An Interview with Christian Galacar
Last year, I happened to discover a new favourite author of mine, when I read the amazing book “Gilchrist” from author Christian Galacar.
Through the amazing world of social media, I was able to connect with the man himself and we’ve struck up a friendship. He was kind enough to send me an eARC of his latest ‘Big Bad’ which knocked my socks off. After reading his newest, I approached him about doing a mini-interview, which he amazingly agreed to do!
KR: You can read Steve’s review of Big Bad HERE
So enjoy this quick chat we had, where I ask him some of the burning questions I had regarding his writing and his latest!
SS: You’ve released a novel every two years recently – Cicada Spring (2015), Gilchrist (2017) and now Big Bad (2019). Would you say you’ve found your writing flow?
CG: You know, every time I release a book I tell myself I’ll write the next one quicker. But it never seems to happen that way. Ideally, I’d love to be able to put something out every year or maybe every eighteen months. I won’t force it, though, and time gets away from me pretty easily these days. I usually spend a few months working on side projects after I finish a book (read: procrastinating), and on top of that, I wait until I feel like I’ve found an idea rich enough to support a piece of long-form fiction before I start on a new project. I usually have a few things I’ll toy with until I settle on the one I like the most. All that takes about six months of that two-year groove I seem to have settled into. So have I found my flow? I guess I’d have to say yes. Sure, I’d love to write faster, but this pace seems to be what I’m able to do right now. And I’m cool with that, if you are.
SS: Big Bad tackles some serious topics – addiction, heartache, grief, PTSD – while also being a focused mystery/thriller. Was that something that came after you started writing and developing the characters or were those themes always going to be present?
CG: I don’t plan anything when I write. I tend to start with a character or two, and then I drop them in a situation and see where they take me. The situation is usually dictated by the sort of story I want to tell (mystery, horror, drama, etc), but not always. Sometimes I honestly don’t know what type of book I’m writing… until I do. If that makes sense. Probably not. But it does to me. As far as themes go, I try not to force them into the story, but rather let them surface organically as the characters navigate their way toward success or failure. In rewrites, once I have an idea of what the story was all about, I try to go back and strengthen those themes that surfaced a little. Not too much, though. I don’t want to beat my readers over the head with anything, just give them a little substance to walk away with.
SS: Gilchrist seems to be the novel that most people associate with you. Looking back now, did the release and reception take on a life of its own?
I don’t honestly know. I’m a bit oblivious sometimes. I guess it’s kind of like the lobster in the pot analogy. It happened by such slow degrees over such a long period of time that nothing ever felt like a shock or a drastic shift. With self-publishing, unless you have a huge following, book releases tend to start small and then build momentum once you find the right marketing plan and audience. And that takes time and work. So when you get to the point where the book is doing moderately well, you’ve already been at it for a little bit and the success is easy to miss.
I will say, though, that I was a little surprised by the reception. I wasn’t really sure whether or not the book was any good until people started telling me they really liked it. I made some choices with it that I was unsure of, took some risks, you know? The ending? I knew that’d piss some people off, but it turned out that a lot more people liked it than hated it so I was happy about that.
SS: Have you personally experienced staying in what some would call “a haunted cabin”?
CG: No, unfortunately I haven’t. But I’d love to. Know of any good and murdery ones? Preferably somewhere deep in the woods. And the place would need to have a woodstove (not a fireplace, a woodstove). And there should probably be a blizzard raging outside during my stay.
SS: Emma, the main character in Big Bad is an FBI agent or former FBI agent, as she falls right back into that role. Did you spend some time researching her job?
CG: I hate to say it, because I’m sure I’ll be called out on it by a reader who has a background in law enforcement or who has a family member who is, but I try to do as little research as possible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a necessary evil, but I find it boring. I tend to just write until I get to a point where I’m unsure of something. Then I hit Google and learn as much as I can without spending too much time getting sidetracked. Some details in stories are worth getting right—and I tried my best with Emma and her ties to the FBI—but at the end of the day, I’m just trying to tell a good story and sometimes the details need to be fudged a little to get around little obstacles. To be fair, I do/did this as infrequently as possible. But I am guilty of it.
