Night Worms (NW): Okay, perfect! First, a friend on Twitter wants to know how you feel about being a bookmark. I'm assuming that means the one from A STRANGER DREAM. I own one and I have to say, I thought she captured the essence of you so well! The unassuming pose, the hair and of course you're holding my favorite book of yours...
Chad Lutzke (CL): I was very honored to be asked. Karlee's a great artist. It's a bit surreal. I didn't feel very worthy but certainly appreciated. And it's been great to see so many people buying them. Tickled is another good word. Also, here I thought we were going to facetime...I had this awesome leisure suit on, got my hair did and stuff. Just kidding...I don't own a leisure suit, but if I did I'd probably be wearing it.
NW: Face Time?? No way man. I've been doing Yard Work all morning
NW: I'm sure I have dirt on my face! Lol. I bet John Boden owns a leisure suit
CL: No doubt about it. Something once owned by Roy Clark, I'm sure.
NW: Will you be collaborating with him again in the future?
CL: Yes, we've been working on something for several months, but we had to step away from it because we both had different projects going on. We hope to get back to it next month. It's going to break some hearts.
NW: You know that your fans actually show up to have their hearts broken--it's kind of what you always do to us. Can you tell us any more about this Lutzke/Boden collaboration? Or is it hush-hush?
CL: You must all think I'm a horribly depressed guy, but life is good. There have just been some lessons learned and experiences happen along the way that I guess just make for good story fodder.
We're not really being shy about it when people ask. I can tell you it's about two homeless old men who hop a train in the 70s to head out west looking for work, where they end up finding jobs as gravediggers. I jokingly refer to it as GRAVEDIGGAZ as the working title, but John doesn't seem so amused by it.
NW: This sounds like a book I need in my life RIGHT NOW
CL: Yeah, John and I have a lot in common, and having experienced loss is something we share.
NW: Are you guys around the same age or are you old like me, Chad?
CL: I think I'm maybe half a year older than John? We're both at the very end of our 40s.
NW: Oh you're both OLDER than me. I graduated high school in '94
CL: So if you think you're old then we must be ancient :)
NW: Crypt Keeper Status! Do you love working nostalgia from your childhood and your context into your stories? Also Ashley wants to know what your all time favorite snack is
CL: For sure, particularly my teens. Those were some good times. I miss them.
Anything with cheese in it.
NW: Like Nachos...mmmm
CL: Nearly everything, as everything should have cheese in it (or on it).
NW: I can get behind that
CL: Except eggs....those are the devil. Hardboiled eggs being the devil supreme.
NW: NOOOO EGGS ARE LIFE
CL: I'll pray for you.
NW: We should all eat chicken fetuses.
CL: Hardboiled eggs are solidified farts and nothing more. You are all nuts for eating them.
NW: Hey, Chad Lutzke. We have some dark questions from your fans. Are you up for it??
CL: Bring it. Always
NW: Okay, so Mindi wants to know, after reading Wallflowers, she thinks that you mentioned being an addict at one time, can you talk about this with us
CL: Sure. I started drinking and smoking weed by the time I was 12. By the end of the summer, I was on probation. Fast forward 4 years later I found myself on probation again and violated it. I ended up being taken to the juvenile home for nearly a month and while there the powers that be decided I needed to go to a treatment center for drugs and alcohol.
Initially, I was just happy to be in a different place, but after a few weeks of being in there I really started to learn a lot about myself, where I was headed, etc. By the 45th day of a 45-day program, I begged them to let me stay one more day before I went home. It meant that much to me by the time I left. I stayed sober for a while, then was off and on the wagon for the next few years. I never used heroin or crack or meth, but I've been around it and I do have a very addictive personality, so alcohol and weed were my go-to, particularly drinking. I had about 10 years of no drinking, then tried to casually drink for a number of years. It started out nice and responsible, then it became this 6-pack a night thing. That might not seem bad, especially considering I'm a happy drunk, but I didn't like the message it was sending my kids, so I quit again. That was about 10-12 years ago. As far as any kind of drugs, I haven't touched them since I was 19.
NW: Would you say that this season of your life is still influential in your writing career?
CL: Very much so, especially when writing The Same Deep Water as You and Wallflower.
NW: I think your unique brand of storytelling is very much a part of who you are as a person, Chad and I don't get that same vibe from many authors. You emote through the page. Do you think that works in your favor most of the time? Pieces of you in your writing?
CL: Thank you. It seems to be. I don't feel like I'm necessarily emulating anyone, and fortunately for me, there are people out there who get what I'm trying to say and can appreciate it. That's what keeps me writing. If I'm writing a short story then I'll go into whatever territory, splatter, supernatural, etc. But if I'm investing in something much longer, those are the pieces you'll find a lot of me in.
NW: I love that! That's why I think your collaboration with Boden is so effective--he does that too
CL: Yes, he does. That's why we're so close. I love that guy. And we'll probably never stop writing a little something together once in a while.
NW: Your fanbase inspires you?
CL: For sure! When I see people reading something I wrote, it's very inspiring. Especially when it's something like Wallflower or Skullface Boy or Deep Water. Those books aren't just for everyone. Wallflower is horribly bleak, Skullface Boy is a deep and weird commentary and Deep Water is basically just a year in my life with a few dramatic additions. When people can set aside that not everything has to be about ghouls and ghosts or killers and still be disturbing and appreciate that then it gives me great drive to keep on writing what I want to write, rather than write something I think others would want to read. If I do that, then my stuff will feel like it's been done before.
