Author Interview – K.T. Katzmann

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.Katzmann 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…

Murder with Monsters 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?

book 2  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!

A Penny For Your Thoughts

I will be the first one to tell you that I do not like Hollywood remakes of the classics. Don’t try and fix what isn’t broken. Stop it! Just stop it! I won’t get into any particular ones because that’s not really what this post is about. Suffice to say, with MILLIONS of amazing Indie authors out there, there’s plenty of material Hollywood could get a hold of to create something original.

It was with this extreme prejudice in mind that I sat myself down a few weeks back and started to watch Penny Dreadful on Netflix. (Yes, I know I’m woefully behind on a lot of things – Netflix is one of them.) Right off the bat I’m greeted with Mina Murray, one of the main female leads in the classic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Immediately after, Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his monster and Dorian Gray come waltzing into the story and I’m like, “Oh for Christ’s sake… seriously? Is that what this is about? How many frikken ways can these characters be ripped off and distorted in the feeblest way possible?”

Guess what, I’m almost to the end of Season 2 and LOVING IT! Nobody is more surprised than I am, believe you me. The writers of this program have really done an amazing job at breathing new life into these old classic characters. For me, it’s because they aren’t retelling the old tales, but making new plots, scenarios, and relationships between them that fit so well with the existing concept of the characters in question. The monsters suddenly aren’t really monsters. They are people with feelings and struggles and you want them to come out on top – well – more or less. A repugnant and powerful evil lurks at every corner, but the face of that darkness changes. You might think someone is all goodness and light in the beginning, but that could change when you find out exactly who and what they are behind the mask each and every one of them wears.

The atmosphere and settings are both seedy and sumptuous, beautiful and horrific. The acting is spot on. There is enough blood and gore to please those into splatter films and a generous helping of eroticism for those who like some of that with their Horror.

Enjoying this series and glad I pushed my way through the initial urge to shut it off and find something else as soon as I realized what I was getting myself into. I was wrong.

Penny Dreadful is a well-made original take on the classic Horror movie characters I grew up loving.

Well done, Netflix.

Author Interview – Hunter Shea

Welcome to the fifth installment of my monthly Author Interviews! Over the past year, the works of Hunter Shea have pretty much dominated my reading list. It all began by answering a simple call to be part of a Blog Tour in which I’d receive a book, read it, and review it within a given time frame. I was sent Island of the Forbidden, a lovely romp on an isolated island with murderous ghosts! About two days ago, I started one of his cryptid tales, Loch Ness Revenge.  I’m never disappointed when it comes to a Hunter Shea novel. We’ve chatted and emailed on and off, me usually seeking advice, and he graciously giving it. So you can imagine my delight when he quickly accepted my request for an interview!

And so, without further delay … Here’s Hunter!

1. Every writer has a story on how it all began for them. When did you first begin to realize you had a knack for story telling? Was there someone that influenced\encouraged you down the path to being a writer?

HunterShea

Horror Author – Hunter Shea

I’ve always been a huge reader and fan of horror. At one time, I dreamt of being a horror director, back when Jason was terrorizing the silver screen. I wrote awful stories and worse poems and songs, then college came along and I discovered free kegs and ten cent wings and my creativity was funneled into creating party themes. It wasn’t until I got my first horrible, soul-deadening corporate job that I got the itch to write. My good friend Norm Hendricks was writing a horror novel in the cubicle next to me and I got curious. Norm is the one who got me sucked into this, and I thank him all the time. It became an addiction, and I have no desire to kick the habit. Of course, it took me years before I wrote anything worth a damn, but that’s part of the journey.

2. As kids we’re always being asked what we want to be when we grow up. Beyond writing, what other careers did you have in mind for yourself?

From about 9 until 14, if people asked me what I was going to be, I would tell them a Playboy photographer (much to my mother’s chagrin – I think dad was proud). Then I wanted to pitch in the major leagues for a while, until college where I studied to be on the radio, either as a DJ or engineer. I’d secretly always wanted to do that ever since WKRP in Cincinnati came on the air. Once I realized how little the job paid, I gave that up. Funny how everything in radio has changed. Everything I learned back then is now obsolete. I was a master at splicing tape.

3. Really looking forward to reading your latest release We Are Always Watching.  While writing it, you mentioned to me that some of it’s based on real events.  Can you give more details on that?

we-are-always-watching-tour-graphic

Hunter’s Latest Release

Sure. The whole idea was inspired by what’s still happening to this house in New Jersey. A couple bought a million dollar home in a sweet little suburb, only to find out someone who calls themselves The Watcher claims the house and all who inhabit it are his. The Watcher leaves cryptic, terrifying notes all around the house. The family picked up and ran for the hills. They’ve been trying to have the house razed but have been turned down by the town zoning board. They rented it out to someone else, who recently started getting even more sinister notes from The Watcher. Crazy stuff. And it’s scary, because it’s really happening.

4. You and Jack Campisi have a podcast called Monster Men over on YouTube. How did you two meet and what made you decide to create the show together?

We worked together at a technology company. When we found out we both owned and loved the Spider-Man rock opera album as kids, we were bonded for life. We loooove horror, and talked about it all the time. Once podcasting became a thing, we decided to just go for it and let the world watch 2 horror fans, who’ve had a few drinks, talk about the genre. We’re 120 episodes in and counting, which isn’t easy considering it’s a video podcast.

monster-men-set

Hunter & Jack – The Monster Men

5. They say authors often put themselves into at least one of their characters in every book. Is this something you’ve experienced? If so, which of your characters do you feel most resembles yourself?

Oh, hell yeah. Bits of us are scattered like ashes across the pages of each and every single book. John Backman in Forest of Shadows was all me, complete with crippling anxiety (which I beat, unlike poor John). There’s a lot of me and one of my daughters in West Ridley in We Are Always Watching. Strangely enough, I’d go so far as to say you’ll find pieces of me in Jessica Backman in Sinister Entity and Island of the Forbidden. It’s impossible not to take from yourself and imbue it within your characters. It also helps give true notes of authenticity to the work. Readers know when you’re totally faking it and when you speak from experience.

6. What’s next for Hunter Shea? Can we look forward to more cryptid-based tales or are you going to go in a different direction for a while?

Oh, so much. This summer, my series of novelettes will come out through Lyrical Press. They’re based on the crap you could buy in comic books in the 70s and 80s. They’re called Just Add Water, Optical Delusion and Money Back Guarantee, and they’re pure campy fun. Megalodon in Paradise will be released through Severed Press this summer. Sure to be a pleasing beach read. I have a few other special releases up my sleeve. Folks need to stay tuned and see what’s in store. Hope you all hop on over to www.huntershea.com and join my Dark Hunter Newsletter to get the inside scoop. Oh, and I give lots of free stuff away to subscribers, too. 😉

Thanks so much, Hunter for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions! It was great learning just a bit more about the man behind the monster madness!

Next month I’ll be grilling author Jason J. Nugent – low and slow with just a touch of lemon pepper!

Until then … Write On!