Chas Murrell - Cinematic Quality Thriller filled with Thrills, Chills and Humor
Chas Murrell has been a Police Officer, Senior Fire Commander, Customs Coastwatch surveillance mission co-ordinator, heavy machinery mechanic, emergency medical technician/ instructor, film extra, and General Manager of an event company. He has published academic papers on liquid hydrogen and held a worldwide provisional patent for a nonlinear mathematical calculation. He survived Australia’s largest gas BLEVE in 1987, and has provided operational support to some of Australia’s largest natural disasters in North Queensland. On a personal level he has suffered from relentless and debilitating migraines all his life, is father to four and pop to two. He and his artistically entrepreneurial wife live in Tasmania, which looks very much like Scotland and they wouldn't have it any other way. A direct descendant of Robert the Bruce (King of Scots), history runs deep in Chas's veins, along with a profound knowledge of both World Wars. You may even come across him online playing World of Tanks. In his Australian spy thriller books you will get to know Chas’s knowledge of technology, intrigue, crime, espionage, weaponry, banter, romance, and even whisky… yet above all, there is believability and no loose ends. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Yearn to Fear.
Please give us a short introduction to what Yearn to Fear is about.
If I was to steer away from the blurb and head deeper, I would say Yearn to Fear is a techno spy thriller journey of discovery of good things and bad. The physical and emotional torment required from all the players to put things right and attempt to return the status quo. It’s about trusting yourself to be ‘out there’, whether it be for love or putting your own life in danger for others, and that sometimes you just have to do it, even though the outcome could be disastrous. It’s about the different way people look at, interpret and react to the same situation.
Tell us more about Marcus Hall. What makes him tick?
Marcus loves his work and is exceptional at it. He’s a softy at heart and cares deeply for the people precious to him. He is his harshest critic and has a deep sense of duty. If he were a real person and had gone through the trials that Yearn to Fear imposes upon him, he would not say he had done anything amazing, because genuine modesty would forbid him. If there is one word that describes what makes Marcus tick, I’d say Madeleine.
How much research did this book require from you to make the sci-fi feel true?
To be honest, I think about 3 days’ worth. That time was more fact checking to make sure my memory was accurate. Because I have always had bad migraines, I’ve had a host of different scans, EEG’s etc over the years and have learnt things as I went along. I kind of mashed that with my work life knowledge of radio waves and things like radar, anatomy and physiology to (very conveniently I might add lol), be able to come up with the plot.
How have your own life experiences influenced this story?
Immensely. As an example, the prologue is based on a real incident (although the real life ending was different), when I was a 19 year old Policeman. Marcus Hall takes his surname as a mark of respect to Sergeant Adrian Hall who I was with that day. The book is absolutely full of things like that, in-jokes and other things that people who know me well with recognise.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Hahahaha – none! Oh, not true… I’ve learnt not to make my wonderful wife Gabbi milky tea!!! Someone in the next two books is going to have to be served milky tea lol.
Readers say that your characters are refreshingly realistic and have a cinematic quality to it. How did you pull this off?
To tell the truth to this question is to skate on thin ice hahahaha. I found it easier to base the characters on real people. One of the exceptions was Peter, he’s complete fiction, I don’t know anyone that bent and twisted! With the creation of scenes, I do it one of two ways, it’s either somewhere I’ve been / experience I’ve had, or I just make it up completely to the point I can see it in my head and then I just describe what I see, but with the benefit of experience / applying the procedures I know would apply. Not sure how anyone else does it, but it works for me.
Why did you title this book "Yearn to Fear"?
Originally, I had another “working title” but Yearn to Fear seemed to say it all and after reading the book, people will realise why too, well I hope so … It’s in the context of a complex journey from Yearning, to being Afraid for the characters. In the sequel, Fear to Recall, it’s a progression of the theme, but in a different context. That too, will hopefully make sense after reading book 2.
Which of your characters was the most challenging to create?
Peter. I say that because I don’t know anyone like him and there is none of him in me.
Why did you decide to use a therapeutic breakthrough in neuroscience as a catalyst for your story?
It’s funny, I already written over half the book before I discovered there was a whole heap of conspiracy theories about 5G and how it affected the brain. That was a very surprising day for me. I wanted to write something different, something I hadn’t read before and I genuinely wanted it to be a book people who like the genre would love. Having said that, Yearn to Fear ended up sitting across several genres, with something for a wide variety of readers. It was written intentionally so that partners could share the book, either read it at the same time or one after the other. Reading it at the same time would be fun, kind of like watching a mini-series on TV together, something you can talk about and look forward to and share. I’ve had two people, unknown to each other, say that they could not stop thinking about the plot after finishing the book. Yay!
Yearn to Fear also includes humorous remarks and romantic scenes. Why did you take this approach?
You’re asking the hard (but good) questions. Being a hopeless romantic is my natural state of being. Telling jokes or seeing the humor in things is as well, although the laters quality varies from day to day as my friends will tell you lol. If I write that way, it comes out naturally and the words on the page don’t seem forced when read.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
I didn’t set out to make any underlying messages about human nature, or politics or any such things. My sole drive was to create a book that people would appreciate.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I can write around 2 ½ thousand words in a day, how much I keep of that is another thing though lol. I can type as fast as I can think, which means my brain doesn’t run any faster than 85 words a minutes – not a high benchmark hahahaha. If you bought a computer that ran that slow, you’d take it back! If I don’t feel like writing on a particular day I don’t.
What are you working on right now?
The sequel - Fear to Recall.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My awesome wife and publicist created a website called chasmurrell.com.au There are some stories in the blog and several hundred photos from my past which will post regularly. Please feel free to have a look and thank you for your time reading this. Kind regards Chas.