Dusty Old Thing recently published an article by Rose Heichelbech about The Fierce Female Librarians Who Delivered Books On Horseback During The Great Depression. While everyone’s heard of the Pony Express, this is a rarely-told story. If like me, you’d never heard it, here you are! The New Deal’s Book Women In the middle of the […]
3. You don’t have to write a novel in a day. Take things one step at a time — slow progress is still progress.
6. Keep a journal — and keep it casual.
Please welcome Chad Harp to my blog. Good morning Chad. Have a seat and a cup of coffee and we will get started.
My name is Chad Harp. I’m an Author from Philadelphia and I’ve been writing books for over 30 years.
Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
I realized that writing was my gift when I was in college. In my sophomore year, I took a course that required me to write a publishable historical perspective – and I succeeded. The article I wrote about Margaret Corbin appeared in The Washington Post on Memorial Day 1991 (when I was still a senior in college). That success led me to write several more historical pieces, which ultimately appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country.
How difficult was it writing your first book?
The success I had with publishing historical perspectives led me to write my first two novels – Young Warriors and Return to the Lake. This was the early 1990s – when you had to first write a book and then master Writer’s Market before you could send manuscripts to literary agents in cardboard boxes (I’m a dinosaur – haha). Writing my first novel was easy for one important reason: the professor who guided me through the publication of my historical perspectives became my mentor. She taught me everything about being a writer. From the practical (she had a scriptorium where she wrote all of her books) to the process (how to draft query letters and format manuscripts) to how to deal with the emotional highs and lows. This is why I’m a big believer in having a mentor no matter what you do. The advice and guidance from someone who has already been there is invaluable.
Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
I have never given up on being an author, but I have given up on life. As I wrote in The Power of Fear, I spent ten years in a bed trying to kill myself. I got out of my bed in November of 2015 – and in the winter of 2016 I wrote Happiness. Over the next two years I wrote four more books in blue ink on yellow paper (those four books remain unpublished) and then in the summer of 2019 I wrote The Power of Fear. I’ve tried many times to not be a writer. Over the past thirty years I’ve taught college and high school, practiced law, started and managed businesses, and that’s just the beginning. In the end, I always come back to writing books – and at this point, I’m convinced writing books is what I’m supposed to do.
Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
My parents have been my biggest supporters – my mother in particular. I have yet to make it big so most parents would have told their kids to give up by now but mine never have. Not once. And when I was in my bed trying to kill myself, my parents literally took care of me. Even when I emerged from my bed in 2015, they still encouraged me to be a writer. Today I have a lot of people in my life who support my writing career. Chris, Jake, and Conor are three I should mention – but there are dozens more. I’m very lucky.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
The Power of Fear is based on my life. You follow Jason, Seth, Tim, Kurt, and Sam on a family adventure through Philadelphia (my hometown) and its suburbs (where I was born and raised). But I do more than tell a story based on my life in my hometown. I tackle things like fear and friendship and fatherhood – and attempt to both define and understand them. Let me give you one example. I distinguish between friends and family this way: we sacrifice for family, but we share with friends – and we sacrifice when we give all but share when we give some. I hope that’s not too confusing (haha) because my intent is to give an example. When you read The Power of Fear, you will understand better.
What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
There are a few pieces of writing advice I use every day. I’ll give you one. When I was in college, another professor taught me Pronouns Equal Death – even today when I write a sentence I question every pronoun. But if you are going to ask me for my best overall piece of advice, that comes from when I was still working at the Medical Center at GWU (about thirty years ago). One day my boss shared this advice he received from a U.S. Senator (names intentionally withheld) – Whenever you can, use a rifle not a shotgun. I use this piece of advice dozens of times daily.
What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
I wrote The Power of Fear to be fun and entertaining. I’ve written more serious books in the past – some of which might even be considered literature. And Happiness was certainly a very different book to write (only a few words in blue ink on each yellow page). In The Power of Fear, I return to more traditional storytelling. It’s about family and friends and so much more. Fans of Philadelphia and music and sports – and ice hockey in particular – will not be disappointed.
Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
I actually took the photograph that became the cover. One day this past summer – while I was in the middle of writing The Power of Fear – I took that photo while we were driving on 95 North toward the Walt Whitman Bridge. When I was searching for a photograph that could potentially be the book’s cover weeks later, I couldn’t believe my luck. It’s perfect.
What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
Right now I‘m resting. I started The Power of Fear at the end of May, finished it on Halloween, and published it a few weeks later. My future might include writing travel books – as you’ll read in The Power of Fear. So, I will write a book this year. I’m just not sure what book it will be. Maybe a travel book set in Boston – or Munich.
Any last words before we wrap things up?
I write books so that they can be read – but they can’t be read unless people know about them. This is how you can help me. If you read The Power of Fear and like it, please tell others about it. You don’t have to write a formal review – a few lines in a social media post can be very helpful. What’s best is telling friends and family about my books face-to-face. If you want to support me, the best thing you can do is give my book to others – who hopefully will do the same in return.
Chad Harp has been writing professionally for thirty years. When he was a senior in college, his first work ever published appeared in The Washington Post. Eventually Chad’s scholarly and popular work appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country, including The Arizona Republic, Cape Cod Life, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Montgomery Advertiser, Pennsylvania Heritage, Probate & Property, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times, The Washington Post, and The Washington Times.
Chad is listed in Global Who’s Who; Covington’s Who’s Who; Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals; Great Minds of the 21st Century, Premier Edition; Who’s Who in the World; Who’s Who in America; Who’s Who in American Law; Who’s Who in Finance and Industry; Who’s Who in American Education; Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders; Outstanding People of the 20th Century (Second Edition); Strathmore’s Who’s Who; and The National Registry of Who’s Who.
Chad is a 1987 graduate of Norristown Area High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts cum laude in 1991 (Major in History, Minor in Philosophy) from The George Washington University and in 1996 he earned his Juris Doctor from The Pennsylvania State University – Dickinson School of Law.
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