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Halloween Blog Fest - Meet Chrissy Munder

I'm a little late in getting this up (It's a crazy week at work, so forgive me for being a little late). It's my pleasure to host chrissymunder today. So since I've delayed enough already, here we go. (but can I say that I was a huge Kolchak fan too)

October is my favorite month of the year. Not only for the beautiful fall weather it brings, but also for the end-of-month celebrations. Yes, I confess. Growing up we were *that* house. You know, the one with the graveyard in the front yard, the smoke machine on Halloween night, and the dead bodies hanging from the trees. But those were my brother's idea, and were actually old clothes stuffed with newspaper. Somehow, they always ended up being used as piñatas on November first by him and his friends.

No surprise then to hear that I never miss any of the horror movie marathons in October. There's nothing like a good scare to get the adrenaline (and writing) going. These movies were also my first exposure to paranormal romance. I didn't care if the movie featured Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon. They were all just searching for love against impossible odds.

Sadly, only once do I ever remember the monster getting the girl. Did anyone else cheer at the end of the 1944 film The Mummy's Ghost, when Kharis the mummy carried the reincarnation of his true love, Ananka down into the swamp?

These classic black and white films taught me supernatural creatures need love too, and gave me the inspiration to write paranormal romance.

I see Jana has some interview questions for me, so let's get to those, and then I'll share an excerpt from my novella, After the Storm.

Q. Where did you come up with the idea for your characters?
A. It's been said that my writing is merely a way to justify my avid people-watching, and most days I think that's true. Inspiration can be found all around us and I find many of my characters are unexpectedly sparked by people I see in my everyday life. From the clerk at the convenience store, the harried businessman who bumped into me on the street, and in the case of my short story, Brush with Desire, the man kneeling in a store's hair care aisle at 3:00 am, fondling a hairbrush.

Q. What drew you to write for this type of world?
A. I spend a lot of time on Lake Michigan's shoreline, and find the mix of deserted beaches at sunset, history, and lighthouses all demand tales be told. I'm not done yet.

Q. Who is your favorite horror/fantasy author? How did their works influence you? What is your favorite work by that author?
A. As you might guess from my comments above, I've been influenced less by the written world of horror/fantasy, and more by the visual. I'll show my age here and say that one of my main influences was the old Kolchak: The Night Stalker television series with Darren McGavin playing the rumpled news reporter.

Q. Who is your favorite character you've written and why?
A. This is like asking a mom which kid is her favorite – we aren’t supposed to tell! Each character and piece has their own appeal and meaning depending on what was going on at the time I wrote them. But, if you promise not to get me in trouble, I’ll admit I’m very partial to Vincent in After the Storm, as he allowed me to slip a few thoughts about chronic illness and a patient’s right to choose into the middle of paranormal love story. Bridge of Dreams is another one of my favorites because of the location and the sensuality that developed between the two characters. I enjoyed writing The Journey Back and toying with the rather disorientating viewpoint of a main character that is drugged the majority of the time, and I will say that the characters from Fair Winds are still demanding a sequel.

Q. How do you keep the supernatural fresh?
A. I think that's inherent with each author. Hold up a block and we'll all describe it a different way.

Q. What is your favorite supernatural trope to write (ghost, vampire, demon, etc.)?
A. At this point I've only written ghost stories, but I'm quite partial to zombies in all their decaying glory, and love the resurgence of zombie movies and books.

Q. How would you like to see supernatural fiction develop?
A. I guess I'd like it to continue on as organically as it has in the past. There's a natural ebb and flow to what our audience demands and how the writers respond.



After the Storm by Chrissy Munder. Novella available from Dreamspinner Press. Direct Link with reviews here

Summary: Angry and frustrated with his chronic illness, Vincent Poulsen moves into an old lighthouse to live out the few days he has left. After a dangerous collapse, he meets the ghostly Captain Cason, who shares stories of his distant past. In the process, Vincent stumbles over the tragedy that binds the captain to the lighthouse and his haunted memories. Then fate offers them in death a chance to make right what they couldn't in life....

Please Note - Reprint: This novella was originally published in the Dreamspinner Press anthology Desire Beyond Death.

