Chuck is a full-time morning radio host on Portland, Maine’s Big Hits Y100.9. He calls himself “a workin’ schlub trying to help raise his kids and get them on their way to life’s adventures.” He credits his wife, Deb, for helping him accomplish these goals.
Links to where you can order his book, including Kindle versions, can be found at www.chuckigo.com.
Q&A with Chuck Igo:
RB: You’re a radio god by day. When did the writing bug hit?
CI: Radio god? Only a little “g”? (grinning & blushing). Thanks! The writing bug actually “hit” in high school with the realization that I could make a connection between complete sentences that actually told a story. I wrote comedy/satire at first, which continued through my Navy days. Then, once in radio, I tried to remember what made a commercial “fun” to listen to. Most times, it was in the writing, with just the right phrase at the right time. As a station’s production director/copywriter in 1995, I did a back-up disk of all the copy I’d written in a year. It was over 500 pages. I said “Hey! That’s a book’s worth!”
RB: When did you start writing Taken Identity? How long from start to finish?
CI: First started in 1995 on our home’s first hand-me-down computer. I’d go home for lunch from the station here in Maine and peck out a few pages, or make notes of ideas I’d had about the story and its characters. One day, while backing up my work onto a floppy, the computer crashed and burned, taking the hard-drive version AND my back-up version with it. We eventually replaced the computer in 1996. I did find a usable back-up disk that contained maybe one-third of what I’d written. I more or less started from scratch, but still with the same plot. For Christmas of 1997, my family got me a laptop to use for this project and for while I was working an overnight radio shift in Boston. It was in the first part of 1998 that I finally completed the story. Cleaned up as much as I could, sent a copy to the Library of Congress and a copy to a literary agent who’d expressed interest in the story.
RB: What made you decide to go the self publishing route?
CI: After several years of no luck with the literary agent, the project somewhat stagnated. The manuscript was done but the out-of-pocket up-front expenses with self-publishing were still a little steep. Finally, it got to a point where I had to know if what I’d done was worthwhile to anyone other than myself. The self-publishing experience was educational and there were mistakes on my part, but given the overall learning curve, I am very pleased with the finished product.
RB: How have sales been?
CI: Sales haven’t been fantastic, but the book still sells copies. Maybe 500 total copies have been sold, with another 150 or so given for promotional purposes.
RB: Tell us the premise.
CI: I was mad at the Speaker of The House in 1995 for his finger-wagging at our moronic president’s lack of judgment in regards to extra-marital affairs. The sanctimonious air of the speaker’s comments and condemnation made me feel he was just as guilty of stepping out on his wife. Instead of making the Speaker an “infidel,” so to speak, I thought “what if he was like a Russian spy?” It went from there.
RB: What do you love most about writing?
CI: It’s an escape. It’s cathartic. It’s an adventure. It’s a challenge. It’s the ability to move away from real-life day-to-day worries and become temporarily lost in the creative process.
RB: What’s your process — do you revise as you go, or wait until the end?
CI: I do a little of both. I will crank out pages at a time if the words come easily, then when I run out of juice on that train-of-thought, I’ll go back and hope it doesn’t look too much like it needs a “clean up in aisle 7.” But by doing additional revising at the end, it helps to make sure that there’s a good flow of continuity within the story-line, and within the individual characters’ progressions.
RB: What’s your writing routine? (day, night, with coffee, with wine, etc.)
CI: I first wrote on lunch hours. Then I wrote while working overnights. As the story really began coming together, I wrote wherever & whenever I could: in the waiting room at my daughters’ dance school, on the sun porch here at home when I should have been sleeping. I like to have something to drink at all times. It might be a nice, big bottle of ice water or it could be a beer.
RB: What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to writing a novel?
CI: The biggest challenge was trying to tie together several storylines within the overall story to have them meet up at the end. I had characters in mind and knew what I wanted their roles to be, but to pull out the layers of “6 degrees of separation” and to bring them all to the same plane was the challenge.
RB: Who are some of your favorite writers?
CI: I love Stephen King. His words transport you instantly to the place he envisions while he’s writing his stories. Tom Clancy wrote some fabulous tales around the central Jack Ryan character that I hoped (hope) to emulate in my novel(s). Clancy stopped writing the Jack stories, so I figured someone had to try to fill the void. I enjoy John Grisham’s legal thrillers, and Tess Gerritsen’s novels, too. There are other writers who may not do “long form” stories, but their articles and columns always provide a treat: Dave Barry, Craig Wilson, the late Erma Bombeck.
RB: What’s up next for Chuck Igo?
CI: I have a second novel, a sequel to Taken Identity ready to go. It’s just a case of finding the right avenue down which I will take it. There are a number of less costly, quality self-publishing options now. Although I was thrilled with the quality of service and product with my first publisher, AuthorHouse, I may very well head in more local direction with the arrival of several, more local self-publishing groups.