1) When you told stories with your other family members, did you compete to see who told the best stories?
At home, we didn’t really tell each other stories. We read them. Book discussions were common in the household. Still are, as a matter of fact. Oral storytelling was more of a rural thing, and in that regard, my grandfather held court with outrageous tales of ghosts and devils. Nobody tried to compete with him, though. There wouldn’t have been any point. He was the master!
2) At what age were you that you knew you would be a writer?
As soon as I had the cognitive ability to recognize ambition, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I lost myself in books as soon as I could pick one up, and though I had brief dalliances with other ambitions (criminal lawyer, astronaut), this was always what I was going to end up doing.
3) You have had quite a bit of profession, other than being a writer, which did you enjoy most? I hear being an editor of a website is loads of fun 😉
Oh yes, being a fiction editor was a very rewarding experience. I also really enjoyed fraud investigating and bar work. At the opposite end of the scale were the security guard, salesman, and waiting jobs, which, while they are all perfectly respectable lines of work, did nothing but suck the life out of me because they involved being verbally abused and treated like dirt most of the day.
4) What do you do for inspiration for stories?
Nothing. They come to me out of the blue, or from the things I see and hear around me. Inspiration is not something that requires any effort whatsoever. It’s making good stories out of them that takes all the work.
5) Do you model stories from life experiences or do you model it from characters you conjure?
Certainly, there’s a lot of my life experience at play in the stories. To write real people, you must know them. To craft a convincing world, you must know your own. But often, the characters will run away with themselves and tell me the story rather than the other way around. That’s always the best part: the feeling of just being along for the ride rather than driving the car.
6) In this recent novel, Blanky, what inspired you to write this story?
I wanted to study the worst kind of grief and loss and the effect it has on people, how it affects relationships, how it contaminates love. This was the goal long before I came across a vintage child’s blanket on Etsy. It was pretty much as I describe it in the story: old, faded, with weird bunnies stitched into it. Once I saw that I had all I needed to write Blanky.
7) You are a Bram Stoker winner, how did you feel when you won?
Elated. I’d been reading horror novels throughout my teens that declared the author a “Bram Stoker Award-Winner” on the cover. I remember telling myself that one day I would win one, with no real conviction that it would ever happen. Then it did, and other than the wicked cool statue, it was a lovely acknowledgment from my peers, and an honor to share a category with some of my biggest influences.
8) Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?
Oh yes. It’s a dreadful thing to have the will to write when the words won’t come. Usually what I do is write conversations, just the dialogue, no descriptions or speech tags, and see where it goes. This almost always works. When it doesn’t, I quit trying and go find other non-writing-related things to do until the muse kicks in the door.
9) What is your favorite monster? Human villain?
My favorite monsters are the quieter, less showy ones, the ones that are averse to monologues and showboating. The ones that hide in the dark, so you never see them coming, like depression, disease, loneliness, insecurity, grief, envy, rage. Us, basically. And how do you defeat a monster if it’s you?
10) How can we find you on social media, website, and purchase your books?
My website is kealanpatrickburke.com. You can find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kealan.burke, Twitter @kealanburke and Instagram: @kealanpatrick