Nate Kenyon grew up in a small town in Maine and is a graduate of Trinity College in Connecticut, majoring in English and winning awards for playwriting and fiction. Some of his short fiction found publication in literary and genre magazines such as Nude Beach, The Belletrist Review, Nocturnal Ecstasy and Terminal Frights. Now residing in the Boston area, he has worked in the marketing and communications fields. In 2006 his first novel, Bloodstone, was published and named a Bram Stoker Award finalist in hardcover and winning the P&E Horror Novel of the Year. In 2008, The Reach was released, earning a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was also a Stoker Award Finalist. The Bone Factory is coming in July 2009, and his fourth novel, Sparrow Rock, will hit shelves in Spring 2010. Kenyon has a trade paperback science fiction novella, Prime, coming July 2009 as well. He has recently had stories published in Shroud Magazine, Permuted Press’s Giant Creatures anthology, and Legends of the Mountain State 2, and has several others forthcoming. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.
Thanks for being here, Nate. It’s a pleasure.
Thanks for having me!
#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
I was orphaned at an early age, losing my father in a car accident when I was eight, and my mother to cancer when I was thirteen. These two events shaped me in many ways, but one of the most important was that they made me turn to writing as an escape and a way to explore my darker thoughts. I went to school in a very small town, had a lot of good friends and loved to play sports (baseball in particular, which I played right up through college). I majored in English, with a minor in studio arts--I used to do quite a bit of sketching and charcoal work, although I haven't done much recently.
These days I'm a father of three living in the suburbs, a very busy family man who likes to work on house renovation projects and read in my spare time--not that there's a lot of it!
#2- You are a member of HWA and ITW. What do you feel you have gained from those memberships and would you recommend them for aspiring horror/mystery writers?
I think the biggest thing you gain, especially as a young writer, is this instant network and community. Writing can be a very solitary thing, and when you're dealing with rejections on a daily basis it can feel like you're completely alone in the world. Writer's organizations can help you feel like you're part of something bigger, and they give you the chance to meet others who can help you, both with advice about your career, and even with contacts at agencies or publishers. I met many of my close friends today through HWA and ITW.
For these reasons, I would recommend joining. It's not particularly expensive, so there isn't much to lose--and you can volunteer too, which will expose you to even more people and opportunities down the road.
#3- How do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?
I wouldn't know, since I have not received a single negative review. Kidding…honestly, my very first review was from Kirkus, and it was less than flattering. I remember reading it and just having this sinking feeling, as if I'd pulled the wool over everyone's eyes until now, but they'd figured out I was a fraud and my career was over. It didn't take long, though, until I had a Publishers Weekly review that was a lot better, and things kept looking up from there.
I still get negative reviews every once in a while. But I think that experience taught me a lot---there's always another review, and there are an unlimited number of opinions in this world. You have to separate out the fact that critics are commenting on a novel, not on you as a person. Some of their points may be perfectly valid, and I think you can learn more from a negative review in many cases than you can from a good one.
#4- Were there any movies or authors when you were young that inspired you to write in your genre?
Oh, sure. King was a huge influence, of course. So was Peter Straub, James Herbert, Ira Levin, Thomas Harris, Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson. I've also been influenced by a lot of the noir detective writers. I read very widely, always have--literary fiction, classics, genre--I think it's essential for writers to read all the time.
#5- Where do you get your ideas and motivation from?
My ideas come from all over the place--current events, magazine articles, other movies or stories, strange events in my own life, even dreams. I just had a particularly strange and vivid one about a group of people in an abandoned and supposedly haunted mansion, looking for hidden treasure, which might become a story or novel someday. My novel THE BONE FACTORY came out of a dream I had about a man in the middle of the woods in winter, at night, looking for a dead body. It was unbelievably creepy and I woke up having to write it down. I started asking myself who this person was, and who was dead? The plot took off from there.
As for my motivation, that's a bit more complicated. I'm not sure--I've always had this compulsion to write, ever since I was a boy. I wrote stories all the time. In fact, when I was eight, I wrote this 25 page typed story called The White Horse, which I copied with carbon paper in a typewriter and sold to relatives for a quarter.
I like exploring the story. I like figuring out where my characters are going to go. There's a real rush when something clicks--suddenly I get it, and I can't wait to put it down on paper. And there's a thrill to seeing my name in print, too.
#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?
Definitely. My novel THE BONE FACTORY hit shelves June 30, in paperback, from Leisure Books. It's about a young, troubled family being stalked by a particularly strange psychopath in the depths of the Canadian woods, and it's in stores everywhere now. My short sci fi novel, PRIME, is about a grizzled bug hunter who is hired to chase down a glitch in the world's biggest online network, and finds out this glitch is far more than anyone suspects--and far more dangerous. It's out now from Apex Books, and it's one hell of a great read--sexy, fast and fun.
Any of my works can be found easily on Amazon right here:
Finally, I've just finished my next Leisure novel, SPARROW ROCK, an apocalyptic supernatural horror-thriller about a group of teenagers trapped underground when the end of the world comes. It's my best work to date, and will be out in the spring of 2010.
My website is http://natekenyon.com, and I can be reached any time at firstname.lastname@example.org me a line, I'd be glad to hear from you!
#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thanks again for a great interview! I hope everyone who checks out my work takes the time to shoot me an email and say hello. I love to hear from readers.