Tuesday, October 13, 2015

THE GAL'S 31 DAYS OF HORROR: AMONG THE STACKS: Kit Power


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Kit!!  I'm glad to have you here again on The Gal.  I know it's with less fanfare and drama than the last time, but I look forward to seeing a more relaxed side of you ... and to letting your fans know a little more about you.
            Let's start out with an "easy" question: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kit Power:
I listened to Appetite for Destruction at least once a year for 2 years, between the ages of 13 and 15.  I still enjoy listening to it.  I think Rage Against the Machine are the greatest metal band in the history of the genre.  I've been on stage with Iggy & the Stooges, and I lost a pair of glasses wrestling with a security guard in the process.
            I'm a very chilled out, laid back guy.  Only not really.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Kit Power:
I'm six feet tall.
I'm devilishly handsome.
My middle name is Gallifrey.
I'm a grandmaster at chess.
I lie a lot in interviews.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Kit Power:
What a great question!  Peter & Jane, probably.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Kit Power:
Well, I just finished Joe Coffin, Season One by Ken Preston, which I REALLY enjoyed - lots of standard noir tropes and characters, but stuck in a UK setting with vampires and some nice character work, which really lifted it.  And right now I'm reading Salvage by Duncan Ralston - great so far - and re-reading Stephen King's Desperation for a blog post, and basically feeling like a total hack as a result.  Because King is...well, he's King.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Kit Power:
I've always wanted to write - like from the age of 9 or 10.  I did spend a long time not feeling like I had anything to say, though - I loved stories, but couldn't seem to generate ideas myself.
            I began writing seriously - by which I mean 'most days' - around four years ago.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Kit Power:
I tend to write at the dining room table, purely because it's opposite the record player, in the ideal spot to get the most benefit from the stereo mixes.  But I'll write anywhere it's physically possible to do so - I've gotten to really love long train journeys, for instance.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Kit Power:
Dunno if this counts, but when I'm doing a D1, it's basically all I'm doing - I can't mix and match.  I need to work on it every day until it's done.  Edits are totally different, but that initial creative process is pretty intense and single minded, for some reason.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Kit Power:
Finding the time.  I work a day job, I have a family I really enjoy, and like everyone else, I like TV and movies and gaming.  And then there's the writing thing.  Striking the balance is hard.  Maybe if I didn't have to sleep...

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Kit Power:
Most directly, as I've discussed extensively elsewhere, Stephen King's On Writing finally kicked my ass into gear, so I have to name that, and also IT for the sheer scale and imagination.  Other inspirational figures are Clive BarkerJim ThompsonJames ElroyElmore LeonardIan FlemingGeorge OrwellDon WinslowArthur Conan Doyle.  At least as many hardcore, crime, and thriller writers as horror.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Kit Power:
So, it's going to be like that, is it?  *laughs*  Well, okay, I'll take a swing, with the caveat that there's probably a textbook somewhere that I'm getting laughably wrong.  For me, it's actually very simple - story is where situation meets character.  Get those two right - an exciting/scary/intriguing/gonzo situation and believable, real people - not necessarily likable, mind, just real - I think if you get those elements right and kind of roll the mental cameras, you've probably got a good story.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Kit Power:
Well, following on from my last answer, likability isn't necessarily it.  Thinking about fictional protagonists that I love - let's throw out some names, shall we?  Sherlock Holmes, Rorschach (from Watchmen), V, The Doctor, Indy, Ender, Fitz (from Cracker), The Joker, Freddie Kruger, Pinhead, The Hulk, the kids from IT, Al Swearegen...
            Lots of sociopaths.  Lots of lunatics.  Lots of cold, prickly, emotionally distant or messed up.  Lots of violence.  Okay, not likable traits, especially not in real life.  But fiction?  Here we get to hang out with dangerous maniacs, observe them closely, follow the thrill ride and carnage without actually paying in terms of emotional fallout.
            Why do I love these protagonists so much?  Well, they're following their own stars, right or wrong.  So there's that independent streak.  I guess there's a vicarious pleasure to be had from following a protagonist that indulges in their every whim, no matter how crazed or vile, given how badly that would work out for us in real life.
            But then none of that applies to my own character creation!  *laughs*  So I'm trying for something different, I guess.  I think what I'm looking for when I write is authenticity, and a spark of life.  The first time I'm writing a character and they do or say something I wasn't expecting... that's when I start to relax, because it means they've gained an interiority, a sense of agency.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Kit Power:
Frank from Lifeline.  It was my first story, and to make life easier, I made the protagonist basically me with the numbers filed off.  It saved time, that's all, freed me up to get the rest of it nailed down.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Kit Power:
I think it's a super competitive market right now, and a cover is your primary weapon as a writer - the first and biggest bullet.  So yeah, that's just reality, it's hugely important.  For GodBomb!, I did the correct thing - I let the artist read the book and come up with an idea.  And I couldn't be happier - it's way better than anything I could have come up with - I'm a words person, pictures not so much.  So yeah - trust the experts is my firm advice.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Kit Power:
So, so much.  And I'm still just getting started, still in the process of flinging my first million words at the page.  Big ones?  Go where the drama is.  If you've got a choice of character POV, pick the one that offers the most dramatic coverage and insight into events.  Plan as little as you can, but do plan a bit.  Be humble.  Read EVERYTHING.  If your gut is telling you a draft is not there yet, trust that.  Don't be afraid to take advice.  If you take advice, take it seriously, knowing you always get the final veto, because ultimately it's your name on the cover.  You can be too tired to write, but mostly, even when you think you are, you can still get a few hundred words out.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Kit Power:
The chapters 'Numbers' and 'Kings' from GodBomb! were no fun at all.  And my next piece I'm already kind of dreading.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Kit Power:
I think they're not straight genre fits, for starters.  I self identify as horror, but supernatural elements are rare in my stories.  So hopefully they'll appeal to people who like dark thrillers and crime drama as well as horror.  Perhaps the single biggest advantage I have as an indie writer is that I'm ultimately beholden to no-one, so when I sit down to write, it really is whatever story I most want to tell at that moment.  So I guess I hope that the appeal of picking up a Kit Power book will be the unpredictability, wondering where things are going next.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Kit Power:
Ooh, big sore spot!  GodBomb! had the working title of Revival, before some punk called King decided to call his new book that!  It was a major source of irritation throughout the process.  Tough I think I landed it pretty well in the end.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Kit Power:
It has to be the novel - just because of the sheer slog involved.  I wasn't just writing a novel, I was learning how to write a novel.  It took longer than it should have, but I'm so proud of the result, and so happy that I didn't 'settle' and put out an inferior book - I knew the story wasn't there, and painful as it was to keep chipping away, I have to look at the finished article and say it was worth it.  You only get one debut novel.  I'm happy with this one, I think I've put down a marker.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What you would like readers to take way from your stories?

