Hey horror fans, check out the interview and insider info into Halloween Land with Kevin J Kennedy. And for those who aren’t familiar with his name, you really want to stay tuned and see why you need to be. Don’t forget to grab your copy today!
Hi Kevin,can you share with us something about Halloween Land that isn’t in the blurb?
Part of me still lives in the 80s and the 90s. The book will appeal to others who feel the same. Movie buffs and gamers will catch some nods that others wont. It’s an undercurrent that runs through the book and different people will pick up on different things.
Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
The cats and dogs in the book are my three cats in real life and the wee Pomeranian was my wee dog that passed away. He lived to 15.
Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
They started to move quickly through the now creepy-looking stalls, steeped in shadows, making the carnival appear as if it had been abandoned for years. Suddenly three shapes stepped out in front of them. Wendy let out a gasp, and they both stopped in their tracks. In front of them stood three clowns, Wendy’s worst nightmare. More terrifying for her was that each of these clowns had a carved pumpkin for a face — not make-up to look like a pumpkin — but what actually seemed to be a moving, living, (possibly breathing) pumpkin face. Their mouths were carved exactly as they would be on a pumpkin carved for Halloween, except Wendy and Zak could tell that their teeth were razor sharp. Zak grabbed Wendy’s hand and started running, pulling her with him. They ducked between stalls and rides, moving as fast as they could while trying not to trip on all the electrical cables that were running along the ground. As they moved, they could hear a strained, guttural laughing that sounded like it was coming from the roofs of the stalls above and behind them. As the kids came out between one of the burger bars and a novelty shop, they were both panting hard. Knowing they couldn’t keep running, Wendy looked around for somewhere to hide.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
Difficult one. The main characters are youngsters, and I don’t really know any young actors. I’d have Isla Fisher play the crazy clown lady.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
I had initially written a short story for one of my early Halloween Anthos. It was about 7000 words. It got mentioned in a lot of reviews and a few people suggested I make it longer. It was even compared to Richard Laymon’s works and he was one of my favourite authors. I started the process of extending it and several times I hit roadblocks. A few times I scraped huge sections but once I got it right in my head it flowed easily.
What was the highlight of writing this book?
Finishing it. Lol. No, I think the highlight was getting to put lots of little personal nods to stuff I love in it. I sometimes put them in short stories, but you can only squeeze one or two in depending on length. I could do more with this without it having a negative effect on the story
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote The Tale of Sawney Bean when I was 35. It was basically a long, short. I don’t think it was long enough to be a bonified novella. It’s no longer in publication. It was badly written, but I learned a lot by doing that book.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I read a lot. I enjoy watching movies or box sets with my wife. I like to chill with my cats and spend time with my mum. I lead a fairly simple life. I know what I enjoy and try to spend as much time as possible doing it.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
1 solo novella, 3 co-written novellas and probably over 100 short stories. Halloween Land is my favourite right now but mainly because it’s my longest solo work and it’s my newest release. Ask me in a few weeks and I’d likely give a different answer.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Just keep writing and reading. The more you write, you’ll naturally get better and with reading you start to pay attention to how other writers deal with certain things and can add to your bag of tricks.
If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
Start writing sooner. I was always a reader. Never really thought about writing but I wish I had started at a younger age.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Covers and editors. I do believe covers sell books and editing matters. If a book is a mess, I will never finish it.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Savage by Richard Laymon & Blood Crazy by Simon Clark. They are both superb but I hardly ever see them pop up in reader groups on Facebook. I could list a load but those are two of my faves.
What does literary success look like to you?
Going full time as a writer, publisher. Basically, working in the book world full time. I don’t care if it’s in a mixture of rolls.
What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Fitting it in. I tend to do so many Anthos that I struggle for time and having a day job means you are tired at night. I do what I can but I’d love to have time on my side.
What was your favourite part, and your least favourite part, of the publishing journey?
The first antho I put together was done at almost no cost. I started paying from book 2 but I didn’t have any money. I just felt I could put a better book together than a lot of the stuff that was coming out. That was Collected Christmas Horror Shorts. The book done better than I could have ever expected. It took the number 1 spot on the charts for months and even managed to hit first place on it’s second year-round at Christmas time.
What got you into creating anthologies? And what do you enjoy most about that process?
I like that I get to read stories by my favourite authors before anyone else does. A few years ago, I was just another reader and now people drop me a message saying they have a new story available and what do I have going. It’s mental. I’ve built up a good relationship with a lot of authors over the years and now it’s more like giving one of my friends a shout and running an idea by them. More often than not, they are in.
Do you have another one in the works?
I have The Horror Collection Ruby Edition almost finished and The Horror Collection Extreme Edition underway. I am in the middle of co-writing 2 novellas and a 4th solo collection called the A to Z of Horror. I also have a few shorts to write for other publisher’s anthologies. Never a dull moment.
What are you planning next?
Apart from all the stuff that is in the works already, I will likely write a linked novella to Halloween Land soonish.
Thank you for sharing with us today Kevin.
Fans, grab your copy of Halloween Land today! New readers, don’t stop there, check out his vast collection of books. And writers be sure to get your pencil’s sharpened for the next creepy call from Kevin.
Being an independent author gives us the freedom to do as we please. Of course the ultimate goal is to gain readers, reviews, and respect among our peers (and make money).
However it is also allowing me to showcase the artwork of an extremely talented local youth. Had my new book gone to a publisher, this would not be accepted. It also happened by chance.
How did it all come about?
