KE: Probably in high school. I had English last period of the day, I used to write short silly stories for my friend Michelle, making fun of people in the school. I’d drop them in my friend’s locker and she’d read them to her first period class the next day. Apparently I had a bit of a following.
CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like?
KE: I’m lucky (luck? hard work?), I’ve been able to retire to write full time so I tend to wake late, potter about the house and run errands, then at 2pm the tv gets turned off, I sit at my desk and work. I’ll take a few breaks ie dinner, then usually work until around 1 or 2am. After that I’ll reward myself with some silly tv episode I’ve been saving.
CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?
KE: I need to have a clean working area, does that count as a ritual? I handwrite my first drafts and always use my favourite fountain pen.
CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?
KE: Hmm, difficult. Can I say both? I love novels because you can draw out the tension, tell a really big story. But short stories let you tell tales with a short, sharp sort of jab. I tend to write short stories in between novels.
CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?
KE: Not all that great. We have Fan Expo in Toronto each year, which is actually becoming huge, and combines comics, movies, sci fi, fantasy, and horror. Other than that, it’s pretty quiet. I moved last year from Toronto to a smaller city just outside. I love decorating my front porch at Halloween, in fact a few years ago small children wouldn’t come up on the porch, it was a bit too much for them. This past year, we had only a handful of kids, which was a little sad. But Chucky from Child’s Play turned up and it was adorable!
CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?
KE: I’m a huge fan of outlines. I write both historical fiction and historical horror, so keeping the timelines straight is of key importance (historical fiction readers are a TOUGH bunch!). I start with coloured post it notes with a single line on, put them on the wall and move them around to form the main story elements. After that I do a more detailed outline for each chapter.
CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?
KE: It gave me more confidence! As in ‘holy cow, someone actually wants to read something I wrote? It gave me a little push, that push turned into a shove and so on until I got to an actual published book.
CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story?
KE: Fear. I know, trite answer. But fear of the unknown, the things that go bump even with the lights on, the beasties who live in the corners and watch you at night. I love when horror writers take the time to create the atmosphere before the stabby stabby and screams and shrieks.
CHHR: What are you currently working on?
KE: I’m just finishing up on edits for the second part of my medieval horror story, then finishing a novella I’ve started, then another purely historical fiction novel taking place in Anglo Saxon England.
CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?
KE: A biography of Albert Einstein, a complete re-read of all of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, and The Last Elves by Patrick McGrath, whose work I love.
CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?
KE: IT. I remember reading it in university, when it first came out. I went to my room, read a bit, then had to return to the living room with my parents to continue reading, it scared the willies out of me.
CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?
KE: Alien. But in case that’s controversial/too sci fi then the Evil Dead movies. No, wait, Nosferatu, absolutely. But I also love Romero’s zombies, all of them. This question is too difficult. Oooh, Hellraiser! And all of the classic Hollywood monsters. Okay, I’m done now. Except wait! Salem’s Lot!
CHHR: What is your spirit animal?
KE: The noble tardigrade.
CHHR: What is your favorite beer?
KE: Here in Canada, Stella Artois. When I lived in England, there was a beer made by monks that had a subtle cherry flavour, I really do miss that!
CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?
KE: Stephen King. Wait, living or dead? Can I pick Geoffrey Chaucer? Oooh, Chuck Palahniuk! Stop me right here because this is gonna go the way of the ‘favourite horror movie’ question REAL fast!
Born in Canada of Scottish extraction, Kelly graduated in History and English from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.
After graduation, Kelly moved to the UK where she worked in the financial sector. While in London she continued her studies in history, focussing on Medieval England and the Icelandic Sagas (with a smattering of Old Norse and Old English).
Kelly now lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband Max and two rescue cats (Bear and Wolf). She still works in the financial sector as a trade technology project manager. Her short stories have been published in numerous magazines and E-zines as well as a horror anthology, where her fourteenth century horror story was received with enthusiasm.
When not writing Kelly enjoys reading history books, silversmithing, playing oboe and medieval recorder, and watching really bad horror and old sci-fi movies. She is currently working on the second book in her Anglo-Saxon series, set in the years prior to the Norman invasion.