Chuck Greaves had the amazing experience of having his first two novels placed first and second in an international “New Writers” competition that attracted 600 entries, so it’s perhaps not surprising that the former LA trial lawyer hasn’t looked back since.
Hi there, I’m your host Jenny Wheeler and today on the Joys of Binge Reading Chuck talks about his popular Jack MacTaggart legal thriller series as well as the literary and historical crime fiction that’s winning him top awards and a growing audience.
Six things you’ll learn from this Joys of Binge Reading episode:
- How an LA trial lawyer became novelist
- Elements of luck in getting published
- ‘Living more than one life’ on this earth
- Literary novels and Jack MacTaggart series
- New ventures in TV and song writing
- Blazing Saddles and Richard Pryor
Where to find Chuck Greaves
What follows is a “near as” transcript of our conversation, not word for word but pretty close to it, with links to important mentions.
Jenny Wheeler: But now, here’s Chuck. Hello there, Chuck, and welcome to the show. It’s great to have you with us.
Chuck Greaves: Hello, Jenny. Thank you for having me.
Jenny Wheeler: You enjoyed a very full career as an LA trial lawyer before turning your hand to fiction, and I’m just wondering, how did that transition come about? Was there some sort of catalyst that made you think, “I just must try my hand at writing a novel.”
Chuck Greaves: Yeah, the catalyst was called a midlife crisis. What happened was I turned 50, I’d been at my same law firm, where I was partner for 25 years, and I just thought to myself, what do I want to do with the rest of my life? I’d always wanted to write, I’d always been a reader. And I thought it was something I wanted to try my hand at.
Making a life change
And I always had this notion that I want to live more than one life on this earth. I’d been on a particular trajectory for, you know, 50 years, and I thought I’d try something completely different and so I resigned my law firm partnership. My wife did the same, she’s also a lawyer and we pulled up stakes. We left LA, we moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and I started writing a novel.
Jenny Wheeler: Fantastic. Just like that. That’s amazing. So now you’ve got two writing names that you work under. Chuck Greaves has written three much-praised books in the Jack MacTaggart crime series, and then you’ve also got literary and historical fiction that you write under the name of C. Joseph Greaves, so I guess those two names are simply to differentiate those two different genres, are they?
Learning how to write
Chuck Greaves: There’s a bit of a back story to that, which I’ll be happy to tell you. I’m in Santa Fe now, the year is 2006 and, as I said, I’m writing this first novel, which was my first Jack MacTaggart novel. It was called Hush Money and it took me about two years to write. I was really teaching myself how to write a novel.
And when it was finished, I did what all new novelists do, which is to try to find a literary agent in New York. I sent query letters to various agents in New York, and I received form rejection letters back. I probably sent out 30 letters and I probably got back 30 rejections.
In the meantime, I had finished that novel and I’d started on my second novel, and the second novel I wrote was something completely different than the first person, sort of sunny, humorous, lawyer, detective novel, which was the first novel, Hush Money.
True life crime story
The second novel was based on a true crime that happened in the U S in the 1930s. It was a case I just stumbled upon and it interested me and I did a lot of research into it.
That book was called Hard Twisted, and it was a very different book, third-person, very dark, very gritty, much more literary. By 2010, I had written two novels. I was now four years into this experiment, but I still had no agent and no publisher.
And so what I did was I entered both of my manuscripts in a writing contest. It was called the Southwest Writers International writing contest, and the year that I entered there were 680 entries in the contest. And to make a long story short, Hard Twisted came in second and Hush Money came in first.
As a result of that, I suddenly had a number of agents contacting me, offering to represent me, and I ended up signing with the David Black agency in New York.
Two books, two prizes
We sold the first mystery novel, Hush Money, to St Martin’s Minotaur in a multi-book deal and then we sold the stand alone, gritty historical novel to Bloomsbury.
But they didn’t want to use the name Chuck Greaves, which I used on the first novel, because they were such radically different novels, they didn’t want there to be reader confusion. I didn’t want to use a pen name and if the mystery writing didn’t work out, I’d end up being, you know, Joe Schwartz for the rest of my life.
