Thursday, February 22, 2018

Interview with Chris Sorensen, author of The Nightmare Room

Now available on Kindle from Harmful Monkey Press is The Nightmare Room, book one in The Messy Man Series, by Chris Sorensen.

A boy in a basement, a man in a booth and a darkness that threatens to swallow them both...

New York audiobook narrator Peter Larson and his wife Hannah head to his hometown of Maple City to help Peter's ailing father and to put a recent tragedy behind them. Though the small, Midwestern town seems the idyllic place to start afresh, Peter and Hannah will soon learn that evil currents flow beneath its surface.

They move into an old farmhouse on the outskirts of town—a house purchased by Peter's father at auction and kept secret until now—and start to settle into their new life.

But as Peter sets up his recording studio in a small basement room, disturbing things begin to occur—mysterious voices haunt audio tracks, malevolent shadows creep about the house. And when an insidious presence emerges from the woodwork, Peter must face old demons in order to save his family and himself.

The author has taken a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk about his new novel The Nightmare Room.

When did you become interested in storytelling?

I’ve always loved telling stories. My mother says that when I was little, I’d walk around with a stack of paper and a pen, plop down on the carpet and start scribbling picture books. I spent a book deal of my childhood in libraries (both our local library and the library on the college campus where my father taught) and in the movie theater. I studied acting in college and went on to pursue acting as a career in NYC. That came to a crashing halt when I was in a bus accident. During the year I took learning how to walk again, I turned back to writing. I’ve been writing ever since.

What was your first book/story published?

My first book was a middle grade story called The Mad Scientists of New Jersey. It’s about young Eddie Edison, the last of the Mad Scientists—a secret society that invented time travel, teleportation and a variety of other amazing things.

What inspired you to write The Nightmare Room?

I always knew I wanted to write a story about being an audiobook narrator (that’s my day job). I also wanted to see if I could touch upon my father’s death. He passed away seven years ago—I couldn’t bring myself to write about that kind of loss until now.

What character in The Nightmare Room is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

Peter Lawson, my main character, is a close version of me. He’s trying to hold things together while dealing with a death in the family (and not always doing it so gracefully). Peter also has a lot of fears, unlike his wife Hannah. They’re a couple that seems a bit like oil and water, but it works—they prop each other up.

What is your favorite part in The Nightmare Room?

My favorite part of the story is something I can’t tell you about because it would give away the ending! I will say that mapping out a story’s structure is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. I spent a few years as a screenplay analyst and came to appreciate stories that were well-structured.

What was the hardest part to write?

Again, anything having to do with the death of a loved one is a difficult write. This is the closest I’ve come to examining that part of my life, so…yeah, that was the hardest.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be either a scarecrow or a magician. Not a lot of call for either in 2018. I’d say either illustrator or furniture maker. I’m pretty good with a pen, but I don’t know anything about making furniture. Would be fun, though.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Yes, I read them. If someone took the time to react to my work, I want to hear what they have to say. One thing I think I’m good at is taking notes. I’m also good at sticking to my guns. I’ll never bend a story to suit someone else, but I will expand or clarify based upon feedback. I know my story, but I don’t know another person’s experience reading it until they tell me. I come from the theater, and we constantly listen to an audience’s reaction. That’s just me.

What well-known writers do you admire most?

I met Ray Bradbury at Brentano’s Bookstore in NYC. That was a big moment for me. I love his poetic language. I love how Stephen King pounds out a story (and his book, On Writing).

Do you have any other books/stories in the works?

I’m working on the follow-up to The Nightmare Room called The Hungry Ones. The best part about it is that I get to play with readers’ expectations. There are some creepy scenes a’comin’!

Get it Free for Your Kindle 
February 21st, 22nd and 23rd 

About the Author

Chris Sorensen spends many days and nights locked away inside his own nightmare room. He is the narrator of over 200 audiobooks (including the award-winning 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 screenplay including Suckerville, Bee Tornado and The Roswell Project.


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