Pens, Paws, and Claws would like to welcome author Chris Tubbs to the blog!
Tell our readers a little about yourself and your writing.
I was born in Dorset in England. My ancestors going back before the 1500’s were all clay miners. My day job is to represent an American Software company in Europe and to promote their products. That means I get to speak at loads of conferences and exhibitions as an industry veteran. But my secret love had always been military history. I am a firm believer that all the major advances in technology have been fueled by conflict. Add to that a healthy interest in reading sci fi and sci fantasy and you see that I am leaning towards historical fiction with a twist. My favorite period is the late 18th century moving into the 19th as that was when the basis of our lives now was laid down. I write on average an hour a day on planes, in airports (I travel a lot) or at home. My pets (I have two dogs and two cats) are a central part of my life so its only natural that one or two sneak into my writing.
Tell us about your pets. Are any of them models for pets in your writing?
I have two Dutch Shepherds; Zeeva a nine year old female and Blaez a one year old male and two cats; Vaskr a male Norwegian Forest Cat, and Caja a female British Longhair. We try to choose names that reflect the personalities of the animals or something in their history so Zeeva is Hebrew for She-Wolf and Blaez is old Breton for Wolf as they are basically as close to a wolf as you can get in a domestic dog. Vaskr is old Norse for Gallant as he is a bit of a hero and Caja is Spanish for cash as she cost a fortune.
Blaez gets into the Dorset Boy series as pet of our hero Marty. He follows him through his adventures in the Navy and as an agent for British Intelligence. He saves our hero’s life a number of times. Maybe I will find a place for the others in later books but it will have to make sense in the plot line.
What are you reading now?
Maybe surprisingly for some I am reading fantasy. I think that reading traditional Naval Historical fiction novels right now would constrain my thinking but reading fantasy actually frees me up to explore plot lines and situations that you wouldn’t expect. I don’t want my stories to follow Hornblower or Aubery but to do their own thing. I am reading Linsey Hall and M.D. Massey at the moment, their books have good pace and don’t skimp on the violence. I have read all the big Naval History authors in the past but for now they are on hold.
What writing projects are you currently working on?
I am working on book three of the Dorset Boy Series. The first, A Talent for Trouble, covers our hero leaving the Dorset Clay mines, to joining the Navy as a cabin boy then making a name for himself at the Siege of Toulon where he rescues a beautiful Contessa and her family earning him the interest to become a Midshipman. The second, The Special Operations Flotilla, sees him being sucked into the world of British Intelligence and becoming a founder member of the SOF. He discovers Blaez on a mission to save the Dutch crown jewels from the French.
Now I’m on book three, Agent Provocateur, and we are following our hero into an undercover mission to Paris where they have to try and disrupt the smooth running of the French revolutionary government not realizing he is walking right into the center of a coup d’Etat by Napoleon to take over France himself.
Who is your favorite author and why?
That’s a tough one. I really like the way Dewey Lambdin writes and I find myself re reading David Eddings’ fantasy books. I also like Adam Hardy as he tries to be different and his hero is darker. But I am in awe of anyone who is successful and attracts a following.
Did you have childhood pets? If so, tell us about them.
My first dog was a Jack Russel terrier called Spot who was bred as a ratter. He had homicidal tendencies and was lethal to rats which was good as we lived in the middle of nowhere. My second dog was a black Labrador who’s pedigree name was Lord Fred of Salisbury but, as my little sister couldn’t say Salisbury, he ended up being called Saucy. My father had a pub by then and Sauce would greet the lady customers by sticking his nose up their skirts. So Saucy by name saucy by nature.
How do you use animals in your writing? Are they a character in their own right or just mentioned in passing?
Blaez is a full character and he is part of the team as much as any other of Marty’s followers. In fact he is featured more than some of the others. He is bodyguard, scout and companion to Marty. He also lets him know who he can trust as dog’s instincts for that are far better than ours. Dutchies are loyal, defensive, loving, all the things you expect from Shepherds.
Why do you include animals in your writing?
I have had pets around me all my life and I can’t imagine a world, even on a ship without any. The other thing is it brings colour to a scene when a dog is in it and it can change the dynamic from what people expect as you can be as illogical as a dog.
What’s your real-life funniest pet story?
Our First Dutch Shepherd was Gus-Troy van Stavast (Troy) and he was Blaez’s grandfather. He was in the breeding program and he had already sired two litters. Then he was chosen by another breeder for their bitch Claire. As it turned out Claire came into season about 2 days before we went on holiday and although she was ‘presented’ to Troy he knew it wasn’t the right time and wasn’t interested. So we talked to the people who ran the kennel that all the animals were going into while we were away. For some reason they got all excited by the prospect of having a conception in their kennels and agreed to let the breeder bring Claire to Troy there. Well they set up a ’love nest’ and the deed was done in front of quite an audience cameras and all, but that didn’t stop my boy as he fathered 11 pups in that litter. He always was a show off
When did you know you were a writer? And how did you know?
I always had a couple of stories going around in my head and I always told myself a story to get myself to sleep. I was always quite active and didn’t sit still long enough to write but then a few years ago I suddenly developed arthritis and that slowed me down quit a bit. Then one day I just fired up word on my laptop and wrote “You’re early again” said Miss Kate, the teacher at the school in Stoborough. It was a long walk for a twelve year old from Furzebrook to Stoborough through the heath, which was yellow with gorse flowers at the end of June.” And that was it. I now write every day for at least an hour, my day job permitting.
What do your pets do when you are writing?
They try and climb on my lap as soon as I pick up my laptop but once we get over that Blaez lies at my feet and Zeeva is never far away.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
The story is in you. Don’t be frightened of putting it on paper and giving it to someone else to read. It is like exposing your soul but the satisfaction of having anyone read your story and enjoying it is unbelievable.
Christopher C. Tubbs is a descendent of a long line of Dorset clay miners and has chased his family tree back to the 16th century in the Isle of Purbeck. He has been a public speaker at conferences for most of his career in the Aerospace and Automotive industries and was one of the founders of a successful games company back in the 1990’s. Now in his fifties he finally got around to writing the story he had been dreaming about for years. Thanks to Inspiration from the great sea authors like Alexander Kent, Dewey Lambdin, Patrick O’Brian and Dudley Pope he was finally able to put digit to keyboard.
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