Today’s guest writer is an up and coming horror author best known for his books The Lurkers, Oak Hollow, Prank Night and the classic slasher Pillowface. Kristopher Rufty is one of the busiest writers I know, churning out at least 2 books a year. He also writes screenplays and has written, produced and directed a horror movie, Psycho Holocaust, which features his Pillowface serial killer. Rufty’s latest release, Proud Parents, hits closer to home, because he is a devoted father of two kids. Without further ado, I’ll let Kristopher share the humorous story of how he came to write his latest novel.
How my son helped inspire Proud Parents…
A few years ago, I was laid off from my job as an office supply store assistant manager (phew! Try saying that job title all in one breath!). I became a stay-at-home dad for a summer, and really got to spend a lot of time with my children.
One summer day, I received a phone call from a friend of mine about a script I wrote. She’d shown it around to some producers and wanted to tell me all about the reactions it received. To hear her better, I went into the kitchen, away from my loud children and fully-cranked SpongeBob on TV.
A few minutes into the conversation, my son came into the kitchen, wanting to know if he could have some cheese puffs. To be a cool dad, and also to shoo him out of the room, I opened the bag and handed it over.
“Was that your son?” she asked.
“Yeah. He wanted some cheese puffs.”
“Aw, that’s so cute. You did put it in a bowl for him, right?”
At the moment, I was confused why she’d asked me that. “No,” I said. “I just gave him the bag.”
“You gave him the bag!”
I immediately realized my error and dashed into the living room. Pausing in the doorway, I gazed into the living room, horror contorting my face.
“I’ll have to call you back,” I muttered into the phone before letting it fall from my hand.
A cheese puff massacre had taken place in my absence. Orange flakey chunks and crumbs covered the couch, leaving smeared carrot-colored paths down the front and all over the floor. My son was covered in cheesy dust, holding a few puffs between his fingers like Wolverine’s retractable claws. He smiled at me, moist clumps of cheese puffs on his face, proud of his accomplishment.
I still laugh when I think back to that day. I took a picture of the debris, but it’s stored away on a disc in our tower of family photo CDs. One day I’ll search through them and find it so I can share with the world how my son began inspiring me to create the character Gabe in Proud Parents.
This memory was lifted and sensationalized in the book. Even as I was on all fours, scrubbing cheese powder out of the carpet, I knew I’d use it in a story someday.
My son was a very hyperactive wee one. So much so, that people constantly suggested to my wife and I that we should take him to be tested. Don’t you love it when other people tell you there’s something wrong with your kid? That’s how we felt, but after we heard it so many times, including constant preaching from his preschool teachers, we thought it might not be a bad idea for a consultation.
The doctor didn’t see much wrong with our son, but he said he would prescribe him something to mellow him out some if we felt he really needed it. And this led to a month-long fight between my wife and me over whether or not to put him on the medicine. We gave it a try, briefly, before agreeing he didn’t need it. He wouldn’t be our son if he wasn’t the kid showering our living room with cheese puffs and doing leg drops on his stuffed animals and diving through toy basketball hoops.
The fear that something might be wrong with our son and our frequent bickering about whether or not it was our place to change him stayed with me. I wondered what would happen if a parental team had an actual monster for a child, but they loved him with such unconditional love that they’d do anything for him. If they were told they’d never be able to have a child, but were medically blessed with one, even monstrous, how much more dedicated would their love be? What would happen if their son was changing into something more voracious and violent, but underneath that, he was still the same sweet booger he’d always been?
And what if through their attempts to help him made things worse, and not only affected their household but the families around them?
So many possibilities…
If you take the time to read my newest book, Proud Parents, I hope you enjoy the experience. If you’re a parent, you’ll probably find yourself trying to correct all the mistakes this couple makes along the way, but maybe you’ll begin rooting for them to prosper. Because deep down their hearts are in the right place, though blinded by their devotion to their son.
Here’s a short synopsis from the back cover:
He’s still their son. No matter what.
It was a risky experiment, but Greg and Sheila wanted a baby. Unable to conceive, they signed up for the project. Their prayers were answered when they were selected for the experiment. And it worked. All of the chosen families conceived. Then came the mutations—followed by the men with guns, killing everyone, and the fire that burned the place to ashes, erasing its failure from existence.
But it didn’t eliminate them all. Six years later, Greg and Sheila are still on the run with their son, Gabe, moving from small town to small town, just wanting a life to call their own. Gabe’s getting worse, his appetite is voracious, and his temper is untamable. And now Gabe is changing…again.
Kristopher Rufty lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children, and the zoo they call their pets. He's written the books Angel Board, The Lurkers, The Skin Show, Pillowface, Proud Parents, and more, plus a slew of horror screenplays. If he goes more than two days without writing, he becomes very irritable and hard to be around, which is why he's sent to his desk without supper often. For more information, visit his website at www.lastkristontheleft.blogspot.com. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well. He loves hearing from his readers.