Edmund Kelly and the End of the World

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I haven’t spent much time writing this summer, but I have spent a good deal of time reading. I’ve tried to pick up books that were Indie published, and I’m so pleased that I did. I found several gems that I’ll highlight over the next few weeks.

When I was younger I had an uncle that studied the Bible, he was interested in Eschatology, which is the study of the end times. He used to tell us how the tribulation period might play out and what the symbolism of the Book of Revelation could mean in practical terms. It both intrigued me and scared the hell out of me. My dear uncle passed away several years ago, and I haven’t had any in-depth chats about it with anyone else.

Along comes this book with what looks like a beautiful fantasy cover.  I was not sure what to expect going into Edmund Kelley’s Addiction & Pestilence (Slaying Dragons: A Journey Through Hell). At first, I thought it was going to be a zombie apocalypse tale, but then I got to the end of the first chapter, and my blood literally ran cold.

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Edmund has a vision of how the end will start that dredged up all those feelings of terror from so long ago. It. Was. Awesome.

His characters are so multi-faceted and real that they practically leap off the page. I felt like I was peeping and eavesdropping into people’s lives. He hints at an idea that I have long held: that our choices in the physical world can open up doors in the spiritual that may or may not benefit us. *Thinks of all the bad things I’ve ever done and shivers*

I reached out to Mr. Kelly, and he agreed to share some insights with us about himself and his book!

This is your debut novel. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to introduce readers to you?

Hi, my name is Edmund, but I go by Ed. I grew up in a small town south of Boston. I come from an Irish family and was raised Catholic. I’m married to a wonderful woman who has endured all of my bullshit and has stayed by my side. We have a daughter together, and I have a step-daughter.

That’s great! Behind most successful writers is a spouse who has a big shovel for all the BS! 

Most of us writers come to writing on our own unique pathway. What led you to become a writer?

I’ve always read since I was a little boy. My mom encouraged me to read and every Saturday morning she would take my sister and me to our public library. We’d browse looking for books that seemed interesting. She would always ask me about the book and what I liked about it once I had finished. I enjoyed writing at a young age, but I never did much until now.

God Bless the moms who love reading and the library. I don’t know of a better combination for kids.

I’m curious to know why you write in the horror genre.

It’s kind of funny because I didn’t set out to write horror. I thought my writing would be more sci-fi or action/adventure. My favorite top three authors are Lee Child (I love the Jack Reacher series), Dan Brown and Stephen King. Clearly, King has influenced my writing the most. At first, I didn’t like that my book fell into the horror classification, but it’s kind of hard to ignore the horror aspects of my writing.

Besides King being an influence, I’d have to blame my sister and mother as well. My mom loved watching the Creature Double Feature on Saturdays back in the early 80’s when I was a young boy. My sister loves horror. She watches every horror movie that comes out. When I was a kid, she made me watch movie after movie. Now back in the 80’s, there was a ton of horror movies, most of them B movies. My sister is five years older than me, so she was forced to watch me as my dad was in and out of the picture and my mom worked a lot to support us. To this day, I still vividly remember my sister taking me to see The Night of the Comet back in 1984. I was petrified. It was the first horror movie I had seen in a darkened theater. I remember telling my sister I was scared and I wanted to leave. Well, she had just used her birthday money to purchase the tickets, so she wasn’t leaving. I ended up leaving the theater and hanging out in the lobby waiting for the movie to end. That was my first real scare from a horror movie.

I’ve since seen The Night of the Comet all the way through and question as to why I was so scared.

I think I read that Stephen King doesn’t consider his stuff horror either! Pretty good company to have. I’d say your book falls easily into sci-fi and action as well. I loved your book, so I’ll just say a big thank you to your mom and sister.

What kind of things scare you now?

Sharks, they scare the shit out of me. And heights.

All wise things to be scared of, and I’ll file them away in my ‘ways to freak out readers’ database!

Your book Addiction & Pestilence (Slaying Dragons: A Journey Through Hell) created a terrifying and realistic account of what could happen when the apocalypse hits. Where did you get the idea for your story?

