Interview with Keith Deininger

Keith Leather SmilingTell us about your publishing journey…

The first story I remember writing was in 3rd grade, about a kid who wakes up to discover everyone is missing and he is totally alone.

Man, what does that say about the kind of kid I was?

When I was a senior in high school, I entered a story in a science fiction writing contest, won first place, and received my first $100 as a writer along with a vigorous handshake from Ray Bradbury himself. After that, my ego bloated, I entered college wanting to be a writer.

But, I soon became one of those “writers” who talks about writing at parties more than actually writing anything. It wasn’t until years later, after graduating college, working several shitty jobs, going through some struggles, and growing up a little, that I finally realized that if I were going to ever reach my goals, I’d have to start taking them seriously and write. Now I write every day and I’ve published short stories, novellas, even a couple of novels: THE NEW FLESH and GHOSTS OF EDEN (Nov. 2014).

What do you love about being an author?

Writing is a way to tangibly express a personal vision from the imagination. There’s nothing like it. To me, that’s amazing, and being an author means that other people actually read and hopefully enjoy my visions and come away inspired and affected. Writing is a way to provoke questions and profound thinking.

It’s great to have readers and I’m thankful to each and every one!

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?marrows_pit

I’d like to have dinner with Eddie from King’s Dark Tower books. He’s sarcastic, has a wicked sense of humor, and I think we’d get along. We’d eat something weird, something neither of us has tried before.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Honestly, I’ve never considered what any of my books would be like as movies… I like the idea of someone like Roman Polanski, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, or even Lars von Trier writing the script and directing, making a movie super creepy and filled with dark imagery, but I don’t know about actors.

As a horror writer, what scares you?

A lot of things, but it’s strange. I’ve never been scared of the traditional stuff: spiders, stalking monsters, things like that. I’m more concerned with the creepy and the uncanny. I’m still scared of the dark, or, at least, not knowing what’s in the dark. I’m scared of my life being controlled by others, either by force or through psychological manipulation. And I’m terrified that I will one day wake up and the people I love and care about will be different somehow, that they won’t be the same people, and then reality will start to bend and fray around me until I’m not certain what is real and what is not. That shit’s scary! That’s probably why I write what I write, to attempt to gain an understanding of and reconcile the inexplicable. Too bad it’ll never happen, and I’m forced to always live in fear. ;)

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

This may sound lame to some people, but I would go back to the American 60s and party and have a lot of sex. I wouldn’t want to go further back in time than that, because then I’d probably get sick and die shitting my brains out in the mud somewhere. Yeah, dropping LSD with Aldous Huxley would be pretty cool.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

I wish someone had told me not to take failure and rejection personally. One of the largest epiphanies of my life was the realization that success is a matter of persistence and hard work and not some mystical, innate talent. Rejection is not an attack on one’s character, but just another step, hopefully in the direction you’d like to go. In my youth, it seemed so simple…

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I think I’d have a lot of fun being some sort of Mephistopheles-like demon, playing little tricks on humans, setting up games to win their souls. I’d get to travel and I’d smile a lot. Either that, or a dragon. Dragons are cool.

Where do you write best?

I call myself an extroverted-introvert because I like to have people around, but I don’t like it when they bother me. Because of that, I write best at coffee shops where there is activity and human energy all around me. I can maintain my focus for only so long in a silent and confined office. Just don’t talk to me while I’m writing and we’re good.

656040What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

Okay, this is good timing because I just finished reading China Mieville’s “Perdido Street Station” for the first time. I love the world-building, and the creativity, and the imagination in it; Mieville’s language is solid too. But as a writer who struggles with pacing and literary bloat in his own work, I can’t help but to look at “Perdido’s” length critically. The actual story arc in the novel doesn’t start until somewhere 200 to 300 pages in. There are several scenes in it that are interesting, but do not draw the story forward and could have been chopped out. Just saying.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Well, most of my work so far is classified as horror, but I’m really a fantasy writer. It’s just that my imagination tends to be dark, disturbing and disgusting, and that has led me to write some really fucked-up fiction. I definitely write horror, but I have a vast reservoir of fantasy ideas building up—that sometimes trickle into my horror—that will eventually overflow the dam and I’ll be forced to tackle my fantasy epic.

Where can fans find you online?

I also maintain a tumblr blog, am on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.

And I encourage anyone who’s interested in my work to sign up for my New Release Mailing List. I use it only to announce new releases, so don’t worry about spam. I also give away a free story to new subscribers for your Kindle (Hint: it’s fucked up). ;)

Also, my latest work, MARROW’S PIT, comes out March 11th, but you can pre-order from Amazon now.