Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you —Zachary Paul Chopchinski!
Zachary is a bow tie wearing, formal vest rocking, pocket watch using, sarcastic monster of a writer. Currently residing in Orlando, Florida, he spends his days working, writing and procrastinating.
Zach has multiple college degrees, in the fields of criminal justice and criminology…because he wanted to catch ALL the bad guys. Now, coupled with being an author he spends his days yelling at people for breaking regulatory laws.
Zach is the author of the Gabrielle series, a young adult fantasy with a paranormal-historical-time traveling twist (try saying that five times fast).
Have you always wanted to be a writer? To be honest, no. It started off small, fireman…astronaut…policeman. But eventually when I learned how to read and write, author pretty much stuck.
Why did you choose to write your genre? I didn’t really choose to write my genre, I sort of just had this story in me and it wasn’t until I was finished with the book that I was told what genre it is. I’m also not completely sticking to this genre, I have other ideas and stories swirling around that fit into other genres. I’m even planning to create a pen name for myself for later use.
What is the strangest story you’ve ever written? I would have to say a sociopathic murderer who gets enjoyment in killing family members. This obviously isn’t something that is in the YA genre that I write now. [Lol!] It’s just a side project I was working on a few years ago that I may pick back up under a pen name.
What are you currently working on? I’m currently working on two books. First, I’m trying to finish up The Gabrielle Series with this last book, Curiosity and Arawn’s Penance, hopefully coming out this Fall. I am also working on a sci-fi steampunk called Webley and The World Machine.
What motivated the plot of your latest book? What motivated me to write The Curious Tale of Gabrielle, which started me on this crazy author journey, is an antique bracelet found in an old shop. Years ago, I worked security for some local businesses in Maine. One day, I was walking around an antique shop on my shift, when I saw an old bracelet. The shop owner told me the bracelet was 500 years old. I started to think, wow this thing has seen a lot over the years. My mind started to wander and I had to run back up to my office to take notes on what would later become The Gabrielle Series.
What was the hardest story for you to write? I would say that it’s this last one in The Gabrielle Series. Gabrielle is what started this journey for me and she’s all I’ve known for the past 2 years. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend and I find it difficult to get the words on paper because of this. Also, I’ve been world building and character building Webley and The World Machine for the last year and I’m really antsy to start writing it.
What process do you use to plan your novels? Outline, outline, outline. Because I have such bad ADHD, I get so many ideas for characters, scenes and plot twists that if I don’t write them down I will completely forget them. I have a few notebooks that I keep all my plots and outlines in and if I don’t have that I can’t write. [You’re not alone. I think ADHD must be common amongst creatives.]
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? If I’m picking a Gabrielle character, I’d have to say Fionn. He may play only a small role in the series in general but he was so much fun to write that he has always stuck with me. I guess it shows through because I get emails all the time from people asking me to bring him back…let’s just say, I hear you and you may want to read this last book in the series. Just sayin.
If I’m picking favorite character overall, I would have to say it’s Webley. I’m really looking forward to combining my love of dwarven mythology and steampunk. I’ve been planning, character building and world building this book for the last year on the side and I just can’t wait to write it.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? Yes. I just wrote a short story for an anthology whose main character, Guy, sort of turned out to be me. HAHAHA I didn’t notice it until my wife pointed it out but the character reacts and sounds exactly like I would in a dystopian situation. This was my first snarky character and needless to say I LOVED writing him. [He sounds like a fun guy.]
The anthology is called From Now On: The Last Words Anthology and its 8 authors who wrote a dystopian scenario with the last sentence being “from now on I’ll save myself”. It released on June 10, and all proceeds go to JDRF to support research and treatment of children with type-1 diabetes. You can grab your copy HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Now-Last-Words-Anthology-ebook/dp/B071Z64VMV/
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? Girl! Sometimes I think I turn writer’s block and turn it into a writer’s brick house! It just kills me sometimes. I overcome it by taking a near lethal dose of caffeine, putting my big girl panties on and forcing myself to get it done. It’s the only way.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? Crime thrillers. I have a strong background in criminal justice, I used to work for homeland security and my wife is a forensic scientist for the state of Florida. It’s sort of in my blood. In fact…I may have a super-secret project in the works (not the same story mentioned above) …it may have to go under a pen name though because I won’t hold back on that one… [Rubbing my hands together…]
Which authors inspire you? I could easily say J.K Rowling or Stephen king or any of the other amazing writers out there that I love to read, but to be honest my answer is my author friends. The people I have met at conventions, signings, and on social media have been the ones that inspire me to keep going when I feel like I’m not good enough and are the ones that I know will always be there for me whether I need inspiration, plot ideas, critiques or a swift kick in the ass.
What novel would you read multiple times? The Hobbit. I would read it every day for the rest of my life.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character) Peeves the Poltergeist. I think we would get along well.
What is your favorite quote?
(If you don’t get it…think about it a while) [Good one!]
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? PANDA! I know more about the Ailuropoda melanoleuca than anyone I know.
What is your favorite color? I like different colors for different reasons. It’s really about my mood honestly.
When you’re not writing…[I work] part time. My full-time job is Safety Specialist for Walgreen’s Corporate. Basically, I do regulatory law, safety, ergonomics, design training programs…that sort of thing.
Find the bow-tie author, Zachary Chopchinski, online at:
Thanks for hanging out with me today, my friend.
Join me next week when Brandi Nacole will be dropping by!