Today folks, I’d like to present an interview I conducted with US author Kelli Dunlop.

GNOH – Hi Kelli, how are things with you?

Peachy!Of course, I always say peachy, even when it’s not true. So you’ll have tofigure out if I meant that or not.

GNOH – Could you please tell the readers alittle bit about yourself?

I’m afrog. No, that’s not what you meant. I’m a short, loud, opinionated… not thateither? Okay. I have two amazing kids and two insane cats. I went to collegewith the intention of an English major until I realized I didn’t want to be ateacher or a journalist for a day job, so I switched to accounting—because itwouldn’t burn out the muse 9-5 and I could still flirt with her at night. But Iam still a frog. And short and loud and opinionated.

GNOH – Would you care to let slip one fact about yourself that is not widely known? For example I have punched a well-known British comedian in the face, he deserved it by the way.

Slip? Idid mention I was loud mouthed, right? The real me is pretty much what I throwout on the internet, but let me think… How about this? I used to be aballerina. I once worked for Miss Cleo. I make the most amazing soup on theplanet and it should be packaged so I can buy a beach house. I am the mostforgiving human on the planet (Mother Theresa and I will actually be dukingthat one out in the afterlife). And I’ve never punched any comedians, Britishor otherwise.

GNOH – So what is the appeal of horror toyou?

I’m atwisted human. What can I say? As a fan, I’ve always loved the adrenaline rush.Horror makes you feel alive. I’m a big wuss and will never jump out of aperfectly good airplane or tie a rubber band to my ankle and dive off a bridge.I like my thrills nice and fictional. As a writer, I play with bubbles andsidewalk chalk, but my muse is a dark evil thing on which no amount of sun canshine. You may see a couple eating at the sidewalk dinner. I see a wife lookingat her husband adoringly… wondering how long the bloody poison is going to taketo kick in.

GNOH – I’m sure you have been asked thishundreds of times, but I always like to know what makes an author tick.  Why do you write, and can you remember whatfirst caused you to put pen to paper?

Youunderstand most writers roll their eyes at this question, right? I writebecause I must. Not because anyone needs to see it, but because I have to getit out. There’s only room for so many voices in a person’s head and we(writers) kick out the ones we can.
Whatfirst caused me to put pen to paper was the realization that people did this.The first story I wrote was in 2nd grade, I still have the bizarre purplemimeograph copy of it in a box. (No, I did not just date myself!)

GNOH – As a, dare I say, a fledging writer,what do you make of the current state of horror fiction?

Ah, nowI’m bummed. I thought I’d climbed out of the mire known as fledgling. Damn.Well, from the bowels of the genre, I would say the current state is the sameas it’s always been—in constant flux. Though the insane speeds at which thingsare changing lately can be completely blamed on the technology.

GNOH – Do you think the current boom inebooks makes it easier for new writers, or do you think the deluge of sub parwork will drown out too many talented authors like yourself?


Don’tyou hate when someone answers a multiple choice with a yes or a no? But yes. Ithink it is easier for new writers, and it’s easier to get lost in the delugeof work. But not all of it is subpar. You can get lost to both talent and subpar work, just by the sheer volume. A part of me still sees it asself-publishing without validation, but if they’ve got the chops and theediting is actually done, then go for it.

GNOH – How would you describe yourstyle?  Do you try and maintain a voicethroughout your work, or does your style change with each story?

That’stwo different things. My style is my style and that remains the samethroughout. I have certain grammatical tools I use and/or abuse. I have acertain rhythm to my sentences and paragraphs and the way the stories unfold.But the voice? The voice is the character’s, not mine, so that does change witheach story. “Waiting Out Winter” was all Nick and his worries. “Six Days” wasall Jen. Of course, bleeding on the page and writing what you know meansputting some of you into each of them. Each and every single one of those demonsthat get kicked out of my head have their own voice.

GNOH – Who would you say are your favouritethree authors, and how would you say they have influenced your writing?

I likehim and him and him. And that’s all you’re getting. Heroes lose their powers whenrevealed and I have been very careful to never ever let that slip. How havethey influenced me? Easy. I try to be as gung-ho as him, as graceful as him,and as loved and long-standing as him. I write a bit more brutally than hedoes, have been compared to him on some levels, and want to stand next to himone day as an equal. Of those I can talk about? Poe, Lovecraft, Dickenson, blahblah blah… standard answers.

GNOH – How easy or hard has your journey beenfrom unpublished author to rising star?

Wait,now I’m a rising star? I thought I was fledgling? It has sucked, with a capitalS. And I’ve earned every scar I’ve gotten along the way. Something those goingstraight to ebook self-publishing will never understand, never earn, neverappreciate—scars are sexy. I did exactly what I was supposed to, when I wassupposed to do it. I had the dry spells of constant rejections and stood myground. I had the naysayers and backstabbers. And I’ve watched others thatstarted with me rise above me, while others in our group fell behind. I don’tknow that it’s been easy or hard. It’s been exactly what it needed to be.

GNOH –I’ve heard you and Brian Keene both refer to each other as friends closeenough to be siblings. How helpful has someone as influential and talented asBrian been to honing your craft?

He hasnot been helpful at all in honing my craft. Remember, I edit him, not the otherway around. When it comes to the words, I’m all me. Although, he did threatenme and give me a deadline for the first novel, a push if you will… right offthe cliff.
On thebusiness side of things, however, he’s been beyond helpful. We were friendsbefore I started writing (again). We share what we’re seeing, trends we’renoticing, things like that. If he never wrote another word, he’d still be myfriend, my big brother, and we’d still discuss the genre and the industry.
And I’dstill do the exact opposite of what he tells me to, just like a sister should=)
GNOH – Another firm friend and cohort ofyours if Alethea Kontis, how long have you two been friends?

