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.
- The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Kevin Grover - January 13, 2018
- The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Robert Mackey - December 9, 2017
- The Horror Tree Presents…An Interview with Phoebe Darquling - November 18, 2017