Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. For those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit the clubhouse is via membership or an invite to the clubhouse tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation I’ve had with a guest over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Today in the Clubhouse tearoom I’m chatting with Chris. Hello Chris, thank you for joining me.
Thank you for allowing me to talk about my work today. It’s quite a set up you have here, Paula.
Thank you for saying so. In these troubling times it’s nice to have a hideaway. Now our drinks have arrived I shall start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I have always liked suspense, my first love being big action movies. As I got older and my parents couldn’t tell me what to watch anymore, I fell in love with horror movies and books. I enjoy thrillers and crime stories just as much, and the common thread to all of those is SUSPENSE! When I began writing, that’s just naturally what came out.
What writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
I think I do a really good job at pacing and suspense, keeping the tension high throughout, and I think I do a good job of creating a satisfying payoff at the climax. I’d like to get better at dialogue and in “depth” all around.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
Two current projects, one is a new short novel and one is a short story collection (my first). The collection has been building for over a year, but I am only including 3 previously published stories in it, and all the rest will be new to the collection, so I’ve spent the last several months writing for that. The new novel was intended to be a novella and to be part of the collection, but it got too big. It’s a crime/noir with some sprinklings of splatterpunk thrown in.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? Do you plan your story or let the characters lead you.
I don’t outline anything. I get a situation in my head and, if it sticks, it starts to populate with some characters. After a while, I figure out where I want the story to start, then I drop into gear and floor it. I’m usually happy with where I end up.
Choosing only five of your favourite authors. Can you list them in order 1 begin the top of your list and say how have they influenced your writing?—
1. Stephen King (my first introduction into adult horror and I just love the way he tells a story and draws his characters. My novels THE DAMNED PLACE and THE DAMNED ONES were directly inspired by IT, and are an homage to both that book and King himself).
2. Quentin Tarantino (brilliant filmmaker and screenwriter, best dialogue around, and lots of irreverent fun…his work has certainly influenced my writing to a large degree, such as with THE HARD GOODBYE).
3. Joe R. Lansdale (lives a couple hours from me and we both write stories set in East Texas, so it’s always cool to read about places I know in real life, and Joe just brings it all to life with perfect authenticity…I love the “crazy” nature to how things will turn left in his stories, lots of fun).
4. The Coen Brothers (arguably the greatest filmmakers of all time, brilliant, deep storytelling, wonderfully dark AND humorous, with memorable and bizarre characters, all of which has infused into my own style).
5. HP Lovecraft (his mythos and approach to cosmic horror is legendary, and AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS is my favorite novella of all time. The man knows how to get under your skin and make you genuinely afraid…I do a fair amount of cosmic horror myself, and Lovecraft is my go to for inspiration in that realm).
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Oh, yes. Not all, but even the ones that aren’t, there are aspects of several real people in there…impossible not to draw from experience. I won’t say who, though. 😉
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
I’m Catholic, and a practicing one. Religion is important to me and I love Mass. Not sure how many authors of horror or extreme horror out there are Christian, but I’m one, so they may be surprised to hear that.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
All over the place. I write every Saturday (I don’t work weekends for my day job) and most Sundays, and every Tuesday evening. Then I just try to fit in some time here and there when I can to hammer out some more words. Some days I’ll get 500 words, some days I’ll get 3K. My best ever was 9K in a single day, but that’s a rare occurrence.
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
I often just look at the ceiling for a few minutes and see if any names pop up. Or I look at who’s online to chat on Facebook and start mixing and matching names. Nothing mind-blowing. However, I do NOT know everything about them before starting, just enough for the story. The rest I discover as I write.
How long on average does it take you to write a book or story?
Depends…I’ve written 11,000 word novelette’s in two days, and had 5000 word shorts take me weeks. I took 3 years to complete The Damned Books (wrote them at the same time), but I was back and forth working on other things throughout that time, so it wasn’t so much that book that took so long. I wrote my Splatter Western, DUST, in less than two months in first draft. Kind of all over the place, I guess. Depends on the mood, inspiration, if there are any distractions, etc.
Thank you for an interesting chat, Chris. You’re welcome back anytime. Just remember you’re sworn to secrecy now.
To find out more about Chris’ works click on the links below:
It you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.