Chrysler Szarlan is the author of short story ‘The True Color of The Sky’.
Chrysler is a published author who jogged racehorses and worked as a magician’s assistant before graduating from law school. She was a managing attorney with the Connecticut Legal Rights Project. She lives in western Massachusetts with her family, works part-time as a bookseller at the Odyssey Bookshop and rides her horse in the Hawley Forest whenever possible.
Short Story Sunday Q & A with Chrysler Szarlan
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this story?
I was with a friend who sewed (I do not!), and we were looking at fabric. She bought a piece of stone-washed denim – this was in the 80’s – and I saw all kinds of images in it, including the Virgin Mary. I guess that stayed with me, and it came to me as the beginning of this story, many years later. And I have always been fascinated by memory, the persistence of some memories, the loss of others. What it would be like to know you are slowly going to lose your memories, and what would seem important then.
When did you start writing?
I can’t remember ever not writing. I was one of those geeky kids who learned to read and write early, before I started school, so I was always scribbling down little stories or plays. And reading everything. I remember poring over these green spelling cards in second grade, then trying to write a story using all the words.
Do you have a favourite genre?
No. Love them all. But I have a hard time reading sci-fi. It’s my favorite genre to watch, though. Loved the original Star Trek as a kid, then X Files hugely influenced me.
What’s your favourite book or short story?
Jane Eyre, absolutely, hands down. I re-read it every year.
Can you tell us about your journey to getting an agent?
Well, I served a kind of twelve year apprenticeship as a writer – I only began writing seriously around 2000, wrote two other novels (which I hope see the light of day sometime!) before The Hawley Book of the Dead. Then snagged my brilliant agent in 2012.
Do you have any advice for authors looking to sign to a literary agency?
1) Don’t give up. 2) Find a writing group. 3) Follow all the great advice from agents available out there on line. 4) Know that getting an agent is only one step in the process. Then you have to study up on working with an editor and publishing house, how to use social media, and so on and so forth. It wonderfully never ends!
What do you most enjoy about writing?
Only everything. Well, except the 1st pass at revision…
Tell us about your latest project…
I am working on the second book in the series that begins with The Hawley Book of the Dead. It’s called Dreamland. I HOPE my publisher will like it, and my readers…I love finally being able to say that…my readers! Hope you all like this story, as well!
Amazon: Friend or foe?
Well, I think it’s (nearly) impossible for writers not to weigh in on the Hachette side. I don’t necessarily think Amazon has to be an evil force, but its corporate practices need to change pretty radically. Learning how not to be a bully on the world stage might be a good beginning. Then don’t get me started on its treatment of warehouse workers…this would be a VERY long interview!