Aletheaand I met on a trampoline in the garage of a castle, long ago, in a land faraway. How many friendships can say they started out like that? We’ve actuallyonly known each other for a handful of years, but we bonded on that trampolinelike sisters separated at birth.

GNOH – Is there any sort of friendly rivalrybetween the two of you?

Oh god,no. There never is with anyone in this business. You cheer for your friends,even when you’re going for the same thing. You hold them when they’re down, andyou celebrate when they’re up. It’s a strange business—your friends are yourenemies, and we’re all really okay with that. Plus, I tend to stick with horrorand thriller, while Alethea’s much more fantasy and science fiction.

GNOH – How much of an honour was it to bepart of Maelstroms debut collection?

It wasa surprise, that’s for sure. And the beginning of a beautiful relationship withPaul Goblirsch at Thunderstorm.

GNOH – Can you tell us about Six days?

Theofficial blurb? Sure: Jenny Schultz wakesup in a dark basement with no recollection of how she got there.  As shelooks for an escape, she discovers remnants of previous captives¾aplate, a tooth, a bone. To survive, she confronts the darkness within herself,tapping it for strength. Unfortunately, her own demons may destroy her before shefinds a way out.
GNOH – Will it ever be released in anotherformat?

I’mworking on that right now. Details will be forthcoming on my blog.

GNOH – Your novella the Neighborhood hasreceived a lot of praise, can you tell us what it is about?

A missing girl. A found fingertip. A puddle of blood without abody. 
A small town neighborhood full of rumors and imagination throughthe eyes of its youth. Their world is a combination of grass stains and driedmud—the badges of childhood, that often look like blood in the right light.

GNOH – It’s told from the viewpoint of thetown’s kids. Is this sort of book that all horror authors need to tell?  These stories are among my favourite.  I’m reaching an age where looking back at thethings of my childhood brings back great memories.

Oh no,no. Do not confuse this with the all-important-everyone-should-do-onecoming-of-age story. That is not what this is. The kids were used because kidschange things, assume things, make horrible guesses and even worse mistakes.Adults are more factual. The coming-of-age story? Yeah, that’s next year… watchfor #mitm hashtags on twitter to know when I’m working on that.

GNOH – What’s the overriding memory you haveof your childhood?

Overridingmemory? Wow. That’s like asking which piece of popcorn in the bowl tasted thebest. Hmm… If I had to say something: adaptation. We moved a lot when I was akid. And by a lot, I mean I went to 10 different schools from elementary tosenior high, almost a school a year. I learned how to fit in quickly, makefriends on the fly, and adjust to almost anything. Almost.

GNOH – You have also written a man versesnature novella called Waiting Out Winter. What was the inspiration for this novella?

TheWisconsin DNR did this to us! Well, okay, they didn’t actually release killerflies, but they did realize flies to kill off tent worms. They were horriblebiting black sand flies and they were everywhere that summer. People cancelledvacations. You couldn’t go outside. It was awful. And that evil muse Imentioned, that wonders about the poison in the couple’s sidewalk coffee, sheimmediately inserted “infected” into the fly situation and made it worse.

GNOH – So what’s your least favourite creepycrawly?

WOODTICKS!I hate those things. The only thing worse than my hate of woodticks is otherpeople’s dread of me finding a woodtick—because I will scream and flick it, andnow they have to figure out where it went. I’ve always said hell for me wouldbe stuck in a glass elevator (hate heights), full of woodticks, with nothingbut Barry Manilow muzak.

GNOH – Have you ever been tempted to go backand expand these novellas in to full blown novels?

Nope.Though I do tend to borrow characters and situations, so you’ll likely see somecrossovers in other things. i.e. “The Man Who Slept Through Tomorrow” mentionedthe fly invasion, and “Calling the Dead” included one of the characters fromThe Neighborhood as a main character.

GNOH – All of your books have great covers,how much say do you have in the cover art?

Actually,I’ve been very lucky with cover art. The novel and both novellas all came outfrom Thunderstorm and Paul involves the writer on every aspect, including coverart. He takes suggestions, tells you what the artist’s ideas are, and shows youprogress along the way. I’ve had far more involvement than I ever expected withthe cover art.

GNOH – Do you have a favourite of them?

The flyis bloody awesome! Period. A part of me wants to see it in color, but the blackand white is just so amazing it isn’t necessary.

GNOH – Can you tell us about any futureprojects you have in the pipeline?

Mypipeline is full. My whiteboard (to do list) is a hot mess.
I havea story in the Flying Spaghetti Monster anthology (supported by Bobby Hendersenhimself) that just became available for sale. I have handed in my firstcollection, Black Bubbles, for spring publication (other details being withheldfor time being) and am editing the next novel due at month end for a fall 2012release (nope, no details yet, but #wpp is my twitter hashtag when I’mdiscussing it). I am finishing up a short story for a sequel anthology to bereleased next year (yep, that’s all the details you’re getting for that). Ihave just been asked to write a novel for a new publisher to become part of theirlineup (very excited about this, no details for you!) and am diving into thatnovel (#LS twitter hashtag). Also, watch for a twisted alphabet book not forchildren, coming from a (re)new(ed) imprint of a popular horror magazine, and ahandful of straight to ebook titles in the next few months. And when that’s allcaught up, I dive into the coming-of-age novel #mitm, followed by a return tothe apocalypse #T. Did I mention my whiteboard was a hot mess?

GNOH – Thank you so much for popping by for achat. Keep an eye out for my reviews of The Neighbourhood, and Waiting outWinter, they are locked and loaded into my review schedule?

Oh I’mvery excited to see what you thought of them and have to say about them. Andthank you, very much, for asking me to do this. Always a pleasure to see whatkind of fun questions people come up with.






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