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C. G. (Chris) Bauer, aka cgbauerwouldn’t trade his northeast Philly upbringing of street sports played on blacktop and concrete, fist fights, and twelve years of well-intentioned Catholic school discipline for a Philadelphia minute (think New York but more fickle and less forgiving).  Contrary to popular belief, he harbors no ill will toward the city of Pittsburgh, though statements made by some of his characters might seem to indicate otherwise. Married with two lovely, incredible adult daughters, Chris now lives in Doylestown, PA with his equally lovely wife, Terry, and their super-mutt, Rory.


Chris’s debut novel, Scars on the Face of God becomes available in trade paperback (Drollerie Press) from 12/1/2009.


JON:  Congratulations on your recent Puddle Award. Which came first, the title or the story?

CHRIS: The story. Where did the story come from? Huge admission here: Originally conceived, Scars on the Face of God (SOTFOG) was a mainstream novel. Blame it on my wife for turning it into a paranormal/horror thriller by passing a comment about a few of the characters before I’d written a single word; something she saw in them that I hadn’t. The comment would be a plot spoiler here so I’ll stay quiet about it, but it totally changed the novel’s complexion.


JON: How did you decide upon the title?

CHRIS: During a coffee-fueled epiphany on my long drive to my day job. Catholics and other Christians (I was raised Catholic) are taught that God has a perfect, beatified face. Throw together some conflict caused by discarded orphans raised by nuns, a monsignor with an insatiable carnal appetite, and a mystery surrounding a cache of bones discovered in a storm sewer. Then introduce as a catalyst the real-life 13th century religious manuscript known as The Devil’s Bible. Add an antagonist who decides the time is ripe to “rough up the Almighty” and “scar that beautiful face of his” and viola, a title was born.


JON: Tell us a little about the story/stories ie: finished/published?

CHRIS: The novel, my debut, is published by Drollerie Press, a little-engine-that-could small press. The eBook is out now; the trade paperback will be available 12/1/2009. It was recognized with a first place finish in an annual contest run by the Maryland Writers Association, also garnered a first place finish in a contest run by the now defunct Writers Room of Bucks County (PA) writers organization.


JON: As a reader, does a good title make a difference to you?

CHRIS:A backhanded yes in that a bad title will make me select something else to read. I suppose also that a great title will make me more interested than a mediocre title. Two short story titles I’m partial to, both my own, are “You’re A Moron” and “Zombie Chimps from Mars.” “Moron” was published by Thuglit in January 2009; Well Told Tales turned it into a podcast in September 2009. I’m currently shopping “Zombie Chimps,” which is actually not so much a zombie story as it is a mainstream contemporary literary masterpiece. (Fine, there’s some bias here; go figure.)


JON: What are your long term goals as a writer?

CHRIS:I can’t think too long term at this point. I’m thinking ahead only as far as my next few hurdles: complete a WIP paranormal novel with the working title of Hop Skip Jump, sign with an agent who recognizes its genius, close a deal with a major publisher. Optioning SOTFOG for film would be nice, too. Little things like that. That’s plenty for now.


JON: Tell us about your very first sale.

CHRIS: SOTFOG was it. Pinky swear. I recognize it’s a little unusual for a writer to close a deal on a novel before he’s earned other significant writing credits (other than a few first place finishes/honorable mentions in some smaller-venued contests). Regardless, publisher Deena Fisher at Drollerie Press liked it well enough to give it a go, so here we are.


JON: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever had?

CHRIS: Read the work aloud. My work can be literary at times but it generally reads as conversational, and there’s no better way I know to catch incorrect inflections, difficult transitions, awkward dialogue and poorly constructed prose than to hear the prose spoken, even if only by the author. The same is true regarding my need to see the narrative on a printed page vs. reading it on a screen. I compose on the screen but I do my best editing from the printed page.


JON: Do you belong to a writing/critique group? Why/why not?

CHRIS:Yes. Two, in fact: The Bucks County Writers Workshop, a large group run by published novelist and former CBS (radio) Book Beat’s Don Swaim, and a smaller group we call The Rebel Writers of Bucks County. The Rebel Writers boasts two published novelists (Damian McNicholl, Marie Lamba), one writer with a memoir due out next year (Jeanne Denault), three other talented writers yet to be discovered, and me. The Whys for me are simple.

            One:    Feedback. Other writers with successes large or small and with eyes more critical than my own
                        should see my work and let me know what works and what doesn’t.


Two:    Validation. When I get something right—voice, a scene, some dialogue—it’s incredibly gratifying to hear someone else tell me I did.


JON: Where can readers find your work?

CHRIS: The novel: From publisher Drollerie Press and the other usual outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or better yet ask your local independent bookstore to order the trade paperback in preparation for its 12/1 release. It’s also available online at Fictionwise and other eBook venues. Short story exposure: Thuglit (crime pulp), Well Told Tales (horror, crime pulp). And if the writing does (or does not) connect for a reader, this debut author much appreciates comments, reviews, ratings, etc. to that effect wherever the reader was exposed to the writing.


JON: Aside from Live Journal, where else on the web can you be found?

CHRIS:My website, Facebook, MySpace. Additional interviews: Horror Bound Online magazine, where the editor mentioned that my June 2009 interview had more hits than their interview with horror novelist legend Ramsey Campbell, a freak occurrence for sure; Book Talk with J&J, April 2009. Book reviews for SOTFOG have been posted at Horror Bound, SF Crowsnest, Small Press Reviews, AmberKatz’s Book Blog. My publisher and I eagerly await reviews from the bigger guns such as Publishers Weekly and Kirkus.


Editor’s note: A portion of the sale of each copy of Chris’s debut novel, Scars on the Face of God: The Devil’s Bible (Drollerie Press) will go to St. Vincent’s Home, in the Tacony section of Philadelphia, at one time an orphanage and now an emergency shelter for children.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2009 12:05 am (UTC)
Ah, it's too bad I'm probably not going to get an e-reader until Christmas.

Thanks for posting this interview. The book sounds interesting. I haven't ventured in horror much, but I have read and enjoyed some suspense novels. Though I do like reading new POVs in regards to religion. That aspect looks right up my alley.

I hardly ever read writing aloud, though I try to when I'm not feeling embarrassed about it. It's good advice.
Oct. 19th, 2009 11:08 am (UTC)
When I read my stuff aloud, I'm always embarrassed - though once I've made a few changes it's not so bad ;)
Oct. 21st, 2009 06:21 am (UTC)
This is offtopic, but do you have an e-reader?
Oct. 21st, 2009 11:07 am (UTC)
I'm afraid they're a little too hi-tech for me. I can barely figure out how to work the telly :)

Why do you ask?
Oct. 22nd, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
Well, I want one, it would be nice on my back (and I'm a bit of a tech nerd). There are a lot of them out there and a lot of different opinions on them. So, just looking for info. Plastic Logic is going to release a flexible one. It looks crazy.
Oct. 22nd, 2009 10:17 am (UTC)
In that case, may I recommend temporus http://temporus.livejournal.com and karen_a_newton http://karen-w-newton.livejournal.com as good sources of info. They often post about e-readers.

Hope that helps :)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 20th, 2009 10:07 am (UTC)
Lol :)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

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