Episode 115: The Monstrous Leap of Your Debut Novel — Interview with Chad Dundas

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hello hello, word nerds!

Welcome to our latest episode of DIY MFA Radio. Today I’m speaking with Chad Dundas, the debut author of the historical sports novel: THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD.

When publishing their debut novels, writers have to contend with many different hurdles. They need to grab the attention of agents and editors. They need to hook readers from the very first page. And they must do all of this before they have a track record or fanbase.

Some authors might be tempted to play it safe, but not Chad Dundas. He chooses a topic–professional wrestling–that not many people are interested in. He sets his book in a world that most people don’t know much about: the traveling carnivals of the 1920s. And he opens his book with a chapter where at the end it’s unclear whether the point-of-view character is even still alive.

As writers, I think it’s so important for us to hear not just from major bestselling authors with dozens (if not hundreds) of books under their belts. I also want you to hear from authors who are just a few steps ahead of where you are. I want you to know that you can take risks in your debut novel, and I want to introduce you to writers who are doing just that.

In this episode Chad and I discuss:

  • Starting your novel when something happens
  • Researching to get the historical elements just right
  • The craft of writing on a chapter level
  • Reality versus fiction in your writing and your life

Plus, Chad’s #1 tip for writers.

More about Chad:

Chad Dundas earned his MFA from the University of Montana, and his short fiction has appeared in the Beloit Fiction Journal, Sycamore Review, Sou’Wester, and Thuglit. Since 2001, he’s worked as a sportswriter for national outlets including ESPN, NBC Sports, Sporting News, Bleacher Report, and the Associated Press, as well as local and regional newspapers. A fourth-generation Montanan, he lives with his wife and children in Missoula.

To learn more about Chad check out his website, or follow him on Twitter.

Link to Episode 115

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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