Q&A

Author Picks

Pimp my friends… the holiday edition!

Did you get gift cards for Christmas? Cash in your stocking? Bookstore vouchers? Wondering how to spend those? I got your back!

During December, I ran around social media asking all my author friends and followers this question:

“Which one of your books should someone experience? Not what’s new. Not what’s on sale. But if they could only have one of your books, which would you tell them was essential to their library?”

The following is their answers, aka, a lovely little shopping list for you!!


 

Paul Michael Anderson’s Bones are Made to be Broken 
Michael Bailey’s Pheonix Rose
Scott Baker’s Rotter World
John Bender’s Chainsaw
Maurice Broaddus’ The Voices of Martyrs
Kealan Patrick Burke’s Sour Candy 
William Carl’s Bestial
Tommy Clark’s A Book of Light and Shadow
Lincoln Crisler’s Queen
Frank Edler’s Brats in Hell
Thom Erb’s The Last in Line
Patrick Freivald’s Twice Shy
Christopher Golden’s Snowblind
Michael Huyck’s (newest one that’s not finished, so have this while you’re waiting) Of Dark and Yesterday
Jeremy Robert Johnson’s In The River
Brian Keene’s The Girl on the Glider
Brian Knight’s Sex, Death & Honey
Tim Lebbon’s The Silence
Michael Knost’s Return of the Mothman
Stephen Kozeniewski’s The Ghoul Archipelago
Kevin Lucia’s Through a Mirror, Darkly
Bracken MacLeod’s Come to Dust
Ronald Malfi’s Bone White
Nick Mamatas’s The People’s Republic of Everything
John McIlveen’s Hannahwhere
Mark McLaughlin’s Shoggoth Apocalypse & More Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
James Moore’s Seven Forges
Michael Allen Rose’s Indifference of Heaven
Mary SanGiovanni’s Thrall
Chris Sorensen’s The Nightmare Room
Wesley Southard’s Closing Costs
Jeff Strand’s Blister
John Urbancik’s Tales of the Fantastic and the Phantasmagoric
Bev Vincent’s When the Night Comes Down
Wrath James White’s 400 Days of Oppression
Chet Williamson’s Second Chance
David Wilson’s Deep Blue
Rio Youers’ Westlake Soul

 

 

 

 

Interviews with Writers

I did this thing. An interview. There were questions, and I answered them. Now they’re out there, just sitting, waiting for someone to read them. Go on now… read them.

Interviews with writers: Kelli Owen 

 

And then I sat back and thought about it, and it all felt so familiar. So I did a little digging, and it turns out, I’ve been there before! Here’s the previous interview, from when it was posted under bookgoodies website (the two are attached), from several years ago.

Scares That Care 5

Scares That Care convention weekend (5) is coming very quickly. For those unaware, Scares That Care is a wonderful, awesome, fantabulous charity, staffed by a crew of loving, amazing volunteers. Needless to say, I love them and it, and you should too!

Scares That Care (the org) raises and donated monies to three chosen recipients each year. For more on the people we’re trying to help this year, or to donate directly through the site, please visit them at scaresthatcare.org

Scares that Care (the convention) brings together authors, actors, special effects, independent movies, vendors, and a hotel full of fans for a fun weekend designed to raise money for the charity. That weekend is quickly approaching:

» » » August  3-5, 2018 at the Doubletree by Hilton, in Williamsport VA « « «

More information on the convention, guests, programming, tickets, etc. can be found on the website at scaresthatcareweekend.com. No plans for the weekend? Live close by? Come on over with a day or weekend pass and enjoy yourself while helping others!

I will be there… my schedule is as follows:

Friday
5:00pm – 9:00pm (celebrity room) My home for the weekend unless otherwise noted
9:00pm – 10:00pm (author reading room) Panel: Lost Highways w/ D. Alexander Ward (moderator), and authors Rio Youers, Jonathan Janz, Rachel Deering, Kelli Owen, Robert Ford, and Matt Hayward.

Saturday
10:00am – 7:00pm (celebrity room) except where noted below
12:15pm – 1:15pm – (author reading room) Panel: Creative Couples w/ Frank Edler (moderator), Elizabeth Massie and Cortney Skinner, Jeff Strand and Lynne Hansen, C.V. Hunt and Andersen Prunty, Kelli Owen and Robert Ford.
8:45pm – 9:45pm – (author reading room) I am not on this panel, but am in the anthology and will be in the audience for it. Welcome To The Show w/ Matt Hayward (moderator), Jeff Strand, Mary SanGiovanni, Rachel Deering, Matt Serafini, Adam Cesare, Glenn Rolfe, Patrick Lacey, and Somer Canon

Sunday
11:00am – 3:00pm (celebrity room)
3:15pm – 4:00pm (podcasting room) recording the BUTTERCUP OF DOOM finale. Come play—bring your final questions, your wrapping up an era thoughts! This is the very last episode, taped live as the last podcast of the weekend. Check out of your room, pack your car, grab snacks, and come be part of the end of everything…

and what will I have with me? Well… This year’s Scares That Care sees the debut of my vampire novel TEETH, as well as a fun coloring book The Atrocious Alphabet based on my ABC poem with amazing illustrations by Chris Enterline

(click images for larger views, titles for information pages)

        

Scares That Care… awesome, all year, but inviting everyone to gather in their awesomeness for one weekend a year. See you there!

