1) What’s your earliest memory about storytelling?
When I was very young, before I could read myself, my parents used to read to me, so I can remember the books that made an early impact like Go Dog, Go!, Where the Wild Things Are, and a lot of Dr. Seuss. I especially remember the stories that creeped me out. Like that story about the green pants stalking that poor Dr. Seuss person through the dark forest. I’m sure I don’t remember the story right, but I’ve always had an over-active imagination and I had nightmares over that one.
2) If you could live during any era in any land, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?
Wonderland seems like a pretty cool place. One of the things I can really appreciate about it is that things don’t have to make sense. There’s freedom in that.
3) Would you talk about your upcoming books and the production schedule?
Why, certainly. The Hallow comes out in February and it’s a trip. It’s a drug- fueled nightmare, creepy and wildly disturbing, and one of the craziest things I’ve written to date. It also happens to have been the easiest to write. I wonder what that says about me?
Within, my third novel, comes out in May, and it’s about a small southwestern town with a disconcerting history. It’s also about madness. When I was in the thick of writing this one, I was having a lot of nightmares. It really got to me for a while. I came to grips with it later, but I think it turned out to be a very unique piece and I look forward to seeing what people think of it.
4) What are the next three books you’re planning to read?
Now that I’m finally almost finished with the Song of Ice and Fire books, I can get back to some of the things I’ve really been wanting to read. I’m planning to read a couple of the more popular horror titles to come out last year (Bird Box by Josh Malerman and Revival by Stephen King) as well as begin working on my science fiction/fantasy education. When I really got into writing horror, I looked for all the classic horror titles I could and read them all so that I would know about the genre in which I was writing. Now that some of my writing is straying into a more fantastic realm, I need to know what’s been done and what’s out there. I know I want to read more China Mieville and Ursula Le Guin, and some heavy-hitting science fiction authors like Asimov, Heinlein, Arthur C. Clark, etc. The list goes on…
5) What have you never taken the time to do that you really want to do? (bucket list item)
I would like to spend more time backpacking and spending time in wilderness areas. I’ve traveled a little, but the problem with travel is that people get in the way. Cities and crowds of people are not appealing to me. Paris is the same as London is the same as New York City. Who cares? They all have basically the same kinds of places to drink. It’s the wild areas that are important, those places where one is present in the moment and can really learn about one’s self (where the booze isn’t needed). I haven’t done enough of that sort of thing. I spent my youth looking out, trying to be an extrovert when I’m really an introvert, when I should have been looking within.
6) What if you could trade bodies with one person for one day? Who would that be?
For one day? I would love to live in the body of a rock star. Trent Reznor in the early 90s, performing, getting high. Exhilarating.
7) Who are the authors that influenced your life the most?
Clive Barker! He’s still my favorite and I’ve read absolutely everything he’s ever written. He’s a writer and a true artist, dark, fearless, and with a hell of an imagination.
Although what I like to say is that Stephen King taught me to write with heart and style and honesty; Peter Straub taught my subtlety and technique; and Clive Barker taught me never to hold back my imagination, even to the point of the disgusting and the cruel.
There are many, but those three are still probably my largest influences to date.
8) Do you find it difficult to meet deadlines and maintain a family life?
Yeah, a bit. Family life is getting more and more complicated every year and a part of me would like nothing more than to hide from it all and just write. That’s impossible, of course, and my life would crumble and not be a happy one without my family, but it is difficult to juggle everything. Balance in all things. One must be content and stable in one’s family and professional life in order to be reckless and free in one’s creative life.
9) What five people – living or dead – would you invite to a dinner party? (Universal translators will be provided)
Off the top of my head…Clive Barker, Albert Einstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Alan Moore, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Hunter S. Thompson to rile them all up. Okay, that’s more than five, but it’d be an interesting party, probably learn some things.
10) How do you want the world to remember you?
Honestly, I would like to leave a lasting legacy and make a significant impact on the literary world. I would like to be read long after my death. I would like to be remembered for my imagination and vision. I would like to think I helped people to be more open-minded and tolerant with each other. I don’t know if this will ever happen and that’s okay too, because it’s in striving, in the quest, we find peace.
Thanks for a great interview Keith. It’s been wonderful having you here, please stop by and share your books with us again sometime!