Christopher Lovato recently sent us a copy of his novella to read and we were lucky enough to get a chance to interview him as well! Check out Tyler’s review below of Genesis and then the interview where Chris and I chat about his influences and his favorite horror films.
What is it about witches, or demons, that makes us so afraid? Is it their immortality? Is it their dealings with the devil? Or, could it be their ability to overpower and control your every movement and decision? Ever since the beginning of time, powerful women have sent ripples of fear coursing through the patriarchy. This fear has manifested itself throughout the ages in religious condemnation, banishment, and death. Even when the stakes are lowered, like in today’s mainstream society, the fear of women independent of the control of men in power still forces them into the shadows far too often.
It’s this fear that courses its way through Christopher Lovato’s Genesis, a novella filled with short stories that focus on a battle between a family of witches and the demons that they run from. In its brief 59 pages, Lovato gives you 22 tales of demon possession, technological manifestations of evil, doppelgangers, disappearances, and witchy spellcasting. Some of these stories work (Ironstone, The Reflecting Pond, and Happy Birthday are particularly spooky), and other don’t, but it’s the culmination of Lovato’s work and the overarching story of betrayal and familial bonds that deserve a second look.
As we follow a family from 1692 Ipswich, Massachusetts to present day Colorado, we see a great burden as it has been passed down from one generation to the next. In the olden days of Salem, the matriarch of the family had dealings with an evil spirit, and she has been casting spells to evade him ever since. Her magic is powerful, and she uses it quite well to cloak herself and her loved ones, but his desire for retribution burns with the hatred of four hundred years. The short stories bounce from one side of the coin to the other, eventually meeting in the middle with a final showdown between the demon and the distant ancestor of the curious witch.
So far, this sounds like the premise of a thousand Teen Romance stories on the market, but its short (most are only two-to-three pages in length) stories hit you too fast for you to become too enamored with the characters or their love interests. This allows you to focus on the over-arching story-line that runs its threads through each tale. Now, I can’t claim that Lovato had this in mind when he wrote Genesis, but its brevity and simplicity allow the reader to apply their own backgrounds to the story to help fill the emotional void.
For me, it made me think about the shared weight of hereditary illness. In my family, it’s depression. Going all the way from my Great-Great-Grandfather, to myself and my nephew, Liston men (or members of the family with Liston blood) battle depression for most of their lives. It’s genetic, it’s unfair, and it’s inevitable. Lovato’s use of generation-skipping storytelling allowed me to insert this mental illness into the story, making it feel more real than just a story about witches and demons. It made me think about my son, and my daughters, and how they will have to carry the weight of this disease, much like the witches in Genesis. Like the coven in the story, all that we can do as loving and protective parents is teach the next generation to be prepared for the worst, and how to combat the evil once it rears its ugly head.
This emptiness that surrounds each story is the benefit of Genesis. Is it a world-class piece of horror fiction that will someday adorn the shelves of the Library of Congress? No, it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean that Christopher Lovato’s book isn’t worth reading. Its short length and rapid-fire story structure make for a quick, pleasant read, even if the storytelling is a bit vapid. It is a valid effort and an opportunity for Christopher to learn to expand on the stories that work and ditch the ones that don’t. Genesis is the first-step of a future great horror writer, you might say. Lovato managed to create a world where witches and demons are at war with one another and are fighting for the souls of the living. Believe me, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon.
What was the main inspiration behind this story?
I'd read a thread on reddit where people were saying that they'd like a collection of short stories that seemed unrelated, but ended up being connected in the end. I started piecing together short stories that I'd written for various sites, and Genesis was born.
What's next? Anything you can tease?
Since Genesis established a demon mythos, my next book is going to tell the story of the origin of witchcraft.
What's your favorite genre outside of horror?
Tough call, but it has to be thriller/mystery.
We love to promote indie authors on Horror Bound, are there any you'd like to shout out to?
Definitely! In no particular order:
- Christopher Waltz (YA) - @christoph_waltz
- Devan Sagliani (Horror) - @devansagliani
- Andrew Lowe (Thriller) - @andylowe99
What are you top 5 favorite horror novels?
Needful Things by Stephen King
The Servants of Twilight by Dean Koontz
Four Past Midnight by Stephen King
The Animal Rebellion by M.D. Spenser (YA book)
Do you watch horror movies? If so, what are your favs?
I sure do! Here are my top 5:
The Skeleton Key
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
Christopher Lovato’s Genesis is available to read for FREE through the Amazon kindle Unlimited program. You can also purchase it digitally or physically through Barnes & Noble.
You can follow Chris on twitter here
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