Chelsea Gaither was born in the 80s and grew up catching venomous caterpillars in the live oak scrub around Corpus Christi, TX. They currently live around Dallas with a toddler and lots of books.
In Conversation With: Chelsea Gaither
Whew. I feel that we have been playing hide and seek. I went to your Goodreads page to get some dirt—I mean, background information—and when I did a google search, I found some meager tidbits on BookBub and Smashwords. I thought I hit the jackpot when I found your blog, but that was an old one, and then two blogs later. Do you always play this hard to find?
Well, the short version of the story is, I’ve had two rounds of self publishing. The first one went well until some life experiences got in the way. Some of it was not nice, some of it was fantastic. And I had a kid! She’s four. She’s fantastic. She eats time, though, so I have to budget where I spend most of mine. Getting the blog relaunched with more content is on the to-do list. It’s…just not the first thing on the list.
It is a lot of work keeping up with work, writing, and life. Well, let’s get started.
Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Chelsea Gaither. Thanks for dropping by. Can I offer you anything to drink? I’m having a tall glass of water after all that work.
Right now? I’ll take coffee.
You have been writing for a while. What was the first story you wrote?
The first thing I ever wrote was probably a comic book when I was seven. It involved Disney characters and was about what you’d expect out of a seven-year-old. First novel was a fantasy project I’ve since trunked because…you know. First novels. My first self published book went live July 4th, 2012. So this year’s July 4th will be ten years of self pub.
What were your main influences?
I am a drooling, unrepentant C.S. Lewis fan. As a younger writer I’d say my primary influiences were the old greats: McCaffrey, Madeline L’engle, Lewis. Basically the things you read as a 90s kid with a library card. As I got older, I’d say the biggest contributor to my writing philosophy is G.K. Chesterton and the attitudes and philosophies he discusses in Tremendous Trifles. That famous quote about how fairytales teach children that dragons can be killed? That’s the guy who wrote it.The very first essay in the collection is a discussion about how perspective influiences a sense of adventure, and it’s one of the things I constantly fall back on when I’m writing and revising. One of the big reasons I do write is I know what a profound value fiction has had during the darkest times in my life, and if I can give somebody a momentary shelter or a foothold during the storm, I’ve done my job.
Do you have a favorite book?
Several, actually. My top go-to comfort reads are probably Sunshine, by Robin McKinley, Lewis’s Till we have Faces, and Julian May’s Galactic Milieu series. Of recently published stuff, The Locked Tomb books are incredible, and Iron Widow blew my socks off. I’m currently reading through Theophilus Monroe’s Nix series.
Did you plan on writing a series?
Currently am. The Terrestrial Affairs series is about a department of social workers for the magical. Magic is a real world, quantifiable force measurable in a lab. Vampires, werewolves, the Fae and magicians have always existed, but only recently got civil rights protections. TA agents act as caseworkers for Magical Persons and liaison with law enforcement as occult experts when someone with magic goes off the rails. The first book kicks off when a rogue mage targets an anti-magic politician for assassination and Agent Astrid Stone gets tapped as his protection team’s advisor and liason. Book four goes live in April, and book five is in the works. Should have preorders and cover art for that up before the end of March.
You do your own cover art, right?
How did you get into that?
Visual art is one of my other ways to blow off steam. My whole family is fairly arty. My mom is a professional artist with a lot of experience in advertising and brand design, so she had a copy of photoshop on our family computer. I began using it to run a webcomic way back in the early 2000s (started in 2004, IIRC, and kept it up until about 2006ish) and started learning digital painting on an early model Wacom tablet. Most of my art is still up on my old deviantart site. I knew when I started self publishing I’d be doing my own covers, both because it’s clearly cheap, and it allows me to create a pretty cohesive look and branding across series.
And you have total control of the image you want to project.
Texas is a hot bed of all genres of music. Do you have any favorites?
I am a very bad Texan. I can’t stand most country music! I enjoy oldschool bluegrass (My fiddle teacher once played with Willie Nelson!) and the greats like Willie and Johnny Cash, so I’d much rather have a great recording of The Devil Went Down To Georgia than I’ve got a Girl Crush. I have a special place for a lot of Tejano music. I mean, I’m from Corpus. Selena is still the Queen down there. My writing playlist (Everyone has one, right?) has a lot of Blue October, Breaking Benjamin, and Alan Walker on it.
I’ll have to look those up.
Are you ready for the lightning round?
What’s that best thing about Texas?
The landscape. There’s something for everybody. Just understand that all those westerns with all those tall red mountains were shot in Sedona, and most of the southernmost state is flat as a pancake.
Was Texas toast really invented in Texas?
Apparently. It’s suggested that somebody wanted thicker toast and the bakery cut it too thick for the toaster. You’d be amazed at how many great foods were invented by someone who pissed off the cook.
Hardest tongue twister?
She sells sea shells by the seashore
Rockport, TX. About twenty minutes from Corpus Christi, excellent little art enclave nobody knows about.
It’s quiet, sleepy, and right next to a major park and wild life preserve, so we got all the best birds down
there. It got hit bad by Hurricane Harvey and just kept trucking along, so I will always give it a shoutout.
Do you remember the Alamo?
Yep. Even went there, once.
Cacti. Resilient survivor or bully of the desert?
Actually, surprisingly fragile depending on which variety. The exception is the prickly pear cactus. You can’t kill that short of running a stump grinder over the patch a bunch, and even then you’ll have to salt the earth.
This has been a pleasure. Thanks for chatting. Any links you want to share? (attach any book covers or profile pics if you want)
Well, folks can find my books at: https://www.amazon.com/Chelsea-Gaither/e/B008OCFHJ0
We have a subreddit that’s currently somewhat inactive, but here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Christwriter/
And we have our series official Facebook page!: https://www.facebook.com/TerrestrialAffairs
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Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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