Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Storm Chaser: Five Characters In Search Of Their Author

Today I'm turning my blog over to Mark Richard Hunter for the day. Mark is a fellow writer I've known for awhile now, making his home in Albion, Indiana with his better half Emily. Mark has released two books, Storm Chaser and Storm Chaser Shorts, through Whiskey Creek Press, as well as anthology works. He's a columnist, sheriff's department dispatcher, and volunteer fire fighter. When he has a moment's spare time, (such as when he's not getting into a home renovation mishap or three) he's working on a history of the local fire department, among other future projects.

He can be found at his homepage, where he blogs, and as well. at his Facebook author's page. Storm Chaser and Storm Chaser Shorts can be found at Mark's Amazon page. Today he's taking an opportunity to interview several of his characters here; something I always have fun doing myself. Somehow the characters really tend to get up to all kinds of mischief at these things.

 Take it away, Mark!

They say one good way to get to know your characters is to interview them, so I gathered together the leads of my short stories from Storm Chaser Shorts – who, of course, are also characters from Storm Chaser. They include:

State Trooper Chance Hamlin, from “A Little Routine” and others
Disaster photographer Allie Craine, from “Rest Stop” and others
State Police Detective Fran Vargas, from “Bar Fight” and “Pocket Universe”
High school student (and Chance’s sister) Beth Hamlin, from “Hello, Blondie"
Chance’s and Beth’s mother Elsa Hamlin, from “Storm Warning”

To avoid spoilers, I didn’t ask any questions relating to the three post-Storm Chaser stories in the collection, “Aftermath”, “Standing on Ceremony”, and “Honeymoon, Not in Vegas”. Since Storm Chaser is a romantic comedy, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to suggest there’s a happy ending.

Okay, first question, and one I’m told is pretty much a necessity for character questions: Boxers or briefs? Or, in this case, underwear preferences in general?

            Chance: What the hell kind of question is that? I’m not answering that – it’s none of anyone’s –
            Allie and Fran: Briefs for Chance!
            Elsa: How in the world do you know --?
            Fran: We saw him changing into a chemical protective suit at a crash scene.
            Allie: Tragically, I didn’t think to snap a picture. As for me, I prefer something comfortable and practical – sometimes I have to move around a lot on the job.
            Fran: Me too, but after work sometimes I like to put on silk or black lace … it’s nice to feel feminine.
            Allie: Really?
            Fran: Would you like to go shopping? We’ll fix you up.
            Chance: Hm …
            Allie: Sounds like fun! Elsa, would you like to go?
            Elsa: Dear, at my age everything I wear has the word “support” in it.
            Chance: Gah.
            Beth: Wait, why don’t you ask me that? Is it just because I’m fifteen?

Um … er … okay, how about you?

            Beth: You can’t ask me that – I’m fifteen. Hah!

So, um, how did you all come to meet each other?

            Elsa: Three days labor for Chance, three hours labor for Beth. Chance has been difficult ever since.
            Allie: When we first met, Chance almost got me killed. Then he arrested me.
            Chance: What is this, dump on Chance Hamlin Day?
            Fran: Great idea! Chance was my field training officer. As a rookie I thought he was so intimidating, before I discovered he’s only tough on the outside.
            Beth: Chance came home one day with Allie in his patrol car …
            Allie: First Chance arrested me, then his sister fell out of a tree, then we caught his mother breaking into his apartment. That’s how I met the Hamlin clan.
            Elsa: You didn’t actually catch me, dear.

How did you all decide on your careers?

            Chance: My dad was a cop, so I became a cop. My sister will be … something else.
            Beth: Hey!
            Fran: That’s it? You were a copy cop!
            Chance: I wanted to keep people safe. Why did you take the job?
            Fran: I, um … liked the excitement.
            Allie: When I was ten I snapped a photo of a waterspout off the northern California coast – it’s in my first book. I’ve been fascinated by the weather ever since.
            Elsa: I was a homemaker, back when we were called housewives. A much harder job than any of yours, and more rewarding.
            Chance: Here, here.
            Beth: I want to be a photographer. Or maybe a model. Or a firefighter. Or a fire photographer who models on the side. Or a jockey.

How do you think recent events have changed your lives?

            Everyone looks at each other.