I’ve always been fascinated with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I started writing about ten years ago and toyed around a little each year, but I just felt like I was missing that something special. The beginning of chapter 3 is pulled directly from my life. It was difficult to admit, but I’m an alcoholic.  I’m sober today.

After that scene took place in real life, I joined AA. While sitting in AA and listening to all these different people from all walks of life talk about their addiction, the idea hit me. What if every character has some form of addiction they must overcome while trying to survive the end of the world. I went home and started writing. I finished the first draft in three months.

There are a lot of characters in my book and I wanted to introduce them all to the reader from day one. Each character will play an important role throughout the series. I didn’t want to introduce main characters later on in the story and have to provide back story for the reader as to what happened to them and how they survived up until that point. I’m not fond of flashbacks when used to introduce a main character as I feel it slows the momentum of the story. Of course, there will be new characters introduced, but they won’t require a flashback. I thought it would be great to see all of these different characters in their normal life when the apocalypse first started.

Congratulations on your sobriety! The aspect of every character having an addiction was brilliant. Your characters are really diverse but that one unifying aspect gives the separate stories a cohesiveness, and a feeling of, these guys are either going to be exquisitely redeemed or epically damned.

People, myself included, are always curious about how writers do what they do. Do you have any unique writing rituals or habits?

I get up at 5:00 am every morning and some days depending if I’m tired or not I will try and do a little writing. I don’t like being up against the clock to get ready for work. For the most part, I write at night once my wife and daughter have gone to bed. So, I start around 10:00 pm and write until I’m tired which is usually around midnight or 1:00 am. I do have a little ritual. I find a song that reminds me of the character I’m working on and I listen to that song over and over again. It helps keep that original thought of the character in my head and stay focused on them.

It works because the thing that most impressed me about your book was the characters. I feel invested in their lives now and can’t wait for more.

Speaking of more, what is next for you?

I’m currently working on the second book in the series titled, Demons & War. Just wait until you see what I have in store! Fear quantified.

Well, get to work, Ed! I have to know how this plays out for everyone! Just kidding, sort of.

Where can we find out more about you and your writing?

You can find more about me here:

Twitter: @edkell99

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/edmundkellyslayingdragons

Website http://www.edmundkelly.com

Thanks so much, Ed. I will be waiting with bated breath for the next installment.

I highly recommend Addiction & Pestilence (Slaying Dragons: A Journey Through Hell) by Edmund Kelly. I’ll just warn you ahead of time, you will be hooked…and scared!

Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights.

How a Fender Bender Inspired a Terrifying Book Series with Author Richard Crofton

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Browsing some horror titles, looking for my next read, this cover caught my eye. I don’t usually read series because of time constraints and a very long “to read” list, but I bought it. Boy, am I glad I did! A terrifying premise and superb writing hooked me.

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Would you believe that a secret group with dark powers to control your mind are at work to take over the world? If you don’t, you just might after reading this book. What’s the most terrifying aspect is that the members of this group could be anyone, including that friend or lover that you think you know so well! Richard Crofton gives you just the right amount of story to keep you guessing and wanting more. I’m dying for the rest of the story and I apologize to others on the “to read” list but you might get bumped.

I’m super excited to tell you that I reached out to Richard Crofton and he agreed to share some insights about himself and his books!

Richard, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, I currently reside in Florida with my wife and our three children. I taught English Language Arts for ten years but now work as an instructor in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate. I’m an avid lover of animals, backpacking/camping, bowling, chess games, baseball, and homemade Italian food (also love my Philly cheese steaks!). However, creative writing and martial arts are my two main passions, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to pursue both avenues.

Teacher to Karate and Writer! That’s quite a career range. What led you to become a writer?

It’s always something I’ve enjoyed. I’ve been writing stories off and on since I was a kid, but I never held onto any of my work. When I was a school teacher, I used to create short, silly stories and turned them into grammar exercises for my students. I only recently became more serious about writing to publish when I came up with the idea for The Keepers of White series about four years ago.

