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Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke

Born and raised in Dungarvan, Ireland, Kealan Patrick Burke is an award-winning author described as “a newcomer worth watching” (Publishers Weekly) and “one of the most original authors in contemporary horror” (Booklist).

Some of his works include the novels KIN, MASTER OF THE MOORS, CURRENCY OF SOULS and THE HIDES, the novellas THE TURTLE BOY (Bram Stoker Award Winner, 2004), VESSELS, and MIDLISTERS, and the collections RAVENOUS GHOSTS and THE NUMBER 121 TO PENNSYLVANIA & OTHERS (Bram Stoker Award Nominee, 2009).

Kealan also edited the anthologies: TAVERNS OF THE DEAD (starred review, Publishers Weekly), BRIMSTONE TURNPIKE, QUIETLY NOW (International Horror Guild Award Nominee, 2004), the charity anthology TALES FROM THE GOREZONE, and NIGHT VISIONS 12 (starred review, Publishers Weekly, British Fantasy Award & International Horror Guild Award nominee).

A movie based on his short story “Peekers”, directed by Mark Steensland (DEAD @ 17), and scripted by veteran novelist Rick Hautala (BEDBUGS, THE MOUNTAIN KING), is currently scheduled for screening at a variety of international film festivals.

He recently played the male lead in Greg Lamberson’s film SLIME CITY MASSACRE, the long-awaited sequel to the cult classic SLIME CITY, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. It is also scheduled for a limited theatrical run later this year.

Visit Kealan on the web at www.kealanpatrickburke.com






Welcome and tell me who are the authors and what stories inspired you most to take pen to paper and write?

King is probably the biggest and most obvious one, but I was reading Poe and Alfred Hitchcock and Enid Blyton stories long before that. Add Charles L. Grant, James Herbert and Lovecraft into the mix in my teens and it was the beginning of a whole new world for me, and one I rarely wanted to leave. I think King’s PET SEMETERY and Peter Straub’s GHOST STORY solidified my desire to be a horror writer.

Where do you write?

At a desk in my office, usually, but I work primarily on a laptop so I can write anywhere and usually do.

How do you start on a story for example do you start writing once you have a set story or certain characters?

Sometimes one or the other, sometimes both. Other times, it might be something as simple as a sentence that pops into my mind, and I’ll write it down with no idea what the story is or where it’s going. I love it when that happens, because the story tells itself and I feel like I’m just following along for the ride.


What’s the most important part of story telling for you, plot, story or characters?

All of them are equally important. Add atmosphere, sense of place to that and you have all the necessary components. There are examples of stories that don’t follow this rule and still exist as fine pieces of work, but generally speaking, you need them all to make a good story.


Kin has been released recently on a wide range of ebook formats. I loved it how long did it take to write?

It’s available in print too via my friends at Cemetery Dance Publications. It took me approximately six months to write.


What hobbies do you have?

I love photography and traveling above all else. Reading, of course. Movies, video games, libraries, old book stores, the theater, museums. I also love to explore dilapidated buildings and forgotten places.


There are a whole host of good and great writers that are from Irish descent like yourself, why are so many from that region of the world?

Ireland is an ancient country and as a result its children grow up with a firm belief in ghosts and legends. We’re taught early on the value of passing along the old stories, and I suspect that’s why a lot of us choose to do so through the written word.


The Bram Stoker Awards are approaching, you have won an award before. How significant is it and has it helped writers and readers?

When I grew up, many of the books I read had “Bram Stoker Award Winner” on the cover and I always thought of it as a major achievement and fantasized about someday winning one for my writing. So I was delighted to win one. Still am. It’s a seriously beautiful and well-crafted award that has a place of pride atop my shelf. But other than giving me something to put on the covers of my books and the attendant bragging rights, I can’t say that it has helped me at all, or helps readers either. But then again, I can’t say for sure, and only the readers can tell you if it makes a difference when they look for books to buy. I suspect, however, that it does not.


Ebooks are rapidly becoming popular do you think it has helped the whole book world?

Some people in the industry hate them. Others have embraced them. Personally, I think only the work matters, not how that work is read. You can pick up any one of my books now for less than five dollars. In the past, you’d have had to pay ridiculous prices on the secondary market. This change has increased my readership by tens of thousands, and for me that’s obviously a great thing. It has also opened countless doors for me, and yet despite it all, I will always favor real books over digital ones, and do not currently own an e-reader. Go figure!


Your stories are loved by many why have big publishers not given you a writing deal?

Only they can answer that, but the rejections were always the same: “Love it! Don’t know how to sell it! What else do you have??!?!?” Personally I think you and anyone who likes my work should write to them and bug them until they do. Or do what fans of the TV show Jericho did when it was canceled and send the network hundreds of thousands of bags of peanuts. Of course, after the show was renewed, they canceled it again, so…maybe not.


Libraries how important are they, why are they losing them in the U.S.A and U.K and what can be done to save the libraries?

Patronize them, support them, and fund them. It’s the only way to keep them around. I think libraries are critical and I adore them, which is why I give donations to them every time I hear of one in need. They were my havens as a kid, but new technology always renders something obsolete. The ones who adopt digital lending are doing better than those who don’t, but honestly, I’m not sure what the future holds for them. I hope they’ll be around for as long as I am, because without them, and brick and mortar bookstores, we’re in danger of becoming a world full of screen-addicted, near-sighted, anti-social drones.


Imagine there was a zombie outbreak and you could take with you to a safe island a few animals, belongings and few books what would they be?

