Allow me to take a moment and introduce myself. My name is William Chasterson. I’m a writer and a student of history. I was raised in the Midwest of the United States in a very conservative town of about 15,000 people. In my twenties I moved to New York which is where I’ve been for the past 15 years. After the first few years of culture shock I was finally able to settle into my environment and actually consider myself a New Yorker.
Why did I write ‘BREED’?
As an African American raised in a predominantly white conservative town I’ve always been fascinated with race. I could never fully wrap my mind around the concept of racism. I wrote BREED as an attempt to work out in my mind whether or not racial inequality has any merit. I didn’t know when I started what conclusion I would end up with. I just knew it would be an arduous journey. I tried to objectively examine historical events and ideologies translating them into a fictional work. Despite the views of certain misinformed critics the book is in no way meant to push a political agenda. For the characters I used animals instead of people because I didn’t want the reader’s unconscious prejudices about race or culture to interfere with their consideration of the topic. I tried my best to make the story entertaining despite the serious nature of the theme.
What I did to get ‘BREED’ published
When I started writing I didn’t know I would be publishing it independently. In fact I wasn’t sure I would be publishing it at all. As I previously stated I wasn’t sure how the book was going to conclude. I sent the manuscript to a number of agents but didn’t hear back from them. As I read up on the current state of the publishing industry I understood that my book was probably too risky for an agent or publisher to take on. In my story no vampires or werewolves fall in love. There is no excessive gore or explicit sex. But there is an underlying theme that affects every one of us. I heard about Mark Coker and his indie publishing platform Smashwords. The platform allows you to self publish e books and promote your work at minimal cost which was perfect because I didn’t have any money. After my friend helped me with the cover design I uploaded my finished draft.
Any other interests/ hobbies
For the past year and a half I’ve been living in the third world. I’m not going to mention the name of the country I moved to because governments can be sensitive at times and although I have nothing negative to say about any government. They could arrive at the wrong conclusion and I could wind up behind bars.
How did I end up here?
I’ve always had an inclination to want to be successful. But I felt something was lacking in the traditional means and end most people use to arrive at what they consider to be a success. I wanted to contribute something positive to society. For years I’ve done volunteer work but I always felt as if I was holding back somehow. I wanted to do more and my wife and I talked about one day making a grand sacrifice and traveling to an underdeveloped country. Then one day we found that ten years had passed by and all we had done is talk. We were getting older. If we were going to contract some rare disease while helping others, now was the time to do it. We’re still young enough to be able to bounce back. But the clock was ticking. We decided that it was now or never. We needed to either take action or stop talking about it.
Although I had a nice paying job with flexible hours I decided to quit. My employers couldn’t understand my decision and it was difficult for me to explain. On the exit interview every question implied that I had found a better job and they wanted feedback on what they could have done differently to retain me. After I left my job things began moving rather quickly. I rolled my 401K savings over into an IRA. We got our travel vaccinations and malaria pills. We stocked up on everything we thought we would need to get us through the first year. We’ve always considered ourselves as living simple lives. But when you have to gather up and store everything you own you may find you have more possessions than you thought. That’s what happened in our case. Friends did us the favor of storing what we could not take. Long story short, we boarded the plane and embarked on a new phase in our lives.
The first year
The first year was harder than we could have ever imagined and the plans we made to support ourselves caught snag after snag until finally falling through. This meant we had to rely on our savings more than expected. The country we moved to has no middle class. In America people talk about their not being a middle class or the middle class being under attack but until you actually experience a society with no middle class it’s impossible to imagine. First of all there is a small class of über rich people and a much larger class of extremely poor people. I expected everything to be cheap but the opposite is true. There’s no competition for prices because the rich don’t complain or bargain. Whatever things cost they just pay and keep it moving. The poor can’t afford any luxuries. They live in survival mode. Imagine high prices and low quality products and food and you’ll have an accurate picture of what it’s like here. Compared to Western societies even the rich here live relatively rough lives. While the poor just subsist in the most barren of environments. It’s kind of like George Orwell’s 1984. Despite the challenges however we have had much success in the volunteer work we came to do.
I’m not using this blog as a forum to further my volunteer work at this time. Most of the people I work with don’t even have computers. For this reason I won’t go into great detail about the work. But I will say we educate people to make practical changes which enables them to live happier lives. I know our decision to move seemed unusual to many but I always believed that deep down everyone wanted to do what we were doing. We’re not special in any way. We saw an opportunity and we grabbed it. If given the same opportunity I felt anyone else would do the same. This belief has changed somewhat but I don’t want to talk about that right now.
We sent a lot of emails and pictures back home because we thought everyone would be interested in what we were doing. We carefully filtered the emails because although we were suffering we didn’t want to discourage anyone. We only chose pictures where we were enjoying ourselves and we highlighted only the good experiences. Far from discouraging however I get the impression that the emails had the opposite effect. Some may have thought we were having the time of our lives and were bragging. We were actually having the time of our lives but not in the ways they may have imagined. On our return to the states I once again experienced culture shock but now in a different way. Everything was convenient but there was an overpowering stress that permeated everything.
On the surface it seems that living in the third world is much harder because of the poverty, poor hygiene and strong military presence. But the stress I felt on my return was harder for me to deal with than anything I experienced the previous year. I blame no one for this. Human beings (including myself) are complex strange creatures. I’ve documented some of these experiences in my new book Metaphysical Man. It is about a superhero whose only weakness is reality. He is the quintessential Don Quijote of the digital age. The book is due to be released July 1st 2015.
This is an opportunity for readers to familiarize themselves with my writing style at no personal cost.
When Christopher Chambers, a bourgeois housecat decides to flee custody rather than be adopted by a new family, he unwittingly finds himself thrust into the position of deciding the fate of all of animalkind.
Told from the first person viewpoint of a housecat, Breed chronicles the incredible transformation of a cute and loveable kitten into a brutal dictator. Along the way our hero is forced to realize the complexity of the world he lives in as he is coerced to make one compromise after another. This Kafkaesque novel delves into the darkest corners of the human condition in search of the causes of racism and inequality. What is discovered is made palatable by coating it with an entertaining story about talking animals. In my first novel I attempt to analyze questions raised by Plato, Darwin, and Adolf Hitler regarding equality.