Monday, June 8, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Christopher Slayton

An interview with Christopher Slayton, author of Chaos Company.


Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?

        Of course. I started writing when I was in middle school, just doing a bunch of short stories. Once I got into high school I took writing more seriously. I wanted to create a world of down to earth heroic people and that’s where the first idea of “Chaos Company” came from.
It took many years to sculpt the story into what I wanted it to be. It wasn’t until I was older and received some guidance from my high school English teacher and English professors at the University of Delaware that I finally constructed the story that I had imaged for so long.

What got you into writing?

        Growing up I watched cartoons like G.I. Joe and read books like the Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz. Those type of stories had inspired me to make a world of my own, with characters who fought together like heroes and bickered like family.
But there were different paths I tried before I committed to writing. As a teenager I had a lot of artistically inclined friends, so I tried my hand at making comics with a few of them. Any of those old friends will tell you I never graduated past drawing stick figures. Lol. So once I was in high school, I started writing stories and felt a lot more comfortable and confident doing that. My friends who loved making comics would come to me with help with their stories and it was then I knew that I had found my artistic outlet.

What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?

         That’s a great question, one that is a little embarrassing but funny to me. My first Idea of Chaos Company was to have a much larger team. We’re talking about twelve protagonists squaring off against one man. Another huge problem I found myself doing was having very immature and childish relationships between the characters who’re all adults.
After I got into college and took a few English courses I knew I had to make drastic changes. I learned about things such as pacing, juxtaposition, and engaging dialogue that really breathed life into Chaos Company. If it weren’t for my college professors, one of whom is a children’s author, my writing would not have been what it is now.

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?

        Hands down, Vincent Lockhart is my favorite character! Vincent is Chaos Company’s handyman and explosive expert. He’s a short, green-eyed, functioning alcoholic who doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut. Vincent has a knack for frustrating friends and foe alike (usually those much bigger than him) and not taking dangerous situations seriously. Even though he’s one of the older members he has a little brother vibe to him. Vincent’s geno-soldier cells grant him the ability to stick to most surfaces as well as emit electro-magnetic pulses from his body. Even with his vices and willingness to avoid conflict, Vincent has a tendency to dive head first into any situation when the lives of his teammates are at risk.
            Writing Vincent as the team’s joker and alcoholic wasn’t planned. It just sort of happened and I decided to stick with it. I think everyone needs a Vincent in their lives; someone who can find the laughter and a bright side to anything, no matter how bad things may be, all while sticking up for the people closest to him.

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

        Chaos Company is compiled of 20 chapters. Chapters 17 and 18 are definitely my favorite. These two chapters are what lead to the final showdown with the protagonists and their opposition. Each team member in Chaos Company plays a critical role in these chapters; whether it be protecting civilians against armed gunman, chasing down the main antagonists throughout the city, or providing support and intelligence from a helicopter, everyone is at their best to insure that their actions aren’t in vein.

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

        I love writing out the action scenes the most, especially the hand to hand combat stuff. I’ve been doing martial arts on and off since I was seven years old so I always find myself incorporating things I’ve learned and experienced in sparring into my writing.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

      I would say it takes about ten weeks worth of time to create and finish a story.
            As for my writing process I usually write the first draft from start to finish after I’ve written down some notes on what I want to happen in each scene. Writing notes helps me stay on track and helps me avoid writer’s block. Right now I’m trying a new process by writing two stories at the same time. I go back and forth between the stories and when I’m having trouble making process with one story I’ll switch to the other.

What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?

        Chaos Company is listed as a Science Fiction/Thriller. The science fiction aspect comes from the core characters being genetically enhanced soldiers thanks to the fictional Genetic Engineering Nano-cellular Obedience serum (Geno-serum for short) and the abilities the serum grants them, from super strength and durability to energy projection and wall-crawling capabilities. The Thriller aspect of the story comes from the military-fiction that is peppered in the plot as well as the twists and turns that happen in the story, from major characters being killed off to the team working together to discover who their true enemy is.

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

        Anthony Horowitz has definitely influenced me the most. I latched on to his Alex Rider series when I was in high school and plan on finishing the last two books when time allows.
            It may be unusual but I found a lot of influence from comic book writers. Robert Kirman is one of them. I started reading his walking dead comics a year before it became a TV series and I absolutely loved how he took the zombie mythology and made it his own thing. That has inspired me to do the same thing with what I write, to make it my own and do my best to pave a new way people see certain characters and situations.
            Brian Michael Bendis is another comic writer who has been a huge influence for me. I started following Bendis’ work when he started writing Ultimate Spider-man in 2000. I read almost every comic and appreciate how he grounded to make Spider-man more human and relatable. His work influenced me to never make any characters in my work seem invincible, and that the opposition that they face should always be something or someone that shakes those characters to their core.

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

         Definitely. I felt the most surprised whenever my writing included the main antagonist Liam King. Liam is a highly dangerous mercenary who puts the Chaos Company team through the ringer. It surprised me how violent and maniacal I made him when writing the story. I was shocked when I developed his scenes and all the terrible things I had him do. Most of what I had written him doing I had him do with ease, as if he thought of hurting others as a sport. I didn’t think I had it in me! Lol. But I have to admit that by the end of the writing process Liam King became one of my favorite characters.
            There were two major plot elements that took a turn with me while I was writing. The first being when I killed off a number of characters in the story. My initial instinct was that it didn’t feel right. Been then I thought to myself that’s realistic, that’s life. Not every works out perfectly and I wanted to create realistic situations then that means at the end of the day not everyone gets to go home. The second plot element was a romantic one between two characters. I don’t want to ruin too much for those who want to read the story, but I will say that by the end of the story that romantic element will have readers rooting for the two characters.

Thanks for stopping by!


The highly effective team of genetically enhanced soldiers code-named Chaos Company has returned
to the United States to be commended for their bravery. While on leave the team finds themselves at odds with the highly dangerous mercenary Liam King, who has been contracted to assassinate President Jennifer Grey. Chaos Company thwarts Liam’s attack, but at the cost of their team leader's life. 

With their leader killed the team looks to Corporal Desmond Striker to guide them in a hunt for Liam. During their hunt the team will find themselves in the cross-hairs of a private military company and have their abilities pushed to their limits. Before Chaos Company finally comes to blows with Liam they will discover that their greatest threat is a leader within their own country.


Christopher Slayton was born and raised in New Castle, Delaware. During Chris high school years he earned two All-Conference awards in lacrosse and three national awards in JROTC. Chris attended the University of Delaware, where he earned a B.A. in Psychology. While in college Chris was a UD ambassador, and wrote sketches for my school’s comedy show. Chris was a member of my school’s Tae Kwon Do team, where he have earned multiple honors in six tournaments. Chris has incorporated his passion for both martial arts and videogames into his writing, helping him finish his first ebook Chaos Company.

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