Monday, September 2, 2013

Meet Chris Mentzer !!

Welcome back to another Monday Mention. Today we are meeting and interviewing Chris Mentzer an amazing author and overall great guy. As usual, stay tuned at the end of the interview for a treat.


 1. Tell us what a day in the life of Chris Mentzer is like.

I go to work and then I come home. Not much to it really. Somewhere in all of that I managed to write three novels and I’m still marveling at that some days.

 2. What made you want to start writing?

 An assignment for my freshman year in high school gave me inspiration to become a writer. I read a lot of Fantasy in junior high and so the desire to write it came along. I really wasn’t very focused until 2005 when a good introduced me to the National Novel Writing Month.
50K words in 30 days. I had a friend who told me that there was no way I could ever do something like that. If I had taken his advice, I wouldn’t have written my trilogy. Grant it, I didn’t accomplish the 50K the first time out, but I did try. It’s better to try and fail in thirty days then to spend the next eleven months wondering if I could have.

3. If your writing style was a four-course meal, what would it be?

I’ve never considered this question before. I’ve never looked at my writing style as individual courses but rather a large family-sized casserole. Plenty of servings and you walk away full.

4. When writing, do you prefer silence or some kind of background noise?

Both. It depends on the time of day that I’m writing. Right now the house is silent and I’m enjoying the peace of an empty house. However, in the evenings I can tolerate background noise of my family while I’m writing. My daughters inspire me with what they say and do.

5.  Morning person or night owl?

I’d have to say morning person since I go into work for the early shift. 5am or 6am. On my days off, I have no knowledge of the phrase “sleep in”. It used to be because my kids get me up early but nowadays it’s simply to utilize a quiet house for a little social media or writing. I’m too old to try and be a night owl.

6.  Do you prefer to have a schedule or wing it?

I need a schedule. That’s probably why I don’t accomplish a lot on vacations. Without a schedule I can function all that well. That’s not necessarily a bad thing when you’re on vacation but if you want to write, you have to try and set a schedule.

7. If you were granted the skills of a great wizard, how would it impact your daily life and your writing?

{laughs} I probably dispense with writing and do other things instead. Not that I don’t like writing, mind you, but as a wizard I’d probably just create the finished book from just a few ideas and not have to worry about the writing or editing process. The challenge just wouldn’t be there and I’d lose interest.
Going to work would be a breeze as well. Not just the travel there and back but the labor involved. I work in retail and one the biggest challenges is finding space for everything that arrives on the truck. As a wizard I’d created dimensional pockets and store merchandise in there so our warehouse area was always spotless.

8.  When you have downtime from writing, what do you like to do?

For the last couple months I’ve become obsessed with Twitter. I used to despise the concept until I realized that as a writer, it’s a great place to meet other writers. Facebook used to be my obsession but nothing happens on there anymore except for the Bitstrips and those are super fun!!

9.  Do you make an outline or just write?

A little of both. My outlines would probably scare the average writer because they aren’t really outlines. I usually write a paragraph or just a couple of sentences and then wing the rest. And I don’t write in order either. If I’m writing along and get stuck, I skip ahead to the next section and go from there. Since I know what characters will be involved in each section, I can get away with it and then go back later and fill in what’s missing.
·9.) How do you come up with your ideas?
10.) Do you like to base your characters on pure fiction or is there a little of real friends in them?
11.) Do you have a favorite author and why?
·9.) How do you come up with your ideas?
10.) Do you like to base your characters on pure fiction or is there a little of real friends in them?
11.) Do you have a favorite author and why?

10. How do you come up with your ideas?

Mostly from reading. Certain ideas that were used grab my attention and then I’ll take it in a different direction. I used to play Dungeons and Dragons in the late 80s. A lot of characters in my stories are former adventurers from my role-playing days. I also get ideas from watching movies and even lyrics from music.

11. Tim Burton just called and asked for the rights to make your book(s) into a movie. Do you jump at the chance or hold out for a different filmmaker (and if so, who)?

No disrespect to Mr. Burton, but I’d hold out for a different filmmaker. His films are a little too dark for my trilogy. My choice of filmmakers would have to be Sam Raimi. His latest work can be seen in Oz, The Great and Powerful. Since The Askinar Towers are inspired by The Wizard of Oz, I would want a similar feel for the silver screen. Mr. Raimi could do my story justice and bring realism to each realm that is featured in the books.

12. Speaking of movies, if you were to choose songs for the soundtrack of your series what would the songs be and why?"

I’ve always wanted to do this! Here’s my list of songs and why...
Book 1: Nexus of the Worlds
1.     Blind Guardian—Imaginations From The Other Side
(The girls enter the fantasy world through portal found in a mirror. Everything occurs on the other side.)
2.     Dio—Otherworld
(The great Ronnie James Dio! This song shows that they are no longer in the world they know.)
3.     Blackmore’s Night—Journeyman
(This is a traveling song that could be heard throughout the story in between each of their stops.)
4.     Tyr—By The Sword in My Hand
(Sir Talbot’s song as he rescues the damsel in distress with unexpected results.)
5.     Dio—Mystery
(Toward the end of book 1, the girls find themselves involved in a mystery of scandal between rival mayors.)
6.     Skiltron—Skiltron (Closing Credits)
(As book 1 draws to a close things are not the same as they started and as this play people wonder what just happened.

