Saturday, July 19, 2014
Writing, science and photography merge in the works of F.C. "Chip" Etier
My last author interview was with scientist, writer and Navy Commander, Ann Christy. Today, I feel equally excited as my guest is a scientist, writer, and an award winning photographer. F.C., a.k.a. "Chip", Etier began writing essays, and music and book reviews as a freelance several years ago. Today, he is a regular blogger at VentureGalleries.com and the author of The Barry-Hixon Conspirecy series.
Welcome to the blog, Chip!
EEG: You are a pharmacist, a published writer, and an award-winning photographer: what came first in your career path?
FCE: In chronological order, I grew up with a camera in my hand. I was the pesky kid at family events taking pictures of everyone.
Professionally, pharmacy came first. It wasn’t until later in life, when I was in my fifties, that I was able to afford some first class digital cameras. I switched to digital just after the turn of the century after using up my previous budget on black and white film. Once I had begun selling my photographs online, I began to blog about them.
Venture Galleries offered me a chance to sell my images on their site and support them with blog articles. They liked my blogs and said, “If you write a book, we’ll publish it.”
EEG: What a great opportunity! Does your photography influence your writing and/or vice versa, do your stories ever influence your photography?
FCE: Yes, and in both directions. Critics and customers have praised various of my images as “poetry” and “he writes poems with a camera.”
Most, if not all, of the scenes in my books are set in real places. Since I blog regularly on my publisher’s website, I take photos of the settings and often decide to include settings I’ve already photographed in one of my books.
EEG: What about science: do you ever get inspiring ideas from science?
FCE: Yes. Any concept or principle must make sense to me. My parents taught me to think using logic and by asking questions. In high school, the scientific method became a natural for me. I tend to think in a linear fashion while making a conscious effort to accept non-linear (more creative) ideas to seep into the process. I write the same qualities into many of my characters.
The main character in two of my books is a baby boomer female professional assassin. She has a degree in group dynamics, so in addition to using the science of trajectory, gravity, and sighting her rifles, she has learned to predict target movement by the study of human behavior.
Science is as important in the life and work of Claudia Barry as it is to everyone. Not everyone realizes it as much as she.
EEG: Tell us more about the Barry-Hixon Conspiracy books: where did you get the idea from? What plans do you have in mind for this series?
FCE: When I decided to write a book, I began by choosing a market. Maybe that’s backwards, but I decided that baby boomers would be a lucrative market in addition to the fact that I’m a boomer, too. Next, the idea of a role-reversal appealed to me. Perhaps readers would identify with a middle-aged woman in a non-traditional role. Claudia Barry became my main character, a professional assassin thinking about retiring after over thirty years of killing.
Future plans for the series are based on a “wait and see” approach. The second and third books evolved from the first. No doubt future books will be spawned from some combination of events and characters in the first three or four.
EEG: Do you have any other stories coming up, besides the Barry-Hixon Conspiracy?
FCE: Characters and groups of characters offer opportunities for spin-offs from the current series of books. Short stories and books that would be either prequels or sequels are no doubt lurking somewhere in the recesses of my keyboard just waiting on my fingers to find them.
EEG: Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today, Chip!
You can find F.C. "Chip" Etier on Venture Galleries, Zenfolio, Amazon, Blogger, and Twitter. More of his photographic work can also be found here.