When I was little, I was convinced that I wanted to be a zookeeper and an astronaut when I grew up. Now I’m a primary school teacher and a science fiction writer. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about how far I’ve deviated from my original plans.
2. What is your nickname?
I don’t really have a proper, regularly-used nickname, but a few of my friends call me either Crispy or Kruz.
3. What is your greatest fear?
Maybe fear of grief? The idea of losing loved ones is awful to me. I mean, I don’t believe for a second that this life is all there is, but there is really no getting around the suckiness of death.
4. Describe your writing style in ten words.
I write weird stories about finding redemption in dark places.
5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.
Creative. Theatrical. Philosophical. Meticulous. Hopeful.
(Why do I suddenly feel like I’m filling out a survey for an online dating website or something?)
6. What book character would you be, and why?
My gut response to this question was Harry Potter – but actually, that would be horrible! Dead parents, dying mentors, horrible upbringing, obnoxious teachers, bullying, death threats, constant scar pain… forget it.
I’ll go with Peter Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia. Being High King of Narnia seems like a pretty sweet deal.
7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?
Uh-uh. No thanks. I’ve read/written enough time travel stories to know that time travel is way more trouble than it’s worth.
I once read a novel (which I’ve since forgotten the name of) about a technology that lets you look back in time but not actually travel there. That seems like a much safer option!
8. What would your ten-year-old self say to you now?
The Animorphs guy blurbed your book?! How did this happen?! Also… you write books now?!
9. Who is your greatest influence?
Greatest writing influence? I’d say my top ten (in no particular order) are: C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, Damon Lindelof, Katherine Applegate, Patrick Ness, Michael Grant, John Green and Don Miller.
10. What/who made you start writing?
I don’t know that I can narrow it down to a single person or thing. I’ve always loved reading and making up stories, and there were always plenty of people to encourage me along the way. I had an awesome kindergarten teacher, an awesome high school English teacher, and fantastically supportive parents, and I couldn’t even begin to count the number of hours my cousins and I spent drawing comics and inventing ridiculous characters and staging cassette-recorded radio dramas. I think I’ve just had storytelling built-in from the beginning.
11. What is your favourite word and why?
Grace. The idea of God’s unearned, undeserved love and compassion is absolutely fundamental to the way I understand the universe – and it’s the greatest rule of thumb I could ask for in terms of how to treat others.
There’s this really excellent philosopher and theologian named Timothy Keller who sums up the grace of Jesus in this way: that we as a species and as individuals are more wicked than we ever dared believe, and at the very same time more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope. I realise that’s a pretty controversial assessment of the human condition, but I think it’s pretty awesome.
12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Bible, hands down. It’s the only truly life-changing book I’ve ever read.
I’d have a much harder time if you restricted me to fiction, though. I love the Harry Potter series (Azkaban is probably my favourite), The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness…
Actually, maybe I’d pick the Lord of the Rings trilogy. To my shame, and despite numerous attempts, I’ve never made it all the way through. Making it the only novel I was ever allowed to read might finally be the encouragement I needed to actually read it!
Chris is the author of The Phoenix Files young adult science fiction series. The sixth and final book in the series, Doomsday, is now available. You can find out more about Chris and his books by visiting his website.
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