Excerpt:

The nights had been the worst as he adjusted to his new surroundings. Objects he found fascinating in the light became surreal and distorted in the long hours of the night, with only the sound of the waves and the wind to keep him company. The old structure had more than its share of creaks and groans, and every ghost story he’d ever heard came back to haunt him at three in the morning.

Tonight was no exception, and, accepting he wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon, he let his toes touch the chilly wood floors and lead him to the kitchen. Vincent yawned as he turned on the light and decided to try making some tea, but as he reached for the pot to fill it with water, the lights suddenly went out.

Vincent felt like a child, fumbling his way back over to the switch and flipping it again; he didn’t think a fuse would have blown but what did he know? He was relieved when the light came back on and went back to the sink, only to stand dumbfounded when the lights went out again.

“Okay,” he muttered under his breath before filling the pot anyway and placing it on the small stove, turning the burner on high before he went back to the switch. Vincent flipped it once again and then held it this time, not sure what he was expecting. When nothing happened, he grunted and walked back towards the stove.

Where the burner was out.

Vincent grunted again and turned the burner back on, watching as the gas caught and lit from the small pilot. Even as he did so the lights went out again. “Damn it!” he exclaimed, not sure why this flustered him so much, just knowing that his emotions were closer to the surface now.

He strode back over to the toggle switch and watched as the lights blossomed overhead once more and then turned back to the stove, knowing this time that the burner would be off.

Which it was.

Vincent just stood there. Perhaps there was some unwritten rule in houses this old? Tea after three but only in the dark? Deciding to do without the light, he went back to the stove and turned the burner back on, silently observing until the kettle screamed and he could pour it into the mug ready and waiting. It was a shame there was no real tea, only a few bags of a standard brand, but that was to be expected when he’d just asked for tea and hadn’t thought to specify “loose.”

Mug in hand, he walked back over to the light switch and flipped it once again, staring up into the glowing bulbs until the lights distorted his vision into a series of brightly colored spots. Then there was the sudden darkness once again. Vincent stood quietly in the blackness; he swore he could almost hear laughter, deep and rich.

Meds. Had to be the meds.

He held the switch up once again and this time he felt a sensation, a pressure on his fingers that urged the switch downward. Feeling silly, he resisted, only to be startled when the pressure increased. He could hear the laughter again and for a moment, he felt warm breath on his neck. Vincent whirled around but there was nothing there.

***

My thanks to Jana for this opportunity to come and share on her blog. If you'd like to learn more about me feel free to visit online:

Website: http://www.chrissymunder.com
Blog: http://chrissymunder.livejournal.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chrissymunder
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ChrissyMunder
At Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_128

Comments

Ooo, Vincent sounds like a very interesting character, and I like the excerpt.

People-watching and beaches as inspiration, that's cool. I used to do that when I was in college, near the beach.
Also, YAY, KOLCHAK.
big yay for Kolchak
:D
Thanks Jana @evil_little_dog. I'm glad I'm not the only Kolchak lover. :) Tood bad none of the umpteen cable channels will replay the series. Isn't it funny to think they'd never make that series now with Darren McGavin as the lead character, and yet, I don't think it would be as much fun.
I agree, they wouldn't cast McGavin now. When they redid it, it was with a hot guy. I didn't think the redo was horrible but it wasn't very good either. Occasionally SyFy reruns the original
Oooh, they did a redo? I'll have to look that up. It must not have lasted very long. :)
Peter Townsend was Kolchak (i think. he was one of the leads) it was odd and I want to say it was close to 2000-2005
Hello, chrissymunder!

They did try to remake it recently, I remember. About the only thing I liked about it was the Mustang. :D But I'm a sucker for classic cars.
As a people-watcher myself, I can't see how anyone would ever run out of inspiration in real life - but the skill is in committing those ideas to paper :). All your stories are rewarding and so carefully - but not too obviously! - crafted, Chrissy. I loved the range of characters you had in Drive Me Home, where you had more word count to do them justice, and I'm *particularly* glad to see there may be a sequel for Fair Winds...:)
thanks for weighing in!
Thanks, Clare! Yeah, the Fair Winds guys are squawking despite my constant plea to get in line.
Horror movies are awesome. Even some of the B (and C) ones.

Nothing makes me giggle more than Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

And now I'm going to put your book on the wish list. :)
and again thanks for weighing in
A good "B" movie is worth its weight in gold. :) As for the book making your list - Awesome!