THIS IS GOING TO HURT.
The eleven stories in Ugly Little Things explore the depths of human suffering and ugliness, charting a course to the dark, horrific heart of the human condition. The terrors of everyday existence are laid bare in this eerie collection of short fiction from the twisted mind of Todd Keisling, author of the critically acclaimed novels A Life Transparent and The Liminal Man.
Travel between the highways of America in “The Otherland Express,” where a tribe of the forsaken and forlorn meet to exchange identities. Witness the cold vacuum of space manifest in the flesh in “The Darkness Between Dead Stars.” Step into the scrub of rural Arizona and join Karen Singleton’s struggle to save her husband from a cult of religious fanatics in “When Karen Met Her Mountain.” Visit the small town of Dalton in “The Harbinger” and join Felix Proust as he uncovers the vile secrets rooted at the heart of Dalton Dollworks. And in the critically acclaimed novella “The Final Reconciliation,” learn the horrifying truth behind the demise of the rock band The Yellow Kings.
With an introduction by Bram Stoker Award-winner Mercedes M. Yardley and illustrations by Luke Spooner, Ugly Little Things will be your atlas, guiding you along a lonely road of sorrow, loss, and regret. This is going to hurt—and you’re going to like it.
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
The first story I wrote (that I remember, anyway) was in 1989. I was barely six years old, and believe it or not, my local newspaper published it. I guess I was destined to do this sort of thing.
2. How many books have you written?
Books written to completion: Eight.
Books abandoned: Two.
Books in progress: Three.
Books published: Three.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
I’m not sure. I haven’t written a story yet that made me step back and say, “No, I’m not writing that.” But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I’m 34, married, and I have a son who just started high school. By day, I work in accounting for a corporate entity that I’ve grown to loathe, but it pays my bills, provides health insurance for my family, and I like the people I work with. So there’s that.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
Right now? It’s definitely UGLY LITTLE THINGS: COLLECTED HORRORS!
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
My mom was a big reader, and I think my love of reading sprang from her. Stephen King and Dean Koontz were household names when I was growing up. Reading fed my imagination, which fed my creative instincts, and…I suppose the rest is history.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I love to read, I love watching movies, and I love playing video games. Also, ritualistic human sacrifice and scaring my neighbors with ominous chanting. You know, the usual.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Usually, when I’m close to finishing a book, everything else falls to the wayside while I sprint that last mile. That means I become a hermit in my own home. When the book’s finished, I step away from my computer for a few days and try to reintegrate into society.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
I have a home office that serves as my domain. I always have music playing when I write. Quiet or loud, it doesn’t matter as long as it fits the scene I’m writing at the time. Lately, I’ve been listening to the new Nine Inch Nails, In This Moment, and old Monster Magnet while I work.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I wish I could write faster, cleaner first drafts, but I suppose every writer does…
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
It’s probably the same as every other writer out there: I want to be successful enough with my work to quit my day job and support my family. I don’t care about the fame.
12. Where do you live?
Physically? Somewhere in the Reading area of Pennsylvania, in the United States, in North America, on planet Earth, 92.6 million miles from the sun.
Creatively, I’ve been living here for the last few months: 36°53’52.3″N 84°17’52.6″W
I have three cats: A tuxedo named Tsar, an orange tabby named Obie, and a white Turkish Angora named Ophelia.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
For me, it’s the aspect of creation, of conjuring something out of my imagination with mere words, giving it life, making it dance, and then sending it out into the world for others to experience.
15. What is coming next for you?
I’m currently at work on a long novel called DEVIL’S CREEK. It’s a small-town, cosmic horror novel. A few weeks ago, when I told Laird Barron about it, he jokingly asked, “Are the children in danger?” To which I replied, “No, the children are the danger.” I’ll leave it at that.
You can connect with Todd Keisling here:
Some of Todd Keisling’s books: