Meet Kyle M. Scott. I just love this man, he is an excellent author, an amazing person to talk to and an all around great guy-funny, brazen, sensitive and sweet. I’d marry him. 😉 Love ya, Kyle, lol.
That being said…Kyle and I “met” about a year ago on Goodreads, we started exchanging emails and had some pretty deep conversations. We talked about most everything- books, movies, music, art, photography, our kids, our lives, bad times, good times. I have enjoyed getting to know Kyle as a person and as an author. I have read everything and loved everything I have read of his. He has a sick twisted mind when it comes to his writing and I just love it, as I have the same mindset. Take a gander at his work, I highly recommend everything he has written.
I have interjected a few comments of my own, all in bold and/or parenthesis. And now that my ass is numb, lol, I hope you enjoy the interview, as I sure have. It has been an honor, thank Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions. Glad you had fun with it and enjoyed the questions.
Let’s start with getting the formalities out of the way-
Tell me a little about yourself, age, location, family, etc.
I’m a Scottish author living in Glasgow, thirty nine years young and getting younger by the day. I’m a father of one beautiful little girl, who lives stateside, and I live with a cat (who hates my guts), and an army of ants who seem hell-bent on crushing my dominance of their domain. They’re storming the porch as I speak.
(Your daughter is just precious.)
(Oh, pepper, keeps ants away. Just an FYI.) 😉
What is something you’d like to share that most people don’t know about you?
Good question. Let’s see…I have to try and pick something that ain’t too incriminating here.
My first attempt at writing took place at age eleven, when I was asked, in English class, to write a short story, (along with the rest of my peers).
My story took up two full exercise books and was sent directly to my parents due to the violent content. I was pretty damn proud of that.
It was a tale of a camper who, after hearing a scream through the night, goes slowly crazy in his tent, as his imagination runs wild.
My old folks probably still have it someplace. I’ll need to investigate the matter further.
(I’d love to read that if you ever find it.)
What books have you published and/or had your works featured in?
I’ve published four books so far, two novels, an Anthology, and a collaboration with some fellow horror authors. My first release was the Anthology, CONSUMED VOLUME 1, a blending of social satire and extreme horror. My debut novel, DEVIL’S DAY, is a love letter to 80’s ‘video nasties’, and my latest novel, AFTERTASTE, falls somewhere between the two. It’s an extreme horror story with an axe to grind.
The collaboration is called CARNAGE-EXTREME HORROR, and features three other fantastic authors – Jack Rollins, Stuart Keane, and Angel Gelique. Many of your readers will know the authors, and for those who don’t, I highly recommend them, and the book.
What has been your favorite story or novel to write and what inspired you to write it?
The novel I’m most proud of is the one I’m currently working on, titled PROTECTION, but it’s a tough one to write as it’s a very personal, very dark tale that dissects parental responsibility and devotion.
The novel that was most fun to write, so far, would be DEVIL’S DAY. My aim with that book was to simply cut loose and enjoy myself. I wanted to reclaim that wide-eyed wonder I felt as a child, perusing the horror section of the video stores, too young to hire the movies, but intoxicated by the lurid artwork and the themes. I loved that era. It’s my spiritual home, and the foundation for my lifelong love of the genre, and I had a great time reliving that period.
I should also mention that I eventually saw all those movies. Never underestimate the tenacity of the youthful horror aficionado, nor the advent of VHS piracy. For every shithead video-store clerk asserting their authority over my young self, there was a shady late-teenager who would copy and sell the movies to me at extortionate prices.
I have loved everything I have read of yours and was very honored to have read an ARC of Aftertaste. The characters were amazing and I loved them all.
Thank you, Lisa. It’s an honor to be appreciated by fellow horror fans such as yourself. It’s the best feeling in the world, knowing I can give a little back to the genre that has given me so much, and take my humble place in its legacy.
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
In terms of writing, the completion of CONSUMED was a high point in my career and life. That was the moment when I realized that the thirty years I’d spend reading horror, (and calling myself a writer, much like a middle-aged, Scottish Brian Griffin), had taught me a thing or two. It’s a terrifying thing, putting your art out there for the world to accept or reject as it sees fit. I’m proud that I was able to overcome my self-doubt, and some very unsavory habits, to complete that work.
