13 Questions with Chris Ringler



This week, I had the privilege of interviewing Horror Addict Chris Ringler.

 I asked Chris how it felt to be featured on Horror Addicts, he had this to say, “I am pretty stoked to be the featured author. I am friends with Mark Eller, who has been featured here in the past and he really pushed me to try to get onto the show. I am still shocked. Any time you can take part in something that promotes and respects Horror and genre stuff, and heck, the weirder aspects of art and literature, it’s pretty great.”

 His short story Pyramids & Butterscotch will be featured in Horror Addicts episode 35: Mummy. Here’s a sneak-peek, “Basically Pyramids & Butterscotch is my homage to the mummy with a bit of re-tooling. The mummy is such a scary mix of the ghost and the zombie but over the years has become a bit of a joke so I wanted to really get back to the idea of the mummy being something scary, and which doesn’t need to run after you to harm you. I tried to take the story at a different angle and hope people dig that.”

 Ringler’s first book Back From Nothing is a collection of short stories. I wanted to find out what had inspired the creation of the book. Chris was eager to share with us, “Back From Nothing came together out of years of writing short stories and having nothing to do with them. I had all these stories that I believed in and there weren’t as many outlets in ’99 for me to get the stories out there so I lucked out and found a publisher willing to take the book on and that was what got it going. The book is a lot of dark stuff and some things that feel as if you are peering into someone’s emotional bedroom window.”

 His newest book, This Beautiful Darkness is, like Back From Nothing, a collection of short stories. “This Beautiful Darkness is sort of a best of collection of some of the stories I have done in the last few years. I tried to capture a range of dark stories that were closer to horror and a couple that were just emotionally dark. This is definitely some of the best stuff I have written.”

 Ringler also added, “I wanted to put This Beautiful Darkness together because it had been so long since I had gotten Back From Nothing published and it felt like it was past time to get a new book out…[b]asically, this book was about re-committing to myself as a writer, and I am utterly thrilled with it.”

 A question many aspiring writers ask is, “What gets an author in the writing mood?” When asked, Mr. Ringler said he didn’t know. “I usually just have something – a person, something I see – that starts a pebble to roll and then bit by bit it picks up speed and I am compelled to really sit down and try to do something with that idea.”

When he was younger, Ringler worked on and published a horror magazine titled Ghoulash. “[It] was a short lived magazine I did with some friends when we were twenty. I had been doing ‘zines with a friend for a few years and we had gotten better (and stranger) with what we did and Ghoulash was the one where we got a chance (via writer and comic creator Joe Monks) to get the book out nationally for an issue. It was a mix of art, cut and paste weirdness, movie reviews, stories, and was not really like anything you saw on magazine racks but was a bit too much for everyone to get a handle on.”

Ghoulash survived one issue nationally but the numbers were just not there to really keep it out there. It broke our hearts at the time but that is the business. It was great to be able to work on it. From there I worked on another local ‘zine for a few years and then just started focusing on my personal writing and doing movie reviews for a website called Jackasscritics.”

Not only is Chris an author, he is an artist as well. You can find many of his pieces of work on a few of his websites. With all his different pieces of work, I wondered what Ringler enjoyed more…writing or art? His response was honest and very interesting.

“I don’t think anything will ever top writing for me. It is what I have loved longer, and feel like I am better at but I really have come to fall back in love with art as well. I am lucky enough that I love art, writing and photography and if there is something I want to say, a story I want to tell that I cannot tell in another way then I have three ways to choose how to tell that story. Each of the three has its benefit and drawback but it is great to have the options.”

I was curious to know whether he had always wanted to be an author and artist. Chris revealed to me that he “actually started out as a kid wanting to do the special effect noises in movies – thinking that people made them with their mouths and other random things. From there [he] wanted to be a cartoonist, then a make-up fx artist and then [he] got really serious about writing and it just clicked. [He has] been deeply in love with writing for most of my life, and while it can stress me out to try to find a publisher or an audience, the writing has never been in question. [His] art, [he] got back into over the last three years. [He] would doodle, and did [create] the cover for Back From Nothing and [his] chapbooks but it took a friend giving [him] a starter acrylic set to get [him] to really start doing art more seriously.”

Chris has a popular blog, Visions of Darkness, in which he posts samples of his writing, pictures of his artwork, photography, and movie reviews. You can “get an idea of who the guy behind everything is. It’s a fun place to get new work out there and to let people see some of the things [he is] doing.”

In his blog he mentioned the release of a new book in May of this year. Interested, I asked if he could give us some information about the book. “The plan is for [it] to be out in May for the Motor City Comic Con, which is about an hour from where I am and I am hoping to get the book there to sell alongside all my other work.”

“The new book is a collection of fairy tales I have been working on for a few years that deal with three characters and the journey – emotional and physical – that they go on to discover who they are. That’s sort of a copout general explanation but that’s about the best I can give for now. It is some of the best stuff I have written and is really different than what people will be used to if they have read anything by me before. Essentially I wanted to create a fairy tale world and to present a story that arches over several short stories but which takes the reader and the character someplace organic and honest. I love the heck out of the stories and cannot wait to get this out to people.”

Besides the release of his book, I wanted to know what his fans could be looking forward to. Jokingly, Ringler said, “Heck, me having fans by May would be pretty awesome to me!”

Then he added, “I am gonna get the new book out in May and then just spend the summer promoting the new book and the other two books as well as my art. After that I want to focus on getting a publisher for a novel I have written that is about a pumpkin-headed hillbilly and the part he plays in a heavenly war to end all wars. Anything that I do will be posted in my blog though and people can always reach me there if they want to get in touch.”

If any of you Horror Addicts out there will be attending the Motor City Comic Con, be sure to keep an eye out for Chris and his work.

To learn more about Chris you can visit any of his websites:
www.grimringler.wordpress.com – story and art blog

www.myspace.com/pumpkinpete – My Space

www.myspace.com/grimringler – stories and art on My Space

http://www.facebook.com/grimringler – Facebook

www.jackasscritics.com – movie reviews

You can also purchase his book This Beautiful Darkness at https://www.createspace.com/3386414