K.T. Katzmann, a fan of Lovecraft, Dr. Who, and Columbo, writes about monsters! How could I NOT want to delve deeper and find out more about this already interesting fellow author?!
Pamela: I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been able to string letters into words and words into sentences. When did your writing bug bite and what was the first story you can remember creating?
K.T.: An elementary school creative writing class gave me the infection, and by eight I was binding comic books out of printer paper and staples. Imagine really trashy derivative Goonies/Monster Squad pastiches. I tried writing prose, but my Mom would read them to her friends over the phone in silly voices, so I stopped for about half my life. I threw all my creative juices into role-playing games, which left no evidence behind with which my mom could embarrass me.
It was years later, at one of these sessions, that writing dug its claws in again. During one exceptionally, mind-bendingly boring game I found my mind searching for any form of entertainment possible. I’d been thinking of a fan fiction premise on and off that week, so I just started typing in the middle of the game.
I’m told I had a disquieting grin on my face the whole time.
By the end of the session, I’d written a full chapter. I learned how to post it online, made it big on a major fan blog, and attracted fans who taught me by critiquing my writing. I was eventually getting ready for my next fiction, laptop out in an IHOP, when I had a revelation.
I was preparing to write about two popular background characters who never even had speaking lines. I’d created their entire relationship and personalities in my head. I suddenly wondered: why the hell didn’t I start making up my own things and just publish it for real?
And, I swear, one day I’ll come out about my fan fiction account name. People are still posting comments about that last one needing an ending…
Pamela : I see you are a fan of Lovecraft as well as Dr. Who. Monster detectives seems a far cry from either of those. What inspired you to write “Murders With Monsters”?
K.T.: I grew up loving detectives. I may have been the only nine-year old in my class devouring Murder, She Wrote and Columbo. My parents got a little worried when I got my hands on a Barbie Dreamhouse and immediately had Barbie throw Ken off the roof for the insurance money.
I also love monsters, including all the really obscure ones. Almost every urban fantasy book, however, translates into “That One Kind of Stuff is Real AND NOBODY KNOWS.” I started to wonder what life would be like if everything was real and everyone knew.
Laurel K. Hamilton set the last ball rolling. There’s a line in one of the Anita Blake books where the hero’s partner comments about a dragon being around. “That’s ridiculous,” she says. “Dragons were never native to the North American continent.”
That’s a brilliant line. And all that stuff was churning around one day when, in a role-playing game, my friend said I could make any type of character and design their entire world with no limitations.
Within five minutes, I had a Jewish vampire detective stuck for eternity with a horrible name and late teenage looks. Mildred Heavewater had sprang fully formed from my head as she appears on the pages now. Another five minutes, and I’d sketched out a world where Cthulhu could address the UN and the Jersey Devil was a reality show star.
Pamela: Many writers I’ve interviewed find they write best to a certain type of music and even create playlists for their current work in progress. Is this sort of thing true for you as well or are you more a “I need silence” kind of writer?
K.T.: I have ADHD, so I get distracted really easily. I can’t listen to Pandora or the radio; figuring out new lyrics distract me. Sometimes even familiar old lyrics get me; I start thinking up new interpretations of whatever the hell Ronnie James Dio is screaming about between the “Yeah” and the “Look Out!”
Instrumentals are great. They occupy the wandering part of my mind. There’s an experimental instrumental prog rock band called Ozric Tentacles, and they do wonders. Almost all of “Murder With Monsters” was written to their album “The Yum Yum Tree.” I’m listening to it as I type this.
Pamela: Beyond “Murders With Monsters”, what other publication have you been part of? Can we look forward to another novel soon?
K.T.: Sequel time! The second Night Shift Files mystery should be out by the end of the year. Mildred has to catch an inhuman spree killer of unknown species she put away decades ago. The only catch is, he’s somehow still sitting in an asylum as the bodies carved up to his old M.O. pile up! I get to flesh out different monster types in this one, like New York’s faerie population and the shoggoth refugees. Turns out shoggies are huge fans of Mr. Rogers. Who knew?
In the meantime, Mildred also appeared in the anthology “Candlesticks and Daggers,” where I experienced the joy of writing a Columbo episode with vampires as both the sleuth and the victim.
I’m also going to appear in “1816 – The Year Without a Summer,” an anthology of historic Cthulhu fiction. I’m gleefully cooking up one of the nastier things I’ve ever written. I even get to briefly rescue from obscurity a beastie from Lovecraft so unknown, my editor originally thought I’d made him up! Check out the Kickstarter campaign! 1816 – The Year Without A Summer
Pamela: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
K.T.: I tweet at @iwritemonsters about monster fandom, teaching in Florida, and geek parenthood. My as-yet irregularly updated website is www.iwritemonsters.com. It has a current list of all the anthologies I’ve appeared in, as well as essays like using “The Babadook” as grief therapy and reviews old 70’s Bigfoot shows.
Thanks so much K.T. for taking part! Learning more about you was great fun! Folks – be sure and check out K.T.s website, seek him out on Twitter, and heck, while you’re at it – buy a copy of his work!