Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of The Beyond! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what (or who) was its inspiration?
Ken Brosky: Coal miners accidentally open a gateway to another world with Hellish consequences. One of the miners is the brother of Moon Song who loses touch with him and grows worried. She hires a PI and together, they travel to the mining town of Blackrock, Pennsylvania, to uncover the truth. They soon realize that there’s more going on than they could have ever imagined.
I think a lot of my inspiration came from a book called Paperbacks From Hell by Grady Hendrix. It’s a celebration of horror novels from the '80s and '90s, the stuff I grew up on. I loved it so much that I felt this intense desire to write my own paperback from Hell. Once I had the basic premise ironed out, everything else seemed to come naturally. Maybe that’s because of all the horror I consumed as a youngin’.
BD: What can you tell us about the creative process of bringing this story to life?
KB: I did a lot of research on coal mining, and then I discarded some of it in order to fit the story. I feel bad about that, but I had the plot figured out and I didn’t want to deviate from it too much. It’s weird to think about now, but the story itself came incredibly easy. I’ve never stuck to a plot outline so rigidly before! Then it was a matter of developing this town and the strange goings-on. That turned out to be a mixture of work and fun. Sometimes, a grisly image would just come to me in the middle of the night. I’d rush to get it down and find a place for it in the novel. Sometimes, though, I just knew a particular scene needed to be scary, but I was at a loss for how to make it happen! Whenever that kind of writer’s block hit me, I would go back to the horror movies of my youth to see how the masters approached it.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that The Beyond will connect with and impact readers?
KB: I hope readers will see the antagonists of this story as human, in all honesty. This book is about the darkest corners of our society, about the struggles we face and the events that happen beyond our control. It’s about questioning how far you would go to get back that piece of your life that you lost due to unexpected circumstances.
BD: What makes Timber Ghost Press the perfect home for this story?
KB: The publisher loved it! Man, does that feel good. I’ve never really had a publisher come along and decide to take a chance on one of my novels. I got real close once, years ago, with this publisher from Atlanta, Georgia. But then they up and changed their minds, which was so incredibly devastating that it turned me off from traditional publishing for a decade. I went through this period of self-publishing Young Adult books on the Kindle, and royalties were so good that I didn’t give traditional publishing a second chance. Then, about 5 years ago, I started to feel like my writing was at a level that it might be worth sending out. I found a couple agents who were interested, and that was like a jolt of adrenaline. But we never found a publisher for the novels I’d written, and it was devastating. Then along comes Timber Ghost Press, and here we are. I’m so incredibly proud to be part of this press.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the story into subsequent books (or into other entertainment mediums if given the opportunity)?
KB: I have ideas for two sequels, but we’ll see how that goes. I also have an idea for another original horror story set in the classic “small town during a blizzard.” I’ve done so much research into mythical monsters over the past couple of years that I feel like it would be waste not to flex those muscles a bit. I’m a huge fan of those scary stories set in isolated communities because it puts characters into this horrible situation: you have to survive with a limited set of tools. Survival horror at its best … it’s no wonder I love John Carpenter’s The Thing so much.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
KB: I have a short story in Tough Crime Mag which you can find online. It’s easily one of the best mystery/crime publications out there, and it’s free. I’ve been writing columns for Suspense Magazine, so if you’re interested in writing horror or mysteries or thrillers, you can check that out too.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Beyond and your other work?
KB: You can buy The Beyond at Timber Ghost Press’ website. It’s also on Amazon, as well. If you want to follow me on Twitter, I’m @Grendelguy. I share book stuff, writing stuff, and just a bunch of generally crazy stuff (including capybara stuff because I love those giant rodents).