Welcome back for this week’s author interview. Today, I’m thrilled to spotlight Chad Lutzke. Chad is the author of numerous books including The Pale White, The Same Deep Water as You, Stirring the Sheets, and Out Behind the Barn with co-author John Boden.
Recently, Chad and I discussed the inspiration behind his recent novellas as well as his process as a writer and his future plans.
A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?
I didn’t really start taking writing seriously as something I’d like to make a career of until 2014. At the time, my favorite writers were the usual suspects: King, Koontz, McCammon, Barker, and Poe, but since then I’ve had a far greater appreciation for Ketchum and Lansdale.
Congratulations on the recent release of The Pale White! What was the inspiration behind the book?
Thank you. I wish I had something cool to give you, but the truth is I don’t really remember. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head. That was one of them.
I absolutely adore the cover for The Pale White. It’s so evocative and tells such a story on its own. Who is the artist, and how did the cover develop?
Thank you. Zach McCain did that cover. He also did Out Behind the Barn, The Same Deep Water as You and Halo of Flies. It was just something I envisioned. I drew a sketch of it and sent it to Zach along with very detailed instructions on how I want the girls to look, the house, the stained glass and even the hues. Zach is great at giving me exactly what I ask for.
Earlier this year, you also released The Same Deep Water as You. What was the inspiration and process behind this book? How did it differ from your process with The Pale White?
The Same Deep Water as You is about 98% nonfiction. It was my life in the year ’89/’90. I took the liberty of adding a few things, but for the most part its autobiographical and an experiment for me to write…my idea of dark romance that was basically just for me. Fortunately, people seem to connect with it. Because nearly all of it’s true, it came out very fast. I wrote it in 10 days in a notebook by hand. The Pale White took much longer. It was something I kept putting on the back burner.
Your work often falls in the novella category. What is it that draws you to this length of stories? Also, how is your approach different or similar when working on short stories versus longer fiction?
I like a small cast of characters in isolated incidents. I’m not into long, drawn-out characterization, going on for pages with character backgrounds, and I’m also not big on description. Mix those dislikes with my love for lean prose and you get a shorter book. Often times the short stories I write are nothing more than me starting with an intriguing opening sentence. Something that hooks me enough to keep writing, with the need to know where it’s going. Eventually things come together and the pieces fit. It sounds messier than it is. While I still pants all of my books, I usually have more of an idea on where it’s headed before I start one.
If forced to choose, which is your favorite part of the writing process: developing characters, establishing setting, or crafting dialogue?
Probably developing characters, particularly if I have no idea where things are headed. I love that spontaneity. It keeps me interested. Once I get a better idea of the character, I fill in the blanks later, but the most fun is getting there.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m finishing up a crime noir book called The Neon Owl and slowly writing another book with John Boden. I’m also writing a book with Boden and Bob Ford, which is in the early developmental stages. I have another project I’m doing with another author, but it’s too early to spill the beans on that one yet.
Huge thanks to Chad Lutzke for being part of this week’s author interview series! Find him online at his website!