So we reached a compromise where we used variations of my name. That’s a long way of saying that my mystery novels are written by Chuck Greaves and my other non-mystery novels are written under the name of C. Joseph Greaves.
Jenny Wheeler: How remarkable that you could get first and second like that after having not been able to stimulate much interest. It just shows you that they probably didn’t even really read the things.
Luck plays an important part
Chuck Greaves: You know, it’s a really funny business. It’s hard to break into and there’s a big element of luck to it. I think the world is full of really talented writers who never get their break and the world is full of really mediocre writers who are quite successful. That’s just the way it is.
Jenny Wheeler: Yes. So Jack is a lovely character. He’s irrepressible, he’s a bit roguish and rough around the edges, he might scorn the legal formalities a bit, but he’s got a heart of gold. I had the feeling when I was reading it that it’s almost like a wish fulfillment thing, that you wished that law would enable guys like Jack to make a living, but perhaps it doesn’t. Is there any sort of truth in that suspicion?
Chuck Greaves: Well, you know, I think the Jack MacTaggart character is probably my fantasy self, you know, except that Jack is smarter than me, funnier than me, and better looking than me. But other than that, there’s a bit of me in there for sure. In the first novel, I’m not sure which one you read, but Hush Money was the first novel.
Characters as our fantasy selves
Jenny Wheeler: I think I read all of them actually, because I liked them so much.
Chuck Greaves: Oh, lovely. Thank you. Well, the first novel takes place and he’s being tested for partnership at this white shoe law firm in Pasadena, California. That describes the law firm I worked at. The fictional law firm was called Henley & Hargrove, the real law firm I worked at was called Hahn and Hahn in Pasadena.
I used my old law firm as a model for the setting and to a certain extent, Jack is me. I find that writing the Jack MacTaggart novels comes quite naturally to me. Writing in the first person and writing in that sort of breezy voice comes quite naturally to me whereas when I write the other novels in the third person and trying to be more literary, I really have to work at it.
I’d much rather just spend all my days writing the MacTaggart novels but I also have this notion that I want to be a serious novelist and, you know, write the great American novel. So I try to do that when I’m not doing Jack.
Jack MacTaggart novels
Jenny Wheeler: That’s lovely. Jack is about to become a four-book series and one of the things I enjoyed about the books is that each one has quite an interesting backdrop, a kind of environment that the story takes place in. You get quite a lot of background information about those environments, whether it’s show jumping or an upmarket winery or political campaigning.
There’s quite a lot of extra information that comes with the action and the characterization and I wondered if you really did yourself have personal understanding and connections with those worlds before you wrote about them or whether you had to start from scratch and research them.
Chuck Greaves: The answer is, it was the former. The conceit there is that I try to take Jack and plonk him into an alien environment and make him a fish out of water, because Jack is a real blue collar guy.
Thriving as an outsider
He didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth but he finds himself in these very high end settings, as you said, in the world of equestrian show jumping or in the world of Napa Valley wine making.
And as an outsider, he can make fun of those worlds a little bit. But as far as I’m concerned, as a writer, I am writing what I know. So, for example, I did belong to an English riding club in Los Angeles called the Flintridge Riding Club. And I am a a wine guy.
I did a lot of wine tourism and in fact I actually own a vineyard right now, so those are worlds that I knew. And politics. I was always interested in politics and when in Pasadena I was the campaign treasurer and campaign advisor for a friend who ran for city council successfully.
So I had some exposure to all those worlds and I thought they were all interesting enough that they would make good settings for Jack and Jack would be a good foil for the characters who might be in those types of settings.
Art imitates life
Jenny Wheeler: You’ve already explained a little bit about how your trial law experience fed into the books. I think I had seen reference to a particular case with the wine story, the Napa Valley wine company. You did have a case yourself that was relevant to that plot line, didn’t you?
Chuck Greaves: Sort of. At the beginning of that book there’s a story, it’s not the main story in the book but it’s Jack’s entry into the case. It’s a case in which a wealthy person dies and leaves behind two wives.
