I had the great pleasure of producing and narrating CJ Klinger’s, “A Dead Person.”
I came upon Chuck while auditioning for books. I found the audition sample for A Dead Person well written and had a certain vibe that felt like it would be a good “fit” for me. It struck me as a “Dragnet” kind of story, only contemporary and very topical, and Chuck’s prose played along that line too; short, to the point dialogue and narration. Nothing waisted. Plus the humor is subtle, adult, and very accessible. That “Dragnet” music, the low walking bass sound kept playing in the back of my mind while I recorded, so I found a little music along that vein and placed it in various places to further enhance the vibe.
I asked him to give me a bit of a bio so I could introduce him to those who I think would enjoy reading his stories, or, in this case, listen to his stuff.
I think the most intriguing thing about Chuck and his prodigious production of books is that he didn’t start writing till he retired.
Age is only a number!
From CJ Klinger –
I was born in San Antonio, Texas, and grew up on a small ranch south of town. When I was fourteen, my family relocated to Brownsville, Texas, in the Rio Grande valley. In high school, I went to a Franciscan Seminary in Chicago, intending to become a Franciscan monk. The education there was classical, emphasizing language (German, Latin, Greek, and English) and philosophy. I then studied physics at St.Mary’s University in San Antonio for two years before joining the army to satisfy my draft obligation. After the military, I spent the next twenty-five years in corporate America, rising to the position of general merchandise manager of a Fortune 500 firm.
Tired of the constant relocation that Corporate life required, I returned to South Texas and bought a lumber yard with my brother and two other partners. Over the next several years, we expanded it to include a truss plant, a cabinet company, and a door company.
Eventually, my wife, Janet, and I started our own custom door manufacturing company. At age seventy-two, we liquidated the company after the general collapse of the building business in 2008. The day after the last sale, I sat down at my computer and wrote my first book, The Rembrandt Bomb, followed by Islandia the Lost Colony, my first science fiction book. Since then, I have written fourteen novels, including A Dead person.
Early on, I decided that if I was going to write, I would treat it like a job with regular hours and a sense of discipline. I write early in the morning and set a budget of one thousand words daily. It usually takes me two months to create a new novel and another three months to edit, format, and publish. Recently I have started converting my books to audiobooks.
My art has been a lifetime passion. I have been blessed with the ability to draw from an early age. Painting in oils, acrylics and watercolors followed, but something about sculpting in stone touched my soul. Through the years, I have sold my art for more than I thought it was worth because I was never happy with the imperfections I saw in my work. I came to understand that no artist is ever completely satisfied with his finished product. I have continually resisted making art my living because I always wanted it to be my retreat. It’s what I do in between books to refresh my creative spirit.
It’s hard to describe my writing process. I’m not sure I understand it myself. Something or some historical event will trigger a chain of thoughts, which becomes an initial storyline. I’ll start writing if I can see a novel in the line. It takes me about 10,000 words to set the stage, flesh out the main characters, and establish a direction. Then the characters start taking over. I’m never really sure what a character is going to say when I start writing dialog. On occasion, the destination will change based on what one of my characters says.
I equate it to driving in a fog. The sign says, ‘Tacoma, 90 miles,” but only the next 100 yards are visible. With luck, I’ll end up in Tacoma, but sometimes I end up in Yakama.
I do not make an outline or create a character profile before writing. Both develop organically. The rewriting in my first editing often results in extensive changes, but the plot and the characters remain essentially the same. My presentation has improved after fourteen books because writing is a skill set that can be learned. I am not sure “storytelling” can be taught. It seems to be a gift, or something learned very early in life. All children have wonderful imaginations; some of us never grow out of it. I’ve had no training in the art of writing, but fourteen years of writing and editing has improved my skill set.
Studying six languages has helped me immensely with my English vocabulary, but it also causes me to use words that are not in the common vernacular. Editing takes care of that.
If you are enjoying “The Reckoning Season,” you’ll also like the sequel, “The Trap Shooter.” It’s my ambition to someday be able to afford to have you narrate these two stories.