Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Interview with Ken Stark, Author of Stage 3

 It is with great pleasure and excitement that I bring to you my interview with Ken Stark, author of Stage 3, a post-apocalyptic thriller. I think I held my breath the whole time I was reading it.  
Stage 3 Synopsis:
Blindness is just the beginning. Once the virus strips away everything remotely human, all that's left is a mindless savage predator. Hank Mason thought he had nothing left to lose, but now that he is all that stands between a young girl and a gruesome fate, he's sworn to protect her with his very life. But the virus isn't done yet. A new, deadlier terror is slowly emerging, and even as Mason and Mackenzie battle their way from one horror to the next in a desperate flight through a world gone mad, they both know that their time is running out. The girl is already blind, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Let's get straight to the interview or I'll spend all day gushing over my new favorite author. 

What made you start writing?
That's a tough question, actually. I always say that I've been scribbling stories since as far back as I can remember, so it must have always been a part of me. But something had to spark that flame into life, right? I can barely remember breakfast, so I honestly can't recall that specific 'Eureka' moment when I picked up a #2 pencil and started down this road, but I'm sure the journey started long before then.
I loved TV when I was a kid, and my favourites were always the ones that stretched the boundaries. Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Alfred Hitchcock Presents….. I could go on and on. Undoubtedly, visiting all of those weird and wonderful worlds had its effects, but then I started reading in earnest and absorbed everything I could involving adventure, discovery, alien planets and those hidden corners of our own world that might be home to dinosaurs or ape men or any number of assorted ghosts and ghoulies. So why did I start writing? Chances are, I started writing in my head after Rod Serling signed off one night, then started for real when I realized that Conan-Doyle and H G Wells could create entire worlds out of nothingness, one word at a time.

Why horror over other genres? Do you write other genres?
I do write in other genres, but only short stories so far, and most of what I do in whatever genre still tends to be fairly dark. After all, we write the stuff we'd want to read, and I guess I've always been partial to the weird and macabre. I read a lot of different genres and enjoy them all, but there's nothing like a good scary story to get the blood flowing. After all, not many people sit around a campfire sharing tales of political allegory.
I suppose it goes back to those shows and movies and books I loved as a kid. Taylor finding the Statue of Liberty half-buried in the sand, those little aliens terrorizing Agnes Moorehead turning out to be Earthlings, 'Soylent Green is people,' for heaven's sake! Those were pivotal moments of my childhood, and they showed me how powerful a few words or a few frames of film could be.
That being said, I've always been a huge fan of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke, so I'd love to try my hand at a full-on scifi novel at some point, but knowing me as I do, it will probably turn out more Alien than ET.

What are you currently working on?
Book 2 of the Stage 3 story is currently in my publisher's hands, and though I can't give you a release date yet, I can tell you a little bit about it. The title of the book is Stage 3: Alpha, and it is not simply a continuation of 'The Adventures of Mace and Mack'. Yes, the dynamic duo are still around, but Alpha steps back a bit and tells the story of the collapse from an entirely different perspective. We get to meet a whole new bunch of characters, some of whom will play a pivotal role in future books, and we even get a tiny hint as to the cause of the epidemic. And for everyone who's been asking…. yes, I promise we will at last know the fate of dear Aunt Sarah.
After that, there'll be a bit of a break from zombies with a book called Arcadia Falls. It's still in the horror genre and I truly hope that it scares the snot out people, but I wrote it with YA readers in mind, so the language is a lot cleaner and I don't think there's a single skull reduced to pulp. A shame really, but there's no accounting for taste.
How do you keep yourself motivated to write?Fortunately, motivation isn't a problem. Writing is the love of my life! Yes, we've had our arguments and we've even had a trial separation or two, but we're back together for good and I couldn't be happier. The only problem I have now is with the finite number of hours in a day. My time has to be divided between marketing and writing, and there are days when writing gets the short end of the stick. It sucks, but it's all part of the game, and those days of no writing are usually followed by days of writing for 10 or 12 or 14 hours at a stretch, so I guess it all evens out. And as every writer know, even when you're not physically stabbing at a keyboard, you're still writing.
Speaking of which, I really have to mention a ten minute writing prompt offered by…(ahem)…a certain website. I don't always come up with anything worth posting, but it's a lot of fun letting my mind come at the thing from a dozen different directions. 

Awe. Thank you for the plug. Next question. Cats or Dogs?
Ah, the age-old question.... Well, I love all animals, so there's no way I'm going to choose one over the other. I've mostly had cats, but that's just because they're a little more suited to my particular brand of lazy. My only problem with either is that I tend to outlive them, and it's always tough losing a friend. I even swore off all pets for a while for just that reason, but the universe had other ideas. A stray cat showed up at my door one day and stuck around for the next 17 years ago. And counting!

People, meet Angel. Angel, people.....

I want to give a big thanks to Ken for taking the time for this interview. If you follow me on twitter, you know I'm a huge fan and this has been an honor. 

Today's Writing Prompt is sponsored by

Buy Scrivener 2 for macOS (Education Licence)

 The Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt Challenge 
 Write every day, even if it's just a little bit. Keep the creative momentum moving. The rules are simple. Set your timer ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini-story. The noun or pronoun can be changed to your requirement. The tense can also be changed. Feel free to share the results of your writing prompt in the comments below.

 Today's writing prompt is:
The vein in your temple is throbbing again. 

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