Chris has a heck of a commute - 3 hours in Seattle traffic! From the tone of her book we can speculate that it turns her thoughts pretty... dark. (Ha, see what I did there!)
Let's see what Chris had to say about reading, writing and zombies!
1. It’s the zombie apocalypse and writers have got to stick together to survive. Pick 3 authors to be on your zombie apocalypse killing team and tell us why you’d choose them.
Chris says: John Steinbeck because he’s slow and the zombies will get him first. George R. R. Martin because, he’s got dragons, and apparently has a cache of dragon glass, perfect for killing the undead. I’m pretty sure I could beat George in a foot race. And Stephen King, because he writes better monsters than anyone else.
Meredith says: You're the second person to use baiting. It never gets old. Lol.
Chris says: It's a zombie world out there and the basic rules of the animal kingdom apply. I don't have to be the fastest gazelle in the herd but I can't be the slowest. :-)
2. If Stephen King and J. K. Rowling were drowning in a river, who would you save first? And now you have to tell us why.
Chris says: HELLO—I’m totally hauling Stephen King out of the water first, because his stories just keep getting better and better. Although I love J.K Rowling, I don’t know if she has anything left after Harry Potter.
Meredith says: I don't read a super ton of King. I used to. But then I got my hands on 'Full Dark, No Stars" and I know they were short stories but I wasn't impressed, I haven't picked up anything new of his since.
Chris says: So in my twenties, half of my bookshelf was Stephen King, the other half was Danielle Steele. I'm not schizophrenic, really. Quite honestly I got tired of his horror books. I found them repetitive and overly profane (and believe me, I have been known to drop an f-bomb or two). Then my husband bought me DUMA KEY, and I was hooked. He's more suspense now than horror, and I love his characters. It maybe time to give him a try again.
3. We authors are voracious readers. My TBR list is approximately 8 miles long. What are you currently reading?
Chris says: I’m reading a fun Sci-Fi book called CONTAINMENT written by Christian Cantrell. I’m also reading the WAYWARD PINES series again, because Blake Crouch does a fabulous job writing action and getting emotion out on the page. And I’m just about to read THE MARTIAN. My kids are raving about it.
Meredith says: "The Martian' was so good! I keep seeing a lot about 'Wayward Pines.' I guess I'm going to read that next.
Chris says: The first book is a little confusing until the get the gist of what Ethan is going through. And once you find out what's really going on in Wayward Pines, you'll be hooked.
Meredith says: I read the 'Wayward Pines Series' a few weeks after doing this interview. It. Was. Awesome!
4. What is the one book that you could read a million times and never get bored with?
Chris says: As a suspense novelist, I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I’m a closet Jane Austen fan. I read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at least once a year without fail.
Meredith says: Don't be embarrassed!
Chris says: God! I know. We suspense authors are supposed to read scary stuff, and believe me, I do. I still remembering reading my Jane Austen novel, I found the pacing so slow I didn't know whether I'd make it through the book. But I stuck with it and I fell in love with the characters and the flow of the language. I've read all of her books and they're lovely.
5. Last year my favorite read was The Martian by Andy Weir. What was your best read of 2014?
Chris says: It would be a toss up between Lisa Gardner’s TOUCH & GO, and Kevin O’Brien’s TELL ME YOU’RE SORRY. I devoured both of these books and read them several times each.
Meredith says: Adding to my TBR
Chris says: Lisa's writing is so clean and Kevin, well, somehow he manages to keep me guessing to the end.
6. This year my favorite read has been The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. What’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2015?
Chris says: THE PINES by Blake Crouch. My husband introduced me to this series of books and I love, love, love it. I hope the television series doesn’t kill the story. It’s got a great flawed hero, an evil genius playing God, oh, and it’s got fabulous monsters!
Meredith says: See, there it is again!
Chris says: See, I told you. It's heart-stopping. It'd tell you more, but I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.
7. You’re a writer by day and a superhero by night. (Take off those geeky glasses Superman) What’s your superpower?
Chris says: Surprises! My books are full of twists and turns that keep my readers turning pages well into the dark.
