I’m taking a bit of a break today form my stories interview series to talk to a cool guy named Kevin who wrote a spooky book with a bunch of friends. Twenty-two, to be exact. Kevin and his fellow authors joined together to compile a thrilling Christmas anthology chalk full of horror stories. Now that’s a fun mix! Read on to meet Kevin J Kennedy and get prepared to get your thrills and chills on this holiday season.
I mean, that’s a chilling cover, right?
Hi Kevin! And thanks so much for coming on my blog today. Tell me about the Christmas anthology you’re a part of.
Kevin: It’s called Collected Christmas Horror Shorts and we released the Kindle version on the 30th of November and the paperback a few days later. It contains stories from a fantastic collection of authors, from Brahm Stoker award winners to up and coming indie talents.
Sounds awesome! I’d love to know how your particular group of authors came together to write this.
Kevin: I had a few short Christmas horror stories I had written last year and was planning to write a few more and put a small collection out. I decided to go and ask some of the authors I speak to if they would like to add a story in the back and almost all of them said yes. I then decided to contact some of the authors I have been reading frequently over the last fifteen years and run the idea by them. The time frame I had was tight as I only decided to do all this in October but again quite a few were interested. I think in total the author count was up to about 40 but as is always the case with a project with such a short time span a few people didn’t manage to get their stories together in time and I had to reject a few for one reason or other. I decided with such a large author count I would only put one story in the book instead of the five I originally planned so I wrote something totally new for the book. I couldn’t be happier with the final outcome and we haven’t left the number 1 spot on Amazon in the UK since release.
That’s incredible! I cannot believe you guys pulled that together so quickly. But the work obviously speaks for itself–congrats on holding that number one spot! Now, with this many writers, is there some kind of horror rating scale for readers or do they all read at pretty much the same level?
Kevin: There is nothing I would consider too extreme in the book but it’s a difficult one as everyone’s taste in horror is so varied and I suppose it depends what you read. For me extreme is Wrath James White and Edward Lee but these days there are so many sub genres. Our book has creepy, bizarro, shocking, violent, ghost, monsters and several other types of stories. It really is a great mix, a few stories were rejected even though they were good as they had similarities to others. I think even a lot of the authors have individual styles that contrast well. The reviews coming in for the book couldn’t be better so I think we got it right.
Very cool, indeed. It sounds like you did a great job giving consideration to the variety of what is offered in the anthology. As a horror author, what inspires your writing?
Kevin: Richard Laymon is probably my biggest inspiration. I bought one of his books called Darkness Tell Us at a jumble sale when I was fifteen and it began my love of horror. I read everything he had written before finding any other authors to read. When I was younger I always thought it would be pretty cool to have a story in a book but that was it. I didn’t dream of being an author or even think about it much but I read a lot and I wanted a book on my shelf that I would know I was a part of. About a year and a half ago I seen an advert for an anthology called Fifty Shades of Slay by Alucard Press was looking for short stories so I wrote one and sent it off and it got accepted. From that day forward it has been non stop and I am now starting to get invited to more projects.
Yes, all it takes is a little bite by the writing bug and you’re off! Do you have a really creepy quote you love?
Kevin: Not so much a quote but I heard a little one line story once that I thought was creepy. The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door.
From All Naughty, No Nice by Michael A. Arnzen
The letters had stopped coming long ago.
But he still had his magic list. He still checked it twice. He hoped for a change, but still it proclaimed: the kids were all naughty, no nice.
Yet it is still Christmas. And Santa is still Santa. He rides, his sleigh loaded up with gifts for those who no longer deserve them. The big bulky bag behind his seat remains full and this weight slows down his flight. But still he must make his journey. Still he must deliver joy.
If he can find it.
He travels above rooftops, searching for someone, anyone, deserving of his finely wrapped packages. The air is always choppy and cold. It’s a different kind of winter now — one that never ends. It’s always Christmas for Santa. His work never ceases. It can’t.
The reindeer snarl and snap at each other while their bone-grey legs angrily churn in the snow-laden air. His heavy red sleigh courses through dirty orange clouds, moonlit and musty.
Rudolph’s nose no longer glows. It fell off weeks ago. Blitzen, three rows back, is dead in the air, a corpse hanging loosely in its harness across the sky. The others have chewed his dangling legs to the bone. All of their eyes are dead and grey, but they remain fueled by his magic — and a growing resentment he tries hard to ignore.
Santa Claus cracks his whip on backs of the reindeer as he crosses the Canadian border. He scans the houses below, seeking any telltale signs of Christmas joy. But there are none. No fireplaces crackling smoke up to the sky. No decorated trees in city streets or fancy light displays. Just rundown factories and empty houses. Shattered glass and crashed cars. Empty shopping malls and city halls. Fallen flagpoles and overgrown hedges.
Everywhere, always, desolation.
Fascinating. It’s like the North Pole meets Hunger Games. My interest is definitely piqued! Tell us where we can purchase your anthology (and any links that are applicable).
The anthology is available on all Amazon’s.
Awesome! Well thanks so much, Kevin, for being with us! Now it’s your turn: what do you think about bringing a bit of spooky into Christmas?
Haunted-–I mean–Happy Holidays!!