In the book the person who dies is a film executive and a media mogul and he leaves behind a wife and a mistress, both of whom claim to be the wife, and the mistress sues the wife for half of the decedent’s estate, and that’s how Jack gets into that whole Napa Valley scene. I had a case just like that.
I had a prominent citizen, a client who passed away and left behind two wives.
The Church of the Graveyard Saints
And that was quite an interesting case and I thought that was a fun way to kick the book off. So yes, I have used actual cases from my practice, not too often, and never as the main storyline, but I’ve used them. I had a very interesting law practice.
I represented some from interesting people, including for 10 years I represented Richard Pryor, the comedian, and we did a lot of fun stuff together. There’s a lot of grist for the mill there.
Jenny Wheeler: That’s great. But you’ve taken a sort of right turn, or maybe it’s the left turn with your most recent book, Church of the Graveyard Saints, because it’s quite a departure from the Jack MacTaggart crime series and possibly also from the other historical crime that you’ve been doing.
You describe it as part eco thriller, part romance, and it’s upmarket commercial fiction, so tell us about Church of the Graveyard Saints.
Writing in red rock country
Chuck Greaves: Even though I wrote my first five novels while living in Santa Fe, I moved to Southwestern Colorado with my wife in 2012 and we bought a ranch here and, like I mentioned, a vineyard.
We moved in January of 2012 and the first Jack book, Hush Money, came out in June of 2012. So all five of the books I’d already written came out while I was living in this new community and getting to know my new neighbors and whatnot.
They were quite interested in the process and as each new book would come out, what they’d say to me is, gee, when are you going to write about here? And by the time the fifth book came out, I had no more excuses left. So I thought I’m going to write about here and so I looked at this setting where I live here, it’s beautiful country, beautiful red rock country, in Southwestern Colorado and there are certain conflicts that exist here, primarily of an ecological nature.
A notable park & monument
I live in a place called McElmo Canyon, which is near the border with Utah. It’s near a place called the Four Corners, in the southwest, and there’s two interesting things about McElmo Canyon.
It’s the southern boundary of what we call a national monument, it’s not a national park but it’s a scaled down version of a national park, and it’s called the Canyon of the Ancients national monument. It’s where the ancestral Puebloan people lived about a thousand years ago and there are quite a few archeological sites in and around where I live.
And the two most notable things about the monument are, number one, it’s said to have the densest concentration of archeological sites anywhere in America. There are estimated to be 30,000 ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and other sites in the monument.
The other notable thing about the monument is it sits on top of what’s called the McElmo Dome, which is the largest and purest CO2 repository in the world.
So the extractive industries, the oil and gas industry, wants to drill wells here and pump CO2 out of the ground here, and they send it in pipelines down to Texas and Oklahoma and use it to stimulate oil production down there.
So there is this inherent tension that happens here between the extractive industries which want to drill and put in pipelines and compressor stations and roads and all those good things, and the environmental community and the archeological community that wants to preserve the natural beauty and the archeological resources around here. So that was like a natural tension that existed in the area.
I thought, you know, conflict is what is what drives compelling fiction. So I thought that was a good, baseline conflict around which to build a novel.
Modern day Romeo and Juliet
The novel I wrote is called Church of the Graveyard Saints and I liken it to a Shakespearian tragedy where you have the Capulets of resource extraction and the Montagues of environmental conservation butting heads in the background.
But in the foreground, there is a love story, a love triangle between a young woman from this community who leaves to go to California and comes back and returns to her old hometown only to find that the oil and gas industry is encroaching upon her family’s ranching heritage. That’s another conflict and the story just builds from there.
Jenny Wheeler: And you’ve got a new publisher for that one, Torrey Press I understand, a specialist environmental publishing house. I have spoken to other authors who were published by Torrey Press and they sing their praises very highly.
Part eco-thriller, part romance
Chuck Greaves: Yes, Torrey House. It was a departure for me also because the previous five novels had been with major publishing houses and Torrey House is a smaller press. They’re based out of Salt Lake City, Utah and they’re a nonprofit. Their specialty is environmental literature and the book was right in their wheelhouse. It is set on the Four Corners, it has major environmental themes to it. And I know you spoke with Scott Graham.
