What was the first book you remember reading?
The first book I remember reading was a children’s book called The Adventures of Noddy and Big Ears. My mother used to buy me a book from the series every week when she went shopping. I can’t quite remember when I moved on to darker fare, but I know I was fairly young.
You had a large role in a horror film called, Slime City Massacre. Do you plan on doing more acting?
If the role was interesting enough—say, something in the psychological horror realm—I might, but I’m really not an actor in any professional sense. I did Slime City Massacre purely because I was asked, I liked the people involved, the role was insane, and it sounded like way too much fun to pass up. And it was.
You are originally from Dungarvan, Ireland. You live in the states currently, and you have traveled quite a bit. Where are your favorite places to visit?
When I lived in Ireland, I never went anywhere, despite it being a gateway to Europe and this is something I regret to this day. So when I got to the states, I made sure I saw as much of it as possible. I love the arid areas out west (Arizona, Nevada, etc.) The road trip I took on Route 66 was a dream come true and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Wyoming is a gorgeous part of the country.
How did you get started as a writer? Is that something you always wanted to do?
It was. I’ve been writing since I was eight. I come from a culture that’s big on storytelling, so I think it was natural for me to gravitate to writing. I was submitting stories to Irish publishing houses by the time I was fourteen (not realizing that they specialized in novels) and was lucky to receive some overwhelmingly detailed and helpful advice from the editors. In high school, my English teacher was a huge supporter of my writing. He encouraged me to pursue it as a career and even had me read my horror stories aloud to the class and then answers questions on how I did it! On my eighteenth birthday I “sold” (quoted because they never paid me) a story to an Irish fiction magazine, but I didn’t start writing professionally until I arrived in the states and found myself with two years to “make it or break it.” Thankfully, it worked out. If it hadn’t, I’d probably have gone insane.
Your character Timmy Quinn can see ghosts? Do you believe in the paranormal?
I believe ghosts are a product of our own subconscious, that if conditions are right, our brains act as projectors. I also believe that emotions can leave behind a residue in places. Immense grief or sorrow might leave a trace of itself behind that can be felt in a room, for example. I’ve walked into houses in the past and immediately been struck with a sense of foreboding or sadness or anger and have quickly removed myself from it. So I guess while I don’t believe in ghosts in the traditional sense, I do believe death can leave a metaphysical imprint, and that we are more inclined to haunt ourselves.
All of that being said, I did have one experience—with a portrait that was hidden behind the glass in an old mirror—that still baffles me to this day.
Did you watch scary movies growing up? If so, what was your favorite?
My mother was a huge horror fan and would wake me late at night if something particularly scary came on the TV. I loved FRIGHT NIGHT and SALEM’S LOT. The latter showed over two nights (Friday and Saturday), so it was a major event for us. I have very fond memories of watching that.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a few stories I owe to editors, and outlining a sequel to a popular work of mine that I can’t yet discuss.
Do you prefer writing novellas or full-length novels?
I don’t have a preference. If a story is good, be it short or long, there’s an equal sense of accomplishment.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Richard Laymon’s NIGHT SHOW because I’ve been hired to design the cover for it. Before that I read Ken Bruen’s latest, and after this, I’ll be rereading Robert R. McCammon’s BOY’S LIFE.
Do any of your books reflect any of your own personal fears? What scares you?
All of them do in one way or another. The best of my stories are explorations of my own fears and insecurities. I suppose what scares me are the same things that scare everybody else: death, loss of sanity, loss of identity, losing the things you love. I’m also terrified of heights and confined spaces, so I suspect those fears will make an appearance in future works.
What can your readers expect in the future?
The last book in the Timmy Quinn series, NEMESIS, will be released by the end of the summer. In addition, a particularly grim novella, JACK & JILL is also imminent.
Called “one of the most clever and original talents in contemporary horror” (Booklist), Kealan Patrick Burke is the Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of four novels (Master of the Moors, Currency of Souls, The Living, and Kin), nine novellas (including the Timmy Quinn series), over a hundred short stories, and six collections. He edited the acclaimed anthologies: Taverns of the Dead, Quietly Now, Brimstone Turnpike, and Tales from the Gorezone. An Irish ex-patriot, he currently resides in Ohio. Visit him on the web at http://www.kealanpatrickburke.com.