Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Chris Saper

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been a nonfiction writer my entire adult life – first as a health care strategic planner/hospital administrator – then as a portrait painting instructor (4 books, 4DVDs). Writing fiction is entirely new.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

A. Why write fiction? I’ve read about 50 novels a year for decades, 95% of which are fiction. I have always marveled at how authors can come up with such complicated plots, characters, and weave them together so that a terrific story results. With non-fiction, the goal is to remove all ambiguity – but ambiguity is at the very heart of good fiction. So, I loved the idea of trying it out and it is more fun than I’ve had in quite a while. 

B. Why write this story? I write about the things that I care about, what makes me angry – injustice, corruption and governments that fail to function for their citizens. I also write about things that frighten me. So I guess you could say it helps me grapple with things I can’t control.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

 I set Collateral Carnage in the near future, and my themes are a warning, really. We all need to be paying much more attention to big issues, rather than the small-issue chum we are constantly fed.  Citizens United/dark money is and will continue to be the one of the greatest threats to democracy. The greed that sets armies of lobbyists in play to control public policy serves its shareholders long before its patients, and drug companies are among the worst. Specifically, Collateral Carnage grew out of the many scandals and tragedies surrounding the VA and its treatment of vets, especially those with PTSD.  And that’s how it all started.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Thrillers? Refer back to my 95% comment – it’s what I love to read.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’d first chat with Dr Vivian Jaffe: “How did you remain so complacent for so long? Why?” She’s a minor character in the book, but quite complex in her behavior and arc. Her motivations are conflicted and I would like her to explain her decisions. (She will in the sequel 😊 )

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Since my book has only been out a short while, I am using the platforms I’ve built through my art career to introduce and hopefully migrate my interested people to engage on my author-related sites. I am active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. I have added an author business page to FB, developed a separate website, and newsletter. I think though, that if new authors aren’t active on social media, just choose one or two to explore. I only am comfortable with all of these social platforms because I’ve using them for so long – but you don’t need to do them all or you risk spending way too much time being distracted.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Get as much education about the process as possible! Getting a book into a reader’s hands is an enormous undertaking – and writing the thing is just the start. Take a course (or a lot of them). Have your manuscript professionally edited – developmental/content editors first, then you need copy editors and likely a proofreader. You need an excellent cover and engaging blurb. You need to budget for your book – from what I’ve read, plan on about $5K to self-publish. If you plan to traditionally publish, plan on months or years of query/editing/printing/distribution, and then another unknown number of months or even years to repay your advance before you actually earn a penny (my bias showing here). Most of all, though, be willing to listen to your editors and your readers, so it’s important to check ego at the door.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

New books? Yes, two in process. First is a sequel to Collateral Carnage and I’m about 4K words into it right now. The other is a much larger undertaking so that one is now in research mode. I plan to finish the sequel before writing the next manuscript. 








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Posted in reviews

Collateral Carnage: Money. Politics. Big Pharma. What could go wrong? By Chris Saper Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A conspiracy thriller like no other takes center stage surrounding corporate espionage, cover ups, and a terrifying new treatment for US Veterans suffering from PTSD, with shocking results, in author Chris Saper’s novel “Collateral Carnage: Money. Politics. Big Pharma. What Could Go Wrong?”. 

The Synopsis

Money. Politics. Big Pharma. What could go wrong?As PTSD therapist Claire Wilheit is about to learn, a whole helluva lot. A chance after-hours encounter with a fellow therapist reveals falsified patient files and thrusts Claire into a conspiracy poised to revolutionize treatment for US veterans now and for future generations, with deadly collateral damage.Trapped in an avalanche of events over which she has no control, Claire is locked into a race against time in preventing the sweeping, irreversible and fatally flawed policies that Congress is about to set into play.Collateral Carnage is Chris Saper’s debut novel, a gripping thriller set in a future near enough to be all too terrifying.

The Review

From the book’s first pages the stage is set for a massive cover up, as files are discovered having been tampered with and one therapist’s day off turns into a life altering journey as she becomes part of a massive conspiracy involving several of her patients, (along with others), and discovers the lengths they are willing to go to in order to make money and cover up their actions. 

What really sold this story however was not just the action and suspense, but the very human element of the protagonists, especially Claire. The integration of the family drama Claire begins the story in and integrating the shocking turn of events Claire goes through, the characters driving this narrative home feel more personal and relatable than most espionage/conspiracy thrillers these days. What also set this story apart was the blend of this human element with the scary future that could always become a reality that the author integrates, using curfews within neighborhoods and privatizing organizations to patrol the streets apart from the police, making the world feel like it is on the brink of becoming a privatized police state. 

The Verdict

This was a massively entertaining, engaging and fun read. Fans of the great Tom Clancy will be on the edge of their seat throughout this fantastic novel. The fusion of conspiracy thriller with family drama and ordinary people thrust into dark tales of corruption and life threatening action like no other, author Chris Saper has done a wonderful job of reigniting this genre for the modern reader. With a shocking twist ending that leaves the door open, readers can only hope to see more of Claire and author Chris Saper in the future. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of “Collateral Carnage” today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Chris Saper is a portrait painter, teacher and author. 

Author of North Light Book’s, Painting Beautiful Skin Tones with Color & Light and For Love or Money: A Business Handbook for Portrait Painters, Mostly Monochrome.

Saper has also been published in The Best of Portrait Painting, American Artist Magazine, Artist’s Magazine, Pastel Journal, and Pastel Artist International and International Artist Magazines. 

Her work is also featured in 

North Light Books’ Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing; and

Drawing & Painting People: The Essential Guide, 

Strokes of Genius 2: The Best of Light and Shadow.

Saper has two instructional DVDs available: “Painting Oil Portraits in Warm Light”, and “Capturing the Beauty of Monochrome Oil Portraits”, both available through North Light Books’

Since becoming a faculty member of the Portrait Society of America in 2006, Chris has participated at the PSA’s annual meeting, “The Art of the Portrait”, in the capacity of demonstrator, panelist on topics of interest, portfolio critiques, and book signings. In the fall of 2007, Chris conducted a demo and workshop for the Society’s Academy, held at the San Francisco Academy of Art University.

Saper is a contributor to John Howard Sanden’s World of Portrait Painting, writing a regular column, “Portraiture and the Pursuit of Excellence.”

In addition to her full-time commissioned portrait practice, Saper is an active speaker, demonstrator and instructor, teaching regularly at both the Scottsdale Artists’ School and at the Mountain Artists’ Guild in Prescott AZ.

Chris Saper has studied with noted portraitists including Bettina Steinke, Burton Silverman, Harley Brown, William Whitaker, Daniel Greene, Phil Beck and Dan Gerhartz. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration.