Back in August, I had the great opportunity to meet up-and-coming horror author Kevin Lucia. The author of Hiram Grange and the Chosen One, book four in the Hiram Grange Chronicles, Kevin answered a few questions for SwampDweller Reviews. Kevin is definitely an author to keep your eye on!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
All through high school I wrote but never finished anything. Usually just messed around with character descriptions, got bored, gave up. Then, my senior year I started a story, before I knew it I was staying up late a night with a flashlight writing in the dark.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I absolutely have to write everything long hand first. On rare occasions I’ve typed a story only, but for the most part – have to write it first. Can’t seem to visualize the story unless I do. As you can imagine, I hoard white-out tape
When did you write your first book?
Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles, is my first standalone work.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read. Spend time with my family. Watch movies in the theater with a huge plate of nachos and cheese and jalapenos. Do yard work.
What does your family think of your writing?
I’ve had several creative nonfiction, inspirational pieces published, and they love reading those. It’s funny, I could win a Stoker or something like that, and all they’d say is: “That’s nice, dear, but when are you writing another one of those nice stories?”
What is one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing?
That most of the time the story knows where it wants to go more than I do. I’ve learned to become very patient because of this. If I can’t figure out an angle or or turn a plot corner, I just let the story simmer in my head, and it eventually sorts itself out.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Before Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, not very often, and even then usually only generic comments like: “Great story!” However, I’ve gotten some nice comments about Hiram, and they seem to fall into two categories: that the story moved very well with good pacing and was very readable (one of my main goals), and that readers were able to connect with Hiram emotionally, feel sympathy for him and that they really liked him (my second main goal).
The best comment ever still comes from my editor, Tim Deal: “You made me feel sorry for Hiram, you manipulated my emotions…you bastard!” I thought: “Mission accomplished.”
What do you think makes a good story?
Character development and emotion. I can’t make myself and others feel for a character, if I can’t make readers connect with them, get them inside my characters’ heads and hearts…they’re not going to care about what HAPPENS to them.
As a reader, I feel the same way. I’ll take excellent character development over slick plotting any day, because character development makes the plot so much more precarious. If I care about the characters, that just jacks the stakes up higher in the plot.
Who are your favorite authors and why?
Without a doubt, Peter Straub and F. Paul Wilson. Peter Straub’s prose is elegant and his stories just so hauntingly beautiful, and F. Paul Wilson’s characterization and pacing is excellent.
How do you balance faith and the horror genre? Does your faith have any bearing on what you write?
My faith is only expressed in subtle themes, if at all. I have very strong feelings about this. Fiction is a construct. A craft. A work of art. It can be an awesome vehicle for the expression of all kinds of things: faith, emotion, memory, nostalgia…but it is poorly used as a blunt instrument, as an evangelical or ideological tool.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for reading, spread the word, and stick around for more, because I truly hope there will be?
Can you tell us a little about your latest release or upcoming books?
My first novel, The Drift, will be published by Shroud sometime in the next year or two. It’s a very personal and spiritual story. It’s a ghost story. A haunting. About redemption and revenge and justice and a whole bunch of other stuff.
What sort of stories do you personally love to read?
Something that shows me the light by how dark the world is…but the most important part is that the light is there, somewhere. I have no problem with stories that a stark and portray a cold, uncaring world…so long as I have reason to care, to believe, to hope by the end of the novel. If I’m going to read something gritty, disturbing and dark…I need a reason to get through it. Maybe that hope is small. Subtle. I don’t need a “happy” ending. Just a little dash of hope amidst the darkness will do.
Stay tuned for second part of our interview with Kevin! You can buy Hiram Grange and the Chosen One at Amazon.com or directly from Shroud Publishing. You can also find a review for Kevin’s Hiram novel by scrolling through our past posts!