lock myself away in the attic for a couple
of days straight. A lot of people would think it’s all sort of boring,
I suppose, but I’m pretty happy. I hope someday to be able to write
full-time, but until then, that’s my routine.
DARK KRYPT: Who are your literary influences? What did you read, growing up? DARK KRYPT: A review of Bloodstone stated that your portrayals of small-town lives and evils are dead-on. Other reviews have compared your work favorably to Stephen King, who often writes about small towns and is also from Maine. How do you feel upon being compared to Stephen King? Also, what is it about small-town New England life that inspired you and King to write horror about it? Is it different from small-town lifestyles elsewhere?
NATE KENYON: Well, small town life was certainly a part of my experience growing up. There’s a very interesting thing that happens in small towns — even though your nearest neighbor might be miles away, news travels fast. It’s hard to keep a secret. Things tend to fester, too; old grudges, rumors, bad blood. I don’t mean to make it sound terrible — there are a lot of good things about small towns too. But I think there’s a certain type of evil that can fester in towns like White Falls, under the right circumstances.
Being compared to Stephen King is always a big thrill to me. I grew up idolizing his work, as many horror writers my age did, and he really opened my eyes to a new way of writing, fiction with an edge. His stuff was nasty. I loved it, and I wanted to do what he did. I think that it was after reading The Shining that I really thought about being a writer myself.
I do think small-town life in Maine is different than other places — the woods are deeper, the nights are darker, the wind blows cold and hard in the winter. It can feel very isolated, very desolate and lonely. You might live in the middle of town, and you might to explore and see where it takes me. This usually leads to a lot of mess as I go. Sometimes even pieces of scenes and dialogue get written that might get dropped in later in the novel. But there’s never a tight structure that I work out ahead of time.
That said, I do usually come up with major plot points and ideas that I jot down as the story progresses. For Bloodstone, I knew pretty early on that a couple of major events and plot twists were going to happen, so I was writing with them in mind. I guess you could say that the primary ideas in the book were there pretty much after the first couple of chapters, but a lot of character traits, minor events and other more specific things changed dramatically.
Then it’s all about the edits — going back through and refining the story, putting in more foreshadowing and streamlining the plot until it all makes sense.
DARK KRYPT: How would you say the concepts of guilt and redemption fit into Bloodstone?
NATE KENYON: They’re a major part of the theme. Guilt and the thought of redemption drive Billy Smith to do what he does. In many ways Bloodstone is a quest novel, with Smith the flawed hero who is searching for redemption for what he did so many years ago. He’s driven by his own guilt, but he’s also driven by an internal desire to do what is right. One of the central ideas that fascinated me while writing
(Reprint Sample from the Dark Krypt Vaults)
by Michael McCarty, Contributing Editor, and Mark McLaughlin
Nate Kenyon has been kicking
at the door of the small press for the last few years with his creepy and
cutting-edge short stories. His fiction has appeared in various magazines
and the anthology Terminal Frights. In January 2006 he became a full-fledged
author when Five Star Books published his debut novel, Bloodstone. You can
visit Nate online at www.natekenyon.com. This is what the Maine native,
now Boston writer has to say. DARK KRYPT: What was it
like, growing up in Maine?
NATE KENYON: Maine is a strange mix of cultures — those native to the state who are often struggling just to get by, and those who have moved in for various reasons, many of them searching for something. These two groups don’t always blend particularly well. My parents were the hippie-type, looking for a new frontier and a simpler life. My dad was a D.A out in Seattle, my mother a school teacher, and one day they just decided to pull up roots and cross the country in a VW bug with two young children, all their belongings stuffed into the back. They rented a house in Richmond and my father set up shop with a little law office while my mother learned to build houses. And that’s exactly what she did, starting with ours; about a year later, we moved into this passive solar home she’d built with the help of her classmates on 60 acres of land.
So I grew up on what might almost be considered a commune. But my parents were well educated, liberal, and financially fairly well off, which didn’t exactly fit the mold of a lot of my friends’ families. My father was killed in a car accident when I was eight years old, and my mother got sick with cancer around that same time. These things all tended to isolate me, made me draw inward and feel like I was different from everyone else. I spent a lot of time during my early years exploring the woods around our home, reading, and writing stories. I got away from that by the time I entered high school — got into sports and girls and cars and all the normal things boys get into — but that tendency to daydream, to tell stories and escape into fiction, never completely left my blood.
