Stockton author inspired by real-life characters


“In my everyday world, I try to be as normal as possible, but in my writing, anything goes,” said Stockton-based author Carlos Chino during a campus presentation on Feb. 28.

Chino, whose real name is Ed Carlos, spoke to students during a promotion for his newest novel, “Old and Dirty.”

Old and Dirty is a fiction novel based on the Sandra Cantu story and a man named Gordon, a close friend of the author.

Chino revealed that both his novels, “California Shock” and “Old and Dirty” were written off real-life characters, which he loves to write about.

“I use reality,” he said.

As part of his daily routine he writes at least 1,000-2,000 words a day.

“It’s like a muscle,” he said. “You have to work it out every day to stay in shape.”

His inspiration comes from famous authors and musicians such as Cormac McCarthy, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton-Ellis, Bob Dylan, Charles Bukowski, Michael Crichton and Jon Krakauer.

His favorite books include “The Road,” “Fight Club,” Michael Crichton’s “Travels,” “Catcher in the Rye” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.” He re-reads them for inspiration to write his future novels.

Chino carries around two notebooks and an iPhone everywhere he goes to take notes on what is going on around him, to use in a story.

An essential theme in his novels, and his life, is “love is not a triangle.”

He laughs at how common that idea is and because it is a big reason for the bestsellers of today. He doesn’t agree.

While he gives props to the writers who follow that theme, he brings forth reality in love stories, showing that complication prevails over the easy

“I can choose between these two” theme.

Chino’s favorite pastime is surfing. He says if he wasn’t a writer he would be riding the waves every day.

“Don’t do it if you don’t want it to change your life,” he said.

Chino said the first wave he ever caught affected his life in a powerful way.

“That one wave changed everything. It was a life-changer. I wish a woman would do that to me,” he laughs.

Chino encourages students to believe in interviews and living life as part of research for writing. Having found inspiration for many of his characters by introducing himself to strangers and sitting down with them for a chat.

Chino’s work is real and uncensored. He writes with the conversation of our time, putting in words that would make some blush.

“If I’m being honest, I gotta capture the reality,” he said.

While his life dream is to spend his time with a woman, on the beach, surfing and eating fruit from a VW van, he is content with his life at the moment.

Chino doesn’t believe in an “end game.” His religious beliefs are in the agnostic area and he considers himself a man who flows through life.

“Success, to me, is just living your life, I guess. If I could have ten bucks by the time I die, I’ll be happy.”


Visit or follow on Twitter: @CarlosChino209