We welcome the next author spotlighted in the anthology to benefit Kids Need to Read – Love and Other Distractions – Steve Chivers!
STEVE CHIVERS has worked as a writer, producer and director on sitcoms, hour dramas, webseries and a wide variety of character-driven documentary and reality shows. His credits include Intervention; Addicted; The Parent ‘Hood; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; That’s Life; The Locator; The Peacemaker; Remake America; Crash Course; Speed Therapy and Inspector America.
R: Hello, Steve! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
S: I started writing stories at an early age. Had a wonderful 3rd grade teacher name Miss Jeffries who read us all the children’s classics – Charlotte’s Web, Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, The Laura Ingalls Wilder books. She did all the character voices and it was really magical to listen to her read. When I started writing stories she told me “you should become an author.” Coming from her it was like being told I had the right stuff to be an astronaut. I never forgot it.
R: Tell us about your short in the KNTR anthology. How did you become involved with the charity and how did the idea for your short come about?
S: My story is part of a novel I’ve been writing. I actually removed a character and condensed it for the anthology. I got the idea for Lauren, one of the main characters, because my partner at the time was working on a plastic surgery show and did a couple of stories about women who had had lap-band surgery. After the massive weight loss, they had to have two rounds of plastic surgery; first to remove pounds (yes pounds) of excess skin that remained after all the weight loss, and then another set of surgeries to remove the scars left by removing the excess skin. I was very intrigued by what it would be like to go through such a radical body change, especially for a woman.
After losing all the weight, Lauren is “hot” for the first time in her life but she hasn’t had the scar surgery yet, so she is still very self-conscious about her body. When she has an affair with Josh, a much younger man, she discovers he’s actually turned on by her scars, and finds herself objectified in a completely different and unexpected way.
The third character (who is in the novel but not the story in the anthology) is Ron, Josh’s landlord. He’s a 50-something gay man, an actor and former model who is mortified when he’s cast in a very important role -- as a grandfather. He’s always been an object of desire and now he has to rediscover and reinvent himself and deal with getting older in a segment of society that is obsessed with youth and looks.
So I’m obviously interested in the intersection between image and fetishization but it’s also a love story and (hopefully) funny.
As far as KNTR, all of us who contributed to the anthology wanted the proceeds to go to a charity and KNTR is one that we agreed on immediately. As I said above, it was a great teacher reading us classic books that made me want to become a writer, so I’m thrilled to be helping this charity.
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
R: I’d like to travel 30 years into the future and see if the incredible partisanship we are experiencing in America will have died out and people will actually be compromising and solving problems again. Though if the answer is “no” it would be kinda depressing to come back to the present so maybe I should just stay here and wait and see what happens.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
S: I hope I haven’t done it yet. I like having something to look forward to.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
S: I’m working on the full novel of String Theory and hope to have it available early next year.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
S: I’m a plantser. I make a lot of notes about plot and the characters and where things are going but then I discover entirely new and, to me, more interesting places to go during the writing process. So I think taking that time to try to plot things out is a way of planting seeds, but I never really know what’s going to sprout.
(Note from ROCCO: plantser! We likey!)
R: What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
S: I do a fair amount of carpentry and I also work in metal doing sculpture and making some furniture. It’s a good way to avoid writing.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
S: I’m on facebook as AuthorSteveChivers – www.facebook.com/authorstevechivers
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Night
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) I do have a Doberman Pincher but I’m happy to report she’s not a cat chaser like my last dog was. I love cats even though they make me sneeze.
Beach or Pool? Beach.
Steak or salad? Steak.
Favorite Drink? A martini made with ½ gin and ½ vodka, slightly dirty, really well shaken. Bartenders never know what to call it so let’s just go ahead and call it a Chivers Martini. Have one on me.
Favorite Book? Charlottes Web, thanks to Miss Jeffries.
Favorite TV Series? Loving Breaking Bad at the moment
Favorite Movie? Can’t decide on this or favorite actor or actress. It keeps changing. I have a hard time picking favorites.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? See above but the average dirty martini has way too much olive juice. It should just be a hint of saltiness. And all those flavored Martinis are a crime against mixology.
Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska. I was out in the waters off Juneau in a 16 foot boat once and a pod of Orcas came up. They’re really, really big, especially when you’re in a little boat.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be: my mind always goes blank on this question. There are just too many to narrow it down.
If I had just one wish, it would be: for education to become a real priority in America, with respect and good wages for teachers and a recognition of the importance of the arts in teaching people how to be creative problem solvers instead of test-takers.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be: Barack Obama but just for like a week. That’s all I could handle. In fact, one day might be enough.
You can keep up with steve at: