Friday, January 10, 2020

Rollin' Down the Supernatural Highway with Author Kevin David Anderson

Yee-haw, y’all! Gather ‘round, pop your boots up, grab that bag of greasy sliders, pop a cold one and join me as I grill (hope I don’t overcook him) comical horror author Kevin David Anderson. Kevin’s got a new book out from Grinning Skull Press entitled Midnight Men: The Supernatural Adventures of Dale and Earl and it’s a rollicking good time. 

Check out his super-cool trailer if you don't believe me!

 I knew I had to chat him up on my blog. Let’s see what Kevin’s all about…

SRW: Welcome Kevin. So… let’s get the necessary hyping and explaining outta the way first. What’s Midnight Men all about? And you must describe it like a country ballad. None of that sissy, namby-pamby, fancy-pantsed, modern pop country stuff, either. Nosirree, Bob! I’m talking a manly man’s country and western song, the kind Dale and Earl cruise to.

KDA: Well, I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel so I’ll throw out some of my favorite Waylon Jennings lyrics from the television show that is really just a country version of Masterpiece Theater:

Just the good ol' boys
Never meanin' no harm
Beats all you never saw
Been in trouble with the law
Since the day they was born
Staightenin' the curves
Flattenin' the hills
Someday the mountain might get 'em
But the law never will

Now if Mr. Jennings were to just change a few lyrics, substitute the young, good looking Bo and Luke Duke with two heavyset, not-so-good looking rednecks, trade out the General Lee for a Mac truck, season it with a few monsters, and that right there would be Midnight Men

SRW: Kevin, let’s tackle the burning question I’m certain is on everyone’s mind.  Are you, sir, a redneck?

KDA: Well, in the affirmative column we have my blonde mullet I wore for a brief time in the 80s, my Willie Nelson record collection, and the fact that I did live in Texas for three years. In the not a redneck column I have, never owned a pickup truck, lived in a trailer park, or dated a relative. I don’t care much for Pabst Blue Ribbon, beer nuts or motorsports. So, if I tally that all up and look at the convention chart, I think that puts me in the Not a Redneck category. 
An American Mullet in Paris (Anderson circa 1985)!
SRW: Then, why write about them? After all, haven’t you heard, write what you know?

KDA: Yeah, I’ve heard it. It seems to imply that if you’re not a redneck you couldn’t possibly write about’ em. But yet I also write about werewolves, demons, zombies, necromancers, witches, vampires, serial killers, human traffickers, ghouls, sadists, Satan worshipers, and monster killin’ truck drivers and I’m not at least half of those things either.

SRW: Here in godforsaken Kansas, Dale and Earl wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow. Let’s talk about Dale… He’s a man of mysterious background and since he’s also a man of few words, we don’t learn too much of that background. Do you know his full story? Or are you winging it?

KDA: I have his background story, the details are not etched in stone, but the basics are there. I will put it down on paper if and when there are enough readers asking for it. 

SRW: And what about that shadowy organization he sometimes works for and tries to keep at distance from his pal, Earl? 

KDA: Yeah, those guys. I like the idea of keeping them in the shadows, but what I will say here and now, assuming Earl and Dale’s story continues beyond Midnight Men, is that the organization exists on every continent, they’ve been around since before the Roman Empire, and its membership does not discriminate against the non-human or the dead.  

SRW: On the subject of Earl… He’s huge, he’s good-natured (when he’s not breaking skulls), loyal, and more than a little dense between the ears. You’ve dropped that he was adopted by a Native-American family and they brought him up on the reservation. Is there any chance of getting his “secret origin” story in the future?

KDA: Just like Dale’s background, Earl’s origins have been sketched out in my mind, and should the redneck duos adventures continue, then his story and his adoptive tribe will play a big part.

SRW: Earl appears to get love-struck fairly easily and I’m betting it happens often. Dale, on the other hand, is as celibate as a priest (wait…let’s try that again…)… Dale’s as celibate as a eunuch. Sure, he pines after his ex-wife (even though he has nothing kind to say about her), but surely that’s not the only reason he doesn’t seek companionship. Life on the road’s tough, I suppose, especially with spider-monsters and such coming outta the woodwork, but come on!

KDA: Funny you should ask. I have started a story in which I explore that very aspect of Dale, and what I know so far is that his relationship with his ex is much more complicated then I ever realized. Vile disdain can come from the heart and if felt deep enough can translate into physical passions. Not necessarily positive passions (there may be gunfire) but passions none the less. 

