Thursday, January 12, 2012

M.R. Interviews... Chris Bauer

 Please Welcome to Cutis Anserina Chris Bauer 

What is the strongest appeal for readers of The Winter of Her Discontent'?

The story portrays a woman struggling through a bad boss, a bad job, bad weather, and pests in the attic—all familiar situations.  At a certain point in the story I give plausibility a weird turn, resolving all of her issues through an unexpected intervention.

You have a number of titles available from Untreed Reads Specters line.  Do you find the classification of horror on your work to be liberating or limiting? 

My stories are hard to categorize, so they fall into the horror category by default. I would compare them to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, whatever the category would be.  A car that eats people, an airplane flight to impossible destinations, the return of a dead WWII fighter pilot, turkeys seeking Thanksgiving revenge, and killer squirrels…..well, maybe horror is the right category.  Untreed Reads has been very supportive of my stories, so whatever genre they want to call them is fine.

What can readers rely on you for?

They can rely on me to tell them a good, satisfying story with the spice of dark humor. I accomplish this by tapping into the reader’s true-life experiences, and then giving them a twist. Every story begins firmly grounded in reality, and I lead the reader down the path of plausibility until they find themselves in a very strange place.

What is the process you use when crafting your tales?

Everyday life is filled with stories, and each of my tales is founded in real events. The story becomes mine when I ask myself the question “What if…?”  It is important to hook the reader at the beginning, set them at ease with a familiar reality, then take them for a ride.  I have found the formula of Hook, Story, Wrap Up, and Twist to be most successful.

What is your favorite character that you created?  Do you love or hate him/her?

Right now, my favorite character is Denise in Winter of Her Discontent.  She is modeled off a real person,  and I especially like her ‘grit’.  My favorite tale is Harrigan’s Price, which my father, a World War Two veteran of the South Pacific, related to me as a true story when he was dying  of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
What is the first book you remember being genuinely frightened by?  Was your immediate reaction to run out and find other similar tales, or stash it in your closet and block it out?
I read a paperback compilation of the earliest of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone stories, and because of their reality, some are especially frightening. Remember the child who falls through the wall to another dimension? I do!

What is the most influential literary character to you personally?  Why?

Franz Kafka and Rod Serling are most influential.  Again, both tell stories founded in a reality that take a left turn somewhere. I did not start writing to copy them, but found their kind of stories and their styles instructive (and enjoyable) when crafting my own tales.
What current genre authors are you following/reading right now?  What draws you to them?
At the moment I’m re-reading Chandler’s “The Big Sleep”.  He has a gift for setting the scene that is enviable.  I also recently finished Whitney Howland’s “Huey Dusk” and Trey Dowell’s “Ballistic” with Untreed Reads.

If you could take the reins of writing for any existing franchise, which would you choose and why?

Definitely The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling was a gifted writer as well as a story teller, and as we live in a world where truth is stranger than fiction, I believe it would be a repeat success.

Do you have anything new coming down the pipeline you would like to share with us?

 Untreed Reads has published A Killer of a Deal, Special Charter, Harrigan’s Price, Fresh Never Frozen, and now Winter of her Discontent.  Special Charter and Harrigan’s Price have received especially enthusiastic reviews—the writing in Harrigan’s Price has been described as ‘elegant’.  There are always more short stories coming---and a novel is in the works.

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