Chris, your debut novel is steeped in ghosts and demons. Have you ever had a “close encounter” with an otherworldly entity?
Yes, I’ve had a couple of encounters with ghostly figures. Back in the 90’s I lived in a small condo with a roommate in New Jersey. One day while washing dishes I heard footsteps coming across the kitchen floor, but no one was there. I dismissed it as my imagination until one of the cups I had placed on the counter after washing it moved about 3 feet. Thinking it happened because of the water on the counter, I dried everything off and placed the cup on the counter once again, and again it moved 3 feet. Knowing something was definitely not right I called for my roommate and with him watching, I placed the cup on the counter once again, and again it moved 3 feet. In the months that followed, on many occasions the heat would be turned up to the max or the AC would be turned to its coldest settings. With only the two of us living there, we knew it had to be our “other” roommate messing with us.
What made you decide to write for the young adult market?
Being a teacher, I feel that I know teenage the voice and their personalities. I love their imagination and their willingness to accept what most jaded adults cannot. It opens up the possibilities to use my imagination. I feel like I have no limitations to my imagination when it comes to writing for the young adult market.
You live in New Jersey but your book is set in Virginia. Why did you choose this location? Is Mill’s Run based on a real town or is it a blend of several?
I did several theses on slavery while earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In the process I studied several antebellum plantations in Virginia and had the opportunity to visit a number of them. The vibe I always received while walking around them or exploring the main house told me they’d be a great place for the setting of a paranormal story.
You migrated from the West coast to the East coast. What’s a nice California guy like you doing in Jersey?
If you have ever been to Jersey you will see something here that exists almost nowhere else, the diner. My father grew up in Jersey working in one of the family owned diners. On one attempt to escape the diner lifestyle, he ventured to California and met my mother. Not long afterwards, I was born and my father bought one of the family’s diners here in Jersey. For the rest of my childhood, much like a military brat, I moved back and forth each time my father tired of the family business. Now as an adult I often wish I could bring my family back to San Diego to stay. (Nothing against Jersey, just love San Diego) Writing this book hopefully will give me that chance. Hey it’s only $2.99 for a great read and if enough of the readers….
I know you have a love of history. If you could go back in time, where would you go and during what era?
I know that I already spoke of the plantations that I wrote about in The Beckoning and in my theses, but that time period would not be my first choice. There would have been too much misery and displeasure to witness. I also teach Native American history and have written the textbook for that class. If I could go back in time, I would love to go back to 1492 and give the Native Americans some really good advice.
What’s your favorite Stephen King novel?
Up until now I loved two of his books, “Pet Cemetery” and “The Tommyknockers.” I have recently started to read 11/22/63 and find the premise of this book intriguing and his writing I feel is his best yet.
What’s the greatest obstacle you had to overcome on the road to Indie publishing?
Bringing myself to do it. Like many other authors, I was brainwashed into thinking that the Indie market would be a black mark. Upon doing my research, I discovered the many positives of going Indie and I am very happy I got over myself and took the plunge.
Since you write paranormal and horror, tell us about the thing that scares YOU most.
When talking to my students and friends, they probably think that I am not afraid of anything paranormal. Especially when I tell them of the haunted hotels I have stayed in over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, this is not the case. To this day, I cannot watch The Exorcist.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years I will still be writing, hopefully as a best selling author living in Southern California. Whether or not that happens, I know I will be writing. Writing and telling stories is something I find exciting and I don’t see myself ever giving it up.
A little birdie told me you have more books on the way. Will you briefly describe your next one and tell us when it will be available?
Your little birdie is correct. Right now I have a book with my editor and another 1/3 complete. The one with my editor is called The Daguerreotypist and is about a time traveling serial killer in New York City. The third book is currently unnamed, but is a steampunk vampire thriller involving Billy the Kid. Both my second and third books are as exciting as The Beckoning and will leave you on the edge of your seat while being scared at the same time. After these books hit the market I will work on the sequel to The Beckoning. I expect that one to be on Amazon by late spring.
I reside in Northern New Jersey. By day I’m a teacher and family man. At night, the need to write drives me deep into the early hours of the morning. Growing up, my love of history and horror, including Stephen King, greatly shaped my reading and writing interests and style. My debut novel, The Beckoning, is a YA paranormal romance immersed in a historical setting. In additional to the sequel, I have two other YA novels in the publication queue.
Genre: Paranormal YA Romance
Number of pages: 273
Word Count: 83,000
Cover Artist: Char Andlesperger
Teenage girls don’t fall in love with ghosts, discover their magical powers or save their families from demons, or do they?
Forced to leave the few friends she’s ever had and the only life she’s ever known, snarky fifteen-year-old Marissa arrives at Briar Creek, a remote Virginia plantation house, lonely and unhappy. Immediately upon arrival, she learns that her parents have come under the power of the demon that has dwelled there for over a century and that her very life hangs by a thread. With her life in peril, Marissa makes several discoveries that would turn any teenager’s life upside down.
Finding out that the nearby town of Mills Run is inhabited by the souls of her dead relatives who continually try to communicate with her is terrifying. Knowing her parents are under full control of the demon, who unbeknownst to her wants to father a child and rule the world, is even worse. Realizing that she only has Max, her faithful dog for support, Marissa begins to give up all hope.
That’s until she finds the journal of the long dead boy who used to occupy her room. Reading about his life, Marissa begins to fall in love and fantasizes about the seemingly impossible, meeting him. Her impossible dream miraculously comes true when Zachary materializes to save her life and teach her of the powers she never knew she possessed. Allied with her first love, and more powerful than any teenage girl ever dreamed, Marissa gains confidence and believes she can do anything. Together, can this improbable duo save Marissa’s family and the world from the demon before it’s too late?