Being an author is strange because you are usually so detached from your audience. Reading is such a private thing–You never see someone reading your book. That being said, I love it when I can connect with my readers. When I meet someone at a book signing or conference who tells me how my books have inspired them, that makes everything worthwhile.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Wow, that’s quite a question! I guess I would love to have dinner with Sherlock Holmes, and I imagine we would eat at a dingy old English pub.
If your story was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
“Sonic Fear” has very few characters (it’s really an exploration of urban loneliness – how an individual can be detached from family and community and still surrounded by noise), but I think Shia LaBeouf might be good for the role. He’s such a tragic figure anyway. I think I would like Samuel L. Jackson to play the bartender.
Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?
Hm. I think there’s certainly a romantic and even erotic element to vampires, but they are, after all, creatures of horror. There’s an element of transformation in them–from human to blood sucker. We’ve all had romantic relationships go bad, and have known people with significant others who seemed to suck the life out of them. So I think there’s no contradiction in the idea of romance turning to horror. There needs to be a balance between the two.
I’ve always had an interest in Civil War-era America. That’s what I focused on in my graduate work, and I would love to go back in time to the 1850s and 1860s and see what life was really like. I don’t know how long I could survive without the Internet though..
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
Find a stable career BEFORE embarking on a writing career. As most writers know, the business doesn’t really provide a firm financial foundation, especially for someone starting out. I dove right in, expecting to make a big splash early on. Being a professional writer turned out to be grueling and full of disappointment. You need to be able to weather the storm between book projects and disappointing royalty checks. Having another, stable source of income makes the good times even better. I wish someone had told me that when I was in my early 20s. Then again, I’m not sure I would have listened.
Do you believe in faeries?
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
I guess I would be a ghost because then I would know part of me would live on forever. Plus I think it would be ironic to haunt something and have people write about it.
Where do you write best?
It may seem strange, but I love to sit at restaurants and write. I find someplace with a nice atmosphere and sit down with a pen and pad of paper. I enjoy the background noise and the sense of being somewhere active, surrounded by people but not disturbed by them. While I was at Eastern Illinois University, I used to love to go to the coffee shop in the University Union and get a chai and scone and work on my stories or articles.
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
Haunted Kansas by Lisa Hefner Heitz. It is an excellent book, and one of the last books on ghost stories in the Midwest to retain the feel of the old academic study of folklore. Even though it was published in the early 1990s, the stories are fresh and beautifully retold. Pretty much everything you read online or in other books today about the ghost stories of Kansas came from Lisa Hefner Heitz’s work.
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
This is hard to answer because I write about a lot of different subjects and in different genres. One genre I’ve always wanted to break into (no pun intended) is true crime. I recently wrote an article about a famous murder case in Rockford, Illinois for the anthology Secret Rockford. I always feel somewhat uncomfortable when I write about that topic though – like the act of writing about crime is fundamentally exploitative. That feeling keeps me from really exploring the genre.
Where can fans find you online?
My main blog is Mysteriousheartland.com, but I also maintain a personal website at Michaelkleen.com. My Amazon.com author page can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Kleen/e/B002TQYU6I/