Monday, June 1, 2015

Interview with historical/alternative fiction author George T. Chronis

We’re kicking off a new week with historical fiction/alternative fiction author George T. Chronis. He’s chatting about his novel, Sudetenland in particular and writing in general.

During his virtual book tour, George will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.


After years as a journalist and magazine editor, George T. Chronis decided to return to his lifelong passion, storytelling. A lover of both 1930s cinema and world history, Chronis is now devoted to bringing life to the mid-20th Century fictional narratives that have been in his thoughts for years. Sudetenland is his first novel. Taking place during turbulent times in Central Europe during the 1930s, the book took eight years to research and write. The author is already hard at work on his second novel. Chronis is married with two daughters, and lives with his wife in a Southern California mountain community.

Welcome, George. Please tell us about your current release.
Sudetenland is a story I have had in the back of my head for years, as well as homage to a particular kind of storytelling I have loved since I was a kid. In broad terms the nook is historical fiction set around the Sudeten Crisis of 1938 between Germany and Czechoslovakia. There is an abundance of fascinating historical details from World War II era that will be new to many people. The 1930s is an era I adore and Sudetenland game me a chance to play with characters similar to those you'd find in motion pictures from the decade ­– smart, sassy and motivated to come out on top.

What inspired you to write this book?
The Sudeten Crisis was an important focal point in history that I had been aware for a long time. The whole situation provided a wealth of factual suspense and intrigue to play with. There are a bunch of narratives on my list to pursue yet when I decided that I wanted to write a novel, I kept on coming back to this subject matter as the foundation for a story a wide range of people could enjoy.

Excerpt from Sudetenland:
Ros strutted into Lasky's office, coming to a dead end in front of the wood desk that was as long as Rhode Island. She tapped the sole of her shoe on the floor impatiently while Lasky bellowed at someone else in the newsroom. At least the afternoon view over Manhattan was pleasing. Blowing in like a foul wind, Lasky slammed the door and walked right past her.

"Boss, I'm sorry to run a little fast with your image back there," Ros offered up in appeasement.

Still rounding his desk, Lasky shook her off with a wave of his hand. "Forget it. That's not why you're here. I have a job for you."

Wondering whether she should be concerned or happy, Ros decided to play along. "What kind of job?"

Sitting down, Lasky rifled through some paperwork until he found the document he was looking for.

"Yeah, go find this guy Lester downstairs, he'll get you all set up. Lodging, fares, advances, the whole low-down," Lasky finished, handing her the form.

"Who's Lester? What are you talking about? Where am I going?" she blurted out before taking a wild glance at the paperwork.

Lasky thought if he could keep Ros distracted, maybe he could get the problem child on the boat before she could cry about needing a raise. He reached out and grabbed the form back. Throwing it on the desktop, Lasky signed the paper with his fountain pen.

Done, he thrust the page back at Ros. "Paris. I'm sending you to Paris."

Ros looked down at the form, then at Lasky, then back at the form. "I'm going to Paris? When did someone around here start liking me?"

"Stop dreaming, no one around here likes you," Lasky taunted her while he walked back around to the front of his desk. "That screwy Miranda just stabbed me in the back. She found herself some guy over there, got married, and now she's running off to some French island in the Caribbean. I need someone to pick up the pieces in Paris. That's you."

"Just slow down. Miranda got hitched?" all of the angles weren't coming together in Ros' head.

"Yeah, nice announcement: Hi Harry, I got married, and I quit," Lasky mimicked a feminine voice. These damn ditzy broads were always letting him down. But Ros showed promise. Pointing his finger repeatedly at her nose, he continued his rant. "Miranda left me high and dry, so I'm sending you to pick up the pieces. You, I don't have to worry about. With that mouth, no one is going to be marrying you."

"Harry!" Ros yelled indignantly. "You're not painting a very enticing picture for me here. What if I don't want to go to Paris?"

Lasky stared at her incredulously. "Who doesn't want to go to Paris? Any one of those stooges out there would kill to go to Paris but none of them have what you've got."

With her natural skepticism starting to boil over, Ros leaned in closer and started jabbing Lasky in the shoulder with two fingers, slowly backing him up against the desk.

"I know what you're up to Harry," her tone low and threatening. "Miranda was on a fashion beat. That means to you the only thing I got that those mugs out there don't have, is boobs. It's another glorified gossip beat, you rat!"

