Monday, February 26, 2024

Q&A with Chris Wade



Chris Wade is the author of the new story collection Strange and Mysterious Stories. His many other books include The Art of John Atkinson Grimshaw. Also a musician and filmmaker, he lives in Leeds, England.


Q: Over how long a period did you write the stories in Strange and Mysterious Stories?


A: Well, one of them, "Roger's Place," was written about 10 years ago. I had written it for an actor to narrate on audio, but that didn't work out, sadly because the actor who was going to read it died. So I left it to one side and forgot all about it until last year. I dusted it off, rewrote parts, and changed the tone of the story.


Apart from that the rest of the tales were all written throughout 2023. 


Q: As a writer, musician, and filmmaker, how do the three disciplines work together for you?


A: To be honest,  it's perfect for me. As soon as I start to get a little tired of doing one of them, I move over to the next.


After writing every day, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, every couple of months or so I feel like making some music, so I get all my instruments out and make an EP or an album.


Every now and then I come up with an idea for a surreal art film or a documentary and I take time out of writing to put my all into that for as long as I need to. I just love writing, making music and anything to do with film.


When I was a kid, I used to draw and write stories all day, play along to my favourite records on the guitar, and put together little film guides in notebooks. I was always obsessed with books, films, and music. They've always been my passions, so I feel lucky that I get to do them all the time, every day of most weeks, as a "job," though it never feels like a job. 


Q: How did you decide on the order in which the stories would appear in the collection?


A: That's a good question. At first the book started with "The Rat Faced Man" because I thought it was punchier and a more fitting opener, but then I wrote "The Death of Arthur Kind" and I just thought that was a perfect start to the book.


I came up with the idea for Arthur Kind in early ‘23 and finally got it down in October of ‘23. I swapped the tales around for a bit to see if I liked the order, but in the end I decided the way they are placed in the book now was the best of all.


I think the closing tale is so dreamy and surreal that it's a nice way to let the reader off gently before it all ends. 


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the stories?


A: I hope that the tales genuinely creep them out. So far people have said they are creepy and that they keep you hooked, so I am really pleased with that.


I recently made a CD of instrumentals to go with the book, released under my pseudonym, Dodson and Fogg. That was really fun, getting the sounds that matched the stories, experimenting, trying to conjure up the spooky atmosphere.


I love ghost stories and odd tales, especially English ones of the 1900s, those great tales by MR James, Conan Doyle, Dickens and all those wonderful writers. They really get you imagination flowing.


Ideally I would like people to read them while listening to the music. You can get the CD or download the EP at my bandcamp music site:


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Well, I just released my instrumental EP and I recently put out a book on a Leeds-based painter called John Atkinson Grimshaw, a Victorian artist.


Now I am finishing off a film book on the work of Tom Cruise, and then I am releasing audio versions of the Strange and Mysterious Stories, which are being narrated by some actor friends of mine.


After that I will look at my planned projects and see which nonfiction book I fancy diving into next. I have a folder with about 60 book ideas that are formatted and which I toy with to see if I am interested enough to start them.


I also have a folder of fiction ideas I need to finish off, but that will probably be done leisurely over the next couple of years. I just love writing. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: That I have five cats who are the loveliest animals you could ever meet. Well, most of the time.


Cats aside, I have a website,, where there is info on me, my books, films, music, art, photography, and everything else. 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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