Jenny Wheeler: Yes, that’s right.
Chuck Greaves: I actually met the publishers at one of Scott’s events. I went to a local bookstore where Scott was speaking and I struck up a conversation with Mark Bailey who’s one of the owners of Torrey House Press. And he said, what are you working on these days? And I told him and he said, hey, that’s what we do. Can we take a look at the manuscript? I said, sure, and I sent them the manuscript and they very much wanted to publish it. And that’s how I ended up with Torrey House.
The mob boss and the prosecutor
Jenny Wheeler: Fantastic. We can’t leave talking about your individual books without mentioning Tom & Lucky, because number one, it was chosen as a Wall Street journal, one of the best books of 2015, and in that one you’ve turned into a novel a most controversial courtroom clash between a powerful mobster, Lucky Luciano, and a special prosecutor. I gather that this was based on a cache of newly discovered documents and I was curious as to how you got your hands on those or how that came about.
Chuck Greaves: That’s a good story also. I mentioned that I belonged to this riding club in California called the Flintridge Riding Club. One day I was having lunch at Flintridge after riding with some friends, some members there, and a young woman named CC Levy, whose father had been a very prominent trial lawyer in New York back in the 1930s and 40s, told me that when her father died in 1977 she had taken all of his office files, his file cabinets, and put them into storage, and they’d been in storage in a barn in upstate New York, for the past, I don’t know, 30 something years.
Historic original files found
And I said, CC, would you mind if I went back and looked at those files, because I knew her father had defended the famous mobster Lucky Luciano in one of the most famous criminal trials of the century. Lucky Luciano had been prosecuted in 1936 by Thomas Dewey. Thomas Dewey, because of that case, became quite famous.
He became the district attorney of New York, he became the governor of New York, and he almost became President of the United States. You may have seen a famous picture of our President Harry Truman holding up a newspaper that says, Dewey beats Truman. The Dewey in that headline is Thomas Dewey. So he was a famous lawyer who almost became president. He was the prosecutor in the case and CC’s father was the defense lawyer.
Hidden away in a country barn
She said sure, go ahead. So I jumped on a plane, flew back to New York from California, picked up my brother and we drove to upstate New York. We found the barn and inside the barn with all these old tractors and equipment was a tarp.
Under the tarp were 15 rusting file cabinets. And we spent the whole day going through the file cabinets until we found, believe it or not, George Morton Levy’s defense file from the case of the People versus Charles Luciano. So I had possession of these documents that nobody in the world had ever seen before.
Jenny Wheeler: How amazing.
Chuck Greaves: And I thought, if I ever become a writer, which I had hoped to do, I’m going to write this someday. So that was my fifth novel and it was one of the stand-alone novels from Bloomsbury.
Things never quite what they seem
I told the story from four different points of view in alternating chapters. I had the Lucky Luciano character, I had the Thomas Dewey character, I had the George Morton Levy character, the defense lawyer, and I had a star witness in the case, a prostitute named Cokey Flo Brown. She was my fourth point of view character. I told the story through their four alternating points of view.
The story begins in 1914, takes you through the Roaring Twenties into the Great Depression. It builds up to the trial, and then for the trial I actually used snippets of transcript from the actual trial in telling the story. It’s quite a fascinating story.
Jenny Wheeler: Fascinating indeed. And I gather that it really laid bare the fact that some of the sinners may be saints and some of the heroes may prove to be the biggest sinners of all. And that in itself is just a feast for a novelist, isn’t it?
The crime boss set up
Chuck Greaves: Yeah. You know, reasonable minds can differ about this, but the result of my research, and again, I had access to documents that other people never had, but my conclusion was that Lucky Luciano got railroaded and that Dewey really crossed a lot of ethical lines in prosecuting Luciano.
The main one being that they prosecuted him for prostitution, even though he was like the Godfather. He was the head of organized crime in America, but they used as their way to get him prostitution in New York state.
And what Thomas Dewey did was, he was the special prosecutor appointed to prosecute organized crime. He arrested every prostitute in Manhattan and he held them all in jail. And he held him there for months at a time, and if they agreed to cooperate with him and tell him what he wanted to hear, then he let them out of jail and put them up in swanky hotels and wined them and dined them.
He was a criminal – but not that one
But if they wouldn’t cooperate, they stayed in jail. So eventually he had a handful of prostitutes who were willing to testify that Luciano was the guy behind the prostitution ring. And that was what the trial was all about, it was about prostitution.
They put Luciano on trial with a bunch of pimps and thugs and they made him out to be the head of the prostitution ring. And they dirtied him up with all those other characters during the trial. And the jury convicted him.
Jenny Wheeler: He probably deserved conviction, but not that way.
Chuck Greaves: Exactly. He was a crook, but he probably wasn’t that crook.
Jenny Wheeler: That’s right. Look, one of the favorite questions that Goodreads likes to ask authors is that one about is there a mystery in your own life that would provide plot for a book?
Caught in an eerie thunder storm
I must admit that I noticed that you had been asked that question and you had the most fascinating answer. Can you tell us about that? It was to do with Hard Twisted and two skulls that you found when you were hiking one day.
Chuck Greaves: The year was 1993 and I was still a lawyer in Los Angeles as was my wife, and we were on vacation. We came out here to the Four Corners, to Southern Utah where we now live, almost, but at that time, I’d never been there before. I’d never been to that beautiful red rock country that we have in South Eastern Utah. And we met some friends from Colorado and we stayed at a very remote bed and breakfast in a place called Valley of the Gods, Utah.
We were out hiking one day. This was in November of 1993 and we were returning to the car and it just started to snow.
Desolate country, human skulls
So you know how when the snow starts to fall, things all get hushed, and we were walking along and stumbled upon two human skulls on the ground, and I kid you not, we bent down and picked them up and as soon as we picked them up, a thunderclap rolled down the canyon and shook the ground under our feet.
It was just one of those ‘Wow’ moments in your life. The mystery was, whose skulls were these? How did they get here? We were put in touch with a woman who ran the trading post in a place called Mexican Hat, Utah, which was the nearest town.
This was very remote, desolate area and a woman there named Doris Valle had written a little history about the area, a little pamphlet of a book which she’d self-published. And in that pamphlet she devoted a chapter, which was probably four pages long, to a notorious double murder that had happened in John’s Canyon.
Depression drifter serial killer
And she believed that those skulls, and by the way she said, you are not the first people to find those skulls, those are Indian skulls, either Navajo or Ute or Paiute Indian skulls, but I believe that those skulls are connected to the double murder because I think the murderer, who was a man named Clint Palmer, killed two Navajos in order to get the sheep herding job, which he was holding down at the time that he committed the double murder.
So we went back to LA and it was a fascinating story and it piqued our curiosity. And I spent a number of years, this is pre-Google so I was doing things by mail and by telephone call, doing research into this double murder. And the story that unfolded was really fascinating.
Basically it starts in Dust Bowl, Oklahoma in 1934 where a homeless man and his 13-year-old daughter are camping by the side of the road and they’re befriended by a drifter from Texas who has just been released from prison.
Classic Stockholm Syndrome
His name was Clint Palmer and he befriends the father and daughter, lures them down to Texas where he kills the father and kidnaps the daughter.
He takes this 13-year-old girl on a one-year crime and killing spree across the American Southwest. It includes the double murder that happens in John’s Canyon, Utah, and ends up back in Texas where he’s tried. He’s caught and convicted of the murder of the girl’s father.
The novel I wrote is called Hard Twisted. Again, very dark, very gritty, but it’s told from the point of view of the 13-year-old girl who is kidnapped by this man, is raped, winds up having his baby, which dies. It’s a classic Stockholm syndrome situation where she’s with him the whole time.
She has plenty of opportunities to escape but she’s with him all the way until the point that they’re captured, and at that point she becomes a star witness against him in the trial. So that was the story. And that was the second novel, Hard Twisted.
