Interview with Christopher Courtley

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! I was in grade school. I had just seen the episode of the Original Star Trek series entitled "The Apple" set on a planet whose inhabitants worshiped a mysterious entity known as "Vaal". So I started writing a story about a group of astronauts who visit a volcanic planet called "Vol". My teacher liked it so much I turned it into a series. It was actually quite terrible.
What is your writing process?
I don't know if I can really call it a "process". It's very chaotic and sporadic. But typically I write a beginning and an ending (or sometimes I write the ending first) and then start on the middle. It's rare for me to start writing a story and not already have at least a vague idea of an ending in mind, but it does happen from time to time. I also tend to edit as I go, which is not generally considered a good habit to have as a writer, but I can't seem to stop myself.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, The Hobbit, and the Silmarillion, all by J. R. R. Tolkien. These books have not only influenced my writing to a greater degree than any others, but my entire life and philosophy. They are modern myths, in the sense of fantastical stories that embody mystical truths and worldly wisdom. They also perfectly capture the eldritch air of the realm of Faerie, which has long permeated my life and work.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly fantasy, fairy tales, horror, and weird fiction, and occasionally sci-fi. I also enjoy reading history books, especially anything having to do with medieval Europe.
Describe your desk
My desk, affectionately known as the Procrastination Station, is a complete disaster area, because I'm a complete slob. The only other interesting thing about it is that it is crowded with various inspirational items such as Lord of the Rings action figures, polyhedral dice, and miniatures of the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring, which I have not gotten around to painting, and which were once arranged in meaningful poses in front of my computer monitor but now lay strewn about as if they were attacked by orc hordes. Gandalf and Sam have fallen and can't get up because I've lost the little plastic stands that used to hold them up somewhere in the bottomless abyss on the edge of which my office chair is precariously perched.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Dark Tales of Vampires, Witches & Werewolves, which is already available on and will soon be available from Smashwords as well, is an anthology of gothic fairy tales and poetry. It was intended as a darker, more visceral follow-up to Troll Stew, my first fairy tale anthology, and of course, heavily features vampires, witches, and werewolves, as well as other creatures of the night.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My lust for instant gratification. I like being able to put my work out there whenever I want (and sometimes even get paid for it) without having to wait for someone else's approval before the public will even have a chance to read it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating characters and the worlds they inhabit, and then telling their stories, all the while imagining the reader enjoying the reading of those stories as much as I enjoyed the writing of them.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are the reason I write. If I had no fans, I might still write, but I wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much. I would most likely have to envision hypothetical future fans appreciating my work in order to feel like it was a worthwhile endeavor.
What are you working on next?
Right now my main projects are my first novel (I have two in the works and I'm not sure which one I'll finish first), another fairy tale anthology which I hope to publish by Midsummer, and Courtley's Weird, a series of free chapbooks that will showcase some of my short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction (especially humor) pieces. The first volume of this series is already available here on Smashwords.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Strong black coffee.
Published 2014-05-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dark Tales of Vampires, Witches, and Werewolves
Price: $3.30 USD. Words: 64,770. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Gothic stories and poems of romance and suspense; of love and death, and undeath; of lust and envy, betrayal and revenge; tales of nature and supernature red in fang and claw. Macabre, visceral, morbidly erotic, at times grimly humorous and often deeply disturbing, these blood-soaked yarns are certain to haunt your darkest dreams.
Courtley's Weird, Vol 2
Series: Courtley's Weird. Price: Free! Words: 23,640. Language: English. Published: July 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
"Bride of the Chapbook!" The second volume in a series of free ebooks edited by Christopher Courtley. This issue contains some of his best fiction and poetry and also features two short story submissions by fellow Smashwords author Shana O'Quinn. Genres: Weird fiction, horror, D&D fantasy, fairy tales, poetry, LotR fan fiction.
Courtley's Weird, Vol 1
Series: Courtley's Weird. Price: Free! Words: 16,830. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor & satire
Volume 1: "IT'S A CHAPBOOK!" First in a series of FREE ebooks containing various written pieces by the author, including fiction and non-fiction, both humorous and serious, but in all cases weird. Genres: Fantasy, fairy tales, sci-fi, horror, weird fiction, poetry, fan fic and parodies.
Thirteen Black Roses: Gothic Romantic Poetry
Price: Free! Words: 2,350. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs, Fiction » Romance » Gothic
Thirteen of the darkest of Christopher Courtley's Gothic Romantic poems, selected by the author.
The Bone Dancer (Tale II of the Valruna Saga)
Series: The Valruna Saga, II. Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 11,490. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Having fled the wicked desert city of Bel-Athis with the wrath of the devil-god Baal-Zebub at their backs, the barbarian warrior/sorceress Vana Valruna and her trusted guide and companion the wily thief Jerob stop for a much-needed rest at a caravanserai on their way to the great port city of Rakasad, where the ultimate betrayal turns what at first seemed like a safe haven into a most deadly trap.
The Temple of Baal-Zebub (Tale I of the Valruna Saga)
Series: The Valruna Saga, I. Price: Free! Words: 6,760. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
A warrior-woman/sorceress from the northern steppes visits the ancient and wicked city of Bel-Athis, "The Jewel of the Sands" while traveling through strange desert lands far to the south and east. There she comes into conflict with the vicious tyrant Ammon-Zul, High Priest of Baal-Zebub, "The Lord of Flies," a devil-god who demands human sacrifice lest he unleash a terrible plague upon the city.
Troll Stew: A Strange Brew of Dark Fairy Tales and Poems for Adults
Price: $2.90 USD. Words: 30,450. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
This collection of original fairy tales and poems is sure to satisfy the cravings of any reader with an appetite for the unusual. Contains three works of short fiction, four works of flash fiction, and six works of poetry, all inspired by the darker side of Faerie. Due to the macabre nature of some of the tales and poems, this book is not recommended for young children.