SS: Let’s talk about Guppy. Guppy is absolutely one of my all-time favourite characters. He starts off as “just the single cab-driver in all of Rockcliffe Island” before having his backstory come out and goes through a bit of a transformation. Was Guppy based on someone or a few people?
CG: The name “Guppy” is the nickname of my good friend’s husband. That’s about the extent of where I drew influence for his character. The rest was just made up as I went. I knew I wanted to like him, and I knew that at some point he would sort of become a surrogate father for Emma to interact with, but other than that I just let him do his thing, and he turned out to be a pretty awesome dude. Oh wait, I forgot, I did base his speech patterns on Lt. Columbo. And that’ll be much more evident in the audiobook. The narrator, a cool dude named Kevin Clay, does a great job bringing Guppy to life.
SS: What draws you towards the mystery/thriller/paranormal world? Was there a favourite book or movie that influenced you growing up?
CG: If I knew the answer to that, it would put my mother at ease. Just kidding. I think my parents are probably at least partly to blame for my obsession with the macabre. They weren’t ones to ever censor what I watched as a child. They let me watch horror (the R-rated good stuff) from a young age. It never seemed to bother me—give me nightmares, scare me, etc—so they let me do it. I think part of it was that I was a huge fan of Fangoria magazine and used to go down to the paper store when I was a kid and read the new issue the second it came out. And I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that magazine, but there used to be a lot of behind-the-scenes looks at how gory scenes and their special effects were done in the very movies I was watching. So from a young age I was always trying to see behind the curtain, and in doing so it kind of took the scare out of scary movies and gave me an interest in what makes things unsettling. I wanted to know everything about that black magic. Writing dark fiction, I guess, is just my way of using what I learned. As far as favorite movies? Back then, I was a huge fan of Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Shining. The list could go on forever. I liked anything spooky.
SS: Who are some of your favourite authors?
CG: Thomas Harris, Stephen King, Donald Ray Pollock, Laurel Hightower (just discovered her, and she rocks!), Carl Hiaasen, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cormac McCarthy, Clive Barker.
SS: Lastly, what’s next? Do you start working on a new novel right away? Or take some downtime?
CG: Oh boy is my face red. Looks like I covered most of this in the first question. So, in an effort to avoid being redundant, I’ll refer you to that. But I will say that I have settled on my next project. The working title is Eden, and for this one I’ll be returning to my love of horror. It’ll take place in the 90s, so it’s going to be my “childhood” book, and it’ll be autobiographical to some extent. But not too much. God, I hope not. So far, this one’s feeling like a story that lands evenly between Stephen King and Clive Barker in tone. That’s the vibe I’m getting, anyway. But I’m only thirty pages deep right now.
Christian Galacar (Born 1984) grew up in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a small suburb north of Boston. He attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received a BBA degree in Finance. Although interested in writing fiction from a young age, it wasn’t until 2012 that he decided to pursue it as a career. Cicada Spring was his first novel.
He is always working on his next book.
You can follow Christian on Twitter @Christian_Lang
You can find out more about Christian via his official website www.christiangalacar.com
At the height of a blizzard, Molly Rifkin goes missing in her small New England community of Rockcliffe Island. But when she is found dead of an apparent suicide, the story doesn’t add up. There are more questions than answers. And there are those who would like to see the whole thing just go away.
But it won’t be that easy…
Molly’s sister is FBI agent Emma Shane, who has been hanging on to her career by a thread, and when her sister turns up dead under suspicious circumstances, she is forced to confront the horrific past they once shared in order to discover the truth of her death—and the course of her own future.
As Emma digs deeper into the mystery on Rockcliffe Island, she finds herself coming face-to-face with corruption, murder, and two of the island’s most powerful and dangerous families.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In arrived. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here