CHHR: Please give a brief introduction.
Lutzke: I’m 5’10” and I have blue eyes that my wife says are sexy. Also, I write dark fiction.
CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Lutzke: When I found out what a powerful tool the Internet could be in getting the words out there so people would read them.
CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like?
Lutzke: It’s random. I have no set time, just when it’s convenient and I’m feeling inspired, though I try and write every day because if I don’t then that one-day hiatus could turn into weeks.
CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?
Lutzke: Not really, but I do stare off into space a lot when I’m coming up with ideas. It’s almost like a little trance. I just stare right through something, but really I’m writing this whole book in my head, then I get to typing.
CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?
Lutzke: The idea of a novel intimidates me. I think it’s because I normally like to deal with a small cast of characters heavy on characterization and dialogue. I probably draw more inspiration from indie movies than I do books, and some of my favorite movies are character driven with minimal characters. For now, I’ve found my sweet spot is novellas.
CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?
Lutzke: I couldn’t really tell you, if there is any kind of scene here then I’m unaware of it, though my state (Michigan) does have a lot of horror authors.
CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?
Lutzke: I used an outline once and was bored out of my mind. I love to discover the story as I’m writing, but I almost always have an end in mind before I even start, with novellas anyway. Often times my short stories are written completely different. I’ll sit down and type some opening sentence that I think is intriguing and go from there with zero idea of where I’m headed. Usually, halfway through I’ve developed a solid idea of where I’m going and start working around that.
CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?
Lutzke: I’m not really sure it has changed other than writing a lot more than I used to..
CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story?
Lutzke: In a word, unpredictability.
Lutzke: I was asked this a few times recently and I can’t remember. I think it was a mixture of losing my first love in an accident when I was young and the fear of losing my wife who I’ve been with for nearly 30 years. Toss in being influenced by the movie About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson who loses his wife, becomes a recluse, then takes off on a road trip in an RV. At least that’s how I remember the film…it’s been a while.
CHHR: What was it like getting a blurb from Jack Ketchum?
Lutzke: I’ve never come down from that. I had no idea he’d read OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES until my friend Dan Padavona sent me a message that said something like “Dude, Jack Ketchum just tweeted about your book!” And I was like “What are you talking about?” I saw the tweet and soon after reached out to Dallas (AKA Jack Ketchum) and the guy was just easily loveable and wanted nothing more than to help other writers. My name popped up in another tweet by him a year later, calling my story in an anthology a “stand out.” I wanted to email Dallas every day but I didn’t abuse the privilege of having his email address or his home address which he’d give me to send books to. Sadly he told me he was looking forward to reading SHEETS for the purpose of blurbing it. The day before I was to send him out the only print ARC my publisher had, I got news that he’d died. It had only been two weeks since we talked. Who does that? Agrees to read your book while they’re that sick? As soon as I’d heard he passed, I contacted my publisher and had him change the dedication in my book to include Dallas. I’d like to think he would have gotten a kick out of the cameo he makes in the book as the neighbor named “Dallas” who “maybe smokes too much.” He made a tremendous impact on me, and while we weren’t close I really miss him.
CHHR: What are you currently working on?
Lutzke: My new book, SKULLFACE BOY, comes out September 14th so I’ve been doing promotional stuff for that. It’s a coming-of-age road trip thing with a hint of weirdness. I just finished writing a book with John Boden called OUT BEHIND THE BARN that’s due out on Halloween. And a handful of anthologies coming out this year I have stories in. As far as what I’m currently writing, I have a few other things I’ve started but not ready to announce anything yet.
CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?
Lutzke: Like most readers, it’s a pretty tall pile, but to name a few there a handful of authors I want to get more familiar with, and I’ve got their stuff in that pile: Kealan Patrick Burke, Lee McGeorge, Josh Malerman, Paul Trembley, and I can’t wait to read more Stephen Graham Jones. And of course Lansdale is always in that pile, as is Ketchum.
CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?
Lutzke: I don’t know that I’ve been that scared from a book. I remember The Amityville Horror creeping me out in the early 80s. I just read a Malerman story in an anthology we’re in together (DOORBELLS TO DUSK) that had some unsettling scenes. To be honest, I think I’ve kind of stayed away from a lot of books (The Exorcist, The Girl Next Door) that I think may scare me, which sounds pretty funny coming from someone who writes dark fiction.
CHHR: What is your spirit animal?
CHHR: What is your favorite beer?
Lutzke: I don’t drink anymore, but I flat out love nearly any American beer (Not you, Old Milwaukee…not you), but if I had to pick a favorite I’d say Corona.
CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?
Lutzke: It’d be one that I already call a friend but sadly our relationships are restricted to being online: John Boden, J. Thorn, Zach Bohannon, Dan Padavona, Terry M. West, James Newman, Mark Matthews. I love all those guys, and the funny thing is that most of them don’t even drink so we may need to trade that beer in for a pizza.