Thursday, August 2, 2012

Someday Stars: Meet Chad Ballard

What’s your name, and where are you from?
My name is Chad Ballard and I'm from Germantown Hills, Illinois!

How long have you been writing?
I've always loved to plot story ideas and create characters, ever since I was really little. I started really thinking that I wanted to write in junior high, though, and continued from there. I took my first creative writing class during my junior year of high school and have taken a few more, now that I'm in college. I've done a lot of forum-based writing for a while now, bouncing around fantasy, sci-fi, and historical. The last year or so, though, is when I really started to write a lot, and got my current WIP started.

What genre(s) do you write?
So far I've stuck mainly with medieval fantasy and sci-fi. I love the possibilities that present themselves when writing in both genres, especially the world-building aspects. Since the story isn't set in, say, Chicago or New York, I get to create every aspect of the world. 

What’s your current WIP? Can you tell us about it?
I'm actually working on my first WIP right now. It's a fantasy novel, set in a world that I created, called Revaren. The eleven nations that make up Revaren are all based on a real-world nation. I don't have a final title for it yet, but I've been bouncing ideas around in my head for a while.

The thing that I want to accomplish most with this WIP is making a successful time lapse. The main character starts off the novel at 15 years old, and I would like for him to be in his early- to mid-twenties by the end. Pacing has always been a problem for me, so this is hopefully going to be a good experience.

As far as the story goes, the novel starts off with a betrayal of pretty epic proportions. From there, Callan (the main character), starts off on the path of revenge and to save his own backside. He'll run across magic, monsters, politics, and he'll discover that nothing is what it seems and people are more than plain good and evil. Shades of gray abound.

What’s your current day job? How does it help or hinder your writing?
I have two of them, actually. In the mornings and during the school year, I work at a camp for kids whose parents aren't home during the day, or are still working when they get out of school. On any given day, we'll have between 50 and 70 kids to watch. Some days we take them to the local water part, or we take them to play basketball or kickball. Heck, sometimes we just hang around and play video games.

Most nights, I work at the local newspaper, on the sports desk. I normally take phone calls and fill out box scores for summer baseball games. The hours are long, though (normally 4:00 PM to midnight), and I get a lot of reading done while I'm there. I write some, if I'm lucky.

Usually, both jobs only hinder my writing, if only for the fact that I'm working 50-58 hour weeks right now. The will to write is there, but finding time to put fingers to keyboard is really difficult. When I do have time to write at the paper, though, I get a whole lot done. I'm isolated, there aren't many distractions, and it's quiet. My small cubicle has quickly become my favorite place to write.

Who is your favorite author?
I bounce around a lot, depending on what I'm in the mood to read. But, if I had to list, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Jim Butcher, and Christie Golden are all really awesome.

Favorite book?
The Harry Potter series was always my favorite growing up, and I credit them with getting me into writing. But, like my favorite authors, my favorite book changes depending on my mood. Holes, Hatchet, Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire... all of them are amazing. At the moment, I'm working through Jim Butcher's Codex Alera, and they're really, really good. Go read them. Now.

What other hobbies or activities do you do outside of writing?
 I'm a huge sports buff, so I watch a lot of baseball (go Cubs!), football (Rams), Basketball (Bulls) and hockey (Blackhawks). My Xbox and I also have an unhealthy relationship. I love RPGs (KotOR I and II) and just about any sports game ever made (NBA 2k12 at the moment).

What is something unique about yourself?
I have a pretty severe panic disorder. I'm working on getting it sorted out, but it makes writing difficult. If I find myself not liking a particular sentence or segment, I get down on myself and have issues soldiering through it. It also makes it hard to take criticism (even the constructive kind), from people that I know well. 

Do you have a blog, Twitter, and/or Web site we can link to?
I just got a Twitter, and I'm looking for followers! Hopefully I have something interesting to say. My account is @chadtastic92.


  1. WOOT. WE LOVE YOU CHADWARD. ONE DAY I WILL BE AWESOME and actually write just like you auuuuuuuugh.

    (PS right moar and let me read plzkthx)

  2. It's nice to see a young man get such an early start in this business. Great interview.

  3. Hello Chad! Nice to make your virtual acquaintance. Thanks, Charlie for the intro. I really enjoy getting to meet new people through your Someday Stars series.

  4. Nice to meet you, Chad. I enjoyed your interview. :)

  5. The world can never have enough fantasy writers--even fantasy writing Cubs fans.