Conversations Between Writers – Chadwick Ginther


Chadwick Ginther

Chadwick Ginther is the author of the Thunder Road trilogy which concludes with Too Far Gone this week! (Linkies: Thunder Road, Tombstone Blues, Too Far Gone) For more about him check out or follow him on Twitter.

Minerva Zimmerman: Hey! How’s it going? Happy first day of Fall

Chadwick Ginther: Hey Minerva.
Things are going well. Done building my fence, day job is cooling down, and book launch stuff is heating up.  And I love fall. Definitely my favourite season.

MZ: I am drastically behind on all my yard tasks.

CG: I hear that.

Didn’t even plant a vegetable garden this year and I’ve barely kept up.

MZ: I planted tomatoes and artichokes, but the artichokes have to grow a few years

CG: Normally I grow all of the ingredients for making tomato sauce.

This year, I only had to worry about picking the raspberries.

MZ: I keep missing the raspberries, but we have blackberries all over.

I never pick even 10% of them. We made some pies, and started a big thing of blackberry infused whiskey for winter.

CG: OOOH! I love blackberries.

I might plant some bushes next summer.

Blackberries and whiskey, eh? I like the way you garden.

MZ: We have a mild climate, so they just turn into giant hedges everywhere you don’t mow.

CG: Growing season is pretty short in my parts. But I do enjoy having the homegrown stuff come winter.

MZ: We have to finish picking all the apples and get those processed into juice and sauce now.

CG: We made some applesauce from my wife’s grandfather’s tree.

I really shouldn’t use “we” there. My wife made the applesauce. I think I, uh, carried the apples to the car and into the house.

MZ: That counts 🙂

Apples are heavy!

CG: Success!

MZ: I suppose we should probably talk about books

CG: Sure, why not?

I do like books.

MZ: I think we both have books coming out the first week in October.

CG: Yes. Congratulations to you!

MZ: Congratulations to you! This is book 3 for you

CG: It is. Finishing off an urban fantasy trilogy.

Is this your first novel?

MZ: This is my first novel, the first in a trilogy too, but we’re doing a rapid release so book 2 will release in December and then 3 in February. I can’t figure out if this is smart or incredibly insane.

I’ve had a couple novellas out before this, but yes first novel.

CG: My bookseller experience has shown that it *can* work very well, so I’m definitely wishing you luck.

Novellas are a sweet form. I haven’t published one yet, but I enjoyed writing the first one I experimented with.

MZ: I have a weird question for you. It’s about Loki.

CG: Shoot.

Loki lends himself to weird questions.

MZ: So, I’ve also written Loki… so I have to ask you– When did Loki come into your life, and do you think he’s going to leave you alone now that you’ve finished this trilogy?

CG: Serious answer: Loki came into my life the moment I discovered Norse Mythology (thank you, D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths!). I used to identify a lot more with Thor. I grew up small and bookish in a hockey town, so the idea of the giant slayer was definitely appealing, But in growing up I came to identify with the trickster a lot more.

Tricksters drive stories, and pretty much everything interesting in the Norse stories happens because of Loki, so I don’t think being done with the trilogy means I’m necessarily done with Loki.

I sure hope he’s not done with me.

On the less serious side: I have a number of friends that I’m pretty sure are trickster figures that haven’t quite undergone their apotheosis, so even if Loki does find someone else to keep him amused, they’d keep me on my toes.

MZ: There’s a bumpersticker I want to find. It says, “Loki Loves Me – Oh Shit.”

CG: That is a great bumpersticker. I’ve used Loki’s Favour as an advantage/disadvantage in roleplaying games before. You can ask him for help, but you probably don’t want to…

MZ: Why don’t you give a short pitch for the Thunder Road Trilogy so that everyone has a better idea of why I’m asking you this

CG: Sure.

In the Thunder Road Trilogy after being witness to the fire giant Surtur exploding out of his work site, a now unemployed oil worker name Ted Callan gets tattooed with various powers of the Norse gods by a trio of dwarves.

MZ: Tattooed with his permission?

CG: Oh no. He was ambushed by the dwarves shortly after meeting Loki.

MZ: I hate it when I get ambush tattooed

CG: It wasn’t fun for Ted, but I really enjoyed writing the scene.

He’s fun to torture.

Or I’m just a bastard.

MZ: I think that’s an important quality in a character and a writer respectively 🙂

CG: They do go well together.

MZ: it’s not very compelling to read about what a great vacation some great person had

CG: No. I think of how much work I have to do and want to hurl their perfect life through a window.

MZ: So this is book 3, the end of the road so to speak

CG: Yeah. It was a real learning experience having to finish off the story. Give an ending that worked for the character, and hopefully the reader.

First time I’ve had to do it. Until I hit send, wasn’t sure I’d actually get it done.

MZ: I’m finishing up the last bits of Book 3 right now so I feel you. I feel you so much.

there’s a lot of praying.

CG: And swearing.

MZ: and gnashing of teeth, rending of clothes

CG: Yup, all of those things.

MZ: I wish I could drink and write. 🙂 I get too sleepy though.

