GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Chad McLendon (Borris: A Gothic Tale - short story) + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Interview: Chad McLendon (Borris: A Gothic Tale - short story) + giveaway

What inspired you to write this book?

When I first wrote Borris, I
was actually working third shift at a local grocery chain. I had many hours of the night where I would just be stocking the Spice & Baking aisle, and I would get to listen to Coast to Coast with George Noory, audiobooks, and all of the Iron Maiden albums. We would occasionally shut the store down, despite being open 24 hours, for floor maintenance. We would have our normal employee cleaners take the night off, and we would have a different set of cleaners come in (None of them foreign, but maybe one or two mustaches 😉), and they would lock the store up tight. They were kind of creepy, and the products they used did smell quite funky, old. It got me thinking, what would happen if something horrific happened while we were locked in? Obviously, we could just unlock the doors and leave, but what if we couldn’t? This is what gave birth to Borris, that and silly conversations with my friends Doug & Dallis. I think it was Doug that prompted the idea for the creepy eyes at the end-cap scene.

What can we expect from you in the future?
My immediate goal is to write the sequel to Natalsa of the Brim, as with any war, there are remnants of old regimes, and prejudiced mentalities need to be altered. There is a lot to unpack with where I left Natalsa’s story, and I owe it to her to finish her tale properly. I say this, because I haven’t yet, and it’s been 3 years. Sorry, ol’ girl.

Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
This is a cautionary tale about backing up your work in multiple places. I had a prequel to Borris, titled Borris – Ad Initio (Or Borris – The Beginning). It was pretty fun. It will probably never see the light of day because the story got destroyed with a failed computer. But it told the story of why Borris became the way he is. He was a happy father, living in the woods with his family in 13th century Europe. A band of hunters was passing through his wood, and they came across Borris’ family at dusk while he was out scavenging. The story turned rather grim at this point, and Borris returned to find his family all dead. He was filled with grief, denial, and lastly, rage that knew no prison. His rage grew so primal that a demon from the bowels of the Earth rose up to soothe the creature with an offer of revenge. And the rest, they say, is history.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Borris?
Yeah, there are real-world inspirations for all the characters in Borris. Brody is based off of Dallis more than anyone else. He too is tall, and brooding, and is a natural leader. Brody, as I imagined him, is forced into a stock-boy position as a means to an end. He hints at having a dark past, or at least a past rife with Occultism, as he is the first of the characters to suspect there is a threat in the Castle store. He also seems to have a remarkable amount of things in his pockets, so to say he’s prepared is an understatement. I think he has the capability of love, but he’s terribly obtuse about how to show it. He wants to be a hero, and I feel he becomes that in this story.

Borris himself is actually based off a real-life trash panda. I kid you not. Once while camping under the stars, I heard a scurrying, snapping of twigs, and hurried footsteps. There was a low chittering, and I was convinced it was a demon of the forest. I laid there, petrified of what it could be until I worked up the courage to turn on my flashlight. I flooded the copse with halogen, and staring back at me was no demon, but a wide-eyed raccoon with its teeth bared. I don’t know what ever came of this creature, but he is hopefully living his best life, unaware that a story was written to a degree with his help.

Jenna Byam is named in honor of my college professor who led a summer course on Gothic Literature. Borris was composed in her class, though she didn’t yet possess the name of Jenna Byam. Regardless, Jenna is a naïve young heroine, who is bored generally, and longs for a life more than what she has. She is finding herself, and after the events of the book…well, I think she’s found a good bit of what she doesn’t want.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
What I liked most about writing Borris is that it was fun, cult-styled horror like you’d used to see in shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark, or books like Goosebumps, as well as movies directed by Kevin Smith. It was offbeat horror, and the type of horror I love best is the kind that gives you a little heeby-jeeby, along with some laughs. Vaan Strudel was probably the most absurd character I’ve ever written, and he never would have worked in any other book. But we can appreciate his eccentricity here, thankfully.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
My first novel was a young adult / coming of age story titled Lipstick Trace. It is a gender-questioning novel that I wrote close to 14 years ago now. The main character is a boy who just loves doing what makes him feel good, and the other main character boy is a character who is very isolated, and can’t open up easily. The book follows them as they grow up and start a glam rock band, very similar to the sounds of Roxette. Lipstick Trace comes from the band's love of Glam Rock, and for one of them, lipstick. I’ll let you take a look at it for more.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Time travel is a bitch. Just don’t do it. There are so many other ways to fuck your life up if you want to. I hear collecting landmines is a much better use of your time.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Demons. I learned a LOT about demons while researching my most recent book. I actually have a whole sub-section of my website with at least 30 different books on demons, the occult, and religious texts from nearly every single religion out there. I learned that nearly every culture believes to some degree that demons can be bound to serve humans, even if the ending isn’t clear about what happened to the people who attempted these things. More than half of the books I have read on the subject all seem to include the same sort of reagents to summon/bind a demon, so I have to think some of it is valid. Will I be crazy enough to try it? Maybe if I use time travel in a story again…