Inside the Isolation Tank

When Rebecca Snow isn’t working on her own writing, she interviews other writers on her website. Here is one such interview, with me!

I discuss Jack Ketchum, Kealan Patrick Burke, Stone Temple Pilots, Queens of Dogtown, and answer some fun new questions that made me think… really think… about things I don’t normally think about! Check it out here.

Last Rites

The Occult Detective, Bob Freeman, asked me to play along and I gladly agreed.

He said, “The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.”

Last rites, the last wishes… your last meal, last book, last movie, last song. And then the twist I didn’t see coming, the first ______ after the fact. Interesting…

Come check out my answers

 


 

Wag the Fox and FLOATERS

I did an interview. I talked about stuff. And as sometimes happens, the website is no longer available, but I have the backup and am able to post the content for you. Here you go… a nice warm chat with Gef Fox of the old Wag the Fox website.


 

What was the spark behind Floaters?

It’s almost “where do your stories comes from” but not quite, which is usually very difficult to explain because it’s like asking a crazy person what’s wrong—but this time, I can actually answer that. The “spark” for Floaters came directly from a twisted childhood memory of the local graveyard floating away in the high waters of a spring thaw. Of course, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as that, but when you’re a kid, you imagine this crazy visual. I wrote that visual, and asked the question, what else was buried in there. And then I broke the riverbank free and let it all float out into the general public and cause havoc.

What was it about this book, if anything, that you approached differently from your previous titles?

 For starters, it’s closer to horror than some of my other works. Not quite the red shirt blood bath of Live Specimens, but definitely more than White Picket Prisons or Six Days, which are often called and generally considered thrillers with horrific elements, rather than horror. This is a monster, with tentacles, there’s no sugar coating that—it’s horror. Also, because it was based on a real graveyard with a twist on some real history, I had google maps printed and bodies plotted and my table looked a bit like a strategic war room.

Other than that, I knew from the very beginning that I never hated the monster. I loved it. I loved what it was, what it stood for, the pain and suffering it had gone through, and the general agony of its history and current situation. This monster was my nod to Frankenstein, and *spoiler alert* I didn’t want it to die but knew it had to, or I’d get yelled at for open endings and setting up sequels, neither of which this story needed.

What was the allure to Lake Superior as your setting?

I grew up on Lake Superior. I’m intimately familiar with her temperament, cold weather, bad attitude, and ability to change moods like a hormonally raging teenager. And yes, she does occasionally cough up her dead. Dotted along her shores are remnants of Indian settlements, mostly relocated by will or force to large reservations and other communal gatherings, but I know they’re there. In my wanderings, I’ve stumbled across the old foundations and forgotten grave markers. My bloodline includes Ojibwe Chippewa from the Bad River Tribe thick enough that I’ve had relatives on the council, and been to a powwow or three. Between the lake, the Indians, and the topography, there’s a rich history in that area just waiting to be tapped and given some monster to come crawling up from the depths.

I can’t say there’s been any “floating” mishaps with the graveyards in my neck of the woods. Well, there is the legend of Charles Coghlan’s coffin getting washed out to sea by a hurricane that hit Galveston, which floated all the way up from the Gulf of Mexico to his home of Prince Edward Island. So the story goes. Any odd local legends that compare in your stomping grounds?

No legend, there really were bones poking out of the ground at that mass grave on the hillside. They were still disrespectfully left exposed last time I was there doing research with my mom and taking pictures for the book, long before it even had a title. I’ve heard they’re planning on transporting them back to Wisconsin Point and I hope that actually happens.

Other crazy things? Well, I grew up being told horrible campfire tales my mother later pulled me aside to explain were real and based on Ed Gein, so there’s that. The lake has sunk a damn lot of ships, boats, and small craft other than the famed Edmund Fitzgerald and there was always the panic of something touching your foot in the water being not a fish. And then we had the Fairlawn Mansion (which is supposedly haunted), and the abandoned orphanage (haunted) I spent way too much time at as a teen that has now been torn down, and many tales of “bad things” in graveyards. Creepy area, deeply supernatural people, lovely fodder for a young overactive imagination.

How intensive does the research process get for you on a story like this? What little tricks have you picked up with approaching the research phase of writing?

