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?
Ken – Oh 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.