2016 has been a great year for books, especially within the horror genre. Maybe it’s because I’ve been more socially involved than previous years, but I can’t recall any past year being so chock-full of entertaining reads from new and seasoned writers alike. We’ve witnessed so many fresh voices emerge in 2016, and today I’d like to highlight one of my new favorites.
Chuck Buda is a writer of many new series ranging from horror to thrillers. I recently read his debut Pay Up and Die, and was blown away by his voice and creativity. It’s a wonderfully refreshing read that I can’t recommend enough. I had the pleasure of interviewing Chuck for the interview section of my blog, and here’s what The Buda had to say:
TIM MEYER: Hey, Chuck! Glad to have you drop on by. Looks like you’ve had 85 new releases since we last spoke. Your newest seems to be Summoner of Souls. Tell us a little about this title and the concept behind the Son of Earp series.
CHUCK BUDA: Summoner of Souls is the third novel in the Son of Earp series. It’s a supernatural thriller about a possessed preacher who must feed on the souls of others in order to grow stronger. The main protagonists, James and Carson, find themselves battling to the death against the demonic holy man. The Son of Earp series is an homage to my father and the great westerns I grew up watching on black and white T.V.s. Did I just date myself with that comment? Anyway, I have always loved westerns and the growth of our country. It seemed a natural fit for me to imagine horrific events in the Wild West. So I set out to create the mythology of Wyatt Earp’s illegitimate son, unbeknownst to Wyatt.
TM: Looks like you have another release due out December 19th. It’s called The First Cut. What is this new book about and will it be the start of another series?
CB: Yes, The First Cut is the first novel in a new trilogy, the Gushers series. I am obsessed with secret societies as you could probably tell by the way I fawned over your book, In the House of Mirrors. The story follows a clique of upper middle class high school seniors who create an occult club to combat their “boredom.” The cult gets away from them and the teens transform into something they had never imagined. I am worried about this series because it is rampant with explicit sex scenes, which is not typical of my writing style. But the story required it in order to amp up the stakes.
CB: This is a great question. I started out with standalone stories in mind, but found I enjoyed living with the characters too much. So I had to make series in order to get more time with my creations. I guess that makes me somewhat nostalgic, but I have no problem sacrificing characters to ill-timed deaths if it propels the stories along. I’m sort of like a cat toying with a mouse in that respect. I see more series in my future with a few more waiting impatiently in the wings.
TM: Which character was the most fun to write so far? Most personal?
CB: Hands down, I love James Johnson from the Son of Earp series. He embodies the optimism and wonder of a young man and chases adventure at every opportunity. I really love Carson, James’ slow-minded friend. He is such a sweet soul and I find myself drawn to his innocence. The most personal character for me is Michael Wright of the Debt Collector series. You can say he is an autobiographical representation of me. That series is based on my life…but I won’t reveal how much or which aspects.
TM: Any book more personal than the rest?
CB: Pay Up and Die is about as personal as I can get, in terms of my own life. However, the characters and plots in all my stories are very realistic in that they are based on various moments in my life. I have been there and done that in just about everything you could imagine. I have a very adventurous spirit.
TM: Random request: give me three items you’d bring with you to the zombie apocalypse.
CB: That’s a tough question because I believe I would need so much to survive such an event. First, I would need my Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun because it would make paste of anything/anyone within range. Next, I would bring my son with me because he is a third degree black belt and he is WAY more accurate with guns than I am. Finally, I would require some sort of music device to listen to my heavy metal music while I eliminate zombies. Like a real-life soundtrack playing in my ears while I fight on.
TM: Name some writers who have influenced you throughout the years. Which books?
CB: I grew up reading Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft and Edward Lee. I think King has influenced my notion of characters and their development. Lovecraft has influenced my sense of mood and setting, even though I refrain from overdoing these in my own work. Lee gave me the visceral and in-your-face influences. Nowadays, I am drawn to authors like Armand Rosamilia, Hunter Shea and Kristopher Rufty among so many others. I love Armand’s style and voice. I think he taught me the most in terms of being true to who I am as opposed to who I think others want me to be. It seems small, but it has had a huge impact on my craft. Favorite books are Stephen King’s It, H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, Edward Lee’s Creekers, Brian Keene’s The Girl on the Glider and Armand Rosamilia’s Keyport Cthulhu. Actually anything Armand writes. He told me to throw that part in.
TM: Let’s talk shop. What’s your writing approach/process like? Do you outline the story or “wing it” as you go?
CB: I am an outliner by nature. As a project manager and business planner in the corporate world, I need to have a roadmap to start from. That being said, I have transformed my writing style to start with the outline and then free-form within the confines of the outline structure. It gives me the best of both worlds, a structure and then freedom to create.
CB: The ideas for my stories come from all the voices in my head. There are so many, so I try to only listen to the loudest one at any given point. Ideas are not a problem with me. I have notebooks full of ideas which could keep me busy until the year 2073. For me, the hardest part is concentrating long enough to get the words out. I can get easily distracted so my wife installed a seatbelt on my desk chair to keep me at the keyboard longer. One of these days I will figure out how to unhook it.
TM: Do you need music when you write, or complete silence?
CB: Using music while writing is a mood thing. I find some forms distracting and others beneficial. Lustmord is my favorite writing music. He is a dark, instrumental artist who paints creepy tapestries with the notes. Perfect for horror. I love Black Metal, too, because I can never understand what they are singing so the lyrics don’t bother me. Plus, the catatonic rhythms of the chords induce trances which help me concentrate. All other forms of metal make me want to get up and mosh, and like I just told you, I am belted into my chair. So, there’s that.
TM: What’s next for the Great Buda?
CB: I have so many plans to keep cranking out stories. I feel like I have so much I need to say. My goal is to continue releasing a new novel each month until my fingers fall off but it is becoming increasingly more difficult as my career progresses. I would love to do some joint work with other authors. I really like some of the partnerships that have developed within the industry and I want to give it a try. I am planning a national tour, too, called Chuckstock in which I drive around the country in a hotdog truck and sell books and dogs while meeting all the great people of this nation. We’ll see what happens…
TIM MEYER’S NEWSLETTER
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