Brian Kirk

A Journey of the Imagination

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Talking Legendary Creatures with Author Hunter Shea

I’m thrilled that one of the most prolific and consistently excellent authors of horror fiction has chosen this site to talk about legends. Fitting, as Hunter Shea is quickly become a legend in my eyes. Let me explain.

I first became aware of Hunter’s work right before the release of his acclaimed thriller, The Montauk Monster, in June of 2014. That book was a huge hit, receiving tons of praise from critics and fans alike. Then, the very next month, he releases a new horror novel, Hell Hole, which again achieves critical praise, going so far as to be called “The Best Horror Novel of 2014” by Horror Novel Reviews. Not a bad year.

But then Hunter comes out with another book just four months later, Island of the Forbidden, which is almost instantly talked about as being a contender for best horror novel of the new year. WTF! Dude, care to slow down? Nope, out comes another powerful two-punch combo: a blockbuster apocalyptic novel, Tortures of the Damned, and his latest horror novel, The Dover Demon. Guess what? Both are being highly praised.

So this guy must do nothing but write. Sorry, but no. He happens to co-host a popular podcast, Monster Men, as well.

Welcome to my site, Mr. Shea. You are a rare breed. As mythological, perhaps, as the legendary creatures you write about. Please tell us a bit about the Dover Demon, sir. I’m all ears.

dover-demon-large-cover

Tracking Down A Legend

By Hunter Shea, Author of The Dover Demon

When people see the cover of my latest book, The Dover Demon, they immediately think, “Look, a book about aliens.” Honestly, they have every right to think that. That bulbous head, penetrating black eyes and narrow mouth has become iconic, thanks to movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Fire in the Sky and Alien Abduction. Add to that a slew of books, all of it starting with Whitley Strieber’s Communion, that spawned a generation’s worth of alien and abduction exposes.

Here’s the real deal about the real Dover Demon. In cryptozoological circles, it’s really considered an unknown creature, as earthly in origin as Salma Hayek or Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. See how I fit my crush and football hero in there? (on a side note, the main female character in my novel, Hell Hole, was named Selma, a Mexican beauty with an iron will – I wonder who that could be?)

Unfortunately, there isn’t much known about the Dover Demon, a strange biped that was spotted by half a dozen teens over the course of 2 nights over 35 years ago. It came, it was seen, it disappeared into the mist of time. I’ve read all kinds of explanations for it, the most hysterical theory that it was a sick, young moose. That would be one hell of a strange moose. Never saw one without hair, walking on its hind legs with eyes as big as saucers and flesh the color of Fred Flintstone in the comics (the actual description of one of the witnesses).

The town of Dover is an affluent Massachusetts suburb. At points in its history, it had more horses than people. These were not yokels looking to make a splash in The National Enquirer. In fact, the witnesses didn’t want to make a fuss about it until one of them drew what he saw and it was posted in a local store. Then things took off for a few months before settling down. What he drew has become the standard image for the Dover Demon. He grew up to be an artist. Pretty good start to your career, sketching a creature that is still talked about decades later.

Dover Demon sketch (1)

I can only imagine the terror those kids felt, walking late at night down a country road, spotting a strange figure keeping pace with them before disappearing into the woods. Or driving along and capturing the impossible in the beam of their headlights.

Strange stuff. The stuff of nightmare. My kind of stuff.

For those interested in learning more about The Dover Demon, here’s a brief synopsis along with links to where it can be purchased.

The Dover Demon Synopsis

The Dover Demon is real…and it has returned.

In 1977, Sam Brogna and his friends came upon a terrifying, alien creature on a deserted country road. What they witnessed was so bizarre, so chilling, they swore their silence. But their lives were changed forever.

Decades later, the town of Dover has been hit by a massive blizzard. Sam’s son, Nicky, is drawn to search for the infamous cryptid, only to disappear into the bowels of a secret underground lair. The Dover Demon is far deadlier than anyone could have believed. And there are many of them. Can Sam and his reunited friends rescue Nicky and battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that history itself has been shaped by their secretive presence?

Purchase Links

Connect With Hunter Shea

Learn more about Hunter’s work at his website and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Dover Demon tour logo

Interview With Blood and Rain Author, Glenn Rolfe

glenn bw profile

World, meet Glenn Rolfe. Glenn is a hard man to describe in a few snappy sentences; he simply does too much. Lives too large. He’s been a singer/songwriter and front man for the punk rock band, The Never Nudes. Now he’s a horror author with a fan base that’s growing as rapidly as his prolific writing pace. He’s a creator in the truest sense of the word, driven, it seems, to populate the world with the output of his feverish mind. And, in my humble opinion, the world is a better place for it. He’s also a hell of a nice guy – the result of offloading the festering darkness that resides within us all.

He’s currently making the rounds promoting his latest novel Blood and Rain, and took some time to discuss it with me here. I hope you enjoy the chat.

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We Are Monsters Gets Endorsed by Brian Keene

Okay, it’s official. We’ve slipped into an alternate reality. And, no, I’m not talking about the Berenstain Bears conspiracy. I’m talking about an email I just received from Brian Keene with a blurb for We Are Monsters that I couldn’t be happier with had I wrote it myself. Here’s what the Grand Master of Horror had to say about my debut book.

Brian Keene

We Are Monsters is fantastic — a frightening and intense thriller and one hell of a debut novel. I was blown away. Brian Kirk is exactly what readers need — a talented new voice with original, awe-inspiring ideas that can push the genre forward.”
-Brian Keene, best-selling author of Ghoul and The Rising

There’s simply no way this happens on the same time line I was following five years ago. This is nuts.

I’m assuming most everyone reading this post is familiar with Mr. Keene, but for those who aren’t, Brian Keene is among the most renowned horror authors of the last decade. Dude does everything: writes novels, comic books, short fiction, non-fiction, and movie scripts. He’s won multiple Bram Stoker Awards and been on bestseller lists. His 2003 novel The Rising is often credited with inspiring the resurgent zombie craze that continues to this day.

The Rising

He’s one of just 25 authors to be honored with a Grand Master Award, ensuring his eternal place in the horror fiction hall of fame. He hosts one of the most popular and entertaining podcasts in the horror genre, The Horror Show with Brian Keene. And he is a renowned leader within the horror fiction community, fighting for the fair treatment of authors, selflessly offering guidance and advice to up-and-coming scribes.

Sorry if I’m gushing a bit here, I’m just a little overwhelmed and extremely grateful that he would take time out of his insane schedule to read a debut novel from a no-name like me.

I’ve read several of Brian Keene’s books. Hell, I bought a stack from him at the World Horror Convention where I pitched my book to Don D’Auria with Samhain. While I would recommend any one of them, I’ll go with the book Stephen King recently recommended for fans of THE MIST (one of my personal favorite’s from King’s canon), which is DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN.

Darkness on the edge of town

But don’t stop there. CLICK HERE to find the complete catalog of Brian Keene’s esteemed work. IWeAreMonsters_Print urge you to pick up another book or three.

I’m equally grateful to the other authors who have been kind enough to endorse We Are Monsters. Click on the following links to find out what Mercedes M. Yardley, Robert Ford, Jonathan Moore, and John F.D. Taff have had to say.

We Are Monsters Hits The Top Ten of 2015

I just learned that my debut novel, We Are Monsters, has been listed as one of the ten best horror novels of 2015. I’m flattered and, frankly, a bit surprised to see my work ranked alongside New York Times best selling authors whom I’ve long admired, and books that I would consider the best of the year as well.

Click here to see the full list. Here’s a snippet of what they had to say:

WeAreMonsters_PrintWhat Brian Kirk does wonderfully is fool readers into believing they’re safe. There’s no werewolf howling at the moon. There is no vampire resting in a coffin awaiting the moon’s call. There are no zombies here eager to devour brains so that they may continue to shamble on another day. No, We Are Monsters is all about the monsters within each of us. This is a gorgeous display of conceivable terror that resonates long after reading.

I have yet to read every book on this list, but I intend to. Of the ones I have read, my personal favorite is A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. In fact, I included this book in my Recommended Reading section, and you can read my essay here.

The World’s Five Most Bizarre Diseases and Disorders

I have a morbidly curious mind (I can’t help it, I was born this way). For instance, I’m fascinated by incredibly rare diseases and disorders. It’s part of what inspired me to write a book about mental illness. So I spent some time going down the bizarre rabbit hole of radical disorders for an article that just went live on author, David Bernstein’s website.

Example 1: The Cotard Delusion: a rare, though real, neuropsychiatric disorder in which patients believe that they have died, do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their vital organs.

If this has piqued your interest, proceed to David’s site for more. Scroll past his acclaimed catalog of twisted horror titles to find the article below. Warning: hypochondriacs should avoid at all costs.

A Head Full of Ghosts

I read Paul Tremblay’s highly acclaimed novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, a few weeks ago and still find myself thinking about it. That’s high grade voodoo right there. Book is straight up haunting me.

Therefore, I’m not only writing this in an attempt to explain what’s causing it to linger, I want to get this shit A Head Full of Ghostsout of my head.

On the surface, Tremblay’s book is a fun, entertaining story about a family dealing with a daughter who is either possessed or mentally ill. It’s told through the adult recollections of the possessed girl’s younger sister. Recollections that appear to be somewhat confused, and almost certainly unreliable. This woman is traumatized by what she experienced as a child, even if she doesn’t realize it. Pay attention to the way the woman she’s narrating her story to is reacting and you can see how strange and damaged she’s become. For me, that’s the most horrific part.

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Appearance on The Round Table Podcast

RoundTable PodcastMy latest stop along the We Are Monsters publicity tour was The Round Table Podcast, where I had a fun and engaging conversation with host, Dave Robison and guest host, CW LaSart. This is separated into two parts.

Part I is an interview with me where we covered a bunch of topics mostly relating to the craft of writing, including: the work vs. the results, achieving the magical flow state, infusing terror into any scene, the distinction between “hero” and “protagonist”, and more.

Listen to Part I

In Part II we take on a story idea from an aspiring author and try to make it better. For instance, I recommend turning the pregnancy resulting from a love tryst into a strange immaculate conception and get wonderfully shot down. It’s glorious.

Listen to Part II

Lots of good info in both segments for aspiring and established writers alike. I hope you’ll check them out.

What Makes a Human Monster

I was a guest on author, Hunter Shea’s website discussing a difficult subject: What turns an innocent toddler into a sadistic predator. What creates a human monster. CLICK HERE to give it a read.

And please check out the WAM Publicity Tour for a full listing of guest appearances on other websites containing interviews and articles similar to this one. I hope you’ll follow along.

Interview with Catherine Cavendish, Author of Dark Avenging Angel

People find out I write horror and they’re often appalled. It’s like I just confessed to devil worship. They can’t reconcile the happy, smiling, mostly optimistic person they know with the dark material I feel compelled to write (which is often fairly sunny as well, once you get through the shadows).

Most of the horror writers I know are happy, positive people. Perhaps it’s because we exorcise our demons through our work. Fellow Samhain author Catherine Cavendish is no different. Not only is she an uber-talented author with a tireless work ethic, cranking out high quality dark suspense on an annual basis, she’s a kind and supportive woman as well, always taking the time to help out fellow writers.

I was honored that she agreed to take a bit of time to chat with me about, among other things, her newly minted novel, Dark Avenging Angel. Enjoy.

Catherine Cavendish

Catherine Cavendish

BK:  Your website says you live in an 18th century home in North Wales that’s haunted by a ghost. When did you first suspect it was haunted? Who, or what, do you think is haunting it?

CC: It all started innocuously enough. Someone whispering when no one else was around. Footsteps along the top landing and corridor. Lights switched on when we came home – even though we knew they had been off when we left. One day, we came back to find the TV switched on. Never anything bad, just a little unnerving. One day, my husband went upstairs and a woman’s voice called, “Hello”, to him – but there was no one there. That raised the hairs on the back of his neck, I can tell you. He came downstairs, white as the ghost he thought he’d heard!

Local people think it might be the ghost of an elderly lady called Miss Edwards who, for many years in the early part of the last century, kept a haberdashery shop on the premises and lived above it. Ours is a sort-of homely, welcoming spirit. Certainly not an evil entity of any kind.

BK:  Some of my favorite authors are from the UK: Roald Dahl, David Mitchell, Ian McEwan, just to name a few. They have such command of the English language, which, of course, isn’t all that surprising as that’s where it originated. What, if any, differences have you noticed between UK writers and US writers? How about cross-Atlantic readers?

CC: That’s an interesting question, Brian. Obviously there are differences that our editor – Don D’Auria – picks out, such as spelling (although I do have my US English spell checker on at all times) and there are some expressions that simply don’t translate across the Atlantic, but as far as the horror genre is concerned, I’m not sure we are all that different these days. There may be more of a Gothic, creepy, scary, ‘something nasty in the woodshed’ tradition here in the UK. I suppose we have more old houses! Then there are the settings. I can’t really imagine writers such as Ramsey Campbell or Susan Hill originating in the US – although I believe their work is very popular there. Their settings are typically British – Ramsey Campbell’s bookshops and sinister English countryside and woodland, for example. Equally, Stephen King is quintessentially American. Even though he frequently crosses genres, his stories are usually set in typically American surroundings. His characters speak and the voice narrating in our head immediately takes on an American accent (of one sort or another). He is, of course, phenomenally popular in the UK.

As for cross-Atlantic writers – I think those of us British writers whose publishers are in the US (like me), tend to develop a more American approach, owing to our editors and publishers as much as anything. Over here in the UK, I still read modern British authors who commit the deadly sin of ‘head hopping’ and are allowed to do so because it is nowhere near such a big deal over here as in the States. These days, I wouldn’t dare to shift the point of view from one character to another without starting a new chapter!

I also think that a somewhat faster pace, getting to the action quicker, is possibly more critical when writing for the American market, but others may disagree with me.

BK: Many of your books, such as Saving Grace Devine and The Pendle Curse, involve historical settings. What draws you to write about the past?

CC: History was my favorite subject at school and I have shelves and shelves full of history books, as well as historical fiction. I am fascinated by the characters and events of the past and harbor a secret desire to time travel – as long as I could get back of course!

BK: I love the premise of your latest release, Dark Avenging Angel: A guardian angel whose protection comes at a terrible price. I like to think that we all have a guardian angel watching over us. Do you believe in angels and demons? Have you had any direct experience with either?

CC: I believe in the power of good and evil certainly. As for actual angels and demons, I maintain an open mind. Many years ago, I and some friends of mine had a very scary experience with an Ouija board, which me off those things for life. For a brief moment, we all felt as if something extremely dark and nasty had joined us. We were four scared bunnies, I can tell you!

BK:  What inspired you to write Dark Avenging Angel?  What is it about the paranormal that appeals to you?

CC: Ever since I was a child and read The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, I have loved that delicious thrill you can only get from reading scary stories. I do believe there is more to this world than what we can see, hear, touch and feel. Scientists have already proved the existence of many more senses and dimensions than we thought we had a few decades ago.

I love the concept of things unseen, lurking in the shadows. I am also fascinated by the idea of an avenging spirit. I think most of us secretly root for the underdog (it’s supposed to be a British trait, but I think it’s pretty international). So when the bully gets his comeuppance, we raise a cheer. Justice is satisfied. But, as a writer, I am perverse. I don’t like everything all neatly tied up with ribbons. I always like to muddy the waters. Hence my avenging angel is – as you’ve referenced above – not what she first appears to be.

BK:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing? What about it do you enjoy the most?

For me, I love creating that first draft. I start off with the germ of a plot idea and some central characters and settings. I research what I feel needs to be researched, gather my material together and off I go. The characters take over and each new chapter is a revelation. Once that first draft is complete, the most challenging thing is getting it right. Redrafting and editing, eliminating repetition, resolving anomalies, inconsistencies and loose ends.

BK:  Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?

No. I just get on with it!

BK:  You’ve been releasing quality work on a regular basis. What comes next?

That’s very kind of you to say so, Brian. After Dark Avenging Angel, I have a novel coming out – also with Samhain – in April next year. It’s called The Devil’s Serenade and is set in an old house with many dark secrets, which gradually start to reveal themselves.

Currently, I’m working on my next novel, called Wrath of the Ancients, which is set in Vienna in 1913 – an eventful year to say the least. This story involves ancient Egyptian artifacts, a curse, and a mysterious character called Dr. Emeryk Quintillus.

BK: Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just to say thank you for inviting me along today. I really enjoyed it, and here’s a little bit of information about Dark Avenging Angel:

DarkAvengingAngel72lg

Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.

Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.

When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.

Here are some places you can find Dark Avenging Angel:

Samhain Publishing

Amazon

Barnes and Noble 

Kobo

Omnilit

About the author:

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows.  Her novels, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine are also published by Samhain. Her latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – will be followed by her next novel – The Devil’s Serenade – in April 2016

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Tsu

We Are Monsters Meets The World

My debut novel, We Are Monsters, has been out for just over two weeks and I’m both humbled and completely elated by the positive press it’s received so far. Here are some of the kind things authors and professional critics have had to say:

“Keep an eye on Brian Kirk. His ambitious debut We Are Monsters is a high-voltage thrill, like watching Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor and Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners on split screens.” -Jonathan Moore, Bram Stoker nominated author of Redheads, Close Reach, and The Poison Artist.

“Brian Kirk’s debut We Are Monsters is a smart, elaborate novel that weaves together the best and worst of us. Complex, terrifying, and still humane, this book moved me to both horror and compassion, and that’s a difficult thing indeed. Easily the best book I’ve read this year.” -Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy.

“A tightly woven tale from an author who has a heart, and that makes me excited to see what else Kirk has in store for us. The whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.” -Ginger Nuts of Horror

“Brian Kirk’s debut novel We Are Monsters is a sure bet. A hippy-trippy jaunt that goes deep into the baser things we keep bottled up… and what happens when they’re freed. Highly recommended!” -John F.D. Taff, Bram Stoker nominated author of The End In All Beginnings.

“I can’t praise this book enough!” -Horror Novel Reviews

“Cleverly told. Psychologically complex.” -Scarlet’s Web

“A disturbing, gets-under-your-skin debut novel. I expect to read much more from Kirk in the future.” -Robert Ford, author of The Compound and Samson and Denial.

Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed the book so far. I’m thrilled to see that so many of you have enjoyed it.

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