I’m proud of all my work, but those first tentative steps into the arena are daunting for any writer, and there’s a real sense of hope over fear in such an achievement. It doesn’t hurt that all the books, including the first, have been very well received and become bestsellers in the Amazon horror charts.
(Loved the stories in Consumed, that was the first book of yours I read and you had me hooked. I believe we discussed this topic in an email, how it is scary to put yourself out there and how some people will like it and some won’t, but as long as it’s something you are happy with and proud of that is all that matters.)
Have you had any disappointments that just really got to you? If so, would you care to share what it was and why?
So far it’s been a great ride. When the inevitable downfall occurs, and I crawl into a bottle and begin drinking myself into an early grave, I’ll let you know. For now, I have no real disappointment in how my work is progressing personally, or being perceived. It’s been a blast.
Who does the covers for your books and do you help in designing them?
I design and create the covers myself. I have a very independent mindset, and if there’s something I can do myself, I will. I usually look for a striking image, and manipulate it to suit the tone of the story. I always use the same font, Impact, as it calls me back to the boldness, perhaps even brashness, of the grindhouse cinema I grew up loving.
The taglines are brilliant fun to work on, too. And again, they’re a throwback to the one-sheets and VHS covers from my youth. Cinema is every bit as prominent an influence on my work as literature, and I like my covers to feel old-school.
There are a few artists I hope to work with in the future, whose work has either been something I’ve enjoyed over my lifetime, or recently discovered via the independent literature scene.
(Awesome, I did not realize this, all of your covers are amazing.)
What author(s) inspired you the most to become a writer and at what age? What was it about them that inspired you? What would be your favorite book(s) by that author?
As I mentioned, I was dabbling in writing from a pretty young age. Even before I began reading for enjoyment. When I did begin reading, I was immediately drawn to the horror genre. The first novel I read of my own accord was MISERY by King, followed by every available work by he, James Herbert and Clive Barker. By the time I was writing as an adult, and taking things seriously, my influences were far more varied, and decidedly more extreme. Richard Laymon was, and is, a huge influence. His bloody-minded desire to entertain the reader at all costs, and morals be damned, is something I really admire, not to mention his minimal prose and reliance on sharp dialogue. Edward Lee remains a constant source of inspiration, also. His seemingly limitless ability to write in any style, and any sub-genre, is awe-inspiring. Bentley Little’s mixing of politics with horror was really eye-opening, and Jack Ketchum’s pitch black realism has been a huge inspiration. In more classical terms, M R James and H P Lovecraft are firm lifelong favorites, too.
There are too many to mention.
I will say that the main influence was Laymon. His style and tone, at risk of sounding pretentious, set me free, literally.
And my favorite book from the great man is The Traveling Vampire Show. No matter how many times I read that book, I can’t help but live with the characters. I named a character in AFTERTASTE after one of the kids. My little way of saying thank you, to the great man.
Are there any new authors that have become favorites of yours?
Absolutely. Reading Laymon acted as a gateway into a whole world of horror that existed out-with the mainstream and which I heartily embraced. Bryan Smith, Jack Kilborn, Jeff Strand, and Brian Keene among others.
Since I began writing, I’m discovering new authors all the time, and many are well on the way to blazing the trail for our generation. Shane Mackenzie always surprises me with his dark humor and straight-talking style. Kristopher Rufty has 80’s horror running through his DNA, and feels like a literary kindred spirit. John Everson has written some brilliant, deeply upsetting stuff and Stuart Keane, a friend of mine and collaborator, is bringing a really accessible and fun style to his work. Jack Rollins, another peer, is out on his own, writing beautifully gothic horror, and Chantal Noorderloos has a real class to her work that’s a joy to read. Having a great time with Tim Miller’s work, too. Brutal and gleeful in equal measure. There are too many to mention, but it’s safe to say that horror is alive and well, and going no place.
You write mostly horror/thriller books. What characteristic of that genre do you feel is most important when writing? Or the most fun for you to write?