My draft for Unfamiliar Territory, a kids chapter book, was handed off to a co-worker’s niece just for fun. He’s bragged about her drawings in the past. After she received the book he asked if she could make some art for the book. I said yes, that would be great. It’s a good feeling to know that my words inspired her imagination. And then he showed me images of what she was creating and I was blown away. This girl’s talent is stunning.
I don’t want to give away all the pictures in the book, so here is one teaser.
And all this makes holding the paperback even more enjoyable. Check out, Unfamiliar Territory on Amazon today.
About the artist: Victoria is 14, she enjoys art and anything to do with literature. She likes coffee way too much to be healthy and is a night owl who hates mornings. She’s passionate about music, it’s her main source of inspiration and would rather live in a fictional world where she can own a sword.
Be open to looking for youth to support and inspire and be proud to be indie.
Filipino-Canadian Lucy Lombos shares her joy of life and goal for children’s literacy through her many books. Each of which hold the highest values and moral teaching for children. Lucy and her husband Umberto “Jun” Lombos, founded Lombosco Academy (LA) in Katarungan Village, Muntinlupa City, Philippines. She sits as LA’s Directress while Jun serves as its Founding President. You can read her full story below in an article from Philippine Canadian Inquirer. But before you do, don’t forget to pick up a book or two.
When I hear authors saying, “Stick to one genre, you’ll be more popular”, I get IRKED. I am more than one thing; you are too.
At my day job, I work in multiple departments to keep busy. If I’m having a slow day in administration, I can hop on the phones and take sales, or join the retail team to cash out customers. Heck I’ve even gone to the warehouse to pick product.
At home I’m a wife, a dog mom/walker, a chief, a cleaner, gardener, furniture assembler, financer, and the occasional handy-assistant. (Husband is all that too — that’s the point)
So why when I write must I work with one tool? Well, guess what, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. I enjoy testing the waters of new ideas. The characters for each genre are so vastly different, too. This helps me stay fresh, innovative and bring more to my fans than same ole’ same ole’.
What are your roles in life, do you stay with what you know, or enjoy dabbling in everything? Share your thoughts with our fellow readers. OR make the case against me as to why staying true is the ultimate.
Welcome one and all, let me introduce you to a young up and coming author, David Kummer. His new book, Everything Somewhere will be coming out soon and I got the opportunity to chat with him about it. Read his interview below. Please drop a comment, ask questions, and be sure to check out his website at the end for a sneak peek at chapter one!
How did this idea begin?
This book originated from a few different ideas and intentions. One of the first and major ideas was to write a book about my hometown, specifically the people and stories that make up the place. That hometown, Madison, Indiana, is a major character in the book, though under the name of Little Rush. I tried to write honestly and openly about the good and the bad, from different point of views.
That idea evolved into two major themes throughout the book. Everything, Somewhere is all about normal life. Sure, there are some incredible things that happen, ranging from the unlikely to the improbable, but everything is about accepting and treasuring average life. Writing this allowed me to explore the idea of a normal life, what that means, the pros and cons, and this eventually led to another big topic. Writing about mental illness and suicide gave me the chance to write a heartwarming but brutally honest story about the state of today’s teenagers, but also adults. Balancing these two themes and a plot full of big characters, big ideas, was an incredibly rewarding experience. I have no doubt that it’ll be just as rewarding for you to read.
I've seen you mention on social media that this has been one of your most difficult books to write, why?
This book is the most open I’ve ever been about mental illness, suicide, and substance abuse. Not everything in the book is stuff I’ve experienced personally. Instead, I tried to paint a realistic and brutal picture of what the average teenager goes through nowadays, but also with adults and their own struggles in mind. I chose the POV characters specifically to show the town and major issues from all different angles.
While this makes the book dark and gripping, there are hopeful moments as well. I think the honesty and openness that I put into the book are what make it such a captivating read. There’s something for everybody, pieces of life that are relatable and hardships that we all face. In that same vein of thought, there are heroes and friends that we all know, relationships we long for or maybe have already. I can’t wait to share it with everyone!
What did you edit out of this book?
There were a few plot points and threads that I took out of the book. Some were fully developed chapters, others just paragraphs, but I do have one story to share.
One part that you might find interesting occurred near the beginning of the book. One character is named Willow. There were two chapters written out where she interacts with a friend who is moving out of town, and it’s sort of a goodbye scene meant to foreshadow some events later in the book. The chapters were good, but I decided not to include them. For sake of brevity, sure, but also the friend’s character never got developed enough. Trust me, in the end it was a good thing, though it did have a few killer lines I held onto for later use!
What do you plan on writing next?
I’ve got a weird thriller/mystery/kidnapping story mix that I’ve already written. It’ll need a few rewrites and lots of editing, but I’m super excited for how it’ll turn out. That book is one I’ll consider querying, maybe finding an agent for. It’ll be really fun to advertise, since the hook is pretty great. It’s been a while since I wrote something so exciting or action-packed, but also dark. It’ll be a blast for everyone, as soon as I get time to work on it! College gets in the way a bit.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
For this answer, I could easily have said “Where the Crawdads Sing,” but instead I’ll go with something a bit more obscure. I’ve written about it extensively on my blog, because I have some really weird/cool stories to go along with the book review, but “The Little Stranger” by Sarah Waters is wildly good! It’s the kind of book I wish I could have written.
While the book is a thriller and a mystery, the beautiful writing takes it from being great to legendary. The plot itself is slow-burning and unnerving, one of the most memorable. There are hints of love and of ghosts, the struggle of grief. It’s all put together perfectly and sticks to your skin even after you’re finished. The last page is, I think, the best closing I’ve ever read, as haunting as the whole book that preceded it. There’s even a movie, if you’re into that sort of thing! So, yeah, this was kinda just another book recommendation. You’ll thank me later.