Sunday, June 24, 2012

GUEST POST WITH AUTHOR, SF CHAPMAN

GUEST POST WITH THE AUTHOR OF, "I'M HERE TO HELP," SF CHAPMAN





Then and now - S F Chapman - June 17, 2012




Years ago in college, I wrote dozens of short stories. 


Often a nearly complete tale would appear in my head and I’d hurriedly scribble it out in longhand on white standard-lined binder paper.


I looked through a few of these “manuscripts” recently; they are smudgy, filled with misspellings and bestrewn with arrows and cross-outs.


One or two revisions later, still in longhand, the story with plenty of dialog, narrative and description would be fully formed.


Back in the dark ages when I did all of this, there was no Internet hovering in the background with nearly inexhaustible resources for the curious. I sometimes wonder what exactly did people do before FaceBook, Twitter and book blogs? Often I will spend hours hunting through a bazillion thesaurus web sites for help in finding another word for “dim,” as in unilluminated, a word that seems to always trip me up when I think of synonyms.


In college, I had an old, dog-eared paperback thesaurus that was given to me by my grandmother. It was her least favorite of three that she had found at a garage sale. The other two she would use while playing along with daytime game shows.


The final version of a short story was laboriously pecked out on an old manual student typewriter that my father had since the 1930’s. The ancient machine certainly didn’t have spell check and I’m personally an awful speller, so any word longer than about five letters was double-checked in the dictionary.


The physical act of typing on an old manual is prone to blunders and missed keystrokes, especially for impatient young men with chubby and uncoordinated fingers. Wite-Out was available for errors, but nobody liked blobby spots all over a document, so I had a firm limit of 3 corrections. Any more than that and I started anew. It would take hours to produce one good page of finished work.


Making casual revisions at that point was virtually impossible.


At that pace, a novel would have taken me years to produce.


Things change and technology improves.


In 2011, halfway through my effort to produce a dozen books in five years, I wrote three novels totaling around 630 pages. Using the longhand revisions and the archaic manual typewriter to attempt the same feat, I might now be just finishing up page number 70.


Fortunately, I currently use more modern methods.


I can now coax the words out of my noggin and onto paper without the hard labor of the past.


I’ll often start out with a title and nothing else. I have a book that will publish next February called The Ripple In Space-Time that began life in that way. The phrase popped into my head and I wrote it down but I had no idea as to what I would do with it. A few months later when I was hunting around for an idea for a future novel I decided to develop a tale befitting of that title.


The book that I produced is a tongue-in-cheek science fiction detective story set in the corrupt and moldering feudal fiefdoms of the Warlords that dominate human affairs in 2445.


More often, I’ll have an interesting little snippet of a plot. Over many days of sporadic and unfocused effort, I usually produce a 3 or 4 page treatment loosely describing the story, the characters and locations. If it seems worth the effort, I will write the chapter summaries for the first half of the book and away I go.


Each of my six books has taken about a hundred days to write.


I’m here to help is the novel that my three editors thought was the best read for those who are unfamiliar with my work: it is short at only 125 pages but very tightly packed and nearly everyone will see a part of themselves in the two main characters.


AUTHOR DEBUTS FIRST OF 12 BOOKS FROM NEW PUBLISHING HOUSE


Striped Cat Press to launch science fiction and literary tales, starting with I’m here to
help


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – May 2012 – A teenaged daughter searches for answers to inconsistencies on
her birth certificate in S F Chapman’s poignant debut literary novella I’m here to help (July 1). The book is
Chapman’s first of a dozen he plans to release in the next five years from his new independent publishing
company Striped Cat Press.


In I’m here to help, Sharon has managed to keep secrets about her daughter’s birth from her for 17 years. Using
a wall full of old family photos in the living room, Sharon slowly reveals the complex set of events that led them
to their current situation.


Most of the characters in Chapman’s upcoming books are women, and he suspects casual readers might
incorrectly assume I’m here to help is written by one. “I do however most definitely have Y-chromosomes,” the
author quipped.


Chapman grew up with six sisters in a family of 12 children, and those experiences helped shape his female
characters. Being a seventh-generation Californian also influences his writing.


“When I find the need to plunk my characters down in a big city, I usually describe San Francisco where I lived
for many years. It looks and feels quite a lot like the older cities in the Northeast,” he said. “There is also a
subliminal Hispanic influence in many of my books; some of which comes from the state where more than half
of the population is Hispanic, the rest probably from ancient ancestors on my Dad’s side.”


While I’m here to help is a very intimate literary tale, most of Chapman’s next books are soft science fiction.


“I love to put very ordinary folks into quite extraordinary situations and watch them squirm for about 6 or 8
chapters,” Chapman said. “All of my books deal with isolation to varying degrees, sometimes physical and
sometimes social, and how the characters manage to cope with it.”


Chapman began writing while working on his liberal arts degree at Diablo Valley College. He generated nearly
a dozen short stories there, and in the last three years has begun writing novel-length fiction and prepping
the new publishing company. The six works so far are the post-apocalyptic soft science fiction MAC Series
consisting of Floyd 5.136, Xea in the Library and Beyond the Habitable Limit; the science fiction detective story
entitled The Ripple in Space-Time; the general fiction tale of death and destruction called On the Back of the
Beast; and of course I’m here to help.


The author is currently alternating between two entirely different writing projects: the first being a rough and
tumble literary novel about homelessness called The Missive In The Margins; and the second a science fiction
detective squeal to The Ripple in Space-Time dubbed Torn From On High.


S F Chapman
Author Biography



S F Chapman has done it all. He spent 4 years as a truck driver, 8 years as a
scientific glass blower and 20 years as a building contractor. 


He’s a
computer geek, handyman, music lover and relentless tinkerer.
But it’s his newest venture he’s most passionate about. In the next five years
Chapman plans to release 12 books, his first being I’m here to help (July
1, 2012), a literary fiction tale about a teenage daughter looking for answers
to some inconsistencies on her birth certificate.


Family is something Chapman knows well, as he’s the third of 12 children
born to an endearing stay-at-home mother and traveling salesman father during
the 1960s Space Race.


His desire for writing sparked while working on his liberal arts degree at Diablo Valley College.


Chapman chose mostly classes in the English Department, focusing on science fiction literature,
composition and short story writing. He generated nearly a dozen short stories in two years.


Since 2009, he’s begun writing novel-length fiction tales and prepping for the launch of his own
independent book publishing company Striped Cat Press. The six works so far are the post-apocalyptic
soft science fiction MAC Series consisting of Floyd 5.136, Xea in the Library and Beyond the Habitable
Limit; the science fiction detective story entitled The Ripple in Space-Time; his debut literary novella
I’m here to help; and the general fiction tale of death and destruction called On the Back of the Beast.


Chapman is currently alternating between two entirely different writing projects: the first being a rough
and tumble literary novel about homelessness called The Missive In The Margins; and the second a
science fiction detective squeal to The Ripple in Space-Time dubbed Torn From On High.


Chapman is a Californian for life, having grown up in the northern part of the state and living the past 53
years in the San Francisco Bay Area. He and his wife are the proud parents of an 18-year-old son and 16-
year-old daughter. They currently live in Concord.

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