Author Spotlight: Chloe Ryan Winston
Name: Chloe Ryan Winston
Hometown: Ashland, OR and Redding, CA
Book: Argentine Assignment, Belize Barter, China Caper, Mexican Marimbas, Peru Paradox, and Russian Ruse
- Describe your series. My series is about an Ashland, Oregon young woman who becomes embroiled with the CIA. They send her on assignment in various nations, all of which are accurately described because I have traveled to them, some more than once. I lived in some and worked in others.
- What made you want to write The Briana Series? I have always written…book reviews, travel articles for the Los Angeles Times, as well as for several magazines for women. As silly as it sounds, I couldn’t stop writing…I’m almost devastated that Russian Ruse is my final novel in the book series.
- How long did it take you to write your book? Each book usually took a few months to write, proof, and then send off. (Writing is the easiest part…proofing is “sweat time.”) Mexican Marimbas was probably my favorite because I’ve traveled and worked in that country.
- How do you choose the names of your characters? I chose the names for my characters by carefully avoiding the names of my friends and acquaintances.
- What do you do when you have writer’s block? When I have writer’s block, I change my surroundings, but carry writing materials with me….a yellow pad and a couple of pens. I find a spot where I can watch the “world go by” in somewhat quiet, but not “still”…..and I read my last two or three paragraphs, check my small outline….and it sends me “off into writing land”….so I write. I try to write at least 1500 words at a time.
- What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? My favorite chapter to write (in all my books) is a chapter that gives a real feeling for the people and place about which I’m writing. I try to keep it accurate, based on my own observations when I traveled to those countries. In some minor way, I hope to encourage people to travel to those countries, understanding, thanks to my books, about the personalities …and maybe problems…they will/might meet when in the particular country. Not “preaching” of course, just enough information to give a reader some idea of the challenges and delights they would find if they, too, went to said country.
- If you were stuck on an island and had to have one person from each category with you, who would they be and why?
- One character from your book: Briana my lead character in the six-book series, she’s competent, bright. (And maybe funny.)
- One fictional character: I would absolutely love to have Jo March, the heroine of the old series from Little Women….she was “gutsy” and willing to try anything, funny, not always popular with her family, honest …..just a super person.
- One famous person: No one other than Winston Churchill—smashingly smart, clever, and also competent–and with a not-always-welcome fun streak…but I’d love it.
- Besides writing, what are your other interests? My main love is to travel. I’ve been to 58 countries, sometimes as a volunteer for a wonderful outfit called Global Volunteers, sited in the Midwest. I’ve been to China five times. I worked on building a wonderful modern school which took the place of a tiny, old-fashioned one-room school. I also “worked” in a hotel in China’s capital city, to give advice to workers there. Driving through Mexico is a “lesson” in itself, so I went from the U.S. border to the border of Central American nations. Christmas in Mexico City is a glorious, wonderful celebration…no matter what are one’s beliefs. My children often traveled to Mexico with me. The things I learned and observed from my travels are represented in my books, giving them a “true” sticker regarding my observations. Traveling across Russia by train is “replicated” in my last book of the Briana series, Russian Ruse. Things mentioned in that book represent some of my observations in that long, long train trip. Of course, Europe is a wonderland for a travel-lover. I took groups of students there when I was a high school teacher. They learned so much, but so did I! Travel should be a “must” for everyone; it truly is an education in itself, and makes one not only appreciate countries visited but makes us appreciate the U.S. even more when we cross the border to return to U.S. soil.
- Do you keep a journal? I have kept a journal, but am finding it a time-impediment to writing. Although I always carry a notepad and several pens (people laugh at mine, located on a sweater or blouse at my throat for easy reaching) and when an idea strikes…I jot it down.
- How did you celebrate the publishing of your books? Believe it or not, I’m pretty shy, so it was hard to celebrate! But I spread the word in the community where I live, mentioned it to people who have bought my books before, and contacted local bookstores.
- If your book was made into a movie, who would play the main characters? I seldom go to movies, but here’s a suggestion: I’d like to have the main character in my novels played by some actress who has dark hair who is slender (hmm. I must be overweight!), and has a few very basic self-defense skills. Someone smart and willing to take on a challenge.
- What did you enjoy most about working with Dorrance Publishing? Dorrance Publishing has always responded quickly, competently, and fully to any of my concerns and requests.
- Five favorite books of all time? That’s hard! As a child: any Nancy Drew story was # 1; as an adult: non-fiction, such as the new Comey book draws me, but Mary Higgins Clark (except her latest novel) draws my reading attention to strong characters, action, some danger, and a satisfying resolution. I do not read “bodice-rippers” but find political stories, and stories of an individual’s clash with nature or with some “evil ” individual, creating action, danger, and a satisfying conclusion….where the good conquers the evil…..and certainly toss in some romance, but not too detailed.
- One sentence of advice for other writers? Just get your computer fixed, make sure you have ink in your printer, then attach your seat to a seat and at least lay out the general idea you have about the story….then WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.