CG: I’ve tried, and I’m not sure whether it went better or worse than the times I’ve tried drinking and D&D.

I also tend to write best in the mornings, so the optics would be bad.

MZ: I think I’ll stick to my steady intake of watering down the blood in my caffeine system

I am finding that I do some things better in the morning, and some at night. Which is really annoying when I’m coming to crunch time.

CG: I hear you. I need so much tea to wake myself up to write, but that creates its own complications.

I definitely edit better at night. I’m more critical after several hours of having to put up with humanity.

MZ: I find that I’m better at author tasks– like blogs, promotion, email, etc. in the morning, and cleaning up writing I couldn’t get to work in the past.

CG: Crunch time always makes me think of that picture of the creative process. The one that is primarily “Fuck off” and then “All the work while crying” just before the deadline.

MZ: I think my internal monologue just becomes a constant stream of “fuckfuckfuckfuck”

CG: I mostly try to fit the promotion and social media and blogging in on my coffee and lunch breaks, or it eats up too much of my writing time.

Although I’ve definitely felt some social media time bloat into my writing time.

MZ: Trying to balance promotion and writing is even harder than I thought it would be, and I didn’t think it would be easy

CG: Yeah. It still doesn’t feel natural to me. I think it’s the years of bookselling. I love promoting other authors, and giving shoutouts to their work, but have a hard time doing so with mine.

MZ: What are you most going to miss about writing this trilogy and its world?

CG: The hero of the trilogy has a voice that I love to write, and one that I can slide into easily. I’ll definitely miss him. I’ve loved Norse mythology for so long, that it’s going to be weird to step away from it for a while.

MZ: I wonder if it ever feels natural to promote yourself? It doesn’t seem like anyone is really comfortable with it.

CG: I think the folks who feel too natural with promotion are the ones I end up unfollowing on Twitter.

MZ: That is a very accurate statement for me too.

CG: One of the early panels I attended had entirely too many panelists, and only one of them was able to talk about the topic without mentioning what he’d done in his work. He just had interesting things to say. That’s what I’ve tried to emulate whenever I’m at a con.

But I think I’m more used to doing the promo thing, than having it feel natural.

MZ: Yeah, that’s part of why I wanted to do Conversations Between Writers. Cause I’ve always enjoyed talking with other writers when I’m at cons or workshops or retreats.

And writers always talk about the most interesting things… and only some of them have to do with writing.

CG: Yeah, this is a really neat feature you do. I like it.

MZ: I should be better at promoting it 🙂

CG: Ha!

When did you start the Conversations with Authors?

MZ: Uhm… I’d have to look it up, a year or two ago?

About a year I think

CG: So around when we met on Twitter…

MZ: Maybe!

CG: I think we started chatting around 2013?

MZ: Something like that, it had been awhile before World Horror, which was 2014

CG: It was after Jennifer Brozek bought one of my stories.

MZ: Ah ha! That makes sense.

Which anthology was that?

CG: Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls.

MZ: Steampunk weres!

CG: It was cool to meet you at World Horror. One of my favourite things is meeting folks I only know online.

MZ: I was in Oceans Unleashed which was the Aquatic weres for the same publisher

CG: Yeah! I never would’ve written that story if I hadn’t lucked onto her asking for folks to ping her if they were interested.

MZ: I am still sort of amazed she bought mine… I wrote about a were-penguin and were-otter mostly to see if I could

CG: That’s amazing.

I’ve become moderately addicted to otter GIFs.

MZ: Have you seen all the ones that compare pictures of otters to Benedict Cumberbatch?

CG: I went with steampunk werewolves. Which I thought would get me bounced, but my werebat story didn’t pan out.

I have! They’re great! Probably what put otters on my radar as an amazing animal.

That’s kind of sad.

MZ: They are really stinky though.

I was sad I didn’t get to use that fact in my story much.

CG: I hadn’t heard that fact.

So much for my pet otter.

MZ: they are Mustelinae like mink and stuff, they have oily scent glands

Apparently it is really horrible if they take up house under your house.

CG: And with those hands they could get into anything.

They’re the raccoons of the sea.

MZ: they eat a lot of fish, and keep toilet near where they sleep

and rivers! Well, we’re heading toward the end of our appointed time frame. Is there anything you want to make sure we talk about? I mean we can always throw other sea mammals or something on here.

CG: Ha!

We’ve already discussed how we both feel awkward with self promotion, so I’ll dodge that again.

But thanks so much for hosting this. I had fun. Good luck with your book launch!

MZ: Thank you! I hope that you sell tons of the whole trilogy, because people snatch it all up now that it’s completed

CG: Hey, me too! I can spend that money on another trip to the Pacific Northwest!

MZ: Excellent. Maybe we can lure you out here for Norwescon or Orycon.

CG: I’d love to give them a try. I also want to get back for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

MZ: Oh yes, and check out the Portland whiskey festival maybe /steeples fingers

CG: OOH! When is that?

MZ: May!

CG: Sweet.

That might even be doable.

MZ: Excellent

I wish you a great rest of your evening and a happy book launch season 😀

CG: Thanks! Same to you!