We are excited to introduce this author and his terrifying story "Three Balloons". Chris Lilienthal's story is featured in our latest installment in our series, "It Calls From the Sky" available now on Amazon and major retail outlets.
Chris Lilienthal is a writer and communications professional in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He began writing again in 2020 after a two-decade break. He is a contributing author to “It Calls from the Sky,” a forthcoming anthology from Eerie River Publishing. He lives with his wife, two sons, and two dogs.
Have you always written, or was there a catalyst that prompted you to begin this journey?
I wrote quite a bit when I was a kid and in my late teens and early 20s. As time went on, I stopped writing stories and poetry to focus more on a career in journalism and later professional communications. I may have stopped writing stories, but I never stopped telling myself stories in my head while driving to work or lying in bed at night. When the pandemic hit, everything was cancelled, and I began working from home. Suddenly, I had a lot more free time on my hands, so I decided to use as much as possible to write stories. And here I am.
Do you have an author that has influenced your writing the most?
I’m a Neil Gaiman super fan. I just love the characters he dreams up and the ease with which his stories and novels unfold. My work is not a lot like his (I sure wish it were), but I do spend a lot of time thinking about how a story moves from one moment to the next, and I attribute that fixation to Gaiman.
Do you remember the first piece of writing shared publicly? What were people’s reactions, but more importantly how did you react getting it out there?
Wow, that was some time ago. I was a sophomore or junior in college when I took a creative writing workshop class. I wrote a very short story for a flash fiction assignment about a young man who agreed to have a tooth removed without the benefit of anesthesia. It was fun to write, and the class seemed to like it. Oh, the swearing! It was also the first story I ever published – later that year in my university’s literary magazine.
What is your workspace like? What kind of atmosphere do you need to write?
I work at my laptop in my basement office. It’s a walk-out basement, with a sliding glass door that opens to my backyard, which looks down on a creek that winds through our neighborhood. I tend to do most of my writing in the afternoon and evening. Writing horror in the basement at night can be a little creepy. I’ve definitely freaked myself out more than once.
Horror occasionally veers into the paranormal or supernatural, that's what makes it fun in my opinion. Do you believe in the supernatural, and if so is there a story?
I do believe in otherworldly presences. I can’t say I’ve encountered one in the light of day, but I have had the experience more than once of waking up in my bed or on the couch to see a figure standing over me. On one occasion, the figure was an older man who clearly asked me if I could tell him where he was. It’s probably happened to me a handful of times. Each time, I’m frozen, kind of in a state of sleep paralysis. I’m trying so hard to move and speak, but I just can’t.
Without giving too much away, tell us about the short story you have featured in “It Calls from the Sky”. What inspired you?
Years ago, after we lost my Mom and an uncle both at early ages, some members of my family decided to release two mylar balloons into the air as a tribute to them. Kind of weird, yes. But I remember wondering where the balloons ended up, and what someone might have thought seeing them dropping down out of nowhere. So, I started my story with a couple living in an old farmhouse out in the country, and one day a trio of balloons drops down out of the heavens. These balloons, however, are a bit more sinister than the balloons my family released in tribute to our loved ones.
Follow him on Twitter @ChrisLilienthal or on Instagram @ChristopherLilienthal
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Terror reigns the sky, and there is nowhere left to hide.
Ferocious storms, winged beasts and falling angels are just some of the dark tales locked within these pages. Discover a world where carnage falls from the sky, and delve into the frenzy of a world gone mad as Heaven opens and all Hell breaks loose.
Eerie River Publishing brings you another round of exceptional horror created by award-winning authors around the world. We dare you to take this journey with us and find out what madness awaits you!