"It's Paris! C'mon, every woman wants to go to Paris," Lasky shouted in his defense.

"That's not the point," Ros continued poking him. "I'm tired of going to county fairs. I'm tired of the only labor unrest stories coming my way having to be in washing machine factories. I'm tired of reporting on this ditzy socialite, and that boring dolt of a millionaire. I want a real beat like a real reporter, Harry. I can do the job just as good, or better, as those guys out there and I cost less."

"Stop trying to get on my good side," Lasky retorted, readying his counter attack. He hadn't expected this much of a fight. But he needed her and he couldn't run the risk of her bolting.

"Listen, give me a chance here. You're the only person I've got who can jump in and take over for Miranda. But you're also a hell of a lot better than she is... err, was. You won't have to work as hard to cover her beat. In case you haven't noticed, between the Nazis and Mussolini, there's one crisis after another going on over in Europe. I'm sure there's going to be some important stories Walter and our boys won't be able to get to. What you do with your free time is up to you."

Somewhere in there were a couple of compliments, but she wasn't going to let him twist free that easily. Paris did sound kind of nice, and he was throwing her a bone in the way of real work, but Ros was sure the beat would take up more time than Lasky was promising, and she wanted something else from him... for pride, and because she could. So Ros just silently stared Lasky down, daring him to add one more carrot to get her to sign on.

"Okay, and I'll throw in a raise," Lasky conceded after a long standoff.

"Done!" Ros threw her arm out to shake hands with Lasky to seal the deal.

What exciting story are you working on next?
While I am working on primary research for the sequel to Sudetenland I have turned to an old screenplay of mine that was quite well liked at the time but never optioned. It is a Film Noir set in late 1940s Los Angeles. A secret German technology from the war has surfaced and people are turning up dead on the streets of L.A. This is a much smaller story in scope than Sudetenland yet with similar qualities. I am having a great time beefing up the atmospherics and fleshing out the characters.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It probably did not hit me until I got my first staff job on a magazine. I had the time of my life covering new technology, entertainment and videogames as a journalist and editor.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Although I have been very pleased with the response so far to Sudetenland, this is my first novel and more of a labor of love than an income producer. These days I work for a market research firm where I edit our reports and outreach. If I am lucky I put aside two to three mornings a week to write. If my lovely wife has herself pre-occupied with one of her projects then I will steal some time in the evenings to work on research.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I come at this from an oddball angle having been trained as a screenwriter originally. My sense of pacing and narrative structure has not changed a lot over the years. What is kind of funny is that back then people who read my screenplays enjoyed them rather more like a novel, and today people say one reason they enjoy Sudetenland is because it has cinematic qualities.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I imagined writing for an automobile magazine would be the coolest job in the world. Every day people would drop off brand new cars for you to try out and then you would get to share your good fortune with others. Ending up writing for PC and console game magazines came awfully close.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
It has been delightful hearing back from people who have really enjoyed reading Sudetenland. As a seasoned writer, you think you have completed something worthwhile but you are never sure until your baby is out there and you get back the first notices. Going from magazine articles to a historical novel was a big jump but it has been very worthwhile.


Thank you, George!


Unknown said...

Thanks again, Lisa.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

cherio1 said...

I really liked the excerpt from Sudetenland.

Unknown said...

Wow, I had never thought in those terms since I am writing for myself and generally am considering what what I *want* to write about. It would be different if a producer is handing you a novel and contracting for an a screenplay adaptation. Then you have more of the possibility of not being a good fit for the material.

In general though, you are not going to see me writing about something already way over done: serial killers or zombie invasions, for example. I prefer subjects less traveled.

Unknown said...

Thanks much, I am glad you liked it.

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

Unknown said...

So happy to hear that. Thanks!

MomJane said...

Really enjoyed your comments. This excerpt was great.

Unknown said...

Always a pleasure, Jane. Cheers!

Cali W. said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt and the cover. :)

bn100 said...

nice interview

Unknown said...

Sounds fascinating! Thank you for sharing and for the contest!

Unknown said...

You are very welcome and thanks to you too.

Unknown said...

Glad you enjoyed it.

Unknown said...

Great! That year (1938) is so rich in details and was very fun to work with.

Anonymous said...

Takes twice as much work to research for a book as well as to write it :) Thanks for the chance!

Unknown said...

sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.