SRW: Okay, was the tv show, Supernatural, an inspiration? I kinda like to think of Dale and Earl as Sam and Dean gone to seed. But don’t go buy a yacht yet, Kevin. I don’t think people would want to turn into a TV show with Dale and Earl as the stars? I just can’t see it on the CW, home of the pretty, pretty poster people.

KDA: I see and understand the comparison, and I do like their black 67’ Impala (damn that’s a fine automobile) but they didn’t inspire Earl and Dale. The idea of truckers fighting darkness came from one of my favorite John Carpenter movies, Big Trouble in Little China. Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is the original inspiration for it all, and although my two characters might hardly be recognizable in the comparison with Jack, if you look closely, squint your eyes a bit, you can see the similarities. As far as Earl and Dale on TV, I think they might fit on networks like USA, FX, TBS, TNT, and of course PBS. 

SRW: Horror and humor, two of my favorite things. I, too, dabble in this tricky genre. Let’s chat about that for a bit… We know humor’s highly subjective, yeah? For instance, my wife finds me painfully unfunny.  Others do. I think it’s particularly tough to write humor. You miss the cadence, the awkward pauses, the double-takes, etc. Now, when you stir horror into the mix, it becomes doubly hard. Yet I keep doing it. Don’t ask me why. Does it come naturally to you (I would hope the answer is “YES,” for there can only be one)?

KDA: I believe the answer is yes. But that’s not to imply that it is always easy. Sometimes the humor comes so fast I can’t write fast enough. Other times it's like trying to teach a chicken to whistle. Not much being accomplished. So, I think the key is to make yourself available to write when the writing is good, and when it’s not good, don’t force it. Go for a walk, shoot some hoops, kick the aforementioned chicken, whatever it takes to fill the creative well back up. 

SRW: I’ve noticed a particular aversion to humorous horror from the hard-core horror crowd. Whenever you mention humor or comedy (even dark as night), you can see their beady lil’ hardcore eyes glaze over and the derisive sneers form. Methinks they’ve had bad experience with the sub-genre and I can’t blame them there. It’s a tricky fence to straddle. I always put the characters, plot and horror first, with humor added as dashes of fun. I can’t help myself. But it’s easy to tip the other direction into spoofery (like “Scary Movie” and alla that junk) and nobody likes that. I mean, really, if it’s obvious you’re not taking your story or characters seriously, than why should the reader care? Thoughts?

KDA: Nope. It’s a really good question though. I can tell you gave it some thought.  

SRW: (Man...what a cop-out!) Finally on the last topic of humor in horror. When in doubt, scatological it out. Agree or disagree? (Earl does a lotta belching and projectile vomiting…what a guy).

KDA: Well I won’t say it's my go-to, but watching a character slip in someone else’s vomit is never not funny. 

SRW: I think you straddled the fence nicely, Kevin. Congrats on the most frowned upon sub-section of horror you’re likely to find.

KDA: Thank you. I endeavor to straddle. 

SRW: Um…does your wife find you funny? Or is it just me and my wife?

KDA: I don’t know what the marriage laws are where you are, but here in California my wife is legally obligated to find me funny. I’m legally obligated to compliment her shoes, even if she isn’t wearing any. It doesn’t make sense but it works for us. 

SRW: Do you intend on continuing Dale and Earl’s adventures? I want a novel detailing background, you hear me?

KDA: It's up to the readers. Midnight Men came about because of the calls, emails, and comments I was getting to continue the story that began with Earl and Dale’s adventure described in the short story Green Eyes and Chili Dogs. I’ll wait to see how Midnight Men is received before I consider continuing their story. 

SRW: What’s up next on your keyboard, Kevin?

KDA: Before the end of the year I will release my second joke book for kids, Jurassic Jokes: A Joke Book 65 Million Years in the Making under my pseudonym, Giggles A. Lott & Nee Slapper. And currently, I’m working on a follow up to my most successful novel, Night of the Living Trekkies. No zombies in this one, but it will see a few returning characters and will mashup Star Trek fandom with a popular international franchise in the thriller genre.

SRW: Tell the fine folks where they can stalk you on social media and give links so I don’t have to.

KDA: That would be my pleasure. Let the stalking begin!

Facebook – Kevin David Anderson

Instagram – Kevin David Anderson

Goodreads – Kevin David Anderson

Letterbox – Kevin David Anderson

News Blog – Kevin David Anderson

SRW: Alrighty! Thanks heaps, Kevin, for being a good sport and hanging out. Y’all need to hop on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of MidnightMen: The Supernatural Adventures of Dale and Earl stat! It’s recommended. Me? I’ve gotta get back on the road, roll down the window, let the wind blow back…blow on my scalp, put the pedal to the metal and let this trucker roar, ten-four!

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