The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Kenneth Goldman

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Kenneth. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?


Ken – Since you asked, I’ll brag a little.  I’ve written almost 200 stories and counting reprints I’ve published over 860 of them. That includes two novels (OF A FEATHER and SINKHOLE), one novella (DESIREE), and three anthologies of short stories (YOU HAD ME AT ARRGH!!, DONNY DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANY MORE, and STAR-CROSSED).  My bio could read: Ken Goldman is famous but nobody knows it.


Stacey – You have quite an impressive list of titles under your belt according to Amazon. How long have you been writing?


Ken – This is no lie. I began writing before I learned to write. I was drawing pictures of my ‘stories’ before I entered kindergarten. But semi-professionally, I started writing and having my stories published back in 1992.


Stacey – Of your numerous books and stories, which one is your favourite and why?


Ken – That’s like asking which of your children do you like best.  But okay – I guess it’s my novel OF A FEATHER because I have this love of birds and until last week I always had a bird in my home. Sadly, my parrot, Baby, passed away last week at the age of 35 years. Ever seen a grown man cry?  It isn’t pretty.


Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?


Ken – I draw my inspiration from just about anything. A photo can inspire me, or a magazine, album cover, or graffiti on a bathroom wall.  I’m extremely visual, and I’ve been told that my stories are like watching a series of snapshots. Of course, real life experiences are inspiring also, and I base almost every character I create on people I know.


Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing?


Ken – I find that getting a new idea for a story is always a challenge, more than actually writing the story itself. A writing instructor taught me that just about every idea or story has been told in one form or another, that a good writer has to discover a new slant. JAWS? Think MOBY DOCK.  E.T.?  Think LASSIE.  THE SHINING?  Think every haunted house tale ever written, then magnify it to hotel size.  Get it?


Stacey – Do you write daily?


Ken –  I put in at least an hour a day either writing something new, rewriting or editing something I’ve written, and/or searching for new markets to which I can submit my work.  I find the whole writing process therapeutic (and it’s cheaper than therapy), so I don’t mind working at something I enjoy.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?


Ken – Music sometimes just before I write, then SILENCE PLEASE.


Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?


Ken – Writing is rewriting.  Think you’ve finished that novel with your last sentence?  NOPE! You have to go back, trim the fat, and admit that there are parts of your story you don’t need or that just plain suck. (Stephen King calls this process “Kill your darlings.”)  In other words, you have to be brutally honest with your writing. Don’t count on Mom, your pals, or your spouse to be completely truthful about how much they like what you’ve written.  A writing group is often helpful if you can find one, and if you can handle brutal honesty.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?


Ken – Hate to admit this, but Stephen King’s BAG OF BONES just didn’t do it for me. I had a hard time relating to the pathetic main character. I did finish it years later and it really wasn’t all that bad.


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?


Ken – Just saw A QUIET PLACE. It’s one of the better horror movies I’ve seen recently with a unique and effective take on the effects of silence.


Stacey – What scares you?


Ken – Besides Donald Trump? I have a major fear of being injected with a needle, and I come close to passing out when I have to get an injection, especially with blood work.  The scene in THE EXORCIST that got to me wasn’t the girl’s head spinning or the green vomit.  No, it was when Regan gets a needle injected into her neck. YECCH!


Stacey – Your book Of a Feather really caught my eye. I love ravens, myself. What drew you to write a novel that focuses rather heavily on birds?


Ken – As I mentioned above, I’ve always had a love and interest in birds, and I’ve had a domestic bird in my home since I was eight.  My parrot, Baby, was an amazing creature – intelligent, amusing, and somehow insightful enough to tune into my own moods.  Not to get maudlin, but I know birds have this instinctive fear of being held in such a way that their wings are prevented from allowing them to fly off.  Baby passed away a few days ago while at the bird hospital, but just before the end he climbed into the crook of my arm and allowed me to hold him for an hour just stroking his feathers. It was as if he knew this was a special moment, a very poignant moment for me and one that brings tears even as I write this.


Stacey – You talk about the Thunderbird, which comes from North American mythology. What drew you to this particular myth?


Ken – Thank the internet for this one. I needed a reason the main character, Socrates Singer, had this ability to control birds.  I discovered the Oglala tribe’s Indian mythology behind Wakinyan, The Thunderbird, a tribal god whose ability is to recognize evil and destroy it.  But Wakinyan is not always reliable and sometimes could be evil itself. That worked perfectly!


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?


Ken – I’m between short stories.  Just finished one called “Death Bed Scene” about a father’s terrible death bed confession. When I feel energized and inspired enough, I’ll tackle another novel. I’m searching for ideas right now.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


KenOh yes!  This is from my latest novel SINKHOLE (Bloodshot Books), which features slug-like creatures that steal parts of your brain – and your soul.  Here’s a little taste:


Gina slipped into a pair of hip huggers most women past thirty would have had difficulty getting away with. She brushed her hair (counting to thirty strokes, as was her ritual), then headed to the bathroom for a quick freshening up. The water remained off, but a little cosmetic handiwork was doable. With a strategic floral spritz of Shalini behind each ear (and one between the silken skin of her girls), she checked her image in the bathroom mirror. Yes, she was good to go, but for one delicate matter.

