The Ram Boutique: Author Interview – February’s Chase Ambler
This week we sat down with our author from February, Chase Ambler, to ask him a few things about himself and his writing.
1. Who are you as a person: where are you from, what do you do, what are you doing?
A nomadic youth growing up in South and Southeast Asia, but coming back to Colorado each summer, has made it difficult to say exactly where I am from. I consider myself American from Colorado, but many of my friends here think otherwise. To earn a living I work in the produce business, but that’s only a small portion of what I do. I am a metal musician, mountain climber, photographer, poet, novelist, editor, and most importantly a father to my baby girl and husband to my wife. I run a creative writing journal called the Dark Fountain Journal with my long-time friend/colleague Sebastian Eklund, though these days we have little time to work on it because we are co-authoring a young adult novel series and are currently finishing up the first book, Snowsong.
2. Your background as a writer?
In the midst of those teen-angst years I began writing poetry, and everything started to evolve from that. Completely lost in college, I took an Intro to Creative Writing class, and I was hooked. I ended up majoring in English through the Creative Writing Program, but that didn’t land me a job anywhere. For a few years my writing waned until my wife graduated, and I didn’t need to work as much. That’s when she pushed me to begin this trilogy of novels. I’ve had some of my poems published in small literary journals, but nothing was a task as monumental as the Snowsong series.
3. Where did the idea for this piece come/how do you get inspired to write?
Growing up in Asia, yet never living in China or Japan, I was always intrigued by their ancient poetry style. For me, rhyming poetry had lost its flavor many years ago. Luckily, the haiku is a form that sets strict guidelines yet frees the poet from rhyme. The idea that poets could link haikus together to make slightly larger pieces drew me into the idea for this poem. I guess the direct inspiration for this piece came from a series of eggshell lacquer paintings that my parents picked up when we lived in Vietnam. I had this picture of an extremely serene night fishing scene that I wanted to put on paper. Each of the stanzas has some action, but I wanted it to be very calming at the same time. Haikus need to get a feeling across with so few words, and there needs to be that minute shift in the last line. You can be the judge if I succeeded or not in this poem.
4. Your ideal time and place to write? Explain your answers.
Writing late at night has its perks and drawbacks. On the one hand, the voice that tells me my ideas are worthless is diminished, so I can run with whatever comes to mind. On the other hand, some crazy nonsense sometimes emerges, so I still need that morning/afternoon writer to edit, shape, and direct the piece.
My ideal place to write would be on top of a mountain, but I’m not lugging my computer up there, nor would my freezing hands be able to write legibly in my notebook. That’s why I shoot a lot of photos. That way I can bring the mountains back home with me.
5. Why do you write?
I write because it’s the hardest, and yet most satisfying, thing I’ve done in my life. Even in the pits of writer’s block, in the bowels of self-doubt, there’s a drive. I don’t know where it comes from, but it keeps me moving. It won’t let me stop. I’m a pretty shy person, so I think I have a compulsion to communicate in alternative ways to speech. That is why I write, compose music, and dabble in photography. I hope one day that someone will get sucked into my writing as much as I have been entranced by the magic of the novels I enjoy. I yearn to be able to communicate with them visually, emotionally, and intellectually by simply using words.
I’d like to take a moment to thank the River Ram Press for giving me this opportunity. They have been so supportive of my endeavors, and it’s an honor to be a featured writer. It seems they’ve taken a lot on their plate with all their imprints, so I wish them luck. Hopefully one day I can get a novel published by them.
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