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5 Creative Questions with… Chuck McKenzie

Chuck McKenzie is a science fiction and horror author. I knew Chuck's words before I met Chuck the person - he has the honour of authoring the first story in Clan Destine Press' This Fresh Hell anthology. My own work also appears in this anthology - right after Chuck's. When I've been in group art shows, I often bond with painters whose work neighbours mine - we are wall buddies. Chuck is an anthology buddy. We met IRL at the Sydney launch of This Fresh Hell - he travelled for this despite being Melbourne-based. I could see what a down-to-the-bones horror fan he is. Mention anything horror-related at all: Stephen King's Danse Macabre, Jordan Peele's Us - and he will beam with recognition and dive in.


In addition to horror, Chuck is dedicated to cats. He has a lifesize cardboard cutout of his big ginger boy, MacReady McKenzie, and recently published Conversations With My Cat. Having spent formative years trying to win a cat's affection and feeling sure she was absolutely hurling curse words at me, I found it hilarious.


Chuck McKenzie. Photo: supplied


Chuck McKenzie is the 16th in my series of creatives to take five questions.


When my creative process is stuck, I reach for... my laptop. The very act of writing, even when I'm not in a rut, eventually gets the creative flow going.


The weirdest thing about being a creative human is... the sources of my creativity. For my horror fiction specifically, it's 90 per cent personal trauma - the awful things I've been through in my life, or the terrible things that happen every day to friends, family, and complete strangers. It sounds like a weird thing to inspire creativity, but there it is.


The most unusual object in my house is... probably an antique pair of 19th Century pince-nez that I recently inherited from my late mother. I believe they belonged to my great-great grandparents.



I celebrate my achievements by... indulging in a wild night of quiet reflection. Maybe a social media post. Most often, just sharing my achievements with my partner, and her doing the same in return.


Something in the world that already exists that I wish I had created is... empathy. Only because I'd make damned sure it was practiced universally.


This Fresh Hell, including Chuck McKenzie's story 'The Dark Man, By Referral', is out now through Clan Destine Press. It is available through Galaxy Bookshop/Abbey's. Conversations With My Cat is available here. Find Chuck on Instagram.

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