Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Today's Authtoberfest featured author is Pete Kahle!

1. It’s Halloween, pick 3 of your favorite writers to paint the town red with and tell us why you chose them.
Pete says: Just 3? Okay, that’s a bit tough to narrow it down, but I accept your challenge, and I’m not going to cheese out by stating the obvious (Stephen King). Hopefully I won’t hurt any feelings.

     Cody Goodfellow – I met him for about 15 minutes at NecronomiCon in Providence a few weeks ago. His novels Radiant Dawn and Ravenous Dusk have been favorites of mine since I first read them. We exchanged books and he signed a few that I already owned. In the time we chatted, I immediately knew that I wanted to hang with him someday. I can’t even begin to describe him accurately enough to evoke the vibe he exudes. Cody is a whirlwind of hilarious stories, cosmic philosophy and stream-of-consciousness tangential thoughts that all connect in rollercoaster of topics. Read his books and you will begin to understand a small bit of the genius that resides in the skull beneath his mad scientist hair.
     James Newman, author of Midnight Rain, Animosity, Ugly as Sin and numerous others. – Many people call him “the nicest guy in horror” and for good reason. I first corresponded with James about five years ago as a fanboy/aspiring writer via Facebook, and he was amazingly helpful. I sincerely doubt The Specimen would ever have been completed if not for his encouragement. Later on, I helped coordinate Widowmakers, a gigantic benefit anthology to help him during a health crisis. He’s invited along because I want to finally meet him in person, and he seems like the exact type of guy I’d want to share a few beers with.

     Sarah Pinborough – another great author who I only know through Facebook. She is astonishingly prolific and her latest novel, The Death House, is both heartbreaking and horrific. From what I’ve gleaned of her life over the past few years via Facebook, Sarah enjoys tipping back a few with her fellow writers in the genre, and she would add a needed calming influence to the festivities… or perhaps she would just add to the mayhem. Either way, it wouldn’t surprise me if she ended up as the last one standing at the end of our bar crawl.

2. You’re ready to head out with your pillowcase to collect loads of confections on All Hallows’ Eve, what’s your costume and why did you choose it
Pete says: Though I’ve been told that I bear a remarkable resemblance to Buzz Lightyear, I would want to go all out and transform myself Faceoff-style into Brundlefly from David Cronenberg’s stupendous version of The Fly or perhaps a resident of Innsmoth who is undergoing an evolution into a minion of Dagon.

Creature horror has always been my favorite subgenre, from Kafka’s The Metamorphosis to one of my favorites from the 90s, Brian Hodges’ Nightlife. Its influence can be found in all my fiction. Another favorite genre of mine is science fiction. Jack L. Chalker, in my mind a sci-fi giant, explored change in race, gender, psyche and sexuality in his writing. He passed away back in 2005, and I was genuinely depressed for days. When I learned that Chalker had requested that some of his ashes be spread on the grave of H.P. Lovecraft, I decided to finally remedy the fact that I had yet to read any of his work (sacrilege, I know).

I believe that, in their hearts, everyone wants to experience what it would be like to transform into something else, whether it be simply walking in someone else’s shoes for a day, or mutating into a superhero after a chance encounter with a secret government project, or sprouting hair and fangs when the moon becomes full.
I know I want to.

3. Old Mrs. Robinson opens her door and you’re holding open your pillowcase patiently waiting. “Oh deary,” she says in her frail, little old-lady voice. “I forgot it was Halloween. Don’t know why you kids go begging anyways. Let me go find something to give you.” She shuffles off and finally returns three and a half minutes later with 5 pennies, 2 peppermint candies that look like they went through the dryer, and her deceased husband’s dentures. “Take what you like,” she offers, squinting at you.
What do you choose and why.
Pete says: I would probably choose her husband’s old dentures. Recently, I read a short story by Joe R. Lansdale titled “Chompers”. A set of false teeth played a major part in the story and it has stuck in my head in the month or so since. Maybe I could get him to sign them if we ever meet.

4. I really love reading Dean Koontz but some of his stuff scares the bejesus out of me. What’s the spookiest book you’ve ever read?
Pete says: As you can imagine, since I write horror and constantly think about it, very few books reach the level of creeping me out. More often, a specific scene in a book will spook me. One scene that has stuck with me for over 30 years is Gage running down the hill in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. As a parent, that will never fail to fill me with dread. Song of Kali by Dan Simmons and Survivor by J.F. Gonzalez also rank up there, but out of all the stories I’ve read, a short story by Chuck Palahniuk called “Guts” is absolutely the most frightening tale I’ve ever had the fortune to read. It literally makes me clench my buttcheeks every time I think about it.

