Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
–My name is Christopher Motz and I’ll be 39 years old in January, but that’s a secret, so let’s say I’ll be 29 instead!
Fiona: Where are you from?
–I was born and raised in a small town in Northeast Pennsylvania in 1980 and I’m still here today. I’m a fan of small town life…
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
–I graduated high school in 1998 with High Honors and went on to college briefly to study marketing and accounting. Once I left college, I started working a normal job and began focusing on music. I’ve been a drummer for several bands ever since, and although I’m on a break currently, I imagine I’ll eventually go back to it.
I married my junior high school sweetheart in 2011, and my stepdaughter has just started college herself. I’m not sure how time crept on me so quickly, but I’m not going to complain. It’s a very simple, yet happy life.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
–My latest novel ‘The Traveler-Great Rift Book 2’ was released over the summer and has been doing relatively well alongside my other books. Upcoming book news includes a top secret anthology scheduled for next spring/summer AND my new novel ‘Tenants’ should see the light of day as early as February.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
–I started writing short stories when I was about 12 years old. Even at an early age I was an avid reader and I wanted to learn how to put my own stories on paper for others to see. I took quite a few years off, especially during high school and my early 20’s, but when I was bitten by the bug again, I found out how much fun I actually had writing and it’s never stopped since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
–I guess anyone who puts pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – can be considered a writer, but for me it wasn’t until I had the finished manuscript for my first novel ‘The Darkening’ that I really considered myself as anything more than a hobby-writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
–An awful series of dreams I’d begun having started the entire concept of alternate realities and the things that may reside there. This has been done before by much better writers than myself, but I wanted to put my own spin on the idea and see where it went from there. To date, there are two books in the series, with a third planned in the future.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
–The final title of my first book is ‘The Darkening.’ The original title, ‘Grayworld,’ was something that was mentioned in the book, but I decided at the 11th hour that it wasn’t very interesting and didn’t really say much about the content. ‘The Darkening’ seemed a more fitting title, as my characters are literally fighting an evil that is slowly draining the light and life from their home town.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
–I wouldn’t know how to explain my style. I’d like to think it’s completely my own, but I’m sure other authors have bled into my writing over the years. My dialog has been pointed out in several reviews to be very realistic and authentic, so I guess that’s something to hang my hat on.
I write mainly in the horror genre, and I think that’s a challenge all by itself. You have you’re A-list authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz who everyone knows, but then you have a plethora of indie writers such as Andrew Lennon, Kyle Scott, and Iain Rob Wright whose material is every bit as good, but not necessarily as well known.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
–Everything I’ve written to date has in some way tied in to people I grew up with, places I’m familiar with, or situations I’d found myself in over the years. My fictional town of Elmview is nearly a carbon copy of my home town, and several of the characters in ‘The Darkening’ are based off myself and my closest friends when we were growing up in the 1980’s. I’ve heard other authors say ‘write what you know,’ and that’s absolutely true. Basing your characters and settings on things you’re familiar with adds a certain amount of authenticity to your story.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
–Nope! The beauty of what I’ve written thus far is that it’s all based on locations I’m very familiar with. I haven’t stepped too far away from the small town mentality just yet. When the time comes to broaden my universe, I’m sure I’ll have more research to do, but for now, I’m content writing in the small town context.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
–I’m not big on messages. I don’t have agendas to push or themes I need the reader to grasp. I guess if you take anything away from my writing, it would be about the very real struggle of good versus evil, and who we choose to surround ourselves with in that fight. Good friends can take you a long way, and without them, what do we really have?
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
–There are actually too many to name! New writers seem to be popping up every day with great stories to tell and wonderful narrative voices. Sorry if this answer seems like a cop-out, but realistically, the answer would change weekly.
Some of my favorite authors will be no surprise to anyone writing horror or sci-fi: Stephen King, Lovecraft, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, J.F. Gonzalez, Richard Laymon… the list goes on and on. Each has a very specific style of writing and elements that cater to almost anyone. Any author with the ability to be somewhat of a chameleon will always be vital.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
–I’ve had an amazing support system over the years, not only from friends, but also from other indie authors in the business. I was shocked – and still am – that so many authors out there are willing to give their time to help others, whether it be critiques, help with word-of-mouth, or even social media blasts to help you get noticed. The horror community really is a family… dysfunctional at best, but as close as any other family you’d want to meet.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
–I think it’s too early to tell if I’ll be able to break into the mainstream and be able to write full time, but of course it’s the dream every writer has. You can’t have a better job. Scaring the hell out of people and getting paid to do so? Yes, please!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
–I’m very happy with my more recent work. My first novel was somewhat of a test, and the original release of that book was filled with grammatical errors and stilted dialog… so much so that I went back and did a full re-write some time later. My second novel, which is still my biggest seller, also suffers from a few of these issues, but in smaller numbers. Sometimes when I look back on the 6 books I’ve released so far, I think of myself as a child actor who is being forced to grow up in the public spotlight. I’m making mistakes along the way for all to see, but I’m getting better as I go.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
–I think what I learned as a writer for my upcoming novel is that outlining key scenes greatly helps me maintain focus. I hadn’t done any outlines for my previous books, and although I’m happy with how they turned out, there are key scenes that could have been handled differently or have been made more concise if I had a clearer image of how I wanted them to play out. With my latest book, I’ve begun sketching out certain elements so I don’t lose track of my own plot!
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
–I wouldn’t want A-list actors in my film. Sure, this is what draws a crowd, but I think once you get an image of a character in your mind, you don’t want to see them replaced by someone else. I think there are many screen adaptations that have failed because of the actors they have playing key roles. Not that these actors aren’t good at what they do, it’s just that they don’t fit the image of who I saw on the written page.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
–Stop second-guessing yourself! If you want to write, just write. No one is forcing you to publish your book, but if that’s what you want to do, then go for it. Don’t expect to become an overnight success, be humble, and write what you like writing about. Readers will follow.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
–My sincerest thanks to each and every one of you who has taken a chance on a new author. Whether you bought the e-book or paperback, left a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or helped spread the word on social media… every little bit counts. Without my readers, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to keep sharing my work.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
–‘Elevation,’ the latest from Stephen King. I haven’t gotten very far yet, but it’s shaping up to be another great read.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
–‘Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ was one of the very first. It was a short story collection of horror tales specifically written for a younger audience. Another was ‘The Haunting Of Grade 3,’ but it’s been so long I barely remember it anymore. I know it scared the hell out of me as a boy!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
–I think we’re all built the same way. We cry in times of great joy or sadness – we laugh when we’re happy or when we’re nervous. I have a very dark sense of humor, so it may be a bit different for me in certain situations. Horror movies generally make me laugh more than I should…
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
–I was going to go with a celebrity or historical figure, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see my mother one more time. She was one of my biggest supporters when I was finishing my first novel, but unfortunately she passed away before it was published. I don’t think I’d want my mother to read my books, but even so, I wish she could be here to see what’s happened these past 5 years.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
–I’m an obsessive collector of vinyl and music in general. There aren’t enough hours in the day to listen to everything I want to hear, but it doesn’t stop me from collecting.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
–Too many to mention! Television in the last 10 years has become a great place for sci-fi and horror shows. Surely ‘Lost’ and the original ‘Twilight Zone’ are some of my favorites, along with ‘The X-Files.’ I also enjoy straight drama like ‘Six Feet Under’ or police procedurals like ‘The Shield.’ Variety! The same goes for film. I can sit down and have a George Romero movie marathon, or I can binge ‘Lord Of The Rings’ or ‘Titanic.’ I suppose horror is an underlying theme of everything I mentioned… horror can manifest in a thousand different ways depending on how you look at it. Situations, people, tragedies… all horrific in their way.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
–Anything with chicken… literally. Colors are black, blue, and red. Music is such a wide ranging subject for me, but my main styles are classic rock and heavy metal in all their various forms. Queen, Styx, Genesis, Meat Loaf, Helloween, Judas Priest, Type O Negative… I could fill pages of just what I listed to in the last few weeks!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
–Well, if everything goes well, I’d hope to be sitting on an island somewhere collecting royalties on everything I’d written previously!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
–With friends and family, good music, and a smile on my face.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
–I haven’t really thought about it… just as long as they spell my name right, I guess that’s all I can ask for.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
–Most of my updates are shared on my official author page on Facebook. Just search Christopher Motz and you’ll find me. My website is currently undergoing a major overhaul, so it’ll be a bit before that’s up and running again.
https://amzn.to/2SFZF6b This is the link to my Amazon author page.
https://www.facebook.com/authorChristopherMotz/ This is my official Facebook page