I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with Chad Ryan several times. He’s down-to-earth, refreshingly funny, and supportive of emerging and aspiring authors.
Chad Ryan resides in the desert of Arizona and spends his days cooking up stories. He loves blending genres and breaking rules to make something fresh. He mostly dabbles in horror, fantasy, and dark fiction. He is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, and co-founder of Lost Boys Press, an independent publishing house. His debut horror novel, Ghost River is available at major retailers. Online, you can find him on social media platforms under the handle: @writingiswar.
What attracted you to the horror genre?
Since childhood, I’ve been a fan of fantasy and horror in story-telling. Scooby-Doo probably started me off. Using make-believe, whether fantastic or horrific, to explore compelling issues and the human condition is my jam. To me, horror is more than just scary monsters and things that go bump in the night. It’s about pushing boundaries and diving deep into the core psyche of what makes us human. Fear. Isolation. Repression. Horror touches so many concepts that other genres are not necessarily suited to grapple with.
How do your fellow author friends help improve your writing?
I think being a writer is being an eternal student. I am constantly enamored by the work of others. Style, voice, imagery, technique, you name it. I’m trying to read more lately in the pursuit of sharpening and broadening my own skillset. Being humble and receptive to the work and success of your friends and peers is a great way to improve! If you’re not willing to accept there’s always more to learn, you’ll never push yourself to get better.
When did you first discover you wanted to be an author?
I knew at 16 years old. That’s why I dedicated my first novel Ghost River to myself (at 16). Not to be arrogant, or self-congratulatory, but to recognize that young man and his dreams had finally arrived. Sadly, I lost my way for a lot of years and that boy’s dreams fell by the wayside. Luckily, in my late 30s, I decided to chase those dreams once and for all. It seemed fitting to give that book to him. It was his to begin with. Imaginative, wily, and explosive like he was.
What does your family think about you writing horror?
Ha! I’ll let you know when they find out. I haven’t shared my writing with them. The time is coming though. It’s getting harder to hide what I do behind closed doors, and it *probably* isn’t healthy to do so in the long run. I’m planning on stepping out from behind the curtain when my next book drops. I want them to share in my success too. It’s been quite a journey for all of us.
What is your biggest fear?
Maybe this is corny, but it’s true. My biggest fear is fear. I spent a lot of years repressing my dreams and self-destructing because I was afraid to be myself and embrace the writerly voices in my head. Fear is the killer of dreams and it needs to be shivved.