Orsayor: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Chevy: I am born and raised on Vancouver Island, which is on the west coast of Canada. I always loved reading and daydreamed about being a writer, but planned on going to school to be an artist. Somehow I took a detour and ended up in sales for a decade until I had the idea for STILL MISSING. Then I did everything you aren’t supposed to do and not only quit my day job, I sold my house and lived on savings for two years. STILL MISSING went on to become a New York Times bestseller and won the ITW award for best first novel. The rest, as they say, is history.
Orsayor: How long did it take you to write Never Let Go?
Chevy: This book ended up taking me twenty-two months, but that was because I started out with a different premise and worked on it for nine months. Then my editor and I realized it just wasn’t working. We talked about a few ways to fix it, but in my guts I knew that I had to start something new and tossed out that one. Though, I did keep a few names and some settings. It took a little bit (and some panic) before I came up with a new premise. Once I started NEVER LET YOU GO (which had a different title before) it was another year until I was finished. A very long year!
Orsayor: Do you work with an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Chevy: My first book was written as it came to me, which led to years of revising. I now use an outline and discuss with my editor, but things still change a lot during the process. My current project has changed a few times already since I first came up with the premise and outline.
Orsayor: Was there a scene in Never Let You Go that was hard for you to write?
Chevy: It took me a long time to get the final confrontation right. I must have rewritten it a thousand different ways before I finally connected and worked all the timing out. It was hard to weave everything together perfectly and tell it from two perspectives without breaking the pace.
Orsayor: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Chevy: That’s a hard one. Sometimes, with books in the past, I’ve had someone in mind when writing, but no one comes to my thoughts right now. There are so many great actors and actresses who are doing indie movies or interesting TV shows that suddenly break out with a big film role. It would be fun to see something like that happen with a character in one of my books.
Orsayor: What’s one valuable piece of advice you were given that helped your career?
Chevy: I think I’ve probably learned the most from my editor. She has this one expression that is very wise and it resonates with me (but then I often completely forget when I start a new project). It’s “Don’t make the tail wag the dog.” That means, sometimes as writers we have a finish in mind, or somewhere we are trying to take the book, so we spend a lot of time trying to force the front part of the book to fit the ending, whereas the ending should arise naturally out of the premise.
Orsayor: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Chevy: Hold out for true love, and if they make you feel bad about yourself and constantly in doubt, it is NOT love. Real love doesn’t work like that. It should be easy and fun and equal. Also, you don’t know this yet but the kid sitting next to you in eighth grade homeroom is your future husband.
Orsayor: Can you tell readers about any upcoming projects?
Chevy: I can’t say too much about my current work in progress, but it is just that—a work in progress! I can share that it is set in Seattle. I am very excited about that as I love the area and it’s been a lot of fun to research. Being a west coast Canadian I have always felt an affinity for Seattle.