Monday 28 October 2013

Author Interview – Reagan Chesnut @reaganchesnut

Image of Reagan M. Chesnut

Tell us a bit about your family.

I come from an awesome family.  My dad is a nuclear radiologist and my mom is an advocate for refugees in the community.  I have two high-achieving brothers, one is a musician and linguistics major and the other is an engineering student.  I’ve just recently started a family of my own.  I have an amazing husband, Glen, who is an actor and stay-at-home dad, and a little boy named Beckett, who just turned one.  We also have a very large Alaskan Malamute puppy, Belle.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

I just get on with my life.  I have self-doubt a lot, but there’s really nothing I can do about that.  I just have to do what I’m gonna do to the best of my ability.

What scares you the most?


What makes you happiest?

My family.  And really good parking spots!

Why do you write?

I write because I have to.  It’s my outlet for self-expression.  It’s my best form of communication.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Since I was a little girl.  Writing has always been easy for me, when I had to work very hard at public speaking and interacting with crowds.

What motivates you to write?

The finish line!  I work well with deadlines.  I find it hard to write for writing’s sake.

What writing are you most proud of?

My first play, Kyrie, is the first full-length creative piece I’ve ever done.  That was a big deal for me.  I also have to say, I’m very proud of my Masters dissertation.  It is 16,000 words and it was a beast!

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

My son.  He’s quite the kid.

What books did you love growing up?

The Velveteen Rabbit, Ender’s Game, The Happy Prince, The Hobbit.  There are more, but those ones shaped my reading preferences.

Who is your favorite author?

There are so many!  I need to pick two here – one author and one playwright.  My favorite author is probably Terry Pratchett. He is so intricate with the Discworld novels that you can re-read them indefinitely in any order imaginable and you will discover something new every time.  I suppose I should say my favorite playwright is Samuel Beckett, since I did name my son after him, but in terms of sheer enjoyment and fascination, my favorite playwright is Martin McDonagh. The man is a genius.

What book genre of books do you adore?

I am a huge epic fantasy buff, especially when those books come in series.  I like to be able to spend time with characters and follow their development.  I guess I feel cheated when a book ends and that’s the last I hear from that world.  Terry Pratchett and Brandon Sanderson are great for this – you get to know their worlds so well it’s almost like you’ve lived in them.

What book should everybody read at least once?

Stiff by Mary Roach.  It’s fascinating, and I think it really speaks to our Humanity in a light, but respectful way.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I like to say I grew up everywhere.  I was born in Portland, Maine, but my dad was in the Air Force, so we were re-stationed about every three years.  I lived in San Antonio, TX, Clovis, NM, York, PA, Newport News, VA, St. Louis, MO, and Ada, MI.  I got to experience a lot of different cultural pockets in America, and the experience gave me the travel bug.  After college I spent six years living in Ireland, where I studied playwriting.  The literary culture there is so rich, it has definitely influenced and encouraged my work.

How did you develop your writing?

I took a lot of writing classes in high school and college, then I went on to do a Masters in Theatre and Performance at Trinity College, Dublin.  While I was in Dublin, I worked as a script reader for Fishamble Theatre Company.  I worked very closely with the literary manger and read 2-4 unsolicited scripts weekly.  Reading developing work is probably the most useful thing I’ve done to improve my writing.  You start to recognize things that are effective, ineffective, and the things you are doing in your own writing.

Reagan Chesnut

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Genre – Children’s

Rating – G

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