Chad Harp, the author of The Power of Fear and Happiness, sits down with us for this author interview.
I first met Chad on Twitter, if my memory is correct. I believe he approached me about reading his book called Happiness.
Chad is a great guy with so much kindness and a willingness to make this world a better place.
I hope you enjoy the interview with Chad as much as I did.
Question 1: Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name is Chad Harp. I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, which is where I live today. I have been writing books for thirty years. I wrote my first two books – Young Warriors and Return to the Lake – when I was still in college.
When I was a law student, I wrote the article Estate Planning for the Disabled Beneficiary, which the ABA Section on Probate & Property published. A few years later, I expanded this article into a book of the same title.
Eventually, I taught public high school, and that experience led me to publish First Who You Are, Second What You Know. Those are the four books I have actually published. There are dozens more in boxes in my basement – along with the yellow paper books I wrote these past four years (only Happiness has been published).
Question 2: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
This summer I wrote The Power of Fear, and like my yellow paper books, it is based on my life. It takes place on September 9th in Philadelphia. Jason Beck has won a contest to spend the day with Seth Hoover and his three sons – Tim, Kurt, and Sam. Their adventure begins with a stop for cheesesteaks at Benny’s and then continues to Rittenhouse Ravine, the suburban neighborhood where Seth was born and raised.
Now, you need to know that I was born and raised in a neighborhood called Halford Tract just outside of Philadelphia. You also need to know there are famous cheesesteak places in the Philadelphia area called Geno’s and Pat’s and Larry’s (to name just three). So, I hope you can begin to see what I have done in The Power of Fear – and not ruin the fun of your first read.
Question 3: How long does it take you to write a book?
I realize that some authors write a certain number of pages every day and after a certain number of months their book is done. I can’t do that. For me, writing a book is an intense experience. To write a book is to spend your working life thinking about a completely different world – and while that is fun and exciting, it is also exhausting.
The only way I know how to write a book is to write it – which means that is all I do until it is finished. And I mean, that is all I do. Let’s take The Power of Fear. I started at the end of May and wrote at least sixteen hours every day until Halloween. That’s five months. Which is why right now I am resting from writing – and spending my time promoting my work.
Question 4: Where do you get your ideas?
I get the ideas for my books from my experiences – and that has always been true. My first book Young Warriors is about the death of a fraternity brother, which was based on my experiences as a Sigma Nu at GWU. At one point I taught public high school and I wrote a book about that experience. Same with being a lawyer. And there is a good reason why my books are based on my experiences. You see, I write books to understand better – first myself and then everything else. Of course, my hope is that readers gain an understanding because they have experienced my words. That is why I have shared them.
My first piece of advice is to learn the rules. I suggest mastering The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. My second piece of advice is to listen. You cannot write scenes – and you most certainly cannot write dialogue – unless you have listened to how people actually talk. After you have mastered the rules, and after you have started to listen, then start to write. And I mean write. Not edit. That comes after you write (editing too early and interrupting the writing process is a common mistake). In time, your own style will develop – one built on a solid foundation.
Question 6: What, for you, would mean literary success?
To me, literary success is financial. I write books to support myself, which will likely come after The Power of Fear and Happiness have been widely distributed. Right now I am waiting for feedback from the first batch of readers of The Power of Fear. As long as things go as I expect, soon I will be reaching out to literary agents to see if they might be interested in representing me. I will also be contacting publishing houses directly.
Question 7: What’s next for you as a writer?
Right now I am waiting for feedback from the first batch of readers of The Power of Fear. This book is based on my life. Before I distribute it worldwide, I want to know how it is received by those who know me best – my friends and family. I am also letting a few select readers have a look – and you can be one. Of course, I will write another book this year. I just can’t tell you what this book will be about. It might be a travel book set in Boston or Munich, which will make much more sense after you read The Power of Fear.
Question 8: Where can someone purchase your books, and how can they reach you?
All of my books are on Amazon. All you have to do is search my name and both Happiness and The Power of Fear will appear. If you want to get in touch with me, the best thing to do is to follow me on social media. I am most active on Twitter, but I am also on Facebook and Instagram.
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