Book 2: Sibling Rivalry
1)     Symphony X—Set The World On Fire
(As the second book opens the girls are in competition…with each other!)
2)     Crosswind—Eye of The Storm
(This song is the height of the sibling rivalry as the girls go to war!)
3)     Elvenking—The Wanderer
(The girls resolve their differences and once again are on the road.)
4)     Wizard—Midgard’s Guardian (Kill The Troll)
(In a fantasy town, the girls encounter a group of trolls who want a fight.)
5)     Dream Evil—Back From the Dead
(As if sibling rivalry isn’t bad enough, now they contend with undead.)
6)     Tarja—I Walk Alone (Closing Credits)
(As book 2 concludes, the girls find themselves face to face with their nemesis and without companions.)
Book 3: Always Darkest Before the Dawn
1)     Symphony X—The End of Innocence
(Book 3 opens with this song implying that the girls have come a long way since leaving their home)
2)     Rush—Witch Hunt
(Back in the towns of the rival mayors, the girls face charges of witchcraft!)
3)     Epica—Chasing The Dragon
(Every fantasy story should have one dragon and mine has a unique one!)
4)     Validor—The Dark Tower
(Although this song is inspired by Stephen King’s series, this song is appropriate as the girls enter The Fifth Tower.)
5)     Visions of Atlantis—New Dawn
(As the book draws to a close, the girls see their lives better enriched for their amazing adventure)
6)     Edenbridge—What You Leave Behind (Closing Credits)
(The final track allows you to think of how much impact these two little girls had on the lives of the people they met.)

13. Do you like to base your characters on pure fiction or is there a little of real friends in them?

As it happens my two main characters in the towers trilogy are based on my own daughters. They’ve inspired me to write stories as I want them to read my books. They argue a lot, as siblings do, and I try to convey that in the story without it becoming the focus. Of course by book 2 their arguing gets extreme to the point of them facing off hence the subtitle, Sibling Rivalry.
I try to make all of my characters fictional but I will base some traits off of friends or co-workers.

14. Do you have a favorite author and why?

My current favorite author is M. C. Beaton. She writes the Hamish Macbeth series. The way she writes her characters and the little town in northern Scotland is so realistic that it’s a place you want to go and visit for a time. I hope that my writing can be that real to get readers to say, “Hey, how do I get into the Askinar Towers?”

15. Writers - born, made, or crafted? Do you feel that anybody can be a writer? Is it something that can be taught, or does something have to be there from the start?

Wow, tough question. Personally I would say that anyone can be a writer. One of the problems I see is a lack of confidence that people display in regards to writing. Online I see glimpses of peoples’ talent for writing when they respond to a question or a post. I suggest that they write a story but they give excuses about not having time or the talent. The talent clearly is there, they just lack the confidence to seek it out. Most have a fear of failing before even trying.

Read. Read. Read. They only way you become a better writer is if you read. And don’t just read in the genre that you write. Read other genres to see how authors tell their stories. In my current WIP, I’m working on a Fantasy story in which the MC becomes a town guard and ends up solving mysteries. So I started reading mystery novels, but not just any mystery. I focused on mysteries that took place in a small town or village because that would be the focus of my story.


Chris has been interested in writing ever since 1982 when he was given an English assignment in the 9th grade. He had to write a paragraph using a lot of detail. Although he wasn’t sure if he completely understood the assignment but he wrote a scene in a bank where a guy was coming out of the bathroom and witnessed a robbery in progress. The detail portion came in when the witness described the robber to the police. From that moment Chris decided he wanted to be a writer.
Between 1982 and 2005, he made several attempts to write a story; it was his goal to write the great American novel, you know the one that everyone wants to own and read. The majority of his work lay incomplete in a personal slush pile in a filing cabinet.
Having read the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and all fantasy books by David Eddings, he took a stab at Fantasy with minimal success. Even tried his hand at Science Fiction with a couple of buddies while he was in college. The bottom line was he lacked discipline and the desire to stick with any one project. But that was all to change in 2005.
In November of that year, Chris entered his first writing challenge held by the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website. Although the goal was 50,000 words, he obtained his personal goal of 25K, which went on to be the foundation of book 1 of The Askinar Towers Trilogy. He later wrote foundations for books 2 and 3 in ’07 and ’09 respecitvely. His inspiration for the towers books came from John DeChancie’s Castle Perilous series and Doctor Who’s Paradise Towers.

Chris lives in Mesa, AZ with his wife and two daughters. He is currently employed in the retail industry working in the produce department. In his spare time, when not writing or stalking the social media streams, Chris loves to hike out in the Lost Dutchman area and Saguaro Lake.

As Promised, here is a blurb from one of Chris's books. Thanks for joining us again today and we hope you have enjoyed meeting yet another of the Tiger Dynasty team.

Enjoy the blurb.

The Askinar Towers Trilogy
Written by Christopher Mentzer

Sara and Erika weren’t looking for an adventure but when but they are given a special key, they find a portal that takes them into a world dominated by four towers. In fact, the towers themselves are the center of every known world. Their quest: To locate the legendary fifth tower, encounter the entity that lives within, and then find a way back home. 

Along the way, they join up with several companions and face many challenges including: zombies, Ogres, Trolls, pirates and retail shoppers. The girls’ most difficult challenge, however, is sibling rivalry. Their arguing threatens them to abandon the search and go their separate ways.
Meanwhile a sinister cloaked figure is watching from the shadows and following their every move. Do they want the girls or the special key? Are they ally or foe? Can the siblings put aside their squabbling, ban together, and find their way to the fifth tower? To find the answers to these questions and more read The Askinar Towers trilogy written in the tradition of The Wizard of Oz by new author Christopher Mentzer. 

1 comment:

  1. Looks great! Thanks!! I'll post a link to this on Twitter and Facebook.