It was a less than feminine consideration, but she had been out earlier to ask about the excavation’s progress. The morning had been humid, and Gina had perspired a little. Those nasty lady pits required a few delicate scrubs. The water wasn’t running for a shower, but her trusty baby oiled loofa remained damp enough to do the trick. Pulling the shower curtain, she reached for the pink sponge.

Something long and black slithered along the shower head. Having no time to react, Gina managed a gasp. As if it saw her, the dark thing’s mouth hooks extended and opened wide.

Curling itself, the small creature dropped into Mrs. Regina Campbell’s scalp.


Thank you so much for your time Kenneth! If you would like to find out more about Kenneth Goldman and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.


The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with G.A. Miller

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, G.A. It’s great to have you. So, tell me, what do the initials G.A. stand for?


G.A.Thank you, Stacey! It’s a pleasure to be here. I promised myself I’d be honest in this interview, so I’ll confess that G.A. Miller is my pen name. When I chose to try my hand at writing, I decided to use a pen name as a safety net. My middle name is George, my Confirmation name was Anthony (yes, Mom tried her best), and Miller has long been my go-to choice in the category of cold adult beverages. Voila, G.A. Miller came to be my very own ‘Dark Half’.


Stacey – If I’ve done my homework correctly, you hail from Providence, Rhode Island? What’s it like to live there?


G.A. – There is a wealth of history here, a long-standing heritage to explore and learn about. That H.P. Lovecraft lived here, Edgar Allen Poe spent time visiting a woman who lived here, and Stephen King is due north in Maine certainly provides a wealth of “Mojo” on which to draw for an aspiring horror writer.


Stacey – You work as a technician by day, and a writer by night. Is one more satisfying then the other?


G.A. – Writing is much more satisfying, as it allows me to free my imagination, to explore interesting possibilities with no limitations, and provides a tremendous creative outlet for me. I was a musician and songwriter for many years, until age and arthritis took away my ability to play. Writing has filled that creative gap and has allowed me to try my hand at something that has always interested me, but I’d never taken the time to try.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?


G.A. – I’ve been a fan of horror since I was very young. I can still remember laughing at the antics of Zacherly, the “Cool Ghoul”, who hosted Shock Theater long ago…had to be the late ’50’s, with me being maybe three or four at the time. I was glued to the tube, my first introduction to Karloff’s Frankenstein, Lugosi’s Dracula, and Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man, along with a collection of other old films in glorious black and white…


Well, as long as I had the rabbit ears on the TV positioned just so.


Then, with the magic of books, the world opened up, from classics like Stoker’s “Dracula” to the well-worn copies of the EC Comics that had been banned before my time. Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and of course, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.


The silver screen had no shortage of good content for my mind to absorb and process…Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, “Village of the Damned”, “The Day of the Triffids”, and so on. Those led to the explosion of Technicolor on screen with the Hammer Horror imports, generally starring the great Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.


With that background, I discovered Stephen King in 1976, with the first paperback printing of “Salem’s Lot”, and it opened my eyes to the world of “What If?” Most of my work has been simple, everyday people cast into extraordinary circumstances once the “What If?” was applied.


Stacey – Do you write daily?


G.A. – I should, but I don’t. I tend to jot down thoughts and ideas as they occur to me, and then set times to write when the house is quiet and distractions are at a minimum. I do need to discipline myself better, and write each day, despite work time, family time, chores to be done, and so on. Someone once said the first million words are just practice, and I have a lot of practicing to do.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?


G.A. – For me, silence works best. I like to immerse myself in what I’m working on, and when music is playing, I’m easily distracted by it. My background as a musician has me listening to the chord structures used, the arrangement, and completely takes me away from what I’m writing.


Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given so far?


G.A. – To develop characters the reader can identify with, to care about, so they are compelled to follow the story and see what the outcome will be. If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, then the story carries no weight to them.


Stacey – This is a bit of a random question, but… give me one word you overuse when writing.


G.A. – Names, mostly. A friend pointed out that I had a tendency to overuse the character’s names during dialog, and I now watch for that. Once I’ve established who’s saying what, then ‘he’ or ‘she’ come to the fore in the dialog, rather than their names over and over again.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?


G.A. – Oh, there have been several over the years, and generally because I haven’t become engaged with the characters by the time I give up on it. I have no problem with suspension of disbelief, especially in a work of horror, but I need to buy in, to care about the people and events I’m reading about. In general, if I find I’m forcing myself to read it, then I put it down and move on.


