Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke - More2Read Interviews

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



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

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 13 February 2012

1 Comment

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

    Great interview!

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