Featured Interview With Warren Chaney
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I am a screenwriter and film-director and my co-author, Sho Kosugi, was a well-known actor and martial artists. This made our working together on a novel a very natural extension of we were doing in film. Sho was a native of Japan and I had lived there for almost 3 years, so it was easier to incorporate both our cultures into what we were writing. We both wanted to create a fictional work that would show a side of the Japanese culture that might surprise many non-Japanese readers. I love action-adventure and a good love story, so the Yin-Yang Code became an excellent writing vehicle for both of us.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I write to tell a story because I have always loved stories and story tellers. I’ve written novels, screenplays, and short stories which were stories. In my other work, whether it was a textbook, technical article, or a serious study, I’ve always tried to find a storyline in the work and to draft what I was writing around that.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Charles Dickens, Ken Follett, A. S. Byatt, Harper Lee, and Victor Hugo.
My favorite book is Charles Dicken’s, David Copperfield. I have also enjoyed Naipaul’s, A Bend in the River, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, and John’s Grisham’s, The Firm and The Chamber.
I always go to bed at night, thinking about what I will write the following day. In my mind, I develop “film images” of what I hope to see on paper. The following morning after a ritual of twin mugs of strong coffee, I begin the chapter. As with screenwriting, it’s important to me to first get my thoughts and story down on paper. Later, I will return and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
The central theme is the “coming of age” of an orphaned Japanese student attending UCLA. He returns to Japan and discovers that home is not always how we leave it and that bad things happen to good people.
There was a considerable amount of research that was required for the novek, Yin-Yang Code: Drums of Tenkai-Bo. Much of it was specific to certain cultures, not all Japanese. For example, there is a martial arts culture, a UCLA culture, an L.A. culture all in addition to the Japanese culture and its counterparts. I spent a great deal of time researching on line as well as by phone and email to some who populated those cultures. Some of the “settings” that are in the book required time to assimilate and affix in my mind. Fortunately, my co-author, Sho Kosugi, and my co-illustrator, Shinobu Ohno, are Japanese and both were always willing to help me.
Aside from the location and cultural settings, there was a need to “get the martial arts” correct for the time, place, and area. Fortunately, Sho Kosugi, expert that he is, knew all there was to know about martial arts. If he didn’t know it, he knew someone who did and if they didn’t know it, it hadn’t been discovered yet and wasn’t to be know.