Welcome, Philip W. Kleaver
- For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(PWK) Thanks for the interview! I’m never sure how to describe myself. Uh, I’m a typical twentysomething in that I’m constantly questioning what the hell I’m doing with my life, even when things are going well. I graduated from a liberal arts college, so I believe (naively, I suppose) in the value of human equality and open-mindedness. I try to use that underlying belief to guide my decisions and interactions with people. I like punk shows, so-bad-they’re-good movies, breakfast foods, bourbon, and wandering around in nature every once in awhile. Shit, this is starting to read like an OkCupid profile…
I’ve been writing all my life. When I was a kid, I used to collaborate on illustrated short stories with a good friend of mine. Part of my pen name is a tribute to him. As a college student, I made Xeroxed zines chock full of angsty poetry. I first started writing horror and thinking I could get published after reading a lackluster entry in an anthology called Dark Masques. The story was about a guy who started running and couldn’t stop. I rolled my eyes and said, “Man, I could write a better story than this…” The voice in the back of my head replied, “Then DO IT already.” I churned out a few pieces before getting my fourth effort (“Working Stiff”) published in the Shotgun! Strange Stories e-zine.
(EL) I started writing when I was in the first grade. My first book was called Nire, the Purple Aardvark. Nire is my first name spelt backwards and purple is my favorite color. From that story, on, I was hooked.
- Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
(PWK) Poorly. Haha. I know there are a lot of dedicated writers out there who will power through a couple hundred words every day, no matter what. I’m not the type. If I start drawing a blank, I’ll take a week off. Sometimes I’ll work on another idea, but mostly I’ll mull over story beats in my head until something clicks. I can usually get over the hump when I realize a new truth about one of my characters… that can steer the plot in a needed direction.
(EL) I don’t experience writer’s block. There are times when I am not in the mood to write, so I don’t. During those times, I read or enjoy other hobbies. But I never have trouble coming up with stories. In fact, I have too many of them in my head to ever be able to get them all down on paper.
- Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
(PWK) Like a lot of writers, I pay the bills doing something else. My “9 to 5” (or more accurately, my “7:30 to 3:30”) is teaching social studies and language arts to middle schoolers. I like to travel, too. I live in Baltimore, so it’s easy to take a day trip to New York, Philly, D.C., etc. I probably spend too much time on the internet… recently I’ve been reading political news and frothing at the mouth.
Kam: Yeah, I’ve been hooked on every news program. I can relate to time flying by once you start reading articles. Plus, I tend to interact on the articles or social media posts and that’s always interesting.
(EL) I work as a home-based therapist. This means that I go into people’s homes and do therapy there. This is how I get characters, settings, and plot lines. Of course, my primary mission is to help families in crisis, but it’s also why I don’t get writer’s block. Every day, in my work, I’m faced with real stories and real conflicts that generally make their way into my books eventually.
Kam: Oh, I bet you have a notebook (or file folder) full of wonderful experiences/mini stories. Lucky duck!
- I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(PWK) Family and friends, yes. Everyone has been supportive, even though many of them can’t stand horror fiction. I tend to take their comments with a grain of salt. I’d rather have some random dude online tell me he likes my work than my girlfriend, because she’s too sweet to tell me if I’m writing garbage.
(EL) My clients don’t know I write. My friends and family do. Lee is a middle name. I do this intentionally to keep my work away from my clients. I’m not sure too many clients would want to know their therapist writes about serial killers in her spare time.
- Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(PWK) Whew, that’s difficult. It’s a mix of genre and literary authors (and subject to change at any time). In an intentionally-mixed-up order, here are the authors who most I enjoy reading: Harlan Ellison, William Faulkner, Joyce Carol Oates, James Baldwin, Thomas Ligotti, Ursula K. LeGuin, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, and Haruki Murakami. I think these ten have also had the greatest impact on my own authorial voice.
(EL) My favorites really depend on my moods. Like with my own writing, my taste in genre for reading is all over the place. My all-time favorite writer is Sylvia Plath.
- If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?
(PWK) I think I’d have to go with the most recent novel I’ve read: F by Daniel Kehlmann.
It’s incredible. I know there are a lot of novels about dysfunctional families out there, but Kehlmann strikes the perfect balance between pathos and comedy. He’s got some pretty interesting ideas about art that resonated with me, as well. I’d cast Jonah Hill as Martin, the eldest brother. He’s a priest who doesn’t believe in God and has a penchant for snacking or playing with a Rubik’s cube in the confession booth. Adam Driver could play the younger twins, Eric and Ivan. Eric’s a banker, and his section of the book (my favorite) is a madcap sequence in which he tries to manage his family, business concerns, and an affair while tripping out on a cocktail of prescription meds. I’m dying to see that on screen. Get Paul Thomas Anderson to direct.