I love Maine. It becomes a part of you, I think, and there’s a real sense of loneliness up there, of vast, open space and very, very dark nights. It’s very conducive to horror fiction. I hope to go back someday.
DARK KRYPT: What is an average day in the life of Nate Kenyon like?
NATE KENYON: Up at about 6:30 with our four-year-old climbing over me into our bed, digging her knobby knees and elbows into every single soft part of my anatomy before giving me a big sloppy kiss.
Downstairs to make breakfasts and lunches for everyone, then once my wife and kids are out of the house, I have a few minutes to get ready for work. Then it’s off to the office for my 9-5 job as director of marketing and communications for the BC Law School. Most of my day is spent in meetings, or working on design and print projects. Sometimes I’m able to spend an hour or so at lunch working on new fiction or promotional materials for Bloodstone, but usually I’m busy doing something related to the day job. At five I leave to pick up my daughter at daycare, grab my son at after school and then it’s home for dinner, playing with the kids and getting them to bed. After that, my wife and I open up our laptops and pound away at the keys until midnight. I’m either working on new projects, updating my website or surfing message boards like shocklines.com.
Weekends are reserved for house projects, writing and family time. If I’m on deadline for something, or finishing a novel, I’ll pretty much
this book was what exactly makes people
react in such different waysto adversity. Why will one man rise up above
difficult circumstances, while another will allow himself to be dragged
down and destroyed? I set this premise up in the novel, with Billy and Jeb
Taylor as mirror images of each other. One is driven to fight through the
most difficult circumstances to do
what is right, while the other cannot.
I leave it up to the reader to decide why.
DARK KRYPT: Who are your literary influences? What did you read, growing up?
NATE KENYON: I’d say King was my biggest influence, at least early on. But I read everything I could get my hands on as a child — mysteries, suspense, classics, horror, science fiction. I even read a few Danielle Steel and Sidney Sheldon novels that were lying around. I remember reading Clavell’s King Rat in fifth or sixth grade. I think I read my first King around then too.
I still read everything I can. I think writers have to keep reading. It keeps the mind’s mental connections going strong, and a love of the written word is essential.
DARK KRYPT: Do you watch horror movies? What's your favorite?
NATE KENYON: Oh, sure. I love Silence of the Lambs, the Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Session 9, Jaws, The Shining, and lots of others. I don’t know if I could rank them. I was a huge slasher flick fan in high school -- I was always the one trying to convince my friends to go to that B-horror movie playing at the local theater. These days, I really like the strong, atmospheric horror that gets you with slow building suspense and creepy settings — Session 9 is a great example of that.
DARK KRYPT: You have a robust website — www.natekenyon.com. How has the Internet helped your writing career?
NATE KENYON: It’s been a HUGE help to me. I was trying hard to break through for several years after college, back in the early 90s, and I really got burned out from all of that and left the genre for a while. When I started getting back into it last year and landed the contract for Bloodstone, I was amazed at the vibrant, thriving online community that had sprouted up while I was gone. It’s so much easier these days to make connections through the web. It’s opened up all sorts of new ways to promote my work -- message boards, online communities like MySpace, and of course my website. And the friendships I’ve made are wonderful. I’m a very big believer in the power of technology to transform the way we all work and live. I think we’re only at the beginning of a revolution.
DARK KRYPT: Do you plan on writing a sequel to Bloodstone?
NATE KENYON: Up until about a month ago, I would have said no. A lot of things that happen in the book don’t seem to lend themselves very well to a sequel. But an idea did come to mind recently, and I think it’s a pretty god one. I’m shopping a novel called The Reach around right now, and I’ve started another new one, but I might just dive into a sequel if people seem to want it, and if I get inspired by the story.
DARK KRYPT: Last words?
NATE KENYON: I’d just like to say thank you for this interview, and thanks to everyone who has supported me and the novel so far. I’m amazed and humbled by the reaction I’ve received. The first draft of Bloodstone was written nearly eight years ago now, and I’ve changed a lot as a writer and a person since then. But I’m happy that the novel has seemed to touch a lot of people, and that so many are willing to take a chance on a relatively new writer. Anyone who’d like to get in touch can reach me through my website. I’m always happy to talk to readers.
Follow us on Facebook! Leave a post!
Tell us what you think of our content.