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I was in love with Alba Baptista’s acting in Netflix’s Warrior Nun. I feel like she plays a young heroin extremely well, and I believe that I want Jenna’s actress to be someone quite like her.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Writing is hard. Let nobody tell you otherwise. If you liked the story, just drop a review on goodreads or amazon – it really does validate writers on our days where we feel like trash.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?
I really like the ending paragraph, it was inspired by another gothic story, Rebecca. The Castle to me represents Manderley, and I just had to make a nod of my head to one of my favorite stories.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be?
And what would you do during that day? – I think I’d spend time with Borris, I’d want to ask him about things he’s seen throughout the centuries, (if I could get him to stop utter only certain phrases that is) and see if he’s got any advice for the human race. I figure he’d want us to keep going if we’re his #1 food source. I care about nature, gotta look out for the blood fiends too.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
My characters don’t even knock, they just walk in and put their feet up. And that to me is a sign of a story having a life of its own. You can’t force your characters into molds they’ve outgrown, or ideas that they are just NOT having. You have to listen to what your character wants. Often times, if you’ve got writers block, it’s because you done goofed and your character is crossing their arms, pursing their lips, and shaking their head.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.
It’s almost Halloween, we’ve all mostly had a dreadful year of confinement, regulations, lack of sociality, and man – you just gotta enjoy what makes you happy. So get in the spirit and read some books. Watch some movies, dance with no pants on. For me, offering you my book to read makes me happy. I’m a joker, and what I desire most out of life is just to make someone’s day that much better. I hope Borris can make your day even the tiniest bit better. I don’t know you, probably, but I care for your well being!

Have you written any other books that are not published?
I definitely do, I have a bunch of loose sweater string stories that are waiting to be unraveled. I’m waiting on those, too, because I’m very eager to see where the story takes me. I always feel like each one of my stories is true in some universe, and I’m just here on my side recording their history. Each story may not be beautiful, but it deserves to be written.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
A mossy forest on the 37th morning of Autumn just after a chilled rainfall.

What did you edit out of this book?
It was the sex scenes on the skids of groceries. Trust me, you didn’t want to see Vaan Strudel like that.

Borris: A Gothic Tale
by Chad McLendon 
May 14, 2018
19 pages
Genre: YA Horror, Satire, Gothic fiction, Teen 
It was supposed to be a normal night at work for Jenna Byam, but when a Vampire Raccoon puts the grocery store where she works on lock-down, everything changes. She must find solace in the arms of a young stock boy hero, Brody, who is the only hope of ridding the world of this terror. But the raccoon's manservant, Vaan Strudel, has no intentions of making things easy for them. There's a cleanup in every aisle once Borris gets their juices flowing.
** Only 99 cents!!** 

Just then, a huge cacophony split the night’s muzak, as a huge clang is heard from the roof. The wind must really be picking up, the storm is howling like my grandmother’s teacup Chihuahua. Speaking of devilish beasts, there are those two eyes again, at the end of the aisle. What the hell are they?

About the Author
Chad McClendon is a 32-year-old author who studied English & Creative Writing at Northern Kentucky University. Chad has been published most recently through Crossed Heart, as well as in several online publications. He has won various awards for Fiction Writing. His short story, "Uploaded Vengeance" is now available in "One Night In Salem" by FunDead Publications.

Chad attended high school in Alexandria, Kentucky at Bishop Brossart High School. He was a founding member of Monday's Child, a volunteer group that worked around the Tri-State to better the lives of others. He was active in French Language competitions, and a general troublemaker otherwise.

He and his wife, Briana, have two daughters and one boy . In his free time Chad enjoys camping at Red River Gorge, playing video games and also swimming. Authors who have inspired him include Stephen King, John Steinbeck, William Golding, J.K. Rowling, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and others.

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