NW: I think this is why you are one of the best authors to support through Patreon--because you have this unique connection to your readers/fanbase. You consider them. You write for them (us)
CL: Thank you. I come from the world of punk rock ethics. Where you go to a show and you're right there getting sweated on and a mic pushed in your face to sing the chorus. We're in it together
NW: Punk rock ethics, I love that
Here's a question from Alex:
Why do you write about kids/teens so often, what is it about their perspective that you enjoy?
CL: That's a question that I don't know if I have the answer to. It could be because I miss those carefree days. I love being married and having kids, but when you're young, the world has just begun and anything goes. There's something both scary and exciting about that. I guess I like to write about characters who are learning about life as they go along. But then again learning never, ever stops at any age, as long as you're willing to continue taking self-inventory. Stirring the Sheets is about an old man whose learning something too...though it's not exciting. It's just scary. But I think it's still coming-of-age. Author Mark Matthews called it coming-of-age for the AARP crowd. I think he's right.
NW: What a great quote from Mark Matthews! I love that! He's totally right
Can you tell us about your upcoming book releasing in September?
CL: September 27th Crystal Lake Publishing is releasing my book The Pale White. It's coming-of-age, but this one has 3 female protagonists who escaping from a house used in sex trafficking. They're a mixed bunch, but they've learned to depend on each other like family, and it's really all they have. The book is bloody and sad and hopeful. And for all the people who were frightened of reading Stirring the Sheets because they thought it was going to be a necrophilia fest but read it anyway and are glad they did, you may be afraid to read this too because of the sexual trauma involved with something like sex trafficking. But I assure you it's done with tact, just like Sheets. I'm not here to shock anyone with unnecessary details.
NW: This sounds like such a relevant subject for our time, did you do research on sex trafficking? What was that like? So heavy...
CL: No, I didn't do any research. But, unfortunately, I've known several people in my life who have suffered an aftermath of some form of sexual assault (one of them being involved in a ring). Also, I didn't do any research because that's not really the book's focus. It's more to do with finding freedom AFTER you've found freedom. It's more to do with scars healing, if at all possible.
NW: Ugh, it hurts my heart so much but you should really know that your fans put a lot of trust in you. We know that you handle things like this in a way that won't be just for shock value or to scandalize us. I'm really looking forward to this book
CL: It was tough to write, not just because of the subject matter but because I'm not a woman, and I'm writing in 1st person. Plus one of the girls is mute. That was an entirely different thing to tackle all together. I can't wait for people to read it, and for Night Worms to show everyone the cover when the time comes.
NW: Well speaking for everyone, we appreciate it because I for one, feel that the industry is lacking a coming of age story from a girl's perspective, we NEED it! Night Worms is VERY excited to do the cover reveal!
CL: I agree. It wasn't until I started the book that I realized there wasn't a lot of female-centric coming-of-age books out there.
NW: One last question before we go: It's a two-part question:
One: What is your favorite book you read so far this year AND if any of your books could be a movie, which one would you pick?
CL: I'm not quite done with it, but by the time I am, Paradise Sky by Lansdale will be the best book I've read all year.
And, your second question is a great question and it's something I've thought about a lot because I plan on writing at least one screenplay for one of them. I'm a huge fan of indie films, and if I'm honest my writing is influenced more by indie films than by books, so I don't picture any of my books being done with a Hollywood feel but more of a gritty, indie approach like many of the films done by IFC or Magnolia Pictures or A24 Films. I'd love to see Skullface Boy done just like A Scanner Darkly was done with that hyper-realistic animation over real actors. Also, I think Deep Water and Flies would both make great films. I had some interest in Sheets but it went nowhere, and I guess that's to be expected.
NW: Perfect answer to the movie question! I see your books as little indie films in my mind. Thank you so much for carving out this time with me
CL: Thank YOU, Sadie! Next time do your yardwork AFTER, and I'll wear a leisure suit.
NW: Ha! Okay, that's a plan for sure. Maybe a three way chat with Boden?? When this new book you two are working on rolls out? That would be AWESOME!
CL: That does sound like fun. Actually, I have a question for you (and Ashley)...when's the NW youtube channel coming out? :)
NW: YouTube Channel?? Now that's an idea
CL: Yes, youtube! I figured by now you guys would have something in the works...you seem to be diving in headfirst. It's the only logical next step. Even have a NW network full of trusted existing booktube accounts
NW: It would be the next step in building our evil empire--I only wish I had thought of it first
CL: Ha! You've already started conquering the horror book world with NW...you have to leave SOME of the innovation scraps to the rest of us :)
NW: We'll totally give you credit when we've reached full world domination. Ha! Hey, thanks again, Chad. We're excited for the future of Lutzkepalooza and sharing that new book cover and literally anything you have for us
CL: Thanks again, Sadie! See you on IG and the FB and the Twit!
Oh, and thank you to the readers who offered questions
This special, hardback edition of OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES by Chad Lutzke is published by Poltergeist Press and is available here: