One of my fellow author friends who was also featured in Holiday Horror 2014 is Kevin Hall. I took a few moments of my time to ask him a few questions, helpfully compiled by Catt Dahman. You know the drill by now...over to Kevin:-
Kevin S. Hall
Holiday Horror 2014, Nightmares At Christmas. Currently working on
Thirteen, a collection of short horror stories and Raven’s Edge, a
Scottish ghost story.
Links to author pages and websites and Amazon page:
You can find me on Facebook (Kevin Hall) and on my Black Hole Page and I
am on Twitter as Kev_h80.
What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I love horror the most – my favorite authors would be Stephen King (Pet
Sematary being my all-time fave) and I also love James Herbert and Dean
Koontz. I also write fantasy and sci-fi, having been inspired by
Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Sir Terry Pratchett and loads more!
What is Raven’s Edge about both on the surface and down deep?
Raven’s Edge is a ghost story about an old Scottish ghost town and what
really happened there before everyone vanished without a trace. It
starts as a traditional haunted town tale but goes off in a completely
surprising direction, with lots of twists and turns and characters you
care about. It is to be the start of a planned trilogy, with the second
book being set further back in the past and the third in the future. No
character is safe which I hope makes it a scary and fun experience!
What inspired this?
It started as a Silent Hill/Resident Evil vibe, but then I realized to
make it more original I had to stray off that path a little and go in
another direction. I hope people are surprised by the outcome and the
journey the main characters had. There are a lot of Stephen King
references that are going to be included too!
Who is the main character?
There are several main characters but not all will make it out alive.
Joseph Stone and Betty Rable who try and thwart the evil in town. Joseph
starts off as a weak man but becomes stronger by the end, and you will
love his costume. Betty is the opposite – she starts off strong but
becomes weaker – however, there are a few surprises in store for her.
Then there’s the Stranger, the mysterious figure who comes to Raven’s
Edge and causes all the horror in the first place. As for Samwell… well,
he is a nasty piece of work. There are many more supporting characters
that you will get to know along the way too. Characters are very
important to me to make it an immersive experience, as is the world they
What was difficult about penning this?
Trying to keep the story going and keeping up with all the characters.
It took a while to set up the premise and know where the story was
heading, but so far it is all flowing along nicely and I have a clear
idea as to what the ending will be. I think it will shock a lot of
What is difficult for you as a writer?
Trying to find the time! I know a lot of writers will feel the same –
there isn’t enough hours in the day, especially as I have a full time
job too. I do try and do a couple of hours a night during the week and
of course a lot more at the weekend. The goal is to try 500 a day and
then a couple of thousand at the weekend. So far it’s working out fine.
What is the best part about being a writer?
When you know you have a great story and the words flow nicely.
Sometimes I can write for hours quite happily and that is a good feeling
when you see the words on the page and everything fits together. It’s
also something I enjoy doing and I always have a smile on my face when I
How did you begin your career?
I have been writing since I was ten and had quite a few stories done at
school – I can remember my English teacher loving one that I did and I
read it out in class. I have only recently gone back to it again and had
two short stories published by TJ Weeks – he has been an inspiration
and I have made lots of great friends through Facebook that help me and
give me lots of encouragement. I just keep plugging away each day and
hope to be famous one day.
What advice do you have for new writers?
Keep on writing – even if it is only a little a day it’s better than
none at all. Have a few hours to yourself and think of a scene before
you write. You may need to lock yourself away for a few hours with no
distractions but you will feel satisfied and it will all be worth it in
What writer(s) inspire you and why?
Stephen King has been my biggest influence – I remember the first book I
ever read was Carrie and have been a massive fan ever since. I have all
of his books on my Kindle and love the epics like IT and The Stand. I
know it may never happen but I hope he reads my work one day and likes
What book(s) do you wish you have written?
Good question - I don’t think I could write it as good or as deep but
Lord Of The Rings – I wish I had gotten that idea out there first! It’s
such a rich, detailed world full of character, drama and emotion set in
an epic fantasy world. I try to read it at least once a year if I can!
Do you write for yourself or for readers?
The readers first and foremost – I try to write it as if I was a reader
and wanted a good horror, to know what they would like and what they
don’t like. If something grips me and makes me continue reading then it
is a good book. I hope they feel the same way about this one
Do you ever use dreams/nightmares as a basis for writing?
Not really, as I can’t remember my dreams. Although there was one
nightmare I had not long ago that was quite vivid and scary - I might
feature it in Raven’s Edge so watch this space…
What is entertaining/scary/ exciting to you?
I am a big fan of classic horror and video nasties such as Texas
Chainsaw, The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby. Nowadays I am a sucker for
found footage like Paranormal Activity and Troll Hunter. But I also love
the Japanese horror – they just seem to get it and love scaring the
pants off you, like Ringu, Dark Water and The Grudge.
What is difficult/frustrating about writing or being a writer?
Having the energy somedays to do it. I have a very tiresome and boring
job which saps all the fun out of you. Some nights when I get home I
just want to rest and not do anything. But recently I have been
motivated to do lots more during the week and weekends, so hopefully
there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Have you had a strange fan experience?
None as of yet but maybe further down the line it will happen!
What have you learned from fans/reviews?
Not to take everything to heart but to learn from what people say and
apply it to my writing. So far I have had very positive reactions from
people who have read my work, but I know this will not always be the
case. I will be prepared to listen to any criticisms and learn from it
for the future.
How is your writing evolving?
It started off a bit cheesy and really shaky but I have learned to hone
in on my abilities and make sure I think of the scene first before I
write it. I believe practice makes perfect but learn a lot as I go – so
far I’ve not had to do too much research but maybe will one day as it
will help my work be more realistic.
What work of yours was enjoyable to pen?
Probably Klown from my Thirteen collection – it was one of the first
short stories I ever wrote along with The Babysitter. There are many
nods to past horror novels in there but I hope I have written something
that pleases fans too.
What 3 words describe your writing?
Character driven horror!
Which actors/actresses would you love to see in a movie version of your
I always thought Ben Affleck would make a good Joseph from Raven’s Edge
and Rebecca De Mornay as Betty. The stranger would be big and strong but
his face hidden, kind of like Shredder from TMNT. Maybe Jean Claude Van
What is a genre you will never write in and why?
Romance probably. I’ve nothing against the genre it’s just not my cup of
tea, although there will be some steamy scenes in my future works… does
that count as romance?
Do you like to write a series or stand alones? Why?
I like doing both as they are both fun and bring something different to
the table each time. At the moment Raven’s Edge is going to be a series
whereas Thirteen is stand alone, but I enjoy doing lots of cool stories.
Some of my novels will eventually tie in with others too so it will be
fun spotting places and characters popping up in other stories.
Who, of your characters do you most want to hang out with?
I think Joseph Stone from Raven’s Edge. He is such a complicated
character with history but also incredibly cool and it would be great to
sit down with him with a beer to chat about what he did and where he is
going. Plus I want to try the goats mask for a day!
How did Raven’s Edge get its title?
I thought of other ghost towns like Silent Hill and a real life one in
Scotland called Humbie Homes and thought it had to have something that
would catch the readers attention and want them to read more. It just
has an air of mystery about it and an eeriness that you want to go
deeper into its world of darkness and find out more!
How do you pick names for characters and which ones are you fond of?
I tried to think of names that would be relevant to the time the story
took place in – the late 1890s. I wanted the characters to be believable
and real, with proper backgrounds and lots of history. As the book and
series progress you will learn a lot more about them. For Joseph his
history and future are all connected and Betty will learn of his dark
past sooner rather than later. The Stranger is my favorite and the first
one I came up with – he is just so imposing and menacing throughout. We
will find out where he came from and his real name, as well as his
weakness so look out for that!
Have you ever written real people into books?
Not as yet but it’s something I will consider in the future, unless you
count the Devil as a real person? I do have plans to feature some famous
horror types in future works though.
Do you outline and plan or wing a book?
Sometimes I will sit down, think of the title and the beginning and end,
but it’s always the middle that I sometimes get stuck on. If I get a
good idea I can write for hours but there is no set way. I just let the
words spill out and go back and edit them later.
Which of your works ended differently than you anticipated?
Thirteen for sure. That started out as several novels – all the stories
in there were going to be full length but I realized I could contain
them all into one short story collection so everyone could see a variety
of styles on offer. It actually works better than full novels and was a
challenge but so far it is falling into place. I don’t have long to go
until that one’s finished!
Do your covers matter?
Both yes and no. It’s what’s inside that counts and you worry about the
cover at the end. I have some ideas planned for Thirteen and Raven’s
Edge and I already have a great artist lined up for one of them. It is
good to have an eye catching cover, but if the story is fantastic to me
then the cover usually doesn’t matter as much. I prefer simple styles to
overcrowded covers though.
Does art/ music influence you?
Edvard Munch's The Scream is such an iconic piece of art and so
disturbing to look at, as well as all of Picasso’s work which is lovely
but weird at the same time. I like Leonardo Da Vinci too. As for music I
am into my film soundtracks and would listen to them as I write – I
prefer this to words in music when I write as I can let the music wash
over me and it helps.
How do you begin a novel?
Usually I will sit down, clear my mind and think of something that I
would love to read myself. I will think of a character and a scary
situation they find themselves in and think of a good title. Then I will
just go where the story takes me and hopefully produce some interesting
chapters and good dialogue!
Do you get “writer’s block”?
I have been lucky and have not had any yet, but I’ve heard it can be
quite painful and stressful. I hope I don’t get it but I do feel sorry
for authors who do get it – it must be very uncomfortable!
Will you be prolific/ are you?
I hope so but it’s not something I go out and seek. I just would love my
work to get out there so lots of people can read it and see it for
themselves. If I become successful out of it then great but I try not to
plan to far ahead and take each day as it comes.
What is your goal?
To have the Raven’s Edge trilogy completed before it’s too late and lots
more novels to write along the way and to become better as a writer.
Do bad reviews bother you?
No – everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it would be silly to
think you will get good reviews all the time. Not everyone is going to
like my work but I will read all the reviews and learn how to improve
upon stuff as I go.
What do you wish to learn?
How to fit writing into a busy schedule – what can I do to put a few
hours of writing into my timetable every day and how to motivate myself
DO you research books?
I’d be lying if I said I did – sometimes I will look for a place or
character to make sure I have the setting and history right but usually I
just write and see what happens.
Which books have been grueling to write?
None have been grueling as such – they have all been a joy to work on. I
guess Nightmares At Christmas was a challenge as I had to write 31
stories – one a day! – over Christmas and sometimes there would be a
line or a paragraph a day and that was it! I may go back to that one
later and expand the stories a bit to make them more believable.