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?


G.A. – That was “1922” on Netflix, based on the Stephen King story. I felt they remained true to the story, and the actors did a good job bringing life to the characters they portrayed. Thomas Jane, in particular, captured the essence of a man haunted by his deeds.


Stacey – What scares you?


G.A. – Hmm, we have a list. I can’t swim, so drowning is up there, as are heights. I’ve always had this “thing”, a phobia perhaps, a mental image of a huge aircraft falling out of the sky, coming down on my location, with me frozen in the spot, unable to try and move to safety. In fact, I wrote a short story about that fear, titled “Nightmare”, which was published in Horror Bites Magazine last year.


Stacey – Favourite musician/band? What’s one song that you can’t get out of your head?


G.A. – Led Zeppelin, no contest. I saw them in concert in 1977, which would prove to be their last US tour because John Bonham died in 1980, and it was the most amazing live musical performance I have ever seen. The song of theirs that stands above the others, at least to me, is “Kashmir”. That song brought the house down in ’77, despite the classics like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Rock and Roll”, “Whole Lotta Love”, and so on that they performed that night.


Stacey – You have stories featured in five different publications. Which would you say is your favourite story?


G.A.Of those five, I’d say “Bequeath”, which was published in the premiere issue of Hinnom Magazine from Gehenna and Hinnom publishers. It’s a story about a quiet, unassuming man who receives a ring in a box as an inheritance, and that ring carries a dark secret that changes his life forever.


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?


G.A. – At the moment, I am reworking a novella I wrote last year titled “Spirit of the Dead”, which takes place in the fictional village of Carson’s Mill, RI. I’m also gathering ideas and fleshing out characters for a novel I’m planning, and I’ve just assembled a collection of thirteen stories that I’m considering self-publishing. Lots going on and loving the work!


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


G.A.Of course! My newest short story is called “The Dot”, about a six-year-old boy in 1961 who is fascinated by the way the picture on their black and white TV shrinks to a white dot when turned off, that dot seeming to travel to the back as it gets smaller. Here’s an excerpt from it:


Bobby found himself walking through the apartment, darker than it had ever been before. There was light up ahead, and he followed it into his living room, where their TV was on, but the picture was bright, vivid color, not the fuzzy black and white it had always been. He instinctively realized this had to be a dream but gasped aloud when the man on the screen turned to face him and began talking to him.

“Well, hello there Bobby. It’s so nice to see you.”

“H-hi,” Bobby stammered. He’d never seen this man before, and there was something unsettling about him. He looked very tall, all dressed in black, with a shiny bald head and hair on his chin. He was smiling, but it was a creepy smile, the kind of smile the monsters do just before they pounce on you.

“Would you like to come in and look around, Bobby?”

“You can’t go into a TV mister.”

“Ah, but this is not the kind of TV you’re used to, Bobby. This is a magic TV, do you see?” He waved his hand and the picture behind him changed, showing all of Bobby’s favorite places, his favorite TV shows, everything so brilliant and crisp.

Bobby was frozen in place. He was amazed by what he was seeing, but there was something about that man….

The alarm clock in his mother’s bedroom started ringing then, and the man glared when he heard it, that creepy smile now an angry grimace. Bobby saw flashes of red in his eyes because the picture was so bright, so clear.

The man’s arm extended right through the glass, reaching out for Bobby, and he felt a hand gripping and shaking his arm. His eyes flew open and he found himself back in his bed, his mother shaking his arm gently to wake him.


Thank you so much for your time G.A! If you would like to find out more about G.A. Miller and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.


Thank you so much, Stacey, it’s been an absolute pleasure!


My Website


My Blog





The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Cameron Trost

Stacey – Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Cameron – I hail from Brisbane, Australia, but now live in France with my French wife and two sons. I teach English to make a living but hope that after this interview I’ll become so famous I’ll be able to write professionally. What kind of chap am I? Well, I love forests, the seaside, stormy weather, castles and old villages, fine whisky, print rather than ebooks, and British mysteries. My favourite writers include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Roald Dahl. My favourite music is The Cure and Nick Cave.


Stacey – When did you start writing?

Cameron – I tried to write a novel about the adventures of a warrior in the Bronze Age when I was ten. That was fun. I started writing seriously about twelve years ago and have had numerous short stories and a novel published since then. You can find links to everything of mine that I want you to read on my blog.


Stacey – If you could meet any author living or dead, who would it be?

Cameron – I’m not really fascinated by any one particular author. For me, writing isn’t just about big names. There are thousands of great writers out there. But let’s answer your question… The Marquis de Sade, perhaps. That might be fun.


Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Cameron – Ideas come to me from all different sources. The People, things, and places around me. There have been times when somebody has said something and that has triggered an idea. My wife’s favourite story of mine was inspired by a bird living in Australian rainforests. A story or song will sometimes inspire me, but my inspiration usually comes from my own experiences.


