do you put Fruit Loops in your coffee?

What kind of research do you put into your novels? What topics do you research?

TL Hines said...

Chris, could you comment on the merchant model created by 18th century British colonialism in the larger context of today's global marketplace?

Okay, if you don't like that one: what's happening on the comics front? Anything in the pipeline?

Ane Mulligan said...

What's the best piece of practical writing advice you'd love to give aspiring writers?

Wayne Scott said...

I'm a little bitter - Hines beat me to the British colonialism question.

You've written for radio, penned novels, and editted magazines. What do you like best about each job? If you could do only one, which would you chose and why?

Becky said...

What's up next for you, Chris? Can you give us a sneak preview of your WIP?


AJY said...

What is your favorite way to keep up with Pop Culture? Is it t.v. shows, movies, magazines?

and What are your favorites (shows, movies, etc) from the question above?

Gina Holmes said...

I'm supposed to be on holiday, so I'm typing fast before I get caught checking in. I'd like to know now that you've got a couple of novels under your belt what marketing/publicity has been most effective in promoting these thrillers. Thanks!

p.s. Thanks for the laugh Tony. That about made me choke on my Mr. Pibb.

C.J. Darlington said...

Q: Why do you write?

Yes, that's a serious question. Some write for the joy of creating other worlds. Some only for the joy of seeing their words in print. Some to feel important. Others because they can't do anything else (or aren't happy unless they're writing). What about you?

Thanks for agreeing to this interview, by the way, and thanks Brandilyn for doing it.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I enjoyed Forgiving Solomon Long. I haven't seen much, if any, fiction focussing on forgiveness. I'd like to hear you pontificate on the challenge of writing Christ-centered fiction in general.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Chris, I thought Forgiving Solomon Long was a great read. How do you plot a novel? do you do it in layers? Do you lay it all out or fly by the seat of your pants?

The Curmudgeon's Rant said...

Chris, I loved Forgiving Solomon Long.

From concept to print ready, what does your novel writing process look like?