Christopher Motz stops off at Kendall Reviews for a chat.

Christopher Motz grew up on a steady diet of horror and science fiction from some of the genres heavyweights: Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Laymon, William Hope Hodgson, Ray Bradbury, and Peter Straub. From a young age, Christopher was an avid reader and always had the goal to one day publish his own work.

His debut novel, “The Darkening,” marks the beginning of a journey that has been years in the making, but it’s only one step forward. The joy in writing is not knowing exactly where the journey will take you, where your characters will lead you, or how it’ll all turn out in the end.

This author’s story has yet to be written.

Christopher grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, and his work mirrors that way of life. His work is peppered with his own memories of growing up, the friends he had, the places he has seen. It makes for a very authentic atmosphere in his stories and creates a touchstone for others who have similar memories of their childhood.

While he spends most of his time writing, Christopher still finds time to read his favorite authors, along with up-and-comers in a variety of genres. “The best way to become a good writer is to become a good reader.”

Outside of writing, Christopher is an avid collector of classic rock and heavy metal records, and for the past twenty years has been a drummer in a variety of different bands. In 2011 he married his High School sweetheart and has begun a new chapter of his small-town story.

With two novels, two novellas, and multiple appearances in horror anthologies, there’s no telling where this story will go, but you are humbly invited to come along for the ride and see for yourself.

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I live in a small town in Pennsylvania, the same town where I was born and raised. I’m not a city guy; I enjoy the slower pace of rural life. I keep a small circle of close friends, and I generally keep to myself. I married my high school sweetheart in 2011, and we share a house with my step-daughter and a variety of assorted warm and cold-blooded pets.

Growing up, I was the nerd in the corner, in both appearance and in the hobbies I busied myself with. For a while I built model cars, then I collected stamps and coins… it was always changing. Even then I had difficulty focusing on one thing at a time.

By the time I was 10 years old, I’d begun writing short stories about the ghosts under the bed. Even at that young age, I knew writing was going to become a big part of my life. There was something amazingly fulfilling about creating my own characters, my own settings, and allowing them to lead me forward. It’s the same thrill I get to this day.

After years of honing my craft and finding my voice, I finished my first novel in 2012. It had begun life as far back as 1998, my senior year in high school. It was a long road, and never an easy one, but when it finally saw the light of day in 2016, I realized it was well worth all the hours locked in a room while my pals pounded on the door.

Now here we are two years later – four books into my career – and just getting warmed up.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

I watch an unhealthy amount of television! After being in front of a computer for hours a day, there’s something very soothing about sitting down and watching stories unfold that have nothing to do with what I’m working on. I can appreciate what I’m watching without feeling the need to critique or think ahead, as I would with my own projects. It’s escapism… and there are always snacks nearby.

I think it goes without saying, that as a horror writer I read whenever I can. Not simply within my genre, but also fantasy, science fiction, and even historical text. I’ve always thought that a good writer needs to be a well-rounded reader.

I’m also a gamer and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Nerds play video games and we’re pretty darn good at it!

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark’ by Alvin Schwartz. I believe it was a three-book set, all of child-friendly short horror tales. I read these books so often, they eventually fell apart and had to be saved with a liberal use of Scotch tape.

I was also in love with the Dragonlance series; it whetted my appetite for the more adult fantasy I would begin reading a few years later.

KR: What are you reading now?

I just finished ‘1984’ by George Orwell. I often find myself going back to the classics to clean my palette in between my usual horror and sci-fi reads. I’m currently tearing through ‘The Haunted Forest Tour’ by James A. Moore and Jeff Strand. Some excellent, gory, pull-no-punches horror!

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

It would be impossible for me to choose one. Next to my love of writing, my love of music stands as a close second. I run the gamut of musical tastes, from classic rock to heavy metal to psychedelic and jam bands. I’m an avid collector of vinyl and have been for over twenty years. Whether writing or just relaxing, music is playing. Period. I find it hard to function without it!

I taught myself how to play the drums when I was fifteen, and have been playing semi-professionally ever since, although I have taken a break from that to concentrate on my writing at the moment.

If I had to choose a favorite band, it will always be Queen. They started me on my musical journey and will forever be the high-water mark for other bands to achieve.

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

Stephen King, Richard Laymon, and Jack Ketchum were my Big Three. Later on, when I started branching out into more extreme horror, I found Brian Keene, Edward Lee, and Tim Curran. I’m beginning to find many excellent books in the Indie community as well.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

The idea of knowing everything before I sit down to write bores me. I suppose my style of putting a book together is best described as ‘pantsing.’ By this, I mean I fly by the seat of my pants. I start with basic ideas, plot elements, and characters, and allow the story to grow organically. My characters tell me their story; I’m just there to write it down.

Writing an outline, in my opinion, is dull and boring. I don’t often want to know what happens next until I see it on the page. Now if only I could get my characters to help with the grammar and punctuation…

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Research is never a big part of the process for me. One of the first things I learned about writing is to write what you know. I plot based on experience. My characters are people we all know. My settings are fictional so that I can easily create my surroundings in any way I need to for the purpose of the story. Some small details will always require a little digging around, but hours of research become too tedious. I’d rather be writing my tale than scouring the internet for minute details. If I’m unsure of something, I’ll certainly find answers, but I don’t allow it to bog me down.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

Is there a such thing? I’ll admit to being rather scattered when it comes to writing. If the story is flowing and I’m having fun, I could sit in front of the computer for six to eight hours and strike while the iron is hot. Other days it’s a struggle to finish a few pages. I think my routine is based on my mood, about how I’m feeling with what I’m writing. Sometimes you realize what you’re writing isn’t working for a specific reason. You need to reboot and figure out where you went wrong.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

My second novel, ‘Pine Lakes’, stands as my favorite book up to this point. It was such a blast to write, and my voice had become a bit clearer than it was in my debut novel. It’s been doing quite well, so I hope my enthusiasm for that story came across on the page.

My most recent novella, ‘Broken’, also holds a special place for me. It’s a very personal story about death and depression, two topics I’m very familiar with.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Absolutely! I told myself from day one that I wouldn’t let reviews bother me, and for the most part I’ve done well with that. I think reviews are a very important tool for authors. It allows us to connect with our readers, see what we’re doing right and what we may need to work on.

KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?

Write from the heart, and if you feel invested in your story, others will as well. Don’t be discouraged by the naysayers or reviews, and don’t expect a big, fat check in the mail. Any author’s career is a marathon, not a sprint.

KR: What scares you?

Fire and failure. There’s not much to elaborate on…

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

All of the above! I’m a hardcover collector, myself, but haven’t had the chance to have any of my work published in this format. I concentrate on e-book and paperback; there’s something very fulfilling about seeing your book arrive in the mail.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

Broken – A Novella’ was released in December 2017. As I mentioned above, it’s a very personal book that deals with the death of loved ones and mental illness. Although the tale is fictional, the themes are very real, not only for myself, but for millions of others who have dealt with these issues.

KR: What are you working on now?

My current work in progress is titled “The House On Two-Penny Lane.” While not initially planned as being thematically linked to my first novel, it has quickly taken on a life its own. It will now become the second book in a three-book series based on the characters and events of my first novel, “The Darkening.” I’m really looking forward to expanding my mythology and I can’t wait for my readers to see what happens next!

KR: Fast forward ten years! Where do you see yourself?

Fat, bald, and comfortable! Honestly, my biggest goal would be to publish full-time. I don’t need millions of dollars to be happy, but to live off my writing would be a dream fulfilled!

KR: Thank you very much Chris.


For more information please visit the Official Christopher Motz website here

You can connect with Chris via Twitter @authorchrismotz

Please visit Chris’s author page here

The skies above Elmview are growing dark.

Sixteen-year-old Danny Harper and his friends look forward to summer vacation as another adventure, a chance to leave responsibility behind and enjoy their last few summers before High School graduation. The summer of 1986 offers up more than its share of surprises, some of which will change everything they’ve ever known.

Their home is about to become a battleground between light and darkness as Danny and his friends are swept up in a war that has raged since the dawn of time. An ancient evil has emerged from the shadows to claim Earth as its own, and it won’t stop until it reigns supreme over the cosmos.

Fighting their own inner demons, the boys will be faced with love, betrayal, and the struggle for their very survival.

But what is the cost of salvation?

You can buy The Darkening (2016) from Amazon US & Amazon UK

Emery and his younger brother Frank saw the move to their grandfather’s farm as a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to leave their stale and cramped existence in Red Hook behind. Summer brought new and exciting adventures, new experiences, and the freedom to be anything they wanted.

But summer never lasts forever.

Emery and Frank soon learn that they aren’t alone out on the farm, that the once-vibrant forest has become a much darker place, one hiding secrets they could never imagine. As the winter storms bury them in snow, the brothers are forced to not only confront the real-life horrors of isolation, but also those that are waiting in the woods beyond.

“The Farm” shows us that solitude has its disadvantages, and there are things worse than loneliness hiding out there in the snow…things with teeth.

You can buy The Farm – A Novella (2016) from Amazon US & Amazon UK

Ted and Susan Merchant have been coming to the Pine Lakes Resort for nearly twenty years. In that time, their annual getaway has become a tradition, a peaceful week nestled in the picturesque mountains of northern Pennsylvania. For them, it isn’t just a simple vacation spot, but a magical destination where time slows and they become one with nature’s magnificence.

When a freak summer storm forces Ted to lose control of their car and plummet off the road, they’re relieved just to have survived, but relief quickly turns to dread as they find out all too soon they’re not alone.

Strange lights in the forest, whispered warnings, the insurmountable threat of unseen forces lurking in the shadows; nothing could have prepared them for the horrors that lie ahead.

Escaping the wreck is just the beginning.

Is love enough to save them, or will they become the latest victims on the road to Pine Lakes?

You can buy Pine Lakes (2017) from Amazon US & Amazon UK

Michael Samson is no stranger to adversity.

His life has been marked only by the deaths of those he loved; depression has consumed him and made him a shell of his former self. When he awakes on a sinking ship – with no idea of how he’d gotten there – Michael is forced to face his own mortality.

A barren beach, a mysterious and peculiar young woman, a crumbling house on the rocks…

Michael washes up on the shore of an empty, forgotten island, soon realizing he’s alone except for Essa, the strange young woman he finds wandering the fringes of the jungle. Although she appears to mean him no harm, Michael is wary of her presence and her motives. Still, he follows her, knowing if there is any chance of escape, it will be by her side.

Michael’s journey begins on the ship, but takes us much deeper into the mind of a man whose past has led him to this moment. Where is Essa taking him, and how have the monsters inside Michael’s head suddenly come alive to chase him through this waking nightmare?

Some choices mean everything.

What happens to the broken?

You can buy Broken – A Novella (2017) from Amazon US & Amazon UK

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