Books: How to Deal with Swimming Zombies by I. Sinkum, Cheer Up, They Have to Turn to Dust Sometime by Optim Mist, the walkthroughs for Resident Evil 1-6, 101 Ways to Convince Frightened Female Survivors That You’re the Best Candidate for Repopulating the Planet by Geddit Hon, How to Make Cologne from Grapefruit and Sand by Samelin Goode and 500 Stories that Never Get Old by Rae Reedus.

Animals: The Talking Dog from the Pixar movie Up! Mr. Ed. Cows because sooner or later I’m going to get tired of coconuts and fish I can’t catch. And a horse so I can pick up my dates in style and look like an Island Warrior at the same time. (And also because if the zombies do reach the island or I piss off one of the dates, I can put a lot more distance between me and them that way.)

Belongings: Lots of guns and gun cleaning equipment (so the sand doesn’t plug up the works). Ropes, knives, first aid equipment, bottled water, canned food, gasoline, netting, glue, my fish, a saddle (for the horse, for those of you with gutter-minds), and a raft in case the island turns out not to be so safe after all.


What novels are you working on now and any novels to be released soon?

I am currently working on Nemesis, the last book in the Timmy Quinn series of stories (The Turtle Boy, The Hides, Vessels, and Peregrine’s Tale) and this year will see the release of my anti-zombie novel The Living.
After that I’ll be working on a feature length extension of the short story “Peekers”.


Will there be any possible adaptations to t.v or film of you’re works?

Hopefully. Although I can’t give too many details yet, there has been some major film interest in Kin, Peekers, and The Turtle Boy.

It been wonderful to having you as a guest many thanks from me and the readers.

You’re very welcome!


Visit Kealan on the web at www.kealanpatrickburke.com

Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings
Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 13 February 2012

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    1. recluse says
      18 February 12, 3:41am

      Great interview!

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    The Turtle Boy

    Schools out and it’s summer that means ample time for kids to wonder where they should not. In this story some kids wander through mysterious territory near woods and a lake, they befriend an even more mysterious boy who has the strangest features. The story is of fathers, sons and buddies. This story has a theme of redemption. Kealan can really write a dark tale well, this is the first of his I have read he leaves you with a creepy and mysterious presence.

    “The Turtle Boy had said: You don’t know who did it. When you do, remember what you saw and let it change you.”

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

    Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings


    The writer of The Turtle Boy a Bram stoker award winner brings to you this tale. This story is dark, not of the paranormal kind but that of the darkness of the heart and the evil that men do.
    His story is a taut visceral story of a woman’s survival, her pain endured and her pain of being the soul left behind from the fallen ones. Nightmares are to haunt her salvation and she is in need of succor, need of embrace and love. There is a need for Revenge, Vengeance and Retribution to take effect against the brutality and evil that has past and to come.
    The evil and the darkness is administered upon the unfortunate via a family, the Merrill clan, a Kin, all this pain takes place in Elkwood, Alabama.
    They call themselves the last of the old clan in service of God Almighty’s work. They are one of the most brutal families to rise up in a story they have a religious objective a mission to cleanse the world of the corrupted ones and to top it all off those that have fallen their flesh is to be devoured.
    There is to be some grace there are a few characters to rise in this story to exact vengeance and retribution, one still haunted by his service in the Iraq battlegrounds.

    Upon reading this story my mind shoots back to equally brutal stories of survival and the macabre, writers the likes of Daniel Woodrell and the novel Winters Bone, a motley crew of an evil family reminiscent to that of Endurance of J.A Konrath. Jack Ketchum springs to mind and his story The Woman, On The Gathering Storm by Jason McIntyre and Donald Ray Pollock with Devil all the time.
    If you have read either of these and liked them this is just as a taut visceral read and well done story highly recommend. His prose is smooth and disturbing. This is a multi layered story of human endeavour. He really grabs you’re attention and instills a promise of more darkness and wonderful storytelling to come.

    This excerpt gives you an idea of the dark characters Kealan has created here.

    “A farmer shoots the crows and sprays the bugs to protect his crop, don’t he? Momma had once told him. Shoots wild dogs and foxes and them sonofab****in’ coyotes to keep ’em from eatin’ his chickens’n killin’ his herd, don’t he? Well, that’s what we do. We’re a rare breed, all of us, and what’s outside there in the world would love nothin better to destroy us because of what we believe in, because of our closeness to the Almighty God
    To kill us outta jealousy because they ain’t never gettin’ so close to Him. They’re the predators, Luke. They’re the skulkin’ dogs creeping’ up on us, trying’ to snatch you from my bosom, from God’s grace, like they did with your poor ……, filling’ her head with sick thoughts and vile dreams, corrupting’ her till she was so diseased she went crazy and had to be put to sleep. Don’t let them do that to you, boy. Let your Papa show you how to protect yourself, and your kin.”

    “We’re the last of the old clans, boy. We stay together. We hunt and we kill Men of the World. We devour their flesh so they cannot devour us. We hold them off and resist their attempts to convert us to sinful ways. We protect each other in the name of God Almighty, and punish those who trespass, destroy those who would destroy us. We are the beloved, Luke, and once the light has been shown to those who are not of the faith, they must embrace it or be destroyed.”

    Buy from Amazon.com KIN
    or Amazon.co.uk KIN

    Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

    Peekers Screenplay by Rick Hautala, short story by Kealan Patrick Burke.

    Award-winning short film. Screenplay by Rick Hautala. Based on the short story by Kealan Patrick Burke.

    Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings