The Fear Principle – author interview – B.A. Cheapitis

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The Fear Principle Book Tour

Paperback writer welcomes B.A. Cheapitis , author of The Fear Principle, a sci-fi novel with romantic elements as she tours with Pump Up Your Book during the month of May.
About The Fear Principle

On Prison Planetoid Three, Jaguar Addams and Alex Dzarny rehab the worst criminals by telepathically making them face their fears. Their current case is hit woman Clare Rilasco, emotionless, beautiful, and part of a death machine plot that threatens to take over the world.
Jaguar can’t tell who the bad guys are anymore, as she’s dragged into her own terrifying past by Clare’s telepathic tricks. While the search for the man behind the mirror continues, Jaguar and Clare are enmeshed in a relationship of seduction and trickery that makes Jaguar face her own deepest fears.
Buy The Fear Principle at

Good Morning Barbara,
Welcome to Paperback Writer,
It is my pleasure to be here.

Q: Give us an example of a typical writing day.

My typical day depends on what phase of the writing process I’m in. During the pre-writing phase, just after I get an idea, I’ll take care of promotional business and teaching for much of the day, then do something nonverbal like gardening or cooking while my brain stays busy with the new idea. At a certain point I know intuitively I’m ready to write. That’s when the binge begins.  On binge days, I’ll start by walking my dogs in the woods around our house. It’s an off-leash walk (I’m an off-leash kind of woman), and while my labs, Luna and Ziggy, sniff about my mind wanders the events and characters I’m hatching. When we get home, I go into what my friends call ‘off-planet’ time. Now all that matters is writing this world, these imaginary friends and their situations. I don’t actually live anywhere except within the novel. While this goes on I’ve been known to write for 24 hours straight, grab a few hours of sleep, get up and write some more. I’ll keep that up until I finish my first draft, usually within two weeks. After that I’ll orbit back to the planet, much to the relief of my family and friends.

Q: Do you write on a computer or with pen/pencil and paper?

I’m comfortable with both pencil and paper or computer, and I go back and forth between them. Sometimes it seems important to have my hand wrapped around a pencil, and to feel the words emerge in that close space. Other times I need to be at the computer. I suspect the difference is actually neural, and that I’m using my brain differently with pencil and paper than on the keyboard, but I don’t have a clue what the exact nature is. I do know pencil and paper feels more enclosed, warmer, more intimate in a way.

Q: Do you work from an outline?

Oh, I so dislike outlines! Besides being off-leash, my thinking patterns are distinctly non-linear. I tend to think in great webs of connections between events, between characters, between emotional shifts. That doesn’t suit outline writing very well. Instead, I will make scattered notes here and there, on random pieces of paper or in my moleskin. Many of them I lose, but it seems that once I write them, I don’t forget them.

Q: Worst rejection you’ve ever received?

My most interesting and confusing rejections were from a short story of Jaguar and her world. On the same day I got two different rejections of the same story, one from a male editor and one from a female. The male editor said, ‘this is an intriguing world and character, but your female character is much too strong to be believable. You’ll have to give her more vulnerabilities.’ The female editor said, ‘this is an intriguing world and character, but your female character’s involvement in relationships makes her too weak. You’ll have to make her stronger.’ Hmm. Of course, since I also teach, I know that as you read a text, the text reads you, so I understood that I’d hit on some deep places with both editors, and decided to take it as a compliment to my ability to really bug people.

Q: What’s next for you?

Of course, I’m continuing with the series. I’m just finishing the sixth, and planning the next few for Jaguar. I’m also continuing to translate the books into script format because I think they’re a good match for visual media. And I’m working on a nonfiction book about a rather strange experience I had last year, helping some Navy SEALS stationed in Afghanistan to rescue a war-wounded eagle. Beyond that, as Jaguar says, ‘events will occur. At least I hope they will.’

Q: Writer’s Block – If you have ever experienced it – how did you resolve it?

I don’t get writer’s block and, in fact, I don’t think it exists. Instead, I think what happens is that all writers have a moment in the process when the Editor Within leaps up to tell us we’re no good, unworthy, foolish, and we’d better stop now. That happens at different points for different writers. For some, it’s right at the beginning. For others it’s at the midpoint, and for still others it’s when you’re almost done. My moment of dread appears just after I send a novel out to an editor or agent, which is the best possible placement because it’s already too late. I’m like the cartoon character who doesn’t realize they’ve stepped off the cliff until they’re on the way down. But for writers who have that moment earlier in the process, I’d recommend this response to the Editor Within. When he or she says you’re a fool, agree. Say yes, I’m a fool, but it’s really not about me, or your. I’m here to serve the stories.

Q: Advice for the audience, first time authors, those choosing the writing life.

When Jaguar looks into the minds of her prisoners she says to them, “See who you are. Be what you see.” That’s the best advice I can give to authors as well. Know yourself as a writer and a human being, then live that persistently.

About Barbara Chepaitis
Barbara Chepaitis is the author of 8 published books, including The Fear Principle featuring Jaguar Addams, and the critically acclaimed Feeding Christine and These Dreams. Her first nonfiction book, Feathers of Hope, is about Berkshire Bird Paradise and the human connection with birds. She’s writing a sequel about Eagle Mitch, a bird she helped our US troops rescue from Afghanistan. Barbara is founder of the storytelling trio The Snickering Witches, and faculty coordinator for the fiction component of Western Colorado’s MFA program in creative writing.

Facebook site for Barbara –

Facebook site for Jaguar –
Barbara’s website:

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4 thoughts on “The Fear Principle – author interview – B.A. Cheapitis”

  1. Very informative interview..kudos..Rebecca and
    Best of Luck on your Book-Tour Barbara, by the way great advice for authors new to the “world of words”

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