Richard Chizmar On his Girl on the Porch and Gwendy's Magic Feather, writing, and inspirations. | More2Read
 

Richard Chizmar On his Girl on the Porch and Gwendy’s Magic Feather, writing, and inspirations.


RICHARD CHIZMAR is a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Amazon, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author.

He is the co-author (with Stephen King) of the bestselling novella, Gwendy’s Button Box and the founder/publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine and the Cemetery Dance Publications book imprint. He has edited more than 35 anthologies and his fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, including multiple editions of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. He has won two World Fantasy awards, four International Horror Guild awards, and the HWA’s Board of Trustee’s award.

Chizmar (in collaboration with Johnathon Schaech) has also written screenplays and teleplays for United Artists, Sony Screen Gems, Lions Gate, Showtime, NBC, and many other companies. He has adapted the works of many bestselling authors including Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Bentley Little.

Chizmar is also the creator/writer of Stephen King Revisited, and his third short story collection, A Long December, was published in 2016 by Subterranean Press. With Brian Freeman, Chizmar is co-editor of the acclaimed Dark Screams horror anthology series published by Random House imprint, Hydra.

His latest book is Widow’s Point, a chilling tale about a haunted lighthouse written with his son, Billy Chizmar.

Chizmar’s work has been translated into many languages throughout the world, and he has appeared at numerous conferences as a writing instructor, guest speaker, panelist, and guest of honor.

You can follow Richard Chizmar on both Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also check out the Richard Chizmar Fan Page set up by his readers.



The Interview 


 

Lou Pendergrast

Congratulations on your new works for 2019: The Girl on the Porch, Gwendy’s Magic Feather, and The Long Way Home.

 

Richard Chizmar

Thank you. It’s been a good year. I’m very fortunate. 


Lou Pendergrast

Your novel The Girl on the Porch, what is the seed and story behind this tale?

 

Richard Chizmar

I saw a clip online of a doorbell surveillance video from somewhere down south, Texas, I believe. It showed a scared young woman repeatedly ringing a doorbell in the middle of the night and she had some type of restraints hanging from both of her wrists. She kept looking over her shoulder as if she feared someone was chasing her. For a long time, no one knew who this woman was or what had happened to her. The video – and the uncertainly behind it – haunted me for a long time. So, I decided to write my own version of the story.


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LP

I love that you collaborated writing with Stephen King on the Gwendy’s Button Box. What parts did you write in this novella?

 

Richard Chizmar

Steve wrote the opening section the summer before and couldn’t figure out a way to end the story, so he sent it to me. I wrote a big chunk of the middle and the original ending, which we decided was a bit too dark for a lovely girl like Gwendy. So, Steve rewrote the ending and then I did a bit more work on it. We played ping-pong with the manuscript several times throughout the process, so it really was a blend of our two voices. 



LP

In the tale there is a man on bench reading Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, all the books in all the world why that one?

 

Richard Chizmar

That was all Steve, so you’ll have to ask him sometime! 


LP

Great to hear news of a solo follow up with Gwendy’s Magic Feather to be released in November 2019. Is this to be a novel or novella?

 

Richard Chizmar

It’s somewhere in between. The publisher is calling it a short novel. It’s a little more than twice the length of Gwendy’s Button Box.


Forthcoming in November 19, 2019 from Cemetery Dance Publications

https://www.cemeterydance.com



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LP

What is the story behind this one and what can the reader expect with this tale?

 

Richard Chizmar

I woke up early one morning with a very clear picture in my head of what Gwendy had been up to all these years. I emailed Steve with the idea, just a couple short sentences, not really pitching him for a sequel at all, just sharing the idea because I was excited about it. He responded with something like, “That’s a very cool idea. I’m going to be busy with another novel for the foreseeable future, but you should write it.”  So, I did. 

As for what to expect…the story takes us from the streets of the nation’s capital all the way back up to Castle Rock during the winter holidays. It’s a pretty dark tale, and we meet some familiar faces along the way.


LP

There has been news of a few stories being adapted to Netflix or Shudder, any of your works to be adapted to screen?

 

Richard Chizmar

Widow’s Point, the haunted lighthouse novella I wrote with my son, Billy, was filmed last summer in New York. We should be seeing a finished movie some time in the next few weeks. Billy and I also worked on a couple of independent short films – Murder House and Trapped, the latter based on an idea Steve King and I came up with. Another novella, A Long December, was recently optioned by some excellent producers, so we’ll see what happens with that one. The Girl on the Porch and several others have also drawn a lot of interest. 


 


LP

Writing, when, where, and with what, do you do it?

 

Richard Chizmar

Anywhere and anytime, truly. My kids will tell you, when I’m really in the grips of a story I’m writing, I will take my laptop with me everywhere. I’ll write in the car, at a restaurant, anything to keep the words flowing. I don’t really follow a set schedule these days. 


LP

What key advice would you give to the aspiring novelist?

 

Richard Chizmar

Read as much as you can. Write as much as you can. Understand from the onset that writing for publication is a long and difficult process. Embrace the ups and down, the rejections and closed doors, as part of that process, almost like a badge of honor. There are no real shortcuts in this business. Just a lot of hard work and stubbornness and faith. 


LP

Which authors and their books, are your inspiration in becoming a writer and novelist?

 

Richard Chizmar

Stephen King. Ed Gorman. Joe Lansdale. Rick McCammon. A lot of the old Gold Medal writers. I could go on and on.


LP

Which characters in fiction do you re-read and recommend?

 

Richard Chizmar

Books I’ve probably re-read the most include IT, ‘Salem’s Lot, Boy’s Life, and Lord of the Flies.



LP

Thank you for this insight to your writings and writing life.

 

Richard Chizmar

Thank You.



 

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 17 May 2019