Scary October – Day 7

Hi, Everyone! Well, we’re finishing off the first week of my Scary October with a Sunday Interview. As promised the other day (see my Friday post where I introduced Chris and his story My Darling), I want to introduce you all to Chris Rutkowski.

Hi, Chris. Please introduce yourself.

Hey, how ya doin’? And

For those who don’t want to leave this page to read Chris’ bio on the Manitoba Writer’s Guild website, here’s most of what is says:

books by Chris Rutkowski

I’m a Canadian science writer and educator with a background in astronomy. Since the mid-1970s, I’ve also been studying reports of UFOs and writing about my investigations and research. I have eight published books on UFOs and related issues (and few other non-UFO books), including A World of UFOs (2008), I Saw It Too! (2009) and The Big Book of UFOs (2010). I have been involved in many writing and media projects for more than 30 years, including TV specials (The Monster of Lake Manitoba, 1996), planetarium shows (Moonlight Serenade, 1983, and Amateur Nights, 1989) and newspaper columns (Strange Tales, in the Northern Times, Thompson, Manitoba, 1984 to 1985). I have been an occasional book reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press. I have appeared on numerous radio programs, podcasts and TV series, including Unsolved Mysteries, UFO Hunters, Sightings, Eye2thesky and A&E’s The Unexplained. I’m on the Board of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and teach courses on writing. I am a past president of both the Winnipeg Science Fiction Society and the Winnipeg Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. My day job is as a public information officer for a university. Oh, and in my spare time I try to help eliminate hunger, cure disease, raise spiritual awareness and bring about world peace.

You’ve definitely been prolific!

How long have you been a writer?

I think I wrote my first story in high school. I had a fantastic English teacher back then, who encouraged us to be creative in many ways and at every opportunity. I think it was a Mrs. Johnson. [Sue – can you verify?] Under her direction, I edited (and wrote most of) one entire issue of the school newspaper.

My first work to see print was something about UFOs (obviously) in a ufozine published in England. I don’t recall what it was exactly about or why they asked me to write something.

Yes, Chris, I can confirm our grade 9 English Teacher was Mrs. Johnson.

Why do you think you became a writer?

That’s an interesting question. If you had asked me a decade or so ago, I would have said it was because I have always been a reader, and enjoyed the art form of using prose to convey ideas. But recently, I have found out that, unbeknownst to me, my father was an award-winning writer as a young adult. Even though I didn’t read anything of his until I discovered his manuscripts later in life, long after his passing, I can only wonder if this is more nature than nurture.

Interesting. Maybe a little of both? 🙂

What does your writing process look like? Where, when, how (computer, pen/paper or both) do you write?

I have a study filled with inspirational paraphernalia. You know – alien spaceships, monster figurines, and hundreds of books about UFOs and the paranormal. That’s where I do most of my writing. I wish I could say I have a writing routine, but between a 9 to 5 job and family matters, I write when I can, although I will try to lock myself in the study and write for a few hours a few times each week.

How is more complicated. I have Scrivener’s palsy, a kind of focal dystonia which makes it impossible to write using a pen or stylus of any kind. So, I type everything on the computer. I still have the manual typewriter I wrote my first few books on.

Yes, I’ve seen your study, Chris. It certainly does have LOTS of ‘inspirational paraphernalia’! lol  And I know how difficult book signings can be for you. 😦

What scary stories have you written?

Some would say that all my books are frightful, although that may be something else. I know that Unnatural History, my first book about unusual experiences in Manitoba, actually scared some readers with its true accounts of encounters with aliens, ghosts and monsters. In terms of explicit fantasy fiction, though, I think I’ve written and published about a half-dozen, including the new one I just gave to you.

Is this a genre in which you normally write?

Normally? No. My profession is as a science writer, and I write hundreds or thousands of words every day as part of my work. As recreation, however, I write almost always in the supernatural or paranormal field. The exception is my current work which is both fiction and biography, but I won’t publicly explain that yet.

What compelled you to write a story like this?

You asked.

Ha, ha! Thanks for that, by the way! 🙂

Do you normally read stories in this genre? If so, what is it about these types of stories that you like?

I usually read SF and mysteries. I’ve never been one to read Stephen King and horror as a rule, but I’ve enjoyed Alfred Hitchcock collections and like some Gothic works.

Would you like to share any social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc) where we can find you?


In closing, is there anything more you’d like to say?

Watch out! Behind you!

Aaahhh! Oh, Chris, you scared me! I thought it was The Blue Lady come to kidnap ME next! (If you don’t get the reference, see Wednesday’s post)

Thanks a lot for joining us, today, Chris!

I hope you all enjoyed a glimpse into the life of one of Off The Wall‘s most prolific writers! 🙂