Skullface Boy: Kendall Reviews talks to Chad Lutzke

Chad lives in Battle Creek, MI. with his wife and children where he works as a medical language specialist. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene including articles, reviews, and artwork. Chad loves music, rain, sarcasm, dry humor, and cheese. He has a strong disdain for dishonesty and hard-boiled eggs. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, and Scream magazines. His fiction has been praised by Jack Ketchum, James Newman, John Boden, Terry M. West, Mark Allan Gunnels, and his own mother.

Chad’s latest novel Skullface Boy is out NOW!

KR: Coffee?

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

I’m a 40something dreamer who gets off on nostalgia, unpredictability and originality. I have a hard time with change and letting go of my punk rock ethics. I guess that could be a good or bad thing.

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

Play heavy board games that hurt my brain. I’m constantly listening to music. I paint, play guitar and lecture my kids.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

The House with the Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

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

Disintegration by The Cure if I’m forced to pick only one, but musically I’m very diverse. One minute I’m listening to Grade, Black Flag or The Accused and the next I’m chilling to Sade, CHVRCHES, Brant Bjork or Patrick O’Hearn. Music distracts me when I write unless it’s horror film soundtracks or synthwave, my favorites of which are TimeCop1983, Gunship, and FM-84 to name a few.

KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?

Kubrick, Carpenter, and Lynch.

KR: What are you reading now?

With the exception of some collections (Ketchum’s Peaceable Kingdom and Lansdale’s Best of), I thought I’d give The Hunger Games a shot. Horror has bored me lately.

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

McCammon, King, Poe, and Lansdale. Later, Ketchum.

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

When writing something longer than 10k words I usually have an outline but that outline is never written down. It stays in my head. I have the idea and I usually know the ending before I start. With a lot of short stories I write I just start typing something and about half way through I know where I’m going. I’ve written with an outline before and was completely bored the whole time. After seeing some interviews with Lansdale, we seem to have a lot in common on how we write, just letting stuff come out. Probably one of the many reasons why I love his writing so much. He has no idea where he’s going and neither do we as we read it. It’s a followup journey to take. That and he doesn’t box himself into any one genre. I try and do the same, but I keep a tone and an attitude that horror fans seem to dig even if my stuff isn’t the traditional scares they may be used to.

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

It depends on the book, and I don’t wait to write before I’m done researching. I do it all while I’m writing. With OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES I did some research on New Orleans and body decomposition. That was it. For WALLFLOWER I had to learn way too much about heroin. I watched videos of people “nodding off”, ODing, shooting up, smoking. I visited message boards where people openly boasted about their use, their techniques, tips, tricks, etc. It was very sad and I couldn’t wait to be done. For STIRRING THE SHEETS I watched videos on embalming and cremation and also joined a Mortician’s Facebook group where I met a few very nice ladies who were very generous with their time and let me pick their brain for a few months on how the business is run. All that stuff was fascinating, particularly their attitude toward the dead and just how much they care to help those suffering. They’re good people. For SKULLFACE BOY I did little-to-no research other than checking the map and mileage.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

I have no set time for writing, just whenever I’m feeling inspired and when its convenient, but I try and make sure that happens daily or I fall into an ugly hiatus that can last weeks.

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

A few of my favorites have yet to be published and that’s either because they’ve been purchased but the books/magazines aren’t out yet, or because they were submitted earlier in the year and I’ve yet to get an acceptance or rejection, but there’s something about the shorts I wrote toward the end of last year and the ones I wrote this year that I like best. In a nutshell, I’ve grown as a writer and it shows. I do have one story in my collection NIGHT AS A CATALYST called Self Immolation that is one of my favorites for very personal reasons and I wrote a note about it in the book.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

All the time. They’re like fuel to keep going, and they can trigger a well-needed smile.

KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?

Quite a bit, actually. But I’m guessing anything I say has already been said. Two things do stand out most: Read good books with original concepts, of all genres, and when writing do your best to come up with original ideas. Another is to always trust the reader. Spelling things out plot wise or how a character is feeling or thinking as well as too much description makes for a monotonous read. Show, don’t tell. One more thing, write…A LOT. That story you’re so proud of that you wrote? You’ll laugh at that thing a year from now if you keep at your craft. You’d be surprised at how much better you get the more you read and write.

KR: What scares you?

Losing loved ones.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

There’s a place for all of them. E-book is super convenient, especially when your wife is trying to sleep and you want to read in bed. Or if you travel a lot or maybe don’t have the space for all the books you’d like to read. Paperbacks and hardbacks are beautiful trophies you put on your shelf. You gaze at the ones you’ve finished and remember the good times. With the ones you’ve yet to read, it’s always fun to stare at the shelves and take your time picking your next read. Plus the smell of the pages…nothing beats it. You can’t get that with a Kindle.

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

SKULLFACE BOY comes out September 14th. It’s a coming-of-age story full of the weird and the heartfelt. A 16-year-old boy with the face of a skull leaves the foster care home he’s lived at his entire life and hitchhikes his way to California where he’s told there’s another like him. It’s full of Lynch-ian characters and carries heavy weight. It’s the most fun I’ve had writing.

KR: What are you working on now?

I’m currently finishing up a novella I’m writing with my good friend John Boden (JEDI SUMMER, SPUNGUNION). We’re hoping for a 2018 Halloween release. Other than that I’m turning my short story TRASH BABY GODFATHER into a novella.

KR: TRASH BABY GODFATHER features in The Sequel: Straight 2 Video (Volume 2)

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.

Man, good question. From my own writing, I’d probably take Levi from SKULLFACE BOY. He’s well read and has a good heart. Plus he’s streetwise which may come in handy. From someone else’s book I’d take Katniss from The Hunger Games. She can hunt for us and tell us which plants are poisonous. And one real life person that is not family or friend? That’s tough…I suppose it’d have to be a female, but she’d need to be smart and independent, a good conversationalist as well as an artist so she could help me paint cool murals on all the palm trees. Plus maybe a musician so we can write songs together and rock out whenever we want. I’m sure this chick exists but I don’t know her. Could Zooey Deschanel meet the criteria?

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KR: Thank you very much Chad.

Find out more about Chad by visiting his official website

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadLutzke

You can visit Chad’s Facebook page here

Chad’s author page can be visited here

“My name is Levi. I’m 16. I’ve got a skull for a face. And here’s how shit went down.” 

Having never been outside the walls of Gramm Jones Foster Care Facility, sixteen-year-old Levi leaves in the middle of the night with an empty backpack and a newfound lust for life. A journey that leads him into the arms of delusional newlyweds, drunkards, polygamists, the dangerous, and the batshit crazy. His destination? Hermosa Beach, California where he’s told there is another like him, with the face of a skull. 

A coming-of-age road trip filled with surreal Lynch-ian encounters exploring the dark, the disturbing, and the lonely in a 1980s world—an epic venture for one disfigured boy struggling to find his place in the world. 

“This is Huck lighting out for the territories, and kind of documenting an era for us on the way. Only–because it’s now not then–he’s got a skull face to deal with. As do we all.” ~Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels

You can buy Skullface Boy from Amazon UK & Amazon US

An elderly funeral home worker, struggling with the loss of his wife, finds an unnatural attraction to a corpse at work resembling his late bride in her younger years.

A story of desperation, loneliness and letting go.

You can buy Stirring The Sheets from Amazon UK & Amazon US

After an encounter with a homeless man, a high school graduate becomes obsessed with the idea of doing heroin, challenging himself to try it just once. A bleak tale of addiction, delusion, and flowers.

You can buy Wallflower from Amazon UK & Amazon US

A neglected 12-year-old boy does nothing to report the death of his mother in order to compete in a spelling bee. A tragic coming-of-age tale of horror and drama in the setting of a hot New Orleans summer.

“Original, touching coming of age.”
~Jack Ketchum, author of The Girl Next Door

You can buy Of Foster Homes And Flies from Amazon UK & Amazon US

As beautiful as the night can be, it often plays a role in something more foreboding, supplying the catalyst for things both terrifying and imaginative. Utilizing this hallowed time of the day, author Chad Lutzke has written and compiled 18 short stories, with creature features, sleep deprivation, hiding the undead, revenge, cannibalism, morbid habits, and executions of karma being just a handful of the themes covered in this book. Read on and discover what the mind produces when using the night as a catalyst.

You can buy Night As A Catalyst from Amazon UK & Amazon US

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