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Kevin J. Kennedy is a horror author & editor from Scotland.
He co-authored You Only Get One Shot & Screechers and has two solo collections available called Dark Thoughts & Vampiro and Other Strange Tales of the Macabre.
His stories also appear in a wealth of anthologies from a variety of publishers.
He runs KJK Publishing.
He lives in a small town in Scotland, with his wife and his two little cats, Carlito and Ariel.
What’s your background, what compelled you to start writing?
I never had any intention of becoming a writer. I’ve always read a lot and I made a comment on a few occasions that it would be cool to have a short story in a book, but I never planned on writing one. It was simply a passing comment down to my love of books and my large collection.
What book from your childhood do you remember the best? Why?
I never had one particular book as I’m not someone who re-reads very often. The Point Horror series were go to books in my younger years but I just worked my way through them. When I turned about 15 and moved onto more adult works, the first book that hooked me was Darkness Tell Us by Richard Laymon. I had picked it up for 10p at a jumble sale because it had a Ouija board on the front cover, and I had a school project that I needed to write up for English class. I read it in 2 or 3 days. It was massive compared to the books I was used to, but I flew threw it. After that I started to work through Laymon’s whole back catalogue.
What does literary success look like to you?
I’m not really sure. I publish anthologies under KJK Publishing and most of them have topped the charts with consistently great feedback. I suppose I am trying to get more of my own writing out there now. I’ve co-written a few novellas that have been pretty well received and released two solo collections. I am going to continue down both paths and all I really hope for is that the books continue to be read and enjoyed by a large audience.
Did you always want to be an author?
Nope. I touched on this above. I think I was thirty-four when I wrote my first short story, roughly five years ago, and it was just because I had seen an open call on Facebook. It was the first time I had seen anything like that before and it said you didn’t have to be previously published. I had some time, so I wrote a story and sent it away. It got accepted and I’ve never stopped since.
Besides hard work and talent, what other traits has led to your success?
I am an avid reader. I dropped out of school when I was sixteen to get a job so I can only attribute my success to the books I have read and enjoyed to give me an understanding of story structure, what kind of tale I like, what authors I enjoy, how the market works and everything else that’s linked to putting out a book that sells well. I kinda feel like I had been studying for a test my whole life that I didn’t know I was going to have to take. lol
Were you an avid reader while you were growing up?
Yes. My parents always made sure I had books from a young age. The first ones I remember were these little hard back books that didn’t have a whole lot of writing in them. I had mainly He-Man ones. They might have been by Ladybird. Not sure. The in primary school (1st to 6th grade for my American friends) a book club would come around every few months. We would get a colour pamphlet once a week to look through some of the books they would have and you could give your teacher money, almost like a little savings account for when they came. The pamphlet was colourful, and it spoke to me. I always put a little of my lunch money into it alongside whatever my parents gave me for it so I would have a little extra. When they finally came, I would always leave with a stack of books. Even at that young age, I was drawn to creepy horror type stories.
What’s brewing? What projects are you working on?
I am currently working on an anthology called The Best of Indie which will feature a load of my favourite indie authors. It is an invite only project that is well on its way. I am also working on a novella called Halloween Land which is an extension of a short story I released a few years back and I am working on my 3rd solo collection which will be an A to Z of horror flash fiction. Lastly, I am working on the second Screechers novella with Christina Bergling. We made a good start and then I got side-tracked with other projects and when I spoke to Christina, she was finishing up a novel so it’s on the back burner but we will definitely finish that one.
Troubling Times in the Library By Kevin J. Kennedy