Author Spotlight: Chris Blewitt

Entering high school at Foxworth Academy - a school for the ultra smart, athletic, and wealthy - Brett Logan is your typical shy freshman. But that is about to change. For years rumors have circled about what goes on in Mr. Martin's ultra secretive history class, and past students have all kept quiet, leaving Brett to wonder what really goes on. 

Until now.

When class begins, Brett is joined by Ally, who is prettier than his envious girlfriend, in a race against time. What happens next and the decisions they choose are vital, for one single misstep could alter the course of history...forever. 

*This is a 35,000 word novella of approximately 150 pgs and the first book in a series.

Today I'm posting a little mini-interview I did with fellow author, Chris Blewitt. Chris is a buddy of mine who took the leap into self-publishing around the same time as me (he beat me by a few months), and we've basically swapped emails back and forth for the past couple years talking about ideas and strategies, gloating about success, or complaining about the lack thereof (there may or may not have been some cursing during this part.)

I've read everything Chris has published, including his latest YA offering which he discusses below, and have enjoyed them all. He knows how to tell a good story and -- as his books often require -- is fantastic at researching and filling his books with accurate historical details. My personal favorite is Deep Rough, a thriller that takes place at Augusta National during The Masters. 

Let's see what Chris has to say:

Why don’t you start by telling us when you started writing and how you discovered it was something you wanted to pursue:

    - After reading John Grisham's The Firm in high school, I was really enthralled by the "power" of the novel.  That book gripped me like no other and I think I read it in four days.  So during my senior year of college, I started writing.  It was much more difficult than I thought but I persevered and finished the book in about two years.  Unfortunately, that book was never published but I still enjoyed the writing process so much that I knew I wanted to write another book.

You, like myself, have self-published all of your titles. What led you to this decision? Is it something you would recommend to aspiring authors?

    - Finishing my next book, Deep Rough, almost ten years later, I thought I really had something special.  This was a book that, to my knowledge, was a new, fresh idea that had never been written before.  I joined a writer's group, I polished it, edited it and was excited to get this published.  Over 100 agent rejections later, I was frustrated and defeated.  I had a few positive replies but most were, "nobody reads sports fiction anymore".  Through my author networks, I was put in touch with a guy who self-published and had some success.  I learned all I could about SP and finally put Deep Rough up for sale in both Kindle format and paperback in October of 2010.  It took awhile for me to have success but Deep Rough was selling and continues to sell well.  When I put my next titles, The Chemist and The Lost Journal, up for sale, I didn't even consider contacting an agent.  I self-pubbed those and have enjoyed great sales as well.  

Tell us a little bit about your newest book, Foxworth Acadamy:

- FA is about half the size of a full-length novel because it is the first in a series of, hopefully, eight.  It starts out in freshman year of high school at an ultra-exclusive, wealthy, private school in Delaware.  FA tracks the likes of a few teenagers as they enter a certain class, Mr. Martin's History class.  This class is special, discreet, fun, and well, like nothing these kids have ever experienced before.  

Your other titles are adult novels. What made you decide to try the YA (Young Adult) genre?

    - When my dad read The Lost Journal, he noted that it was so educational about historical events in our country that if I cleaned it up a bit, it would be a great book for teens.  I agreed but I didn't want to mess with the book too much.  I did take out some of the language but the overall story stayed the same.  But it got me thinkin, "What would be a good fun read, that is also educational for kids of all ages?".  This thought process turned into Foxworth, a action/adventure type book that throws some historical tidbits in it, so you're getting a little more out of the story.

What can we look forward to in the future in regard to books by Chris Blewitt?

    - Like I stated above, I'm hoping I can find the time to turn this into an eight-part series, one novella of about 100-150 pages for each semester of high school.  I plan on getting two more of these out in 2013.  I'm also re-writing my first book that was never published.  I really think the storyline is good, it just needs to be sliced and diced apart, before being put back together.  It's a thriller about the mafia and the Philadelphia FBI and I hope to have that out this year as well.

Finally, when are we playing golf? I hear you used to be pretty good…

    - Pre-kids I was pretty good!  Shot even par a few times but never got to shoot under par.  Twice I bogeyed the 18th hole to shoot even.  Running my own business, I still find the time to play golf, but it's a struggle to get my handicap under 10.  I played Merion East (site of the 2013 US Open) last September and had the worst front nine that I can remember.  Luckily I bounced back with a 40 on the back.  Anytime you're north of Baltimore, give me a shout.  I can't promise you Merion, but there are some fine courses up here.  Give me 2 strokes a side and you got yourself a deal!

I want to thank Chris for taking the time to talk with me, and I suggest all of you go and check out some of his work. I've provided links below.