Meredith says: I never thought of the ability to deliver surprises as a superpower, but I think you're on to something.
Chris says: Yeah, well, I can't run that fast--faster than George R. R. Martin, but in the greater scheme of things that's not saying much. My brother was the jock in the family, so you gotta work with what you have. He was faster, but I was smarter. I figured out if I could make him laugh, he couldn't breathe. If he couldn't breathe, he couldn't run and I could beat him. Little sisters are sly.
8. I have writing spots all over my house: my desk, my couch, the patio, and my bed. Where’s your favorite spot to write?
Chris says: The couch, without a doubt! It harkens back to my high school days when I used to do my homework in front of the television. And the deck. Lately the weather in Seattle has been so fantastic, I’ve been spending hours outside with my laptop.
Meredith says: I remember those days, studying with the TV on. I wrote my first book on the couch while watching TV. Oh the memories :)
Chris says: I wrote my first book in 11th grade science. My friend read the new chapters in physics class. Needless to say, we weren't honor students--at least not in science.
9. We’re supposed to love all of our children equally, but there are some scenes I’ve written that really stick out in my mind. Tell us your favorite scene from your book DEADLY LIES.
Chris says: I love Jill’s seduction scene with Kenneth Cox. Writing Jill on-the-hunt scenes is a scary lot of fun. After I released the book, a good friend of mine called and said, “You really do know how to kill someone.” Really. Does it get better than that?
Meredith says: Hahaha. Wait... you didn't practice killing someone, did you?
Chris says: Well, Meredith, you know what they say... I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you...
Meredith says: But I never learned to read!... Oh wait, I know how to read, that was from some movie.
10. Sometimes a little too much of myself slips into my characters. Which one of your characters most resembles you?
Chris says: Like most characters, there are little bits of myself sprinkled everywhere in my stories. I sometimes joke that Jill Shannon is my alter ego. I’m a nice Canadian girl by day, and a gun-totting sociopath by night…
Meredith says: Remind me never to run into you at night.
Chris says: ...In a dark alley with a pen. Seriously, pens are deadly weapons. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
11. I’ve always got tunes rocking while I’m writing. Tell us five songs that are on your playlist.
Chris says: Slither by Velvet Revolver, Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5, Golden Heart by Mark Knophler, Today’s Gonna be a Great Day by Bowling for Soup, and Do I Wanna Know, by the Arctic Monkeys.
Meredith says: Great songs! I love Maroon 5.
Chris says: Have you seen the movie Begin Again? Adam Levine not only stars in it, but wrote most of the songs too! Love him.
Meredith says: Now I must google that.
12. If you could tell an aspiring author one tiny tidbit of information, what would you say?
Chris says: Persistence pays off! I’m an overnight success, seven years in the making.
Meredith says: I love hearing these 'overnight success' stories. I've come to the conclusion that to become an overnight success it takes at least 5+ years. I guess I've still got time to hit it big :)
Chris says: They say it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. I'm always pushing myself to get better, as a writer, as a mother, and as a person.
Connect with Chris:
When Chris Patchell isn't hiking in the Cascade Mountains or hanging out with family and friends, she is working at her hi-tech job or writing gritty suspense novels. Writing has been a lifelong passion for Chris. She fell in love with storytelling in the third grade when her half-page creative writing assignment turned into a five-page story on vampires. Even back then Chris had a gift for writing intricate plots that were so good her father refused to believe she didn't steal them from comic books.
Years later, Chris spent long afternoons managing her own independent record store and writing romance novels. After closing the record store and going to college, Chris launched a successful career in hi-tech. She married, had kids but amid all the madness, the itch to write never really went away. So she started writing again. Not romance this time - suspense filled with drama, and angst, speckled with a little bit of blood.
Why suspense? Chris blames her obsession with the dark on two things: watching Stephen King movies as a kid and spending ridiculous amounts of time commuting in Seattle traffic. "My stories are based on scenarios I see every day, distorted through the fictional lens. And my stories come with the added bonus of not having to be restrained by socially acceptable behavior."
Recipient of the 2015 Indie Reader Discovery Award for DEADLY LIES