Desperation dug out
Jenny Wheeler: Gosh. Fantastic. I can just picture that moment you’re talking about, first of all the silence when snow starts to fall, it’s often eerie. And then having the thunder. Man, you must have thought you having a visitation.
Chuck Greaves: Yeah. And you know, the place where we were at, they were living in what’s called a dugout. Now a dugout was like a crude structure that, back in the 1930s, desperate people would live in. It basically consists of a trench in the ground with just a roof over it.
And this 36-year-old Clint Palmer and his now 14-year-old captive, Lottie Garrett, were living in this dugout in John’s Canyon in the bitter cold. She’s just given birth and just lost her baby. It was a horrific situation. And I was there. The dug out is still there. I could see it. And I thought, this is a story somebody needs to tell. That’s how I felt about it.
The secret of Chuck’s success
Jenny Wheeler: That’s great. Look, we are starting to come to the end of our time together so looking at your wider career away from the individual books, is there one thing that you’ve done more than any other that you’d credit with the secret of your success so far?
I mean, being published by two major publishers and now Torrey House as well, and you’ve won lots of awards and things. What have you done right, do you think? And is there anything you’d change?
Chuck Greaves: I can’t say that I’d change very much. Like I say, I’ve been very fortunate. I think there are a lot of writers out there with probably more talent than me who haven’t had the break and haven’t gotten the agent and haven’t gotten published.
A disciplined process
In terms of what I did right, I think the best thing I did as a writer was that I brought to the process of writing the same sort of discipline that I brought to the practice of law. My line is that I only write when I’m inspired, but I make it a point to be inspired every morning at nine o’clock.
I’m very regimented. I get up, I have my breakfast, I sit down at the computer, I work until lunchtime. Usually I come back in the afternoon and spend an hour or so polishing up what I wrote that morning. And while I’m writing a book, I try to do that seven days a week.
I really bring a certain discipline to the process. I’m not a fast writer but since I began writing in 2006, I’ve managed to write seven, and now I’m working on my eighth book. And I credit that discipline that I brought to the process.
Advice for young writers
My advice to young writers – you may not have the luxury of writing full time, you may have to work a job or have children or whatnot, but the best thing you can do is to carve out a time every day to work on your book and discipline yourself to protect that time vigorously. I think that’s the key to success. It’s time actually spent in the chair working. That’s my advice to aspiring authors.
Jenny Wheeler: Fantastic. I’m interested how you balance the writing and the research. Do you do all the research first or do you start writing and then feed the research into where it’s relevant? How do you approach the balance there?
Chuck Greaves: The MacTaggart books don’t really require any research because like I say, I’m just writing my life. But the other books all involve quite a bit of research and in both the case of Hard Twisted and Tom and Lucky I did the research in advance.
Classic American Western films
In the case of Hard Twisted for a number of years. In the case of Tom and Lucky I did a six-month crash course reading everything that’s ever been written about Lucky Luciano or about Thomas Dewey or about the trial. I did the research on the front end for most of those.
I’m actually working on an interesting project right now. The University of New Mexico Press asked me if I would like to write a book for their Reel West series of books about classic American Western films.
They’re hiring a bunch of Western writers to write one book about one film. And they asked if I’d like to participate. I said, sure. I’m going to be writing what will be the definitive book about the film Blazing Saddles.
Definitive Blazing Saddles
I am in the process now of both writing and researching at the same time, trying to read everything that’s ever been written about the movie while writing a book about the movie. I’m sort of doing both at the same time right now, but it’s quite research intensive.
Jenny Wheeler: Did you choose the movie or did they tell you what film they wanted you to do?
Chuck Greaves: They said, which would you like to do? I chose Blazing Saddles in part because as I mentioned before, I represented Richard Pryor, who died in 2005 but he co-wrote the screenplay with Mel Brooks. I knew I had an entree to his widow and maybe to some information that other people might not have. So that was my choice.
Jenny Wheeler: This is The Joys of Binge Reading and so turning to Chuck as reader, what do you like to binge read? I imagine you do a lot of very intense and serious non-fiction reading as well, but what are your tastes in the more entertainment genre area?
Books Chuck is enjoying
Chuck Greaves: In addition to the writing that I do for the books, I am also a book critic for my local newspaper. I publish six book reviews a year and for those books I generally try to read literary fiction or upmarket commercial fiction that’s just coming out.
I usually read them in galley form. Between the research I’m doing and those books that I read for the column, and I belong to a book group also, I don’t have a whole lot of time for pleasure reading.
My guilty pleasure, when I do have time to pleasure read, is I like to read crime fiction. I like to read mystery fiction. I read people like Philip Kerr or Jo Nesbo or Michael Connolly or Nelson DeMille – those sorts of crime writers.
Jenny Wheeler: And the commercial fiction that you’re doing, have you come across a couple recently that you think are worth mentioning?
What’s next for Chuck the writer?
Chuck Greaves: People ask me this whole time. The best book I read honestly in the last, maybe 10 years is A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. That book is fabulous. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I highly recommend that.
Jenny Wheeler: It is sitting on my bedside table unread. It’s been there for months.
Chuck Greaves: Put it on the top of the To Be Read list.
Jenny Wheeler: You’ve mentioned Blazing Saddles but what else is on your agenda for the next 12 months for Chuck the writer?
Chuck Greaves: I’ve got some interesting things. I’ve got this book that I really just started writing. That’s the Blazing Saddles book, but that’s due to the publisher by the end of July. So it’s really a crash project. At the same time, I have a TV show that I’m trying to develop with a director.
New project for TV
In fact, yesterday we were on the phone with Amblin Entertainment, which was Steven Spielberg’s company, about maybe trying to get them to partner with us. So that’s kind of interesting. And if that comes through, that’ll be fascinating.
Jenny Wheeler: I guess you can’t tell us anything about that – even what type of show?
Chuck Greaves: Yes, I can tell you. It’s a contemporary Western, basically. There’s that, and I’m doing something else that’s sort of new to me. I’m dabbling a little bit in song writing with a friend of mine who’s a musician. I’ve known him for 50 years. He called me up and said, do you ever write song lyrics? I said, I never have John, but I’d be willing to give it a try. So I’ve written four songs for him and he’s in the process of recording them as we speak, and then we’ll see what comes with that.
Song writing adventure
Jenny Wheeler: Fantastic. Now I just have to ask with the songwriting, what sort of type of songs are they? Who were your favorite singers in that area?
Chuck Greaves: Well, what inspired me to even say yes to him was the fact that I just watched the Ken Burns series on country music. I don’t know if you saw that or not, but it’s fabulous. It’s the whole history of American country music. And so I have that in mind. I wrote one country song for him.
The other songs are more contemporary love song type things. The idea is he’ll record them and we’ll see if we can get some notable people to perform them. That’s the goal. Again, it’s a long shot. It’s like the TV thing is a long shot. It’s all speculative, a lot of it’s just dumb luck. We’ll see what happens.
Where to find Chuck online
Jenny Wheeler: Well it sounds like you’re having a lot of fun anyway. So certainly, that change you made after 25 years, there’s no looking back. You definitely made the right choice, did you?
Chuck Greaves: I can’t complain.
Jenny Wheeler: That’s great. Wonderful. Thank you so much Chuck. It’s been great talking and we’ll look out for that TV show with interest.
Chuck Greaves: Okay, well thank you Jenny. It’s been my pleasure and thank you for helping promote the written word.
Chuck’s website is https://chuckgreaves.com/
He can be reached on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/chuck.greaves.5
Thanks To Our Technical Support:
The Joys of Binge Reading podcast is put together with wonderful technical help from Dan Cotton at DC Audio Services. Dan is an experienced sound and video engineer who’s ready and available to help you with your next project… Seek him out at email@example.com or Phone + 64 – 21979539. He’s fast, takes pride in getting it right, and lovely to work with.
Our voice overs are done by Abe Raffills, and Abe’s another gem. He got 20 years of experience on both sides of the camera/microphone as a cameraman/director and also voice artist and television presenter. Abe’s vocal delivery is both light hearted and warm and he is super easy to work with no matter the job. You’ll find him at firstname.lastname@example.org