Name: Chad Lutzke
Fiona: Where are you from:
Lutzke: Battle Creek, MI.
Fiona: A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc.:
Lutzke: Went to college to be a teacher…dropped out. Been with my wife for quarter of a century (makes me feel like a vampire using the word century). Got kids. I’m blessed.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Lutzke: I have a new novella coming out on July 22nd, titled OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES about a neglected 12-year-old boy who’s mother dies at home and he doesn’t do anything about it because a spelling bee is coming up at school and it’s very important to him. It’s a dark tearjerker. I also have a secret project that I haven’t been able to talk about yet, but it involves another novella that I wrote in a world established by a writer who invited me to work with him and who is much more established than I am. Hopefully I can announce it by the end of the month. I’m also working on a serialized novel that I’ll be releasing in novelette-sized increments about three girls who find out they’ve been vampires for the last four years without knowing it. It’s another coming-of-age piece but with a road trip and lots of bloodshed. This is actually the first place I’ve mentioned it. You get an exclusive…how ‘about that! The first two books should be out by late summer. The rest of the year will be peppered with some anthologies and other stuff that are scheduled to be released throughout 2016.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Lutzke: In the 90s I wrote four stories and started a novel and then went on a 20-year hiatus and didn’t write again until a little over two years ago. I started writing again when I saw a friend of mine doing it. It was inspiring and thought I’d give it another shot. Glad I did.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Lutzke: Once I started getting stressed about deadlines.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Lutzke: Well, up until now most of my stuff has been short fiction in magazines and anthologies, so I’ll just jump right to OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES. I’m a huge fan of the coming-of-age subgenre and have been heavily influenced by stuff like McCammon’s Boy’s Life, King’s The Body, and William Goldman’s The Temple of Gold. OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES is from an idea I got while reading James Newman’s Midnight Rain. Another great coming-of-age tale.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Lutzke: It’s constantly morphing, and it depends on the tone I’m trying to convey or what point of view I’m writing in, but for the most part I think people can identify when it’s my writing.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Lutzke: OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES? It’s part of a line from the book and when I wrote it I just knew it would be the title. Until then, I was using a tentative list of names like “Spelling Bee” and “Over Her Dead Body.”
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Lutzke: It doesn’t really have any kind of social commentary, other than love your kids and pay attention to them because you never know how bad they may be hurting. Basically I just want readers to be entertained by a week in the life of a 12-year-old who finds himself in some pretty unique, life-altering situations.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Lutzke: Other than competing in a spelling bee myself when I was in elementary, it’s pure fiction. Though I normally draw quite a bit from real life, like any writer does, pretty much everything in the book is stuff I made up–the weird quirks in the characters, all the events…they’re all lies, and it was a lot of fun developing that based on nothing. I don’t usually write like that. I normally draw more from life experience. I will say, though, that the protagonist’s best friend is based on someone I’ve known for 25+ years.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Lutzke: I have no writing mentor, just friends, peers who I network with, grab advice from, give advice to, etc. Stephen King and Dean Koontz have been a big influences as well as Richard Matheson. Robert McCammon’s Boy’s Life was a big influence. I think I’ve been more inspired by short fiction than anything else–Clive Barker and Poe being my favorites. I guess when it really comes down to it, it’s not even books that have influenced my writing as much as Rod Serling and everything he touched, like Twilight Zone and Night Gallery as well as old horror comics from the 50s, 60s, and 70s…they all had these great twists at the end, and that has been responsible for the way I see both films and literature. So now when I write, the ending is very, very important to me. Often times I won’t even start on a story unless I have a solid ending figured out first–something that will make the reader sit there a moment after they’re done, have it stick with them, stir things up inside and put a smile on their face because they realize how much they’ve enjoyed the ride.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest, and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Lutzke: I’m not sure I can name an absolute favorite author. I really like Lansdale, King, McCammon, Koontz, Barker, Poe, Lovecraft, Matheson, Serling, …For newer authors I’d say John Boden and Michael Wehunt. Both write ridiculously original concepts packed with prose that is better than most stuff out there. Though I wouldn’t call him new because he’s been writing a while (but had quite a long hiatus), Terry M. West. He’s got some really tight work. James Ferace is another one that I think is overlooked. There are a lot of great undiscovered authors out there that I’m still finding, but there are so many books and so little time.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Lutzke: I have quite a few peers that are extremely supportive, the list is endless and grows weekly.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Lutzke: That’s the goal. There’s a lot of hard work ahead, but I’m ready.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Lutzke: Well, considering it’s so new and not out until July 22nd, then no. However, I don’t like to read my own work after it’s been published because I’m a perfectionist and I’ll always find something that I would change, even if it’s just one word.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Lutzke: Probably just from reading books. I don’t think there was any pivotal moment or anything. I know…boring answer.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Lutzke: Hmm…well, how about I share the prologue for OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES:
I’ve seen plenty of movies where police investigators cower in disgust at the scent of a rotting body, covering their mouths, struggling to hold down their lunch. But all the Hollywood reactions in the world couldn’t have prepared me for the real thing. There were moments I wasn’t sure I could hold out, times I fell asleep with my head out the window or incense lit around me–something Mom would never allow. But with just a few more days to go, I knew it’d be worth it.