For me, the most important thing is character. To be invested in a story, no matter how trashy or intellectual, I have to be drawn to the characters, and they must feel authentic, be they angels or demons. I tend to allow the reader to define the overall appearance of my characters, and instead I focus wholly on their actions and on the rhythms of their dialogue. I write some outlandish shit, but I ground my characters in reality. They rarely do what I tell them, but they are the guiding light for where the story, and the horror, will flow. Dialogue is always a trip to write. I adore it.
Atmosphere is also very important. I want the worlds I build to feel real. And when the violence comes, I want it to be as visceral as possible. Horror is really a careful blending of a number of characteristics that form the whole. If one part lacks authenticity, the whole castle sinks.
Would you ever consider writing in a different genre? If so, what would it be and why?
Definitely! I plan to. Horror will always be my first love, but as an artist, I don’t believe in, nor recognize, restrictions. I’m outlining a series of children’s novels, (though they are very gentle horror), with my daughter in mind. They’ll be written for her, and I figure if I can delight my little angel, I can delight other children, too. I also plan, someday, to tackle a semi-autobiographical take on the psychedelic scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s.
I’ll never leave the horror genre, though. It’ll always come first. It’s been a constant companion and an unending source of joy. And as any writer will tell you, each new book or story brings new, surprising challenges. Any genre can be used to illuminate the human condition, but with horror, you get to go dark. Very, very dark. That’s far too tempting to pass by for any length of time.
(That will be so exciting for your daughter!)
When writing, how much research goes into your work? What has been the most interesting thing you have had to research? What has been the most fun thing in your research?
I feel like I’m researching constantly, just by existing. My stories all center around the characters, and my focus lies there. They’re all approximations of the good and the bad people that populate my society.
I tend to write what I know, although from a technical standpoint I’ll occasionally have to research small things – the makes of cars available in certain eras, the geographical locations of certain states and the flora and fauna therein, things like that. I’m not very technically minded. There is probably no science fiction writing in my future, though I do love it.
For one of the stories in CONSUMED, I had to research the human eyeball, and that was a lot of fun. For DEVIL’S DAY, I re-immersed myself in the video nasties of my youth, and that was an absolute blast. Being able to sit through endless hours of gory, tasteless horror, and call it work…it doesn’t get much better.
That was the most fun, so far.
How do you come up with or what inspires you to come up with the ideas for your novels, novellas and short stories?
It can be anything. A free-roaming thought as I stroll down the street, the political landscape that informs my life, or a random encounter with one of the local denizens that fires up my imagination. The ideas tend to begin the process of driving me insane on arrival. They nag at me till I give them life. The bastards own me. They often come in pieces, and slowly but surely arrange themselves into the form they desire.
I’m not entirely sure how much of an idea can be merited to the author’s consciousness, and how much is plucked from some dark corner of the ether.
What are you currently working on and what else do you have planned for 2015?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on a new novel called PROTECTION – a story about a single father doing his best to raise a young son, while battling depression. It’s a much more subtle take on the genre than my previous work and, I think, my most disturbing story to date. It’s much more somber than my other novels, and I’m really proud of it. It could be labelled a psychological horror, and maybe even a ghost story, but it’s also a study of devotion and unconditional love, and the places it can take us.
After I complete that, it’s onto my next novel. I have a few in flux, but as writing PROTECTION is so draining, I’ll be following it with a drug and sex crazed hardcore horror novel with its tongue firmly in its cheek, called SLASHERS.
A novella, CANNED is on the way, too, as well as a few collaborative works. It’s gonna be a busy year.
(Looking forward to reading all of these.)
On a more personal note –
What are some of your likes and dislikes in movies, books, food, drinks, activities, music, etc, or anything else you would like to let us know about you?
I’d better list these, or I’ll be all over the place!
Cinema -I’m a huge fan of cinema, especially the classic Universal horror films and those of Hammer Studios in the 50’s and 60’s. Of course, 80’s cinema is a favorite, as is foreign horror. I love documentaries, science fiction and fantasy, too. And anything Hitchcock, of course.
