After reading and reviewing The Fear Principle, I could not wait to interview  the author. I wanted to learn as much as possible about the inspiration behind  such a well written and suspenseful book about people who must learn to face  their fears. Please join me in welcoming B.A. Chepaitis.

1. Can you please tell me about your background?

I  was born and raised in a small town in upstate New York, in a house full of  Lithuanian and Italian immigrants. My parents believed that the mind was the  best toy in the world, and they encouraged me and all my siblings to read, to  explore science, to always ask questions.

 Our house was also filled with music,  which probably explains why my writing often works with sound as much as  sense.

2. How long did it take you to finish writing The Fear  Principle?

This novel was a short story first, and when I had an editor’s interest in  seeing it as a novel I had to finish it rather quickly. Within two weeks, with  lots of all-nighters. But then my first draft process is always fast, and my  editing is always slow.

3. I love your style of writing, how did you develop this prolific  way of writing?

As I said, a lot of my writing style comes from playing and listening to so  much music. I can clearly remember sitting at the piano and thinking that I  wanted to make words do what music does — give readers a direct experience of  emotion. The characters, such as Jaguar Addams, come from growing up with  strong-minded people who said what they thought out loud. In particular, the  women in my family were very outspoken. In fact, my Italian grandmother marched  with the Suffragettes.

4. There is so much detail in the plot of The Fear Principle— how did you come up with these ideas?

I don’t think I ‘come up’ with the ideas so much as I ‘listen’ for them.  Sometimes that listening is internal. There’s an image or idea bubbling up  inside me that suddenly makes itself known. That’s how Jaguar appeared. Other  times there’s situations in the world that grab my attention, such as our  culture’s fascination with serial killers, and our overcrowded prisons. When two  such ideas meet, you have a novel!

5. Do you write from an outline?

Outlines are way too linear for me. I spend a lot of pre-writing time  daydreaming about my characters and their situation, and making notes on random  pieces of paper. Often I lose the notes, but once I’ve written them down they  stay with me. By the time I’m ready to write, instead of an outline I have the  book inside me, as a sort of movie of the mind.

6. Thank you for allowing me to interview you, is there anything else  you would like to share? What are you currently working on?

I’m continuing with Jaguar’s series, writing the sixth one — A Strangled  Cry of Fear. I’m also shopping this in script form, because I think this  series is suited to that medium. I’m also writing an unrelated book of  nonfiction and an unrelated fantasy novel. As you can see, I like to keep  busy.
If anyone would like to know more about my work, I hope you’ll visit  me and Jaguar on Facebook, or stop by and check out my website. Information for  that is below!


You can follow Barbara on her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

Barbara Chepaitis is the author of eight published books, including The  Fear Principle, the critically praised Feeding Christine and These Dreams. Feathers of Hope, her first nonfiction  book, is about Berkshire Bird Paradise  and the human interaction with birds. She’s working on a sequel about Eagle  Mitch, a bird she helped our U.S. troops rescue from Afghanistan. Barbara is  founder of The Snickering Witches, a storytelling trio, and faculty coordinator  for the fiction component of Western Colorado’s MFA program in creative  writing.

Facebook site for Barbara:

Barbara’s website:
The Fear Principle is  available at wildside press, and

Read more:


7 responses to this post.

  1. This sounds like a fascinating book. I love the daydreaming process in writing, but I’m not as good at remembering what I wrote down when it goes missing.


  2. Posted by Nancy Stewart on May 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    This was an interesting interview. It’s always good to read about a genre one’s not familiar with, and that was the case with me.

    Thanks to you both.


  3. What a wonderful interview! This sounds like such an amazing book. I love your comment on wanting to do what music does with writing and the audience!!!


  4. I love to read this genre, but can’t write it. The book sounds interesting.
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
    Children’s Author of Stella the Fire Farting Dragon (April 2010)


  5. Great interview ladies. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Gosh, I can never imagine writing a book during NANOWRIMO and that’s a whole month. You did it in two weeks?? I think I read that correctly. That’s amazing. My hats off to you. . .:)


  7. Thanks for sharing the great interview, Nicole! It sounds like an intriguing book. I love music and enjoyed the comment about making words do what music does!


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