(EL) Frankly, I never like seeing books go to the big screen. I’m a person who never thinks the movie matches up to the book. I wish books would stay in print and screen plays would stay in the theaters and on stages.
- Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(PWK) It should be published by the time this interview runs, but I’m currently working on a collection of short stories about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll with my friend (and fellow Baltimorean) Wallace Boothill. It’s called Psychodelic. We were inspired by and hardcore/punk bands who put out a split EPs. Why can’t writers do the same? The collection has a handful of stories from each of us, and one co-written piece. So far, my half is leaning a bit more towards the humorous side while Boothill’s is just plain freaky. Our shared aim is to gross you out!
(EL) I just finished a novel about a serial killer, Jimmie Putnam. The novel is called “Just Things” and will release sometime this year. I intend to follow it up with a sequel called “Jimmie’s Ice Cream.”
- Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?
(PWK) I’ve had a number of tales published in Shotgun! Strange Stories, which can be found at…
A print anthology of the first six issues is forthcoming. I’ve also got a satirical story called “The Appointment” in Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse, available on Amazon. (Fuck that self-centered orange clown, by the way. Get active–I’ve donated money to the ACLU and NRDC.) You can read some short works on my website,
“People love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me.” – Donald Trump
People love you, alright. But not in the way you think, Mr. Get-Rich-Off-Of-Daddy’s-Tit. People love to mock you. People love to shower you with disrespect. If it was an option, people would drop a steaming pile of sloppy feces on your name. When you pass away, people would line up just to piss on your grave. But that wouldn’t matter to you, would it? The golden showers would come at a price, and boy would people fork over the cash. Regardless, you are the president of the United States of America, and I will raise a glass to you and give you that much. I’’ call you President, but with it comes a whole nasty serving of unadulterated ridicule. This issue of Deadman’s Tome is all about you, Mr. Trump. Dark, twisted, satirical tales at your expense, plus with a interview you had with me that you may not recall. I hope you enjoy.
(EL) All of my books, twelve novels, a handful of novellas, and too many anthologies to count, are on my website: www.authorerinlee.com
My facebook page is www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon
On Twitter I’m at @Crazylikeme2015
To stay up to date on my works, join my author street team-The Outsiders Street Team-at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/596733930532264/
- Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(PWK) Follow me on Twitter @pwkleaver or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(EL) The best way to reach me is through my facebook page at www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon
- Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(PWK) Sure! If you’re an aspiring writer (or musician, or artist, or whatever), put your nose to the grindstone and start producing! The internet has made DIY much easier. I doubted myself for the longest time and was afraid that if I wrote short stories, they’d suck. Some of them do… but when I became serious about honing my craft, I started seeing improvement in what I was doing. If someone tries to discourage you, fuck ‘em. Everyone knows almost all of the good artists weren’t appreciated in their time.
Closing remarks and a bit of a rant….
I want to thank Philip Kleaver & Erin Lee for allowing me the opportunity to interview you. It was a true pleasure “meeting” you and I’m sure your responses have sparked the interest of many followers/readers. 🙂
And now for my rant…….
Every voice matters. We have the right, the duty, to stand up for our rights and the rights of those around us. No race, no religion, no gender, NO ONE is better than the other. NO ONE should be persecuted, targeted by the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their faith, or where they were born. To single out a group of individuals based off the actions of the few is thoughtless, inhumane, barbaric, and morally wrong. People should treat others with respect. Our leaders should LEAD BY EXAMPLE. That means, those who hold political power shouldn’t be bigot or racist.
In every race, religion, gender, nationality, and so forth, you will find bad apples. However, you will also find good, hard working, loving people with kindness in their hearts and only good intentions. Don’t persecute the whole for the actions of the few. It goes against everything this country stands for. Everything I stand for. I’ve said this once and I’ll probably say it several more times in the near future…. our leaders should DO BETTER, BE BETTER! And Trump, I do believe you above all else should think before you speak (and tweet). You have the tendency to run off at the mouth, consequences be damned. Remember as the leader of the USA, your actions have consequences that affect not just your inner circle but the whole damn world!
RANT OVER…….. (for now)