I use the initialized version of my name, R. C. Qualls, since the name that I was given at birth, Raymond Christopher Qualls, is far too long for most bylines, and Chris Qualls is far too common among many Qualls families across the country.
Q: Who is your greatest literary influence?
My first attempt of writing a story was for a fifth-grade writing contest when I was a student at South Rossville Elementary School in Rossville, Georgia. Instead of writing a historically focused entries like the other students, I wrote a science fantasy story set on a faraway world in another galaxy. My story didn’t win, but the effort hooked me on writing.
My life took many detours since then that included earning associate degrees in health care science, electronics technology and biology, and recently earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. I’ve also held a variety of jobs over the years, which included working as a bagger and a produce clerk for a retail grocery chain based in Chattanooga, serving as a medic and non-commissioned officer at Robins AFB, working as a construction site emergency medical technician in Macon, working as an industrial safety and worker’s compensation coordinator for a textile company in Hawkinsville, working as a civil service electronics technician at Robins, and now working as an industrial engineering technician. While I was learning and working, I married in 1989 and I became the father of two daughters. When I reached the half-century mark in my life, I decided to return to my dream of writing and make a serious effort to make real the worlds I imagined long ago.
It’s been an interesting life journey, and I hope it’s nowhere near over yet!