Blog

Blog2019-06-25T14:22:33+00:00
204, 2024

Teaching my 3rd webinar for Writer’s Digest University

April 2nd, 2024|

 

 

Writer’s Digest University just invited me back to teach my third webinar about writing. Titled How to Research Your Novel like a Reporter, this class will provide writers with best practices from the three years of research I conducted for my award-winning debut novel The Black Lens. Here’s a brief overview of the webinar, which Writer’s Digest Magazine also published a related article about in their 100th anniversary issue.

ABOUT THE WEBINAR

Too many fiction writers start their stories without any research. And those who do some research barely scratch the surface, sticking to what they can find on Google or watch on TV. This unique live webinar will teach you how to interview actual sources and research primary documents that can enrich your stories, whether you’re working on a crime thriller, a cozy mystery, or even science fiction that involves new technologies.

As a former reporter with a master’s degree in journalism, Christopher will share with you best practices from the three years of research he conducted for his award-winning debut novel. He’ll also show you how that research helped convince more than a dozen media outlets to publish stories about his book—and how you can do the same.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • What research is—and is not
  • Why you should research
  • How to research, especially through interviews, exposure, and travel
  • Common pitfalls to avoid when researching
  • How to incorporate research into your story
  • Key resources for research

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

  • Writers who want to understand more of the value behind research
  • Writers who want to learn how to research
  • Writers who want to get techniques for conducting interviews
  • Writers who want to incorporate travel into their research
  • Writers who want to see how they can weave research into their novel
  • Writers who need additional resources for conducting research
  • Writers who want to avoid common research mistakes

Register for my webinar, buy a copy of my book on Amazon, or book me as a speaker.

2401, 2024

Two 5-star reviews from retired journalists

January 24th, 2024|

Photo of The Black Lens novel with a cup of coffee

 

Between Amazon and GoodreadsThe Black Lens has received over 100 reviews and ratings with a 4+ star average. By far, the most meaningful reviews have come from actual survivors of human trafficking.

But recently, I noticed two 5-star reviews from retired journalists. That means the world to me, because I am also a former reporter with a master’s degree in journalism who spent more than three years of research on sex trafficking for my debut novel. I conducted interviews with survivors, social workers, and police officers to ground my fiction in fact while still striving to make it a page turner. Here are the two reviews:

Leon Pantenburg

“This book is about sex trafficking in a small Oregon town. The author was a newspaper reporter in that area, and his writing is superb. This is not an easy read. Author Stollar makes the reader see and feel the dirty underbelly of a small town. He shows us how easily young people can get dragged into the sex trafficking world, and how many of these kids go to school in the daytime and are exploited at night.”

Ray Finefrock

“As a retired journalist, I’m always interested in books with a reporter or editor as a main character. Stollar is spot on regarding the daily grind of small town journalism. He also does a real service in exposing the dark and seamy side of sex trafficking in America. This book should be read by anyone who likes a good mystery, but also as a primer to an issue too often ignored, because the victims don’t have money or powerful advocates. It’s not a pleasant read, but it’s a necessary one if you care what happens to teen girls sucked into the sex trafficking life, often through no fault of their own.”

 

1710, 2023

Run the mile you’re in

October 17th, 2023|

When I turned 40 last summer, I decided to challenge myself to a new goal that mirrors the path to publishing—running a marathon.

I could have never prepared my mind or body for what crossing that finish line yesterday at The Columbus Marathon would feel like, but I will never forget this sign I saw that sums up both journeys:

“Run the mile you’re in.”

Writing and running share so many of the same life lessens, from pacing and progress to patience and perseverance. Here are just a few other things I will always remember from my 4-hour and 8-minute race:

  • The sound of random strangers rooting for me and thousands of other runners on the course
  • The taste of doughnuts passed out by hundreds of volunteers
  • The smell of woodsmoke from neighborhood fire pits in each community we ran through
  • The feel of fist bumping patient champions at every mile marker
  • And the sight of my family cheering for me at the end of my race

2806, 2023

Listen to my first Voices of Freedom podcast

June 28th, 2023|

 

I just received the honor of participating in Voices of Freedom, a new monthly podcast hosted by Freedom a la Cart.

This unique podcast about human trafficking hosts a variety of guests, including survivors, law enforcement officers, mental health professionals, and other experts in the field. The goal is to “take the conversation deeper, elevate survivors and their stories, educate the community, and advocate for an important cause.”

Here’s a brief summary of my specific episode and interview:

“Reducing the demand for sex starts with understanding why people solicit sex in the first place. Chris Stollar, author + educator, joins us on this week’s episode to share an inside look at what he has learned from participants who go through She Has A Name’s Solicitor Education Program. Chris also shares a story from Ryan, a Solicitor Education Program graduate, and tells how the program helped Ryan find a new desire to help fight human trafficking. We hope this episode leaves you thinking about demand reduction in a different light.”

Listen to my episode, then check out the other podcasts.

2003, 2023

Transitioning from Indie to Traditional Publishing

March 20th, 2023|

Writer’s Digest just published my fifth article in their magazine about my personal journey transitioning from indie to traditional publishing. Special thanks to my agent and the authors who let me interview them for this story. I hope it encourages every writer or artist who struggles along the way!

My new article appeared in the March/April 2023 issue within the regular IndieLab column that follows trends in the self-publishing business. This piece focuses on several tips I’ve learned while transitioning from self-publishing The Black Lens to traditionally publishing my new novel with senior agent Paula Munier from Talcott Notch Literary.  Here’s a brief summary:

Every single author is stuck in that agonizing transition between writing and publishing we all experience. Each day that goes by without an update from our agent we feel like giving up, wondering if our words are worth anything to the publishers they’re pitching. And yet each day we could get “the call” from our agent saying they landed a deal for us.

As an independent author who successfully self-published a crime thriller in 2016, I too am stuck in that same transition. I made the decision about three years ago to move out of the indie world to traditional publishing because I wanted to take my writing career to the next level.

Maybe you’re considering that same transition. Maybe you’ve already embarked on that journey but heard nothing back from the agents you’ve queried or editors they’ve pitched. Or maybe you’re just struggling to move from one word to the next so you can cross that finish line of a first draft. Regardless of where you’re at in your own path to publishing, this column will help you keep hope alive along the journey—no matter how long it takes.

Writer’s Digest reaches about 70,000 subscribers across the country. The magazine published my first article in 2019 about how to craft the perfect media pitch, my second article in 2020 about how to create successful book media kits, my third article in the 100th anniversary edition of their magazine about how to research like a reporter, and my fourth article in 2022 about three simple strategies for marketing your book.

Take the next step

Read the full article here, buy a copy of The Black Lens on Amazon, or book me as a speaker.

1201, 2023

Learn how to research your novel like a reporter

January 12th, 2023|

Writer’s Digest University just invited me back to teach my second writing webinar. Titled How to Research Your Novel like a Reporter, this class will provide writers with best practices from the three years of research I conducted for my award-winning debut novel The Black Lens. Here’s a brief overview of the webinar, which Writer’s Digest Magazine also published a related article in their 100th anniversary issue.

ABOUT THE WEBINAR

Too many fiction writers start their stories without any research. And those who do some research barely scratch the surface, sticking to what they can find on Google or watch on TV. This unique live webinar will teach you how to interview actual sources and research primary documents that can enrich your stories, whether you’re working on a crime thriller, a cozy mystery, or even science fiction that involves new technologies.

As a former reporter with a master’s degree in journalism, Christopher will share with you best practices from the three years of research he conducted for his award-winning debut novel. He’ll also show you how that research helped convince more than a dozen media outlets to publish stories about his book—and how you can do the same.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • What research is—and is not
  • Why you should research
  • How to research, especially through interviews, exposure, and travel
  • Common pitfalls to avoid when researching
  • How to incorporate research into your story
  • Key resources for research

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

  • Writers who want to understand more of the value behind research
  • Writers who want to learn how to research
  • Writers who want to get techniques for conducting interviews
  • Writers who want to incorporate travel into their research
  • Writers who want to see how they can weave research into their novel
  • Writers who need additional resources for conducting research
  • Writers who want to avoid common research mistakes

Register for my webinar, buy a copy of my book on Amazon, or book me as a speaker.