5. You’re a writer by day and supernatural creature by night. (Shed that human skin, you sack of bones) What are you and why?
Pete says: I’m a big fan of lycanthropes – and I’m talking about the real deal here, sprouting fangs and hair, cartilage popping, bones cracking, skin ripping and splitting as the body stretches and twists – so I would most likely be a werewolf or maybe a werebear (one of my idea nuggets for a novel involves Viking werebears in Montana battling with an extreme right wing separatist militia). None of that romantic lycan crap from Twilight or the werewolf porn of the day. I would be something that needed to eat raw meat.

6. Every author has a bookshelf filled with his or her favorite reads. Run on over to yours and tell us the scariest book you have.
Pete says: I’m sure you get this answer a lot, but I truly can’t name just one, so I’ll just have to give you a list (in no particular order) of the ones that I always recommend whenever I’m asked that question:
· Floating Dragon by Peter Straub – one of my standbys when I need a book to kick start me out of a reading funk. It’s the perfect alignment of supernatural horror and scientific horror.
· The Trickster by Muriel Gray – Why has she only written three novels? And none since 2000? Read her novels and you will agree that it is a tragedy that she hasn’t put out more.
· The Necroscope series by Brian Lumley – Vile and monstrous vampires from another dimension like you have never read before. I never get tired of this series.
· Tie - Swan Song by Robert McCammon or The Stand by Stephen King. If you’re a fan of apocalyptic fiction and you haven’t read these two mammoth novels, you should have your library card torn in half.
· Tie – Midnight Rain by James Newman and Boy’s Life by McCammon (again). The same thing goes for fans of the coming of age sub-genre of horror if they have not read these two books.

7. We don’t all write horror but there comes a time when you’ve got to surprise your readers and make sure their hearts are still beating. How do you prepare yourself to get in the spooky writing mood?
Pete says: I’m an extremely slow writer, mainly because I can be easily distracted. In order to prepare myself, I wear headphones to drown out the sounds of the television, and occasionally, my children and wife screaming at each other. I don’t listen to music, however. The soundtrack to my writing is generally composed of various YouTube video with the sounds of rain on a loop. If I want something especially foreboding, I have a favorite recording of a thunderstorm in a cathedral. The echoes and rumble of the thunder perfectly sets the tone.

8. Stephen King’s front porch light is on but there are no Halloween decorations.
Do you:
a) trick-or-treat and cross your fingers that he’s handing out the good stuff
b) run screaming
c) call your mom to bring your favorite King paperback and beg for an autograph
Pete says: Definitely C. If I had to list someone as my idol, he is that person. When I first published The Specimen, I naively sent a signed copy to his business office in Bangor, hoping it would be passed along to him. In retrospect, I highly doubt that I was the first person to think of doing this, and it probably was donated to the local library.

9. Congratulations, you just won the literary lottery and sold a million books at full price! The royalty check clears on October 28th. What are you buying for the neighborhood kids?
a) an assortment of mini candybars
b) an assortment of cheap, hard candies
c) full size Hershey bars
Pete says: I’m not the biggest fan of full-size Hershey bars, but it would definitely be something in that vein. My personal favorites are Payday bars and the dark chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Yes, Pete likes peanut butter. I make no secret of that.

10. Your writer friend calls you with some frightening news. They’re giving up on writing, can’t take the pressure any longer. What do you tell them?
Pete says: Frankly, I would tell them that they were probably making the right choice. If writing stresses them out and puts them under a lot of pressure, then it probably wasn’t the right career for them in the first place. I write because I enjoy it… because it provides me an outlet to release my stress. If I ever lose the feeling I get when I’m putting my words down in a file, I would quit. It’s probably not the most popular thing to say, but people should do what they do because they feel fulfilled in some way from their activities, not for any other reason. I’ve enjoyed the journey so much that I recently started my own small press, Bloodshot Books, and we plan to put out a couple of novels and anthologies each year. Money is certainly nice, even if it is only to supplement the author’s main income, but it is definitely not the main reason to write. I teach full time. I write because I need to.

Connect with Pete!

Pete Kahle has been dreaming about writing novels since his teens, but after flirting with the idea in college, he spent 25 years working in a variety of careers before he finally stopped talking about it and started writing.
He has lived in New York, Arizona and Spain, but now he resides in Massachusetts with his beautiful wife Noemi, his two amazing children Zoe and Eli, one dog, two hamsters, two guinea pigs and two frogs.
Pete is a voracious reader of horror, thrillers and science fiction novels and he writes in the same vein. He is also an insane fan of the New York Jets, despite living deep in the heart of enemy territory near Gillette Stadium.
THE SPECIMEN is his first novel, but it certainly will not be his last. He is currently working on BLOOD MOTHER, a stand-alone vampiric novel - without vampires - due out in the spring of 2015. On the horizon is THE ABOMINATION, Book 2 in the Riders Saga, and most likely a 3rd book in the series with the tentative title of THE HORSEMEN.
Pete most recently organized and edited WIDOWMAKERS, an anthology of dark fiction and poetry to help fellow author James Newman in a time of need.
Now that the dark closet in his subconscious has been opened, the monsters are clamoring to come out for a visit.