CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.
CS: Brief introduction? Hmm… Well, I spent my childhood coming up with stories, scribbling drawings, building cardboard robots and making movies with my friends. The best gift I ever received was a Bigfoot suit. I studied acting in college and grad school and helped form a couple of theater companies. I’ve worked as a graphic designer at the NBA, a commercial coordinator at WPIX, a teacher at Cornell University, a file clerk, a lifeguard, a resident playwright, a librarian, a screenwriter, an audiobook narrator and played an EMT on a soap opera (was so nervous I screwed up my one line in rehearsal). Now, I’ve written a book, The Nightmare Room.
CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
CS: 2001. I was lying in my hospital bed after being smashed up in a bus accident. Up until that point, I was a working actor in NYC. Then…BOOM. I spent a month in the hospital, another year learning how to walk again. It was that year that I turned to writing. Plays at first; screenplays soon after. I need to write a bone-chilling hospital book (or maybe I should let those ghosts lie).
CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like?
CS: I’m a night writer with occasional marathon days. If I said I write every day, I’d be a big fat liar. But I do work on my stories constantly. Any time I need an answer to a story problem, all I have to do is take a shower. It works, I swear.
CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?
CS: I find a soundtrack that fits the mood of the piece I’m writing and play it into the ground. I need good, hard-backed legal pads and Uniball pens for notes. And coffee, coffee, coffee.
CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?
CS: Whenever I write something short, I instantly start thinking, “Could this grow into something bigger?” I guess I’m just attracted to longer stories.
CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?
CS: The New Jersey horror scene is quite active. Plus, I can be in Manhattan in sixty minutes. I have a crew of horror friends (writers, filmmakers, actors) I can hit up for advice or a beer.
CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?
CS: I spent a few years as a script analyst for a few companies (Big Beach Films, ScriptLaunch, etc.) and loved digging into structure. I love setups/payoffs. I’m planning on writing a novella this year (a Christmas creature feature) without the help of an outline just to see how it feels. Will let you know.
CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?
CS: It hasn’t changed my process, but it has lit a fire under my ass. For fifteen years, I was the resident playwright for the Thin Air Theater Company in Colorado. Sitting with an audience, listening to their reactions is so informative. Finally feeling the same way about books.
CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story?
CS: I haven’t had my coffee yet so I’m not going to try to write a pretty sentence that encapsulates all my thoughts. Instead, here’s a laundry list: characters with depth, well-orchestrated tension, imagination run amok and information held back (allowing the reader to fill in the blanks).
CHHR: What are you currently working on?
CS: I’m writing The Hungry Ones, the second book in The Messy Man series as well as outlining the third. I’ve also got notes to complete on a screenplay for a production company and TV treatments to expand for another.
CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?
CS: The Chalk Man, Boy’s Life, Sour Candy and the Dictionary of Superstitions.
CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?
CS: Data Science by John D. Kelleher and Brendan Tierney. What ‘they’ know about you is frightening.
CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?
CS: The Other by Thomas Tryon.
CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?
CS: Nope. Can’t confine it to one. The original Night of the Living Dead, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Creepshow, The Shining, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Mama and any full-length documentary on Bigfoot.
CHHR: What type of music do you listen to?What’s your favorite album?
CS: Horror soundtracks, country, bluegrass, Mozart. Right now, I’m listening to Rain Dogs by Tom Waits.
CHHR: What is your spirit animal?
CS: Monkey. A mischievous monkey.
CHHR: What is your favorite beer?
CS: Sad Panda from Horse & Dragon in Fort Collins, CO.
CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?
CS: Ray Bradbury.
CHHR: Thanks for stopping by Cedar Hollow!
CS: Thanks for having me!
CHRIS SORENSEN spends many days and nights locked away inside his own nightmare room. He is the narrator of over 200 audiobooks (including The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix) and the recipient of three AudioFile Earphone Awards. Over the past fifteen years, the Butte Theater and Thin Air Theatre Company in Cripple Creek, Colorado have produced dozens of his plays including Dr. Jekyll’s Medicine Show, Werewolves of Poverty Gulch and The Vampire of Cripple Creek. He is the author of the middle grade book The Mad Scientists of New Jersey and has written numerous screenplays including Suckerville, Bee Tornado and The Roswell Project. Chris is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association.