Each project requires a different kind of research. If it’s completely fictional, fantastical, then you can just make up whatever you want. But if it’s specific, or touches on reality, then it’s a different story. Then it needs to read like reality. It may be location, it may be a people, tribe, or nationality you’re unfamiliar with, or it may be historical information to twist into a legend of your creation. Trick-wise, I try to do the research I think I’ll need before I even start, but there are times when you’re happily typing along and all of sudden you need a three hour lesson on Blah. Off to the internet you go, careful of rabbit holes and unnecessary side visits to social media, and you get through your on the spot research. It’s quicker than the days of stopping everything, packing up, going to the library, digging through the aisles and tomes, and then going back home—but there was something romantic about the library that the internet lacks.

With this one I did a bit of google image mapping for the area so I could logically plot out the creature’s feeding grounds and radius of travel, as well as have a visual for the line between the mass grave and Wisconsin Point, and know Granny’s house and trek to the cavern. There was a lot of research into the truth of that mass grave, rather than relying on my childhood memories. And there was a ton of fun research into Indian mythologies, because I had a monster I needed to be able to slip into that mythology logically and smoothly. Floaters, overall, probably had more research into different things than most. In comparison, my next project will have no research, as it can be located anywhere and relies on the people rather than the environment.

What is the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?

Kill your babies. Meaning, if you’re writing and you find you really love a turn of phrase, or a sentence strikes you as poetic and beautiful, you should immediately rewrite it because if you feel that way you’re not being objective and there’s something wrong with it. No. There’s more to it than that, but I wasn’t told that and it wasn’t explained to me properly, and there was no google way back when.

Horribly, I listened to that incorrectly and followed it for years, but it’s wrong when explained as just that. I think when it comes to the overly pretty turns of phrase, sentences, etc., if anything you should notice them and question what about it is so pretty, and why isn’t the rest of the work as attractive. What makes it stand out. It’s not an automatic death sentence, but rather a call to examine it. If it’s purple upon closer inspection, kill it, but if it’s not, then appreciate it came from somewhere inside and keep going. I have a couple I like. Not many, but a couple.

The phrase is talking about killing off prose that will improve your story. Not killing of a sentence here or there that you are fond of, but rather, overall improvements and admitting and willingly axing those things that drag the storyline, slow an arc, or otherwise do not further the story on a whole—even when you really like the sidebar, random character, offshoot, or whatever it is that requires a literary guillotine. Take it out. And for those new writers who don’t fully understand this phrase, please research it and get a full idea of what it means before you start randomly rewriting sentences just because they’re pretty.

Who do you count among your writing influences?

I’m actually technically influenced by what works for me, what scares me, because I wanted the ability to do that to others. So I would actually try and figure out why one thing scared me but another didn’t, and sometimes from the same author. But if I looked at what did work for me over the years, at what things I was drawn to, or authors I continued to return to, well then it becomes the broader definition.

And in that case, my influences go way back to kindergarten and Mary Shelley, then they bounce around my dad’s bookshelf full of HP Lovecraft and Dean R Koontz (note there’s still an R in there when I think of that time). Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickenson were discovered on my own and requested for Christmas and birthdays. I’m fairly certain I had the complete set of Nancy Drew at one point. A countless number of school bookclub purchases, including one I remembered only the cover for and spent twenty years tracking it down. And then there were the horror paperbacks of the 80s, my teen years and a time when my tender sensibilities didn’t always appreciate my horrific imagination, especially after sundown.

I remember some very specific books to this day, which can only mean they had an impact on me and influenced something: The Amulet (omg the laundry scene!), Baal, Howling 2 (which is completely not what the second movie was, so if you didn’t read the books, go do that), The Keep, Nathanial, Pet Sematary, Mirror, Phantoms, and probably more if I thought about it. Oh and the novelization of Halloween—that messed me up for a bit and led to a whole month at the library learning everything I could about the Celts.

When I started making friends with my mentors and becoming colleague to my influences, the lines began to blur, and my adult influences are mostly found on my friends list at this point.

What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?

Cooking? Projects? Well… I am currently working on Forgotten, a wonderful little tale about a young woman found with no memory and an empty car seat, but I have to finish it to know how much I can say after that without spoiling it. That will be the next thing out, and should be released in time for Christmas. After that, in no particular order because they’re all currently battling for alone time with the muse, are: The Man in the Moon (my coming of age tale), Magic Man (yeah supernatural ghouls), and a sequel to Wilted Lilies with the current working title Passages. We’ll see who wins…

My shenanigans are everywhere! www.kelliowen.com is a good place to start. From there you can reference any and all of my books and where to find them, as well as get to my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, find info about the podcast Buttercup of Doom, and for those paying attention, now there’s Wattpad as well.

Thanks for having me!

 

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Travel Plans

—· Scares that Care ·—
August 2-4, 2019

—· Killer Con ·—
tba 2019

—· Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival ·—
tba 2019

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