Dislikes –Anything that insults the audiences intelligence intentionally tends to grind my gears. I don’t mind dumb movies, I watch a ton of slasher films and bargain basement horror and action flicks. I’m talking about the ones that seem drenched in a cynical, profit-centric sludge. Twilight and its ilk, romantic comedies that fail to break the template, and mainstream Hollywood drivel like Transformers. We all hate that shit, though, right?
Food – Never met a food group I didn’t like.
Activities – I love walking, spending time with my loved ones, and immersing myself in political activism. Museums and travelling are also right up there.
Music – My heart belongs to psychedelic music from all eras – Spacemen 3, Suicide, The 13th Floor Elevators, The Velvet Underground, The Brian Jonestown Massacre…it’s a long, long list. I also enjoy Jazz, the blues and folk music. Not the usual horror fare, but molds are made to be broken, are they not!?
Name a favorite and least favorite memory from your childhood and from your adult life.
I’m really enjoying this, Lisa. Okay, here goes…
Favorite – Playing ‘Halloween’ with my childhood friends in our neighborhood. Sort of like hide and seek, one of us would be Myers, resplendent in a shitty handmade mask, and the rest would hide out in the neighbor’s gardens and try to evade him. I invoked the memory in AFTERTASTE, when one character is hiding out in the suburbs after dark.
Worst – The death of my grandfather. That was my first taste of mortality, and it had a really strong effect on me. I can remember it like it was yesterday. An endless parade of sad, broken hearted faces and tearful loved ones. I think that was the precise moment I realized the universe was an uncaring shit, and that life was precious and fragile.
Favorite – There have been too many. Though my favorite would have to be the day, last year, when my girlfriend and I took my three year old daughter, who was visiting from the US, to the Glasgow Museum of Art. She had the most wonderful day…we all did. It was magical, and a day I’ll cherish forever. Her eyes lighting up when she saw the dinosaurs will probably be the thing I think of when this old life comes to a close.
Worst – This one is easy. The day my daughter was taken from my arms, right after her first birthday, and put on a plane headed for the USA, to live there, forever more. I try not to think on that day too often, as it was the lowest I’ve ever fallen, and the worst pain I have ever experienced.
On a positive note, I see my little girl all the time on Skype, and bring her over to Scotland, with her Mum, as often as I can. We have a wonderful relationship, and one that spans continents.
If you could change anything about your life, past or present, or both, what would it be, if anything?
The only thing I would change is the situation I mentioned in the last question. I’ve made many mistakes in my life – I’ve been homeless, been in jail, and almost lost my life on more than one occasion, but it’s all those experiences that made me who I am today, and I like who I am. Wisdom is often born of idiocy, and if that’s the case, I ought to be a relatively wise sumbitch by now.
What is the best thing a fan has said to you? The most funny thing? The worst thing?
The best thing, and I’ve heard it more than once, is that my books feel as though they were written specifically for that reader. That’s a lovely feeling, and I can relate. I feel the very same way about many of my favorite books, movies, songs. That personal attachment is sort of indefinable, but really great. I think it’s the outcome of actually being a horror geek myself. I’m not just a writer, I’m a ravenous fan, and always have been. The things that entertain and enthrall me will no doubt have the same effect on others. Those are the things I write about.
The funniest thing I’ve been told would have to be when I’m told that my stories, in particular, SPECIAL DELIVERY, have gotten readers horny. Don’t know who’s more twisted…me for dreaming this shit up, or those readers for getting off on it.
The worst thing is probably a very common issue for authors…when a reader cannot differentiate between the art and the artist, and accusations of misogyny, homophobia, and the like, rear their ugly heads.
I’ve even been pronounced a Satanist, although I admittedly got a chuckle from that one.
It says much more about the intellectual prowess of those lobbying the accusations than the artist.
For the most part, the readers have been brilliant. It’s very gratifying.
Where can fans find and contact you on the web? Blogs, websites, etc.
Thanks for the interview, Lisa, it’s been fun in a bun.
(You are so very welcome, and thank you.)
The good people of Earth can find me on Facebook, Twitter and, very soon, on my official website. My works can be purchased here, should one be interested!