Stacey – What’s your writing process like? Do you write during the day or at night?

Cameron – I write when I can. I don’t have a lot of time to write, but Friday is my quiet day at the moment. I take the boys to school, get the housework done, and try to get a couple of hours in before it’s time to return to the real world. I sometimes write for thirty minutes before bed if everybody is asleep and I’m not too tired. I don’t stick to any particular process. Each story is different. I’m very particular about grammar and punctuation because I believe that errors distract the reader from the story, so I edit a lot. I generally edit a story ten to fifteen times.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

Cameron – Music and silence are both fine, but not essential. If I waited for ideal circumstances, I’d never write.


Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Cameron – Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable, is my favourite character. I’ve given him some impressive talents, but also particular weaknesses, and he’s both old-fashioned and avant-gardist.


Stacey – This is a bit of a random question, but… give me one word you overuse when writing.

Cameron – As a matter of fact, that’s a timely question. I’m in the process of resurrecting a novel manuscript that I wrote over ten years ago. There’s a huge amount of rewriting and editing to do and repetition is one of the problems. I’ve noticed a lot of then, of course, and that. In most cases, these words are unnecessary and even distracting. I used to use suddenly and all of a sudden too much, but I’ve broken out of that bad habit. I find it useful to search a manuscript once I’ve finished it to see which words have been overused.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?

Cameron – All the time. Life’s too short to read stories you don’t like. If a short story doesn’t interest me after the first page, I’ll either stop reading it or quickly scan it to confirm my suspicions. As for novels, if I really don’t like the first chapter, it’s farewell. The first page or chapter is one of the most important in a story. If an author can’t draw me in from the start, I have to assume it just gets worse from there.


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?

Cameron – I don’t watch many horror movies. I generally find them less poignant and well-developed than horror fiction. The last one I saw that I enjoyed was The Babadook, an Aussie horror movie that gets you thinking. I recommend it.


Stacey – What scares you?

Cameron – The manipulability of some human beings and the selfishness of others. It’s a horrible combination. We live in a world of immense disparity between the rich and the poor, a world in which domestic abuse is a regular occurrence, school shootings and terrorism have almost become accepted and there’s little will to progress and evolve. The degree to which these problems affect you varies according to where and with whom you live, but they exist and are part of our world.


Stacey – Favourite movie or tv show? (Doesn’t have to be Horror)

Cameron – I recently saw Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. If you like black comedy and quirkiness, that’s a great movie. Not officially horror, but it’s more disturbing than a creature feature or slasher movie. As for TV, I love mysteries, like Midsomer Murders, Vera, and Endeavour.


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?

Cameron – I have a number of short stories, a novella, and a novel in the works. I usually have different stories to work on at any given time. The novel I’m working on features a homicidal madman in a small village surrounded by quagmires. It’s a combination of psychological suspense and mystery. It studies the idea of social manipulation.


Stacey – Any up and coming releases we should know about?

Cameron – I’m working on an anthology called Shelter from the Storm which will be released through my publishing house, Black Beacon Books, later this year. The best way to keep track of my news is by joining me on Facebook.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Cameron – What I’d really like to share with you is an excerpt from my second short story collection. It’s called The Animal Inside and is currently listed on KindleScout. If it gets enough nominations, I can sign a publishing contract with Kindle. If it’s accepted, you all get a free ebook copy. Thanks in advance.


Thank you so much for your time Cameron! If you would like to find out more about Cameron and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.



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The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Kevin Grover

Stacey – Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Kevin –  I’m originally from a small island off the south-east coast of England called Sheppey. It’s full of history and has many places to go explore when you’re a kid. It’s a place I’ve based my third novel on, Coulrophobia, mainly because the setting is so interesting. There’s a lot of influence in my other novels from that island, particularly in Monsters Mostly Come out at Night. There’s a place called the Wastelands in the novel that is based on a place I used to play. I moved from the island around 2000, but still visit. I now live in Medway which is also, in Kent. In my full-time job, I’m a police officer in the Met and have been for over 14 years.

Stacey – When did you start writing?

Kevin – From around the age of eight. I remember trying to write my own adventure games in Basic on computers and it was creating the story and writing the descriptions that really interested me. I then started writing a few stories based on computer games, then I first realised I might be good at writing when my English teacher read something I’d written out to the class because she was so impressed. I think that got me really thinking about writing and from there I started writing my own stories.

Stacey – If you could meet any author living or dead, who would it be?

Kevin – I would love to meet Stephen King; his book On Writing is a fantastic guide to novel writing. I highly recommend it. I would also love to meet James Herbert, though he’s sadly dead now. He wrote some really great horror novels in the 80’s, his most famous being the Rats. I’d ask them both everything I could about how they write, where they get their ideas and what keeps them going. I often have this fantasy of meeting Tolkien and sitting down to watch the Lord of the Rings with him and ask what he thinks. When he wrote his epic, I don’t think he’d ever imagined it possible they could film it.

Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Kevin – Sometimes I have a dream that translates well into a story. But most of the time an idea will pop into my head and I get this massive creative surge. If I’m out of ideas, then I’ll go take the dog for a walk. I find a lot of my stories features woods, probably because I like to walk in them with the dog.

Stacey – What’s your writing process like? Do you write during the day or at night?

Kevin – I write a lot at night, into the early hours. There’s less distractions then. But as I’m a shift worker, I often write at work in down time, sometimes even on the train commuting to work.

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

Kevin – I like to listen to music when I write, but I can write without it. I’ve learnt how to switch off from background chatter and the TV on in the background, so I tend to be flexible. If I listen to music, it’s generally soundtrack music so it sets a certain mood.

Stacey – Have you always written horror?

Kevin – I used to write a lot of Science Fiction, then I went through a Fantasy stage, but I’ve been drawn to Horror for a few years now. I’m beginning to move more towards thrillers, but I find Horror seeps into that genre easily.

Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Kevin – I really like Jessica from my novel Father’s Song, which is the first novel I wrote. I love how she’s struggling with her addictions and ghosts from her past. It makes her very vulnerable, but strong as she fights against them. She doesn’t easily trust people, tries to act like she’s tough, but deep down she’s really scared. It makes her interesting.

Stacey – Are you afraid of clowns? Most people I speak to are, to some degree.

Kevin – I’m not scared of clowns, but I certainly think there’s something creepy about them. I always think the painted smiles are trying to hide something. I think most things meant for children are creepy: clowns, Punch and Judy, nursery rhymes…. All subjects I’ve written about!

Stacey – Have you seen the latest movie version of IT by Stephen King? What did you think of it?

Kevin – Loved the casting of Pennywise. A hard act to follow after Tim Curry’s iconic version. I thought the cast of the kids were great, but I wasn’t keen on some of the new directions they took, particularly towards the end. I kept thinking “that’s not supposed to happen” and I couldn’t help think the 90’s tv series was better in many areas. That series just fell down on the second part with the adults. I hope the next film does better.

Stacey – Why do you think horror and children’s nursery rhymes go together so well?

Kevin – Most nursery rhymes have sinister meanings behind them. The most famous being Ring a Ring ‘o Roses, which everyone knows is about the black death. Kids sing it without much thought to the real meaning. Then Goosey Goosey Gander is about the killing of Catholics, Oranges and Lemons about executions… There’s lots of dark meanings. I think they go well with horror because it’s darkness hiding within a child’s song. Which is what Father’s Song is about. But what’s creeper than a little child singing a nursery rhyme in a chilling tone? One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…

Stacey – Favourite movie or tv show? (Doesn’t have to be Horror)

Kevin – My favourite show is Twin Peaks. I’m a massive fan of it. Loved the new series that just finished, set 25 years after the end of the last series. I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since I was very young. I remember watching Tom Baker at the age of five. Modern shows, I’ll watch Game of Thrones, Walking Dead…. Movies… there’s so many, but I love Highlander, Bladerunner, Star Wars, Kubrick’s the Shining, The Exorcist… I could list so many!

Stacey – Was it exciting being selected as runner up in the Writers Online Competition?

Kevin – It came just in time to keep me going because I was close to giving up ever being published. It gave me a good push to go on. I’ve been shortlisted a couple of more times in Writing Magazine, which also gives me a boost. I mainly write because… I have to. But a little recognition is really nice.

Stacey – Your fourth novel is being edited now, isn’t it? Can you tell us a little about it? Do you have a release date yet?

Kevin – It’s got a working title of The Crow and is more of a paranormal thriller than a straight horror. It’s about a young couple, Rick and Neve,  who move to an area famous for UFO sightings. After a series of incidents where they are being stalked, Neve is found dead in the woods, murdered. A year later, after the funeral, Neve returns with no memory of what happened. But Rick’s moved on after grieving and finds it hard to accept this is Neve after he identified her body himself. And their stalker now returns, writing threatening letters and smashing windows. By the end of the novel, Rick doesn’t know who to trust and wonders if it’s just one big alien conspiracy. I’m hoping to publish by March.

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Kevin – A silver light appeared above the trees, hovering in the dark, pulsing as though in time to his heartbeat. For a second, he thought he was dreaming, but he felt the cool grass under his feet, the wind in his face. He stopped, stared at the light as it shot up high into the sky and vanished. More lights appeared above the trees, circling around each other as though dancing. The wind picked up as the lights grew closer towards him, growing brighter until he had to look away. Then the dark returned and he shivered. In the distance he heard the rumble of thunder across the Kent countryside. Clouds had gathered in, cold rain falling. A quick flash and then a rumble. The storm was coming.

