Friday, 31 January 2014

Introducing Kevin Hall.....

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:-

Author: Kevin S. Hall 

Books/SS: 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 inhabit. 

 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 people! 

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 do it. 

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 the end!

 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 it… 

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 works? 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 Damme? 

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 more. 

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.

1 comment:

Sharon L Higa said...

excellent interview! Kevin Hall is one author I fully intend to keep track of! Bought Holiday Horror and looking forward to reading the stories!