And it was.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Lutzke: Good question, yes. Besides sitting down and actually writing, I think maybe action scenes can be a challenge for me. A lot of literary action scenes just bore me, even in film, and if I’m reading some fist fight or shoot out scene in a book it’ll lose my attention, and the last thing I want to do is lose someone’s attention, so I guess maybe I take extra time for active scenes like that.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Lutzke: Only on the information super highway!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Lutzke: So far I’ve designed all my own covers; however, the painting on the cover of NIGHT AS A CATALYST is painted by an artist who goes by “Toeken.” He’s an incredible artist and a great guy.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Lutzke: Probably trying to get people to feel how Denny (the protagonist) is feeling. If he’s upset I want them to be upset. If he’s crying I want them to be crying. If he’s happy I want them to be happy for him.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Lutzke: I learned a bit about New Orleans culture. That’s where the book takes place, so I had to my homework.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Lutzke: I always thought that my short story “One Up a Tree” would make a great movie, and when I was writing it, for some reason I pictured Zac Orth as the guy in the tree, and maybe Willem Dafoe or Stephen Lang as the antagonist.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Lutzke: Not anything more than what every other writer offers. Read and write. A lot! Be careful not to want to learn the craft so much that you’re only reading books on how to and not actually writing. Network with as many people as you can. Support your peers, pay it forward. And be careful getting stuck doing nothing but writing for “for the love” markets. If your work is good then use those markets for stepping stones only, don’t stand around on them the whole time…get moving. If you’re good, start getting paid for your work, even if it’s just a little.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Lutzke: I’m just a really grateful person. I don’t take anything for granted and I’m super appreciative for every bit of attention something I write gets, and if you’re part of that then a sincere thank you to you!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lutzke: I’m reading a handful of different anthologies right now. King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt, Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts, and an ARC of John Boden’s titled Spungunion.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Lutzke: I hated reading when I was younger. I was a magazine kid. Stuff like Fangoria, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Cracked and Mad Magazine, but when the Amityville Horror became such a phenomenon in the early 80s I remember my mom had a copy of the book, and I flipped through it, trying to find all the scary bits. It wasn’t cover to cover but I read quite a bit of it.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lutzke: I have a pretty dry sense of humor. Randomness makes me laugh. It doesn’t take much for me to tear up during a movie, especially an indie drama or even a well-told romance. I’m not ashamed to admit it. The show Six Feet Under made me cry several times…especially that last episode. My gosh that one hurt.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Lutzke: There are several people I’d like to meet, not sure I can pinpoint just one. Stanley Kubrick. Mike Patton from Faith No More. I’d love to talk shop with Rod Serling. I love to hear the guy talk in interviews. He was one smart dude.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Lutzke: I don’t want a headstone, I want some unique thing where my bones are kept in a fragile glass case or something, and there’d be a plaque and it would read: “Be Excellent to Each Other!”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Lutzke: Too many. I’m an artist, watercolor and acrylics. I’m a guitarist, an avid board gamer, and I do commissioned paint work on gaming miniatures.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Lutzke: My all time favorite sitcom is Seinfeld and Three’s Company. I love indie films…stuff like Spring Forward, Prince Avalanche, Bottle Rocket, Swingers, Tape. I think the best episodic drama ever created is Six Feet Under.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Lutzke: I’m tempted to just be silly here but I’ll be straightforward: Pizza, Mexican, Purple, and my musical tastes are very diverse and there’s not enough room on your website to list all my favorites. I like several different genres of music. From Minor Threat, D.R.I, The Accused and the Misfits to Sabbath, Sade, smooth jazz, Patrick O’ Hearn, Gunship, Twin Shadows, desert rock, Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork, and The Cure…I’d better just stop now.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Lutzke: When I was a kid I wanted to be a special FX makeup artist for horror films. I also wanted to be Gene Simmons or Mick Jagger..
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/Chad-Lutzke/e/B00L81FK9Q
Of Foster Homes and Flies with me out on July 22, 2016.