“Neve!” he shouted, running as fast as he could. As he plunged into the trees, lightning illuminated his way for a split second. The rain hammered down on him as though he was walking through a waterfall and the thunder and lightning raged on. When he couldn’t run further, he slumped down against a tree, the thick branches giving a little shelter from the rain. What if whoever had been watching, sending notes and breaking into the house had kidnapped her? That sick person who had ripped a rabbit in two and left it outside their caravan could’ve been hiding in the shadows all night, waiting for a chance to get to Neve. Now he’d run blindly into the woods. What if that’s where they wanted him?

They never found the murderer, Rick. Some people think he fled into the woods and is hiding out there to this day.

Jumping up, he stumbled in what he hoped was the way out. The woods disorientated him, the rain blinding him.  Now he fell into a rage, angry at himself for being so stupid. The lights had just been there to distract him, lure him away. Aliens had abducted her, like they had with Jenny. Lightning flashed, followed by a bang. A scream rose above the thunder, silenced with abruptness. The rain roared around him, falling so hard it hurt his skin. He wasn’t sure how long he continued on, running until his lungs burned, then walking until he found his breath again. As his morale hit the lowest point, the rain stopped as sudden as it had started. He shivered, cursing to himself that he’d not bothered with a top. When he couldn’t go on, he sat down on a fallen tree and gazed around at the dark, listening to nocturnal woodland noises. They said if you saw someone drowning, the worse thing to do was to jump in after them because it would put you in danger too, a victim to the strong currents that had got the person you were trying to save into trouble. The currents had got him, pulled him deeper and he couldn’t swim back out again. Gasping, struggling for air, he was desperate to be in the open. The trees moved in on him, uprooting themselves to hinder his progress. They got into his head, made him feel watched, hunted. He staggered on, branches scratching his face. At some point the sky became that dark blue just before sunrise. It was as though his mind had shut down for a couple of hours as he walked and now he’d returned. Lights grew in intensity before him. They’d come for him and he didn’t have the energy to escape.

Thank you so much for your time Kevin! If you would like to find out more about Kevin and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.


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The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Robert Mackey

Stacey – Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Robert – I’ll just use one of my bios here to say a little about myself and give readers an idea of my sense of humour.

Robert Mackey is a retired construction worker and real estate investor turned writer. Robert’s works intended for the mg/ya age groups are free of sex, killing and profanity. His works for adult audiences can’t even begin to make this claim.

Robert currently resides near the megalopolis of Addy, Washington, a hamlet working desperately to attain the coveted ‘One Horse’ status. So far all they have is those stick ponies you know, the stick with the little plastic head at the end that you hold between your legs and run around playing cowboy? Actually, half the people in town have those and the other half have stick cows. Every spring the people with the ponies round up the people with the cows and chase them into the hills to pasture for the summer. It’s pretty quiet around town in the summer. (Got a little sidetracked there.)

Robert lives there with his lovely wife Janice and his teenage son Joshua who has a vocabulary consisting of two sentences which Joshua feels are sufficient to get him through the balance of his life. They are as follows, “Huh?” and “I don’t know.” In case you have any toddlers and are trying to teach them to speak, these few words should be all they need to master in order to make it through high school. These sentences must always be used in conjunction with one another and in the order in which they’ve been presented.

Robert lives by the following adage: No matter how many heads have to roll in the attainment of you goals, be certain to smile and wave at them as they pass. It’s best to do your beheading on a hill with your opponent uphill from you to insure the head actually rolls and to prolong the amount of time you get to smile and wave. (Very important.)

Stacey – Has your kid/s ever read any of your work?

Robert – My eldest read the Antonio series to his girlfriend’s daughter who loved them. He also read both of my adult novels. My youngest read the youth books as I was writing them, but never the finished product. He said he liked everything. What else was he going to say? Prior to going off to college he was an insatiable reader, but if there weren’t dragons, magic and waring, he wasn’t really interested.

Stacey – When did you start writing?

Robert – I started writing about five years ago when my son and his friends were reading The Hunger Games series. I was troubled by the thought of kids reading about kids killing each other for food and the entertainment of adults. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could come up with something free of killing, sex, and profanity that would still be engaging to a young audience. I think I succeeded.

Stacey – You write Middle Grade fiction, is it rewarding?

Robert – I love writing for the MG and YA age group. It’s a lot of fun.

Stacey – If you could meet any author living or dead, who would it be?

Robert – I would love to meet Tom Robbins. One of my new neighbors informed me he used to live next door to him.  He gave Mr. Robbins one of my books. I was hoping for an endorsement. Mr. Robbins replied, informing me he was now blind and could no longer read. His writing is insane and quite brilliant.

Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Robert – I think character creation is my favorite aspect of writing. There’s somewhere around forty characters in my The Amazing and ludicrous Adventures of Doctor Antonio series…maybe more. Quite a challenge to keep them all participating in the action.

Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Robert – I have a very twisted and active imagination. Ideas just kind of pop up.

Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

Robert – I never outline. Once an idea I like presents itself I just sit down and start typing. I just ask myself, “What happens next?” Most often the answer comes in dreams. Beyond that I have one rule: something must always be happening…very little room for descriptions of people, places or things. I let dialogue and the character’s personalities paint most of the picture.

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

Robert – Silence, phone off, internet off, no one in the house. I usually write from about 1:00 AM until someone else in the house stirs.

Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you’ve come across so far?

Robert – Put your work down for a considerable time. 90 days at the least. Six months would be better. There are many others. Don’t be in a hurry to publish your work. It can always be improved upon. Join a writing group. In one I recently joined, the author is not allowed to read his or her own works. Hearing the ease which others can read your wok aloud is a great help in deciding whether or not your work is ready for the public. The input others give can be a great help in perfecting your work.

Stacey – What was the first story you had published?

Robert – The Amazing and Ludicrous Adventures of Doctor Antonio-Trouble with Howlers.

Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Robert – I am very fond of little Abigail Farnswoth Fisk III from Something’s the Matter in Hell. She is an exceptionally brilliant, totally fearless eleven year old with a pure heart, but isn’t afraid of using profanity or lying to attain her goals.

Stacey – Which character from your stories/novels would you get along with?

Robert – I simply adore Satan from There’s something the Matter in Hell. She’s one of the thrill seeking nuns from The Sisters of the Eternal Wave. (They love surfing.) Satan is a smart-ass. She makes up scripture to fit her needs. She’s my kind of gal.

Stacey – I’ve never heard of comedy horror as a genre before, but it seems to work. Was it fun to write?

Robert – I have a very difficult time keeping comedy from any genre. Hard Way Out is a tragedy but contains some seriously funny scenes.

Stacey – Do you find book signings and readings rewarding? I find public speaking nerve wracking myself. What about you?

Robert – I just held my first signing engagement and found that I just love talking to people. I’ll be holding my first reading in a week or so and am quite nervous. One of my shorts was read in a local writers group I recently joined. I was thrilled with the laughs my work got but when there was silence as the next funny bit was being set up it was quite unsettling. I’ll see how this one goes. I’ve been in a room when a comedian’s bit wasn’t well received. Don’t know how they survive it. The thing about comedy is that one is always at risk of offending. Especially in this day and age. Don’t know how the excerpts from There’s Something the Matter in Hell is going to be received in my little right-wing community.

Stacey – How do you select names for your characters? At random? Or do you take names from people you know?

Robert – I almost always use the names of my son’s friends. They seem to get a kick out of it.

Stacey – I noticed your latest release The Other Side of the Wall was released in September, I love the idea of talking animals and magic. It seems to be a perfect combination for a middle grade book.

Robert – Well it worked for C S Lewis. Not too many kids who don’t love animals and magic.

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Robert – Here’s a little something not yet published. I’m creating a story told exclusively through newspaper articles.


    This Thursday, Addy’s city council, which is comprised of Shandra Gotnothin and Jenny Loafer, two of Addy’s most active do-nothings and its biggest welfare recipients and crack whores, decided amongst themselves that Addy needed to elevate its standing of ‘Shithole on the Side of the Highway, to ‘One Horse Town’ status, due to the fact that neither of them had been paid for services rendered for at least two weeks.

     The two held the meeting under the back steps of the Addy Inn. The quorum consisted of the two low-life whores and seven flea infested cats. The vote came in at eight to one in favor of the status elevation. The one holdout was a tabby named Guinevere who was adamant that should the proposal pass, she would in all likelihood be trampled by at least one of the horse’s four hooves; that is if they chose to get a four legged horse.

    It was decided that the following morning there would be a parade. And there was one. I’ll try and explain the circumstances and outcome of said instance in a somewhat cohesive manner. Yours truly has had several shots of Jim Beam’s honey flavored whiskey, a number of really crappy bears, wait, not bears, beers, several hits off the weed pipe and a handful of Kim Lawson’s dearly departed mother’s Oxy. (Which I look at as a gift from God.)  So…here it is. Hope you can follow.

    The total losers who somehow elevated themselves from the level of ‘Dirt bags of the Valley’, to ‘Representatives of the Community’, had decided that they would put on a parade to promote their agenda. So precisely at 1:00 pm, one hour past the time welfare recipients pull their useless asses out of bed, the one and only entry in the parade walked…no galloped… no, stumbled, drunkenly down whatever the newly paved street with no name is, which parallels Highway 395. The entry consisted of twenty of Addy’s High Society Club members, all of whom live day to day suckling at the welfare teat, hence the reason they could afford to purchase their costumes. The costumes? Those little stick horses. You know, the ones with the plastic, fluff- stuffed horse head that comes in red, white, or black, and is stapled to a stick? Yeah…those, and a cowboy hat.

     Now as these idiots were parading south down the street, chanting “ONE HORSE TOWN” to an audience consisting of, well, me. And the only reason I was there was due to the fact that I had been holding a parlay with Captain Morgan at the Addy Inn on the previous evening. While trying to find my way home, I got my foot stuck in a hole and immediately toppled over and passed out. Upon waking, I discovered the offending hole was the first and only fencepost hole dug for a project which the city council, (Shandra and Jenny), had started sometime in the past. They intended to put up a sound barrier designed to reduce the noise from the traffic on 395. This was supposed to keep them from waking before they were finished sleeping off the previous night’s Meth consumption. It seems traffic noise is very disturbing to paranoid, tweakers. How do I know this? No, as an intelligent person might surmise, it is not from personal experience, but from living in a hamlet inhabited by connoisseurs of the meth.  Well, being an investigative reporter, and a pretty damned good one I might add; upon waking that morning…well early afternoon actually, I found my head wasn’t really ready to engage the day. So, I fluffed my pillow before turning over and going back to sleep. That’s when it hit me. I’m lying on the side of the highway. I shouldn’t have a pillow. So I unfolded my pillow and low and behold, I had found that it was actually a set of blue prints. It was very professionally done. A light, blue-print-blue background, obviously created by pealing the paper off a crayon and dragging it back and forth over the butcher paper, which was splattered with what I’m guessing to be the bloody drippings of venison or some other unfortunate wild or domesticated creature which our city crackheads…I mean council members, had probably run over with their three wheeled bicycles during some early morning Tweaker Olympics or some such drug inspired activity. These meth heads can be pretty darned creative around two in the morning. Anyway, across the top of the paper, in midnight blue Crayola, was printed, by an obviously quite shaky hand, GOTNOTHING AND LOAFER CIVILIAN ENGINEERS TOOT TOOT. (I’m guessing the ‘TOOT TOOT’ was added as a result of our under educated city council members thinking that any time the term engineer is used that both types of engineers need to be honored or in some way mentioned. I mean, who knows what these people are thinking? Anyhow, under the company’s logo was a drawing: two vertical lines about three inches tall at either end of the sheet of paper with an horizontal line connecting the two vertical lines about two thirds the way up the vertical lines. At what were semi-regular spacing’s, little tiny x’s were drawn through the horizontal line. Printed under the intricate drawing were the words. 395 SOUND BARRIER. Personally, I’m not sure that two posts and a single strand of barbed wire would do too much to reduce the traffic noise. Having never taken physics in high school, I am not qualified to judge the merit of the concept. It’s possible there might be something in the, ‘two thirds up the post strategic placement of a single strand of barbed wire theory’, that does something to soundwaves emanating from passing vehicles which diminishes their vibrational frequency or some such thing. Again, I’m not the one to ask. Anyway, the whole project had obviously been scrapped, because in addition to the fact that there was only one hole, this hole had, over time, again, just surmising here, collected enough trash and drunken journalist feet to render it useless for the planting of posts.

    Anyway, as the herd of drunken and drugged cowboys…and girls, tore down the street on their majestic steeds, a relatively large group of the local Colville Indian tribe’s well intentioned MC, (That’s motorcycle club.), Geronimo’s German Chocolate Cake Lovers came barrelling up the highway from the south. When the MC saw the cowboys and cowgirls charging in their direction, they thought the wicked, white devils were mounting an attack. The white, horse-mounted folk, were in fact, headed in the direction of the Chewelah Casino.

    Well, it was the Little Big Horn all over again. The Indians encircled the platoon of horse-mounted soldiers and cut them to ribbons with their cake forks and little, triangular spatulas. It was over in a heartbeat. No life was spared by the Indians, not even the livestock. Oh, the horsemanity! There were broken black sticks and shreds of red, white, and black vinyl, as well as little bits of fluff, everywhere, not to mention the bodies of a number of Addy’s elite, which isn’t nearly as great a loss as the deaths of all the stick ponies.

    When I interviewed the MC’s president, Chief Leanshardtotheleft, a devout Democrat, he had this to say, “We were unknowingly blessed when Jack Toodumbtogotothestore traded the tribe’s one and only cow for a hand full of magic casino beans.  Imagine our surprise when the things actually sprouted and flowered into a nice little casino! The white devils were obviously headed for the Chewelah Casino. As everyone knows, people from Addy don’t have jobs, so it was highly unlikely they were on their way to do some harmless gambling. They had to be stopped! Sorry about the horses though. Anyway, gotta ride! Colville High School is holding a cakewalk!

     So back to the headline of this article, EMERGENCY CENSUS NEEDED, I thought it would be easier to take a census than to count the bodies of the vanquished so I can change the population sign. Because I really hate false advertising.

Thank you so much for your time Robert! If you would like to find out more about Robert and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.

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