Interview with C.R. Hiatt

C.R. Hiatt

Interview Date: 5/11/2012


CR HIATT is a writer of screenplays and an author of YA action-mystery novels. The daughter of a military veteran, CR grew up in a small town where she became an All-American athlete. CR knew early on that she wasn't cut out for the nine to five type of job - her tendency to day dream about adventures often got in the way. But, being the daughter of a Navy Veteran she also knew one had to do what was necessary to be secure, so she disciplined herself to push those dreams aside and settled on working in the entertainment legal field. When those dreams invaded her world once again, CR finally gave in and set out to write her own adventures. What the heck, right. If you can't live 'em, you might as well write about them.
The journey started after CR interviewed big city detectives about their lives on the job; then talked with some of their victims. That resulted in her first YA series

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?
I came out of the womb telling stories, but writing didn’t come until much later. In fact, my English teachers would have encouraged me to find a different path. I was more interested in sports and being popular in school, studying wasn’t a top priority.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably “powerful.”)
Flying. Hands down. I would absolutely love to sail over the tops of skyscrapers, and look down at all the peeps from high above.

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?
The Avengers brings a group of superheroes together, and we get to see them light up the screen. And yes, a couple of them would be on the top of my list. But, from an emotional standpoint, Batman touches me more than most. Witnessing the murder of his parents, and his fear of bats as a child, as portrayed by Christian Bale in Batman Begins was done so well I’ve been a fan ever since.
Kev's response:  Hmm, so, you have some kind of dreams about Batman...  Err, where does murder and fear come into this?

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?
So far, most of my stories revolve around crimes, and the heroes (not superheroes however) that fight them. The criminal enterprises and deeds are straight-from-the-headlines-type stories. My “heroes” are normal people with problems, challenges and families that need their time, yet they put it all on the line to try and keep others safe. The real heroes (cops, firefighters, soldiers, sleuths and spies) that are out on the line every day, they are the ones who inspire me.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by the seat of your pants style writer?
I pre-plan my characters, (their back story, etc.), and write a mini outline of my criminal enterprise being depicted. Then, I write a screenplay with action and dialogue to see how the story plays out.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?
I try to get a little writing in every day. With social media, and all that goes with it, it can interfere with my mental focus, so it takes major discipline on my part.
Kev's response:  Me too, social media can be a real time drain.

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?
I write action-mystery thrillers. The McSwain & Beck series is a young adult action series. As far as reading; it varies. I love thrillers, action-mysteries and adventure. I can also get lost in a good young adult adventure. Anything that can give me an adrenaline rush, works for me.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Writing turns individuals that are ordinarily bubbly, and liked by most, into an introvert. Since writing and marketing my work is a major priority, I have to miss out on A LOT of fun that everyone else is enjoying because they have a steady work schedule.

Kev's response:  Err, so what does it turn those of us who are despondent and depressive?  Hmm....

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?
Dogs and kids flock to me no matter where I am. I kid you not. If I attend a back yard barbecue where a hundred families are in attendance, the adults will be eating, drinking and enjoying adult conversations. It is pretty much a given that I will be surrounded by their kids and dogs. Think I’m kidding? Nope. Recently, I went to an event put on by Ghosthunters (first time ever). There were close to two hundred adults in attendance. One of the hosts had their son with them. Sure enough, that child discovered me, and flocked to me like white on rice. Can’t for the life of me figure out why it always happens?
Kev's response:  Heh, well, just hang out with me at the next party, and they'll stay away!  :)

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?
For the most part, I write one at a time. However, there was a time I was having trouble with a few scenes in one of my novels, so I put it away and started on another.

Have you ever wondered why evil people want to take over the world?

It’s their ego wanting them to be “on top”.

Kev's response:  Oho!  Nice response!  (And I'm trying to hold the door closed on Freud, here....)

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital ebooks?
I don’t think the physical book will ever disappear, but the ebook revolution is definitely on, and the developers of ebook readers will contnue to find ways to enhance the reading experience.
I recently published my YA action-mystery thriller, GONE AT ZERO HUNDRED 00:00, the first in the McSwain & Beck, the reluctant sleuths, series. FIREWORKS ON THE 4TH should make its explosive debut just before the 4th of July holiday. The third book, LETHAL HOSTAGES should be available late summer, early fall. After that I plan to publish my adult novels: “I AM NOT A SPY” and “RETRIBUTION”.
Kev's response:  Excellent!

Do you have any advice for other about self publishing?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, but treat it like a business. With the world of social media these days, anything is possible. But, don't expect to reap the rewards overnight. 
I have submitted my screenplays to producers, but to date, I have never  submitted any of my manuscripts to a traditional publisher, agent, or otherwise. I knew from the start that I was going to publish the work myself. I was taking responsibility for putting myself out there. I knew I could stumble, falter, or fall on my face (and I have in many ways). But, I also knew I could pick myselfup. Learn from my mistakes. And continue on.
Since I am writing my current series with a pen name, I knew I wouldn't see mucho sales right away, and I didn't ask all my friends to buy my book, and submit reviews. I decided to work on a grass roots effort. Social media. Blog tours. Reviews. One baby step at a time.
Bottom line, don’t let fear stand in your way. The writing community is more than helpful along the way.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?
Twitter: @McSwainandBeck

Kev's response:  C.R., thanks much for joining me, and I hope the rest of the M&B trilogy does well!  (Still not sure I believe you aren't a spy, however....)
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Twitter: @McSwainandBeck