#YourNextBeachRead is a way to introduce you to a new author and their works in the hopes that you’ll find the next book you want to take with you to the beach, the pool, or the comforts of air conditioning.
Today’s featured author is Chris Miller, author of The Damned Place.
What’s your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
My name is Chris Miller, my pen name is *redacted* and I’ll be releasing my first book under that name called *redacted* sometime in the near *redacted*! I’m from a little town called Winnsboro, TX.
How long have you been writing? How did you start?
Been writing seriously for the past 4 years or so, but I’ve been conjuring up stories and jotting them down since I was maybe 10 years old. Every time I saw a movie or read a book or heard a story told to me, I always wanted to put my own twist on it and make it turn out the way I WANTED it to, and thus, the writing bug was fertilized in my author’s womb. Which sounds gross, but totally isn’t.
Who are some of your influences?
Stephen King, Clive Barker, Jonathan Janz, Caroline Kepnes, Ray Garton, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Josh Malerman, Paul Tremblay, Dan Simmons, and Joe Hill, just to name a few.
What is your book about?
It’s about four 12 year old kids on summer vacation, all dealing with their own issues and finding peace and friendship with each other…but they’re being stalked and harassed by the town bullies, a trio of kids a couple years older than them, one of which is teetering directly on the edge of psychopathy. Oh, and there is another world, accessible to those endowed with a rare “gift” to open a doorway in the “thin spots” where some atrocity has worn down the fabric of time and space there. And there’s something lurking just on the other side, eager to get into our world.
Where did you get the idea?
The main inspiration came when I was simultaneously watching the first season of Stranger Things while in the middle of my first re-read of King’s IT. Inspiration struck, my own story formulated, and I was off to the races. It’s turned into a magnum opus of sorts for me, and I’m really excited for people to read it. I hope they’ll have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.
How long did it take you to finish it?
About 2-1/2 years, but that was mainly because I was in the midst of edits and rewrites for my first book when I started this one, and ended up reworking some other things into novellas and novels to release while jumping back to this one. Also, this book is only about half of what I wrote as the book. It got so large and covered enough timelines that I ended up separating it into two books, with a third on the way.
Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?
This is my third released novel. I also have a novella out, along with several short stories in multiple anthologies. There are also other novels in various stages of completion, all set to come down the pipeline in the coming couple of years.
We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?
Oh, the villain (the human one, that is) and his family are all based on a family I’ve known for years. They’re not psychopathic killers (as far as I know), but there was enough inspiration there to create some wonderfully loathsome baddies. The kids, our protagonists, are based on me and my friends from childhood.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
Probably the finale. It’s pretty huge, has a lot going on, and the action is super-suspenseful. But there are lots of great scenes I love to ponder on, so it’s kind of hard to choose.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” And that’s absolutely accurate. I’ve gotten lots of good advice elsewhere, but none more fundamental than that.
What’s the worst?
“Why don’t you write a ‘nice’ story?” Pssshhh…
Where can we buy your book?
Chris Miller is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and is a native Texan who has been writing from an early age, though he only started publishing in 2017. He attended North East Texas Community College and LeTourneau University, where he focused on creative writing courses. He is the superintendent of his family-owned water well company and his first novel, A Murder Of Saints, has been met with acclaim from both critics and readers alike, as has his second novel The Hard Goodbye and his novella Trespass. His short stories–found in numerous anthologies–have likewise been praised. Chris and his wife, Aliana, have three children and live in Winnsboro, Texas.