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Today we welcome Chris Chalmers as we travel to South West London and learn how copywriting, Greg Rutherford, the Dutch Embassy in Prague, the Galapagos Islands, and Dr. Who share roles in the life of Chris. Tighten your funny bone and get ready for a bit of quirkiness. Let’s go ….
In which genre do you write?
Contemporary fiction. Quirky stuff for grown ups like me, who have difficulty finding books they like. Helicopter crashes, tsunamis, aging porn stars, the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher — it’s all there…
How many published books do you have?
Three for adults, one for children. Two more coming down the pipe.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
At school. I was good at creative writing, not so good at anything else.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
I can see trams while I’m writing.
What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal or avatar and why?
Meet Larry. We keep washing him but he’s always dirty. I don’t know why.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
I’m lucky, I have a study overlooking the garden (and the trams en route to IKEA). But mostly, I think worrying about the perfect writing space is an excuse, and you should get your arse down and write.
What are you currently reading?
Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen. Hmm…
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
Copywriting, currently for Holland & Barrett.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Louis Smith, gymnast or Greg Rutherford, long jumper. To be honest, I’d be lucky to ask them anything before I poured coffee in my lap.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
God I’ve got some stories!
Do you write a journal or keep a personal diary? Has it helped with your writing?
Every night since 1st January 1976. Never missed. It’s kept me sane and probably helps the memories stick.
What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
Amusing: An incident involving me and two boxers at the Dutch Embassy in Prague. See Dinner At The Happy Skeleton.
Crazy: On my first trip to Australia, my suitcase went to Abu Dhabi. It was returned to me in Melbourne two days later by a van driver who shared my name.
Inspiring: Visiting the Galapagos Islands. See Five To One.
What do you miss about being a kid?
Dr. Who was scary.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose it?
Eight Grade. It’s about how teens use social media. Worth knowing in case I have to write about one.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
I used to be terrified I’d still be single when I was 40. People always say the right one comes along when you’re not looking — so I told myself I wasn’t looking, but it never worked. Then I reached a stage when I was 39 where I was actually, honestly, genuinely happy being single. I met my husband a fortnight later.
Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?
A natural inclination for sticking to routines.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
Stromness, Orkney. I see myself living there one day.
Tell us about your most recent book.
Dinner At The Happy Skeleton is the story of Dan the advertising man. Made redundant just before his fortieth birthday, he decides to spend his payoff tracking down the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life … Via misadventures on and offline from London to Ljubljana, Helsinki to Trieste, Dan seeks closure on his past — and meets his destiny where he least expects it.
It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA! I enjoyed learning more about you and your history Chris! –Camilla
Blurb for Dinner At The Happy Skeleton:
Dan is the kind of gay man for whom the Noughties might have been named. Warm, witty and serially promiscuous, his heart melts at the sight of a chocolate brown Labrador — but with men, it’s a different matter. He’s thirty-nine and as single as ever, not counting the couple he just met online. An arrangement that looks oddly like it’s going somewhere, until Dan gets fired from his job in advertising. With time out and a payoff in his pocket, summer presents a world of possibilities; just as memories surface of the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life.
From London to Ljubljana, a yen for closure sets Dan on the trail of the man who fed his ego into a shredder. Through an eerie encounter at the home of the Olympiad and a sleepover at the Dutch Embassy, run-ins with a fading porn star and the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher, he ultimately confronts his past. Until, with his Big Four-O rapidly approaching, destiny beckons from where he least expects it.
‘An eye-opening, always entertaining romp through modern sexual mores, with a sweet beating heart of true feeling at its core.’ Suzi Feay, literary journalist
‘Full of wit, comedy and unflinching honesty … Like reading a gay Nick Hornby. This is clever contemporary fiction at its finest.’ Bleach House Library
Where we can find it:
Dinner At The Happy Skeleton is available in paperback and ebook.
**Dinner At The Happy Skeleton ebook is currently 99p on Amazon.
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