Last weekend, I had the pleasure of hitching a ride up to Waukesha, Wisconsin with author Christian A. Larsen, also known as Chris and former radio host Lars on 95.1 WIIL around these parts.
Larsen was a featured author at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books on November 5th and while I wish I was able to sell some of my work, too, it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, I got to enjoy the next best thing – sitting alongside Larsen as he displayed both of his novels as well as several collections he is featured in for the masses.
Perhaps my favorite part of the day was listening as college students and readers of all ages walked up to our table and engaged in impromptu interviews with Chris. Folks are always interested in what makes a writer tick. Larsen just so happened to be the only horror/dark fiction/science fiction author there that day, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise that he was asked where his ideas came from and what inspires him by just about everyone who stepped up to the table.
Larsen has an extensive background in communications – high school teacher and customer service manager for a major appliance company are other bullet points on Larsen’s resume – and he is a fascinating chat. Whether it’s discussing what makes stories creepy (he’s a firm believer in ‘if it doesn’t scare me, it can’t scare the reader’) or discussing how he’s joined a number of the anthologies he’s a part of (Larsen’s work is featured in collections alongside Stephen King, Joe Hill and Joe McKinney), Larsen made quite the impression on a number of folks in the packed corridor of the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha.
As the day wound down, Larsen was able to chalk the day up as a success. He had met plenty of new fans, including a potential reviewer and some new readers, and he did a great job of self-promotion. Whether it was with the bookmarks he made up that served as a clever business card or just exchanging pleasantries with passerby, people definitely knew who Christian A. Larsen was. The awesome beard probably didn’t hurt, either. Or the delicious scent of spring rolls, as an author gets hungry and there was a cool little catering company that was at the festival. We made quick work of a six-pack of the tasty treats.
Do yourself a favor, folks – get to know Mr. Larsen and his fantastic collection of creepy, strange and macabre as soon as humanly possible. If I may, I highly recommend his novel The Blackening of Flesh (which I’ll be reviewing on Mangled Matters next week) and his short story Center Stage Sideshow in the terrific anthology Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine. Next up on my reading list is his debut novel, Losing Touch.
Check out Larsen’s website to keep up to date on upcoming events he’ll be attending as well as book news!