Here’s something I get asked all the time and I’m always curious how other horror writers respond. Why do you write in the horror genre?

For some reason, I get drawn very deeply into the movies I watch, as if it’s real for me when I know it’s now. Therefore, in truth, I hate horror movies (except a select few of the classics). They actually still scare me, especially the stories in which the conflict is not resolved. The characters are desperately trying to stop the evil entity, but in the end, they fail and usually die. Or they think they win, and then there’s a twist at the end where we see that they actually failed. Then after it’s over, I still can’t stop thinking about it. But when I write horror, I have control over what happens. And with the horror stories I write, there is usually a powerful and evil supernatural entity, just like in the films, but I also like to create a character who is equally powerful to fight against it. In my mind, there has to be a balance of power between the things that cause fear and the things that cause hope. And having characters brave and strong enough to face that evil head on kind of helps me feel better about the not-so-pleasant outcomes of all those scary movies that freaked me out as a kid.

As a horror writer, I’m always thinking about what scares people. Besides being helpless against evil, what else scares you?

In books and movies: The intense music, tiny whispers and/or giggling sounds, and mostly little girls dolled up in dresses with blank expressions on their faces (It all started with The Shining).

In real life: Old, abandoned, haunted-looking buildings, snakes, flying (well, only the part right when you first land), and nuns. My two biggest fears are drowning, and most of all, someone stealing or harming one of my children.

Something happening to my kids is a big one for me, too. Thanks for sharing. I will file these away in my ‘how to freak out readers’ file!

Many writers have rituals unique to them. Do you have a writing ritual?

For some reason, I cannot work at home. When I was an English teacher, I could not focus at home to grade my students’ essays. It’s like that with writing as well.

My only ritual: Sitting with my laptop at a table at Dunkin’ Donuts with a large hot coffee.

Yuunmm! Donuts!

Your book The Keepers of the White, Book I: Agents of Shadow has a very spooky premise. Where did you get the idea for your story?

I’m actually working on my next blog article about this. I still can’t explain it. In the fall of 2010, I wrecked my car in an accident, so for a few days, I drove a rental to work. I had forgotten to transfer my I-pod from the wrecked car to the rental, so for the first time in years, I turned on the regular radio on my way to work (who listens to local FM stations anymore?). As soon as I hit the power button, “Black Magic Woman” was playing (I can’t remember if it was Santana’s or Fleetwood Mac’s version). Listening to the lyrics and the tune, my imagination suddenly created the character Diana Palmer from my
book, who, as readers will see in the upcoming second book, is the most ruthless of the Agents of Shadow. A woman so wicked, but also so beautiful, enchanting, and seductive, that no one can resist her powers of manipulation. From there it just grew, and the entire story just started forming in my head.

What’s next for you?

Books II and III of The Keepers of White series have already been written. I’m currently working on Book IV. I’ve also been writing a few short stories here and there, and when I have enough, I will compile them into an anthology. Further, in the future, I’d like to try my hand at non-fiction and write a light-hearted and humorous memoir about my experiences as a middle school Language Arts teacher.

I’m so glad to know the rest of the story is waiting for me! Working in Middle school certainly gave me lots of laughs as well. I’ll look for that one, too!

Where can we find out more about you and your writing?

Best place is my blog: https://richardcrofton.wordpress.com/ I blog three different categories. One is “All About The Keepers of White,” where I talk about the background, the inspirations behind, and the characters of my series. I also write book reviews for other authors. But the third category is called “The Little I’ve Learned,” in which I write about my experiences as a writer, a father, and a teacher. I think that’s the best way for readers to get to know me as a person.I can also be followed on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richardcroftonauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterCrofton
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16367519.Richard_Crofton
Amazon: Richard Crofton’s Amazon Page

Thank you so much for your time, Richard. I truly enjoyed reading your book and look forward to the rest of the story!

And thank you, dear readers! Check out Richard’s book The Keepers of the White, Book I: Agents of Shadow if you dare! I promise you will be thinking about it long after you close the cover. Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!