            Elsa: It’s a rebuilding period. In more ways than one.
            Fran: That’s the truth. I put in a lot of overtime … and moved. Involuntarily!
            Beth:Chance has been much happier lately. I think he and Allie have been spending a lot of time being happy … together.
            Elsa: Elizabeth Marie!
            Chance: That’s none of anyone’s … He looks at Allie. What I mean is, for all the bad things that have happened … this is one force of nature that ... was good.
            Allie: Oh, Chance … that’s so close to being poetic.
            Fran: You should practice, then start over.
            Beth: If he’d just watch a romantic movie, every now and then …
            Chance: All right.
            Fran: Allie, you’re not expecting too much of that, are you? Because it probably took him all day to come up with that much …
            Chance: Okay, I get it!

Okay, one last question: What do you see in your futures?

            Allie: A white picket fence.
            Chance: Really? I can do that. Wait, is that a metaphor?
            Elsa: Grandchildren.
            Beth: Eek! Don’t look at me. I’m going to go to college to be a photographer … or a meteorologist. Or an astronaut. I don’t have to decide right now, do I?
            Fran: I just want to arrest bad guys. I hear some of Allie’s family from California is coming to town, better look into that.
            Allie: Hey! No, you’re right.
            Chance: I guess … well, I suppose I just want all these people to be around me. And I want to make sure they’re happy. Even if I have to shoot someone to do it.
            Fran: That’s better. Next time you’ll be writing sonnets, lover boy.


  1. Thanks for guesting for me today, Mark!

    Isn't it just typical of mothers to put that "grandchildren" bit of pressure on the kids?

    And I got a laugh out of Chance's underwear choice being the source of amusement for Allie and Fran...

  2. Beth was my favourite character...well, that and Chance, of course.

  3. Chance sounds like a bit of a stinker!

  4. That was so much fun. These are some great characters.

  5. Enjoyed the character interview, Mark! Being a native Oklahoman, I've seen my share of twisters. Strangely, I've never had the urge to chase them. :-)

    Best of luck with your story, and thanks to William for sharing you with us.


  6. I like all of Beth's career choices. A firefighter model would be a pretty specialized field.

  7. Thanks for having me, William -- and yes, that's typical grandmother. Elsa's not all that different from my mother!

    When I wrote that scene where Allie and Fran found out Chance's choice of underwear, I never thought the matter would come up again ...

  8. Beth was a lot of people's favorite character -- Beth! I was surprised at how popular she was, although maybe I shouldn't have been.

    Karla, if anyone could be the first full time firefighter-model, Beth could be.

  9. E.J., I totally understand your lack of urge to chase twisters. It would be like me chasing a giant spider across the countryside -- no thanks!

    Thank you everyone, for your comments! These characters mean a lot to me. Especially the Hamlin family ... and yes, Chance is a bit of a stinker.

  10. What a fun interview. I really enjoyed it.

  11. Wow cool interview William. I think Mark is great and I hope to read those stories someday!

  12. It was easy to forget that these are fictional characters because they seemed like a real family.

  13. Glad you liked it, Auden!

    Eve, like the desert, you rock. Also, your check is in the mail -- usual rate for calling me great?

    Deb, they seem real to me, too! And although none is based on a real person, the Hamlin home in Storm Chaser is based on the property where I lived as a teenager.

  14. Nice to meet Mark here on your blog, William,


  15. That was a great interview! Thanks for sharing Mark and William :)

  16. Nice to meet you Mark and your fun characters!! All the best! Take care

  17. Love this. Next time I interview my characters, I'm going to grill them.

  18. Sounds like a motley crew. Don't know how Mark finds time to keep up with them with all he has on his plate.

    And house renovation mishaps? Bet that gives him plenty of fodder for storm chaser adventures!

  19. @Beth: figures!

    @Krisztina: I think so!

    @Shelly: I had fun reading it!

    @April, Kelly, and EJ: thanks! It was a pleasure hosting Mark.

  20. @Karla: I've known some fire fighters. It's quite a calling.

    @Auden: thanks for turning up!

    @Eve: thank you!

    @Eden: I've known him awhile now.

    @Norma: I thought so!

  21. @Deb: that's usually when the characters are working!

    @Demitria: you're welcome!

    @Old Kitty: thanks for turning up!

    @Esoteric: It really is a lot of fun letting characters run wild like this.

    @Cheryl: I would expect so!

  22. Thanks, everyone -- I had a lot of fun with this! Cheryl -- I don't know how I find the time for it, either. I get a lot of column fodder over my home maintenance efforts, believe me.


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