Born and raised in a small harbor town in the south of Ireland, Kealan Patrick Burke knew from a very early age that he was going to be a horror writer. The combination of an ancient locale, a horror-loving mother, and a family full of storytellers, made it inevitable that he would end up telling stories for a living. Since those formative years, he has written five novels, over a hundred short stories, six collections, and edited four acclaimed anthologies. In 2004, he was honored with the Bram Stoker Award for his novella The Turtle Boy.
Kealan has worked as a waiter, a drama teacher, a mapmaker, a security guard, an assembly line worker at Apple Computers, a salesman (for a day), a bartender, landscape gardener, vocalist in a rock band, curriculum content editor, fiction editor at Gothic.net, and, most recently, a fraud investigator.
When not writing, Kealan designs book covers through his company Elderlemon Design.
A number of his books have been optioned for film.
Please help me welcome Kealan Patrick Burke back to Roadie Notes……….
1. It’s been awhile since we talked what new books do you have out now? Latest release?
It has indeed. Good to be back! The latest release is a novella entitled Blanky, which came out on September 13th for Kindle. It’s about a not-so-nice child’s security blanket and the grieving father who discovers something terribly amiss with it.
2. If you could pick any author alive or dead to have lunch with who would it be? Why?
Probably Charles L. Grant. I got to talk to him over the phone, but I’d like to have had the chance to sit down with him in person and ask him a million questions about his writing, his style, and what he thinks of what the world’s become.
3. What is the strangest thing a fan has ever done?
A reader once sent me a very nice email about one of my books, but then, right at the end, she asked me if I was ticklish, and if so, where. She also wanted me to describe how it felt to be tickled there. I’m assuming it was a question borne out of a fetish, but it was a first for me.
4. What is the one thing you dread to do when writing?
I dread being on a roll and then hitting a wall where the words just dry up and you know you’ve gone wrong somewhere but not how to get around it. Nothing worse than feeling the fire in your veins and having it forcibly extinguished by a bad and elusive narrative choice.
5. Did you have imaginary friends growing up? Tell me about them
Only the ones in the books I read.
6. Do you go to conventions? If not why?
Occasionally, but not nearly as much as I used to. I write very slowly, so I can’t always divide my time between the page and the sixty conventions that seem to be happening every year. When I did go to them, I was appalled at some of the behavior I witnessed there, and not from readers, but so-called industry professionals. I saw people with overinflated egos mistreating fans, and that was pretty much it for me. Now I go if I’m invited and if it’s viable at the time, but that’s rare.
7. How many times did you have to submit your first story before it was accepted?
I can’t recall, but I wrote my first story when I was five, so it was never accepted. When I was eighteen, I had a story published in an Irish magazine called Writings. It was my first try, but then I later discovered they published everything, so that killed the joy of that one. By the time I started submitting stories professionally, I would submit a story only a handful of times before deciding it either needed to be reworked or stowed away in The Dark Box of Forgotten Things forever. Usually I’d only submit a story once, and if an editor I respected didn’t like it, I’d move on to another story. I try not to be a repeat offender.
8. Ever consider not writing? If so what made you continue?
No. This is what I was meant to do, and I’ll do it until something stops me. Most likely death.
9. Ever thought about writing in a different category?
Sure. I’ve written some stories that are more crime or drama than horror. I’d love to write a space opera, or a sprawling western, or a fantasy novel. There are very few genres I wouldn’t like to tackle at some point.
10. Any new additions to the family?
Not that I’m aware of.
11. What is coming up next for you?
I’m currently at work on a new novel about art, creativity, and insanity called Sometimes They See You, which is consuming my world right now.
12. Do you do release parties? Do you think they work?
I’d never done one before hiring Confessions Publicity to help me promote the release of Blanky. It’s run by Nev Murray and his lovely wife Jo Harwood, and a great part of the appeal for me was to raise awareness of the book in the U.K., where they are based, and where to date my sales have been virtually nonexistent. I would say, done the way Confessions did it, and based on the figures, launch parties certainly do work.
13. Do you have crazy stalker fans? Have you ever had one you wish would go away?
The stalker I was unfortunate enough to encounter is the same one many of my friends and associates in the industry have had to deal with over the past decade. The guy was a paranoid obsessive who, despite being a few steps north of illiteracy, felt he deserved the success he saw everyone else getting. He harassed women, targeted their children, called authors at home, emailed their relatives, tried to get them fired from their day jobs or get their publishers to drop them, and on and on and on, and all because they wouldn’t give him the validation he desperately needed. I won’t evoke his name because he’ll see the mention and it may reactive him after a wonderful period of medicated dormancy.
14. Do you still have a “day job” ? If so what do you do?
I do book cover design on the side, which is a nice way to subsidize the writing, but I quit my day job as a fraud investigator about five years ago to write full-time.
15. What is your process for writing? Do you have a voice in your head?
Yes. Every writer does. They’re the same ones that keep us awake at night planning the ugly things for tomorrow. My process is chaotic, but conversely very simple: sit and write. It’s getting to that place which is the hard part.
16. Is there a book you want to make a sequel to you haven’t yet?
Right now, not really, and there are readers out there who I know will kill me for saying that. At various times I have talked about a sequel to Kin, and indeed there is one half-written in my files, but the passion for it must be there, and right now my mind’s elsewhere.
You can connect with Kealan Patrick Burke here: