Name Kevin J Kennedy
Where are you from Scotland
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m married, have a step daughter and two little cats. I live a quiet life these days and enjoy spending most of my time at home.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My novella ‘The Tale of Sawney Bean’ has been released on Kindle and will soon be available in paperback. I’ve also have people start auditioning for an audio book version but haven’t found the right narrator yet. I have also been published in several anthologies and more are awaiting release
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in April 2015. I had been threatening to start writing since the age of 15 and never got round to it. My family was going through a hard time and it was a bit of a distraction. I decided to send a few short stories away to some upcoming anthologies and after a while started to receive acceptance emails.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m still a little unsure about the whole writer/author title. My novella is selling well and the shorts I write seem to be getting accepted most of the places I send them but I’m not sure I would call myself a writer until I was doing it full time.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always loved the legends about Sawney Bean. For those that are unfamiliar it’s a legend about a cannibal family living off the coast of Girvin in Scotland in the 1600s. Wes Craven said he based the original Hills Have Eyes on it and Jack Ketchum said Off Season on it. I wanted to put my own spin on the legend and tell it from Sawney’s perspective rather than the usual group of teens or family coming under attack by the cannibals.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Nope. I’d say with each piece I write my writing is getting tighter but I love so many types of horror and so many authors that I will probably move between a more tame creepy style of horror right up to extreme splatterpunk
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I don’t think Sawney Bean is one of the most well known legends but I wanted to have his name in the title for those who do know about it and my hope was that if people enjoyed it word would spread and others would try the story.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I suppose it’s really not to be so judgmental. People always seem to be spouting their opinions on others but until you’re in their shoes you don’t really know the full story. Cannibals at the end of the day are rarely painted in a good light which is understandable but what I wanted to do here was show a path that could possible lead a normal person to such extreme circumstances.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
I tried to keep my spin on the story linked as closely as possible to what is widely believed to be the facts about Sawney but if you have a look around online there is a lot of debate about the legend.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Nope. Just Sawney
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Richard Laymon was the biggest influence in me getting into horror fiction but once I worked through his entire catalogue I move onto other authors I had been told were similar in some ways. Over the years the authors that I constantly go back to are Ray Garton, Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Bryan Smith, Jeff Strand, Iain Rob Wright, John R Little, Carlton Mellick III, Wrath James White and J.F.Gonzalez. I’m sure I’ve missed a few here but I have read most of what these guys have written. Each year I try around 10 indie authors I haven’t read before as well as there is always some exceptional new talent out there.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Bryan Smith’s Christmas Eve on Haunted Hill
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I keep hearing good things about Stuart Keane and David Owain Hughes. I’ve read some of David’s shorts and they are fantastic but haven’t tried Stuart yet. I have books by both on my Christmas list though.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on a short story collection, submissions for a few anthologies and another novella which I’m not releasing details on just quite yet.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Iain Rob Wright has given me advice several times and when I met comic book creator George Lennox I found him to be quite inspirational and it gave me a push to do a little more. There have been a lot of people who have helped me along the road and I am greatful to each and every one of them.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. Things have gone extremely well since starting out and although I am sure there will be set backs along the way I think each year that passes I’ll spend more and more time writing. I love the buzz of having a story accepted and getting feedback from readers.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I originally published it as an online series and released a chapter or two each week. This allowed me to see how many people stayed with the story. Barely anyone failed to move onto the next part so that gave me confidence that it was keeping people interested. I’ve had great feedback on the story so I’m pretty happy with it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think I liked something about books before I even read much. I just kind of liked the idea of them, how they looked and felt and I always though to myself it would be so cool to have my own one day. As I got older it changed to me thinking it would be cool to have a little short story in someone else’s book but when I got into someone else’s book it just didn’t feel enough.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am happy to send any bloggers and reviewers Kindle copies of my book if they wish to contact me. You can also read the start of it for free through Amazon’s Look Inside option.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing is a nightmare. I don’t enjoy it and I’ve never been one for re-reading books but I need to re-read my own stuff several times.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It is Richard Laymon but as he passed away so long ago I don’t have anything new to read by him. These days the author that I buy their book on the day it comes out and leave whatever else I’m reading is Bryan Smith.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. Since they have all started to be released I have been on crutches with a ruptured Achilles tendon so I’m not particularly mobile at the moment.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Richie Brown. He is a good friend of mine and an excellent Graphic Designer. He offered to help out to get me up and running and has helped me with some promo stuff too.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Probably pushing passed the 4000 word mark that I had been sticking to. Once I was passed and people were still following the story it flowed pretty well from there.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Just do it. There is nothing really to lose. I didn’t spend a fortune getting my book to completion so I don’t have a lot to lose. Rejections aren’t fun but they are a part of it.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Speak to other writer’s. A lot of them will help you out. They are mainly a friendly bunch and have good advice. You will also start to hear about upcoming books that are looking for stories when you have friends that write.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just that I hope you enjoy what I write. I do it for the love. It doesn’t mean I don’t want my work to be professional. It just means that I don’t have to worry about timelines, pressure, publishers trying to change something in the book I like and lots of other stresses. It does mean that I can write the story I would want to read which is very satisfying.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not as a child but when I was 15 the first adult book I read was Richard Laymon’s Darkness Tell Us.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m partial to Peep Show and The Big Bang Theory and like a bit of stand up comedy. Mainly my wife makes me laugh though.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
It would have to be Richard Laymon. I could spend weeks talking to him.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Once I’m gone I’m not all that fussed.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Reading and that’s about it. I never went in for the whole hobby thing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
For movies mainly true stories, horror or gangster. For TV it’s Dragon’s Den, The Apprentice, Big Bang Theory, Peep Show and a lot of box sets.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I mainly eat food that tastes good but is unhealthy. I have never had a favourite colour and for music I tend to like mainly 50s and 60s stuff and a bit of 80s Rock in the mix too.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I still work full time. I help people with barriers into employment get sustainable jobs.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Where to find Kevin