Kit Power:
Oh, entertainment, that's the beginning and end.  I like reading a bunch of different styles and genres, and I did pulp and literary work, but my favourite reading experience is that grab-you-by-the-throat, just-one-more-chapter-oh-shit-it's-3am feeling.  I don't know if all my work will have that quality, but that's what I was shooting for with this one for sure.  If I get there, mission accomplished - anything else is a bonus, but that's the job, as far as I'm concerned.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Kit Power:
The whole first chapter from D1 was cut - basically the first 6,000 words or so.  I needed to write them to work my way into the heads of the characters, but you absolutely didn't need to read them - in fact, they'd have bored you to tears.  So they went.  There's also a couple of chapters that got re-written from a different POV character, as I realised where the drama really was in a given scene, so there's stuff like that, too.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Kit Power:
A novel idea that I can't figure out how tot ell - I got about 40 pages into a draft and had to abandon it, it felt like pulling teeth.  But I think the idea is a cracker, and I've got a new way into it now, so I'm sure I'll get to it at some point.  Before I die.  Hopefully.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Kit Power:
A WARNING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE ENSLAVEMENT THAT YOU WILL DISMISS AS A COLLECTION OF SHORT FICTION.  Launching October.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Kit Power:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks, again, for stopping by today, Kit.  As always, it's been a pleasure.  
            One more thing before you go: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Kit Power:
I really hope you enjoy GodBomb!  I had a lot of fun writing it, and I really do think it contains some of my best writing to date.  Thanks for reading, as ever.


About the author:
Kit Power lives in Milton Keynes, England, and insists he's fine with that.  His short fiction has been widely submitted, and occasionally published, including in Splatterpunk magazine, the At Hell's Gate anthology series, and most recently by The Sinister Horror Company as part of The Black Room Manuscripts anthology.  His short story collection, A Warning About Your Future Enslavement That You Will Dismiss As A Collection Of Short Fiction: Not A Novel: A Novel, will be released by Double Life Press in October 2015.  Those of you who enjoy near-professional levels of prevarication are invited to check out his blog.
            He is also the lead singer and chief lyricist for legendary rock band The Disciples of Gonzo, who have thus far managed to avoid world-conquering fame and fortune, though it's clearly only a matter of time.

Genre: Horror, Thriller, British
Publisher: Sinister Horror Company
Publication date: 9.14.2015
Pages: 190

Somebody wants answers.

North Devon, England.  1995.  A born-again revival meeting in a public building.  The usual mix of the faithful, the curious, and the desperate.  And one other - an atheist suicide bomber.  He's angry.  He wants answers.  And if God doesn't come and talk to him personally, he's going to kill everyone in the building...

Genre: Horror, Short Stories
Publication date: 1.25.2014

The Loving Husband & the Faithful Wife
A cutesy tale of romance and domestic bliss?  Step inside this suburban home to find out what happens when the couple decide to have an extension added.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Debt
Meet Del.  Meet Tel.  Two men from the wrong side of the tracks.  Del stayed straight.  Tel, well, he didn't.  Now Del is in debt up to his eyeballs, facing ruin.  Only Tel can help.  Will he, though?  And if he does, can Del afford the terms?

Two dark tales of fear, paranoia, and good intentions, set in situations where grey bleeds into black, and where there are no easy answers.  Kit Power invites you to see the world through the eyes of the faces that pass you every day.  Discover how it feels to really know someone.

Publication date: 8.15.2014

Frank is in trouble.
            Not the "best call the wife" sort of trouble.  Not the "how on earth did I manage that?" sort of trouble.  Not even the "I hope to God no-one ever finds out about this" sort.  Frank would kill for that k ind of trouble right now.  But it's not Frank who's making that call.
            Someone else is.  And that someone else is Trouble like Frank has never known.
            And now, Frank is discovering that, in a survival situation, hope can be as much of a liability as despair...

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