Interview with Kevin Flanders, Author of Escape from Fear Village
It's not often I get a chance to feature a local author at my blog. Since I work in the online world, many of my contacts are from outside of Western Mass. I was introduced to Kevin's work through my son. I've been blessed with the opportunity to see some of Kevin's writing in pre-published stage. It's outstanding. I highly recommend his novels to lovers of the horror and paranormal thriller genres.
A resident of Monson, MA, Kevin Flanders has written several short stories and is currently focusing on novels. He graduated from Franklin Pierce University in 2010 with a degree in communications, and he has spent the last three years working for various newspapers in western and central Massachusetts. He also serves as an instructor at many ice hockey goaltending clinics and still plays hockey on winter men’s league teams. For more information about his short stories and novels, visit www.kmflanders.wordpress.com.
When did you begin writing?
I began writing fiction in college. I’d always loved reading and vocabulary, but it wasn’t until my first fiction workshop course in 2006 that I actually sat down and wrote a fictional story for an assignment. I wasn’t overly excited about it at the time (it just seemed like another homework assignment to complete), but I found myself fascinated by the characters and the plot I was creating. I started writing that night around seven o’clock, and by the time I looked up from my laptop, it was well after nine. And there was still so much writing to do, so many characters to introduce – I didn’t want to stop. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I usually edit and do a little writing early in the afternoon, but my best writing always comes very late at night and in the early hours of the next morning (between ten p.m. and two a.m.). My scariest ideas come even later, around three or four while I’m trying to sleep. I’m not sure why that is – maybe it has something to do with the fact that most of my books are horror/paranormal thrillers and that everything seems so much scarier after dark. I never write in the morning after I get up – it seems to take my fiction mind a fairly long time to get revved into motion.
What is this book about?
Escape from Fear Village brings readers to Black Harbor, Maine, a community known for its annual Halloween festival in the center of town. Brothers A.J. and Mackenzie Gray attend the festival every year, and they’re starting to find it a little boring. But a new attraction awaits them this year, a camper trailer that none of the other guests seem to notice. Once they step foot inside that trailer, things will never be the same again.
Escape from Fear Village is the story of family and friendship, adversity and persistence, faith and freedom, and most importantly, good and evil. A.J. and Mackenzie have never known evil before this fateful Halloween weekend, but they are soon challenged by malevolence of the purest form – a fiend who turns I’ve Been Working on the Railroad into a song of horror and madness.
An extremely fast-paced novel, Escape from Fear Village has already received excellent reviews from early readers.
What inspired you to write it?
I was inspired to write Escape from Fear Village after my sister Kimmy asked a single question: What would happen if someone became trapped on a model railroad layout? The plot seemed to magically unfold from there, reminding me of the Nabokov quote about invisible words already written and clamoring to become visible. It took me only four months to write the entire novel.
Who is your favorite character from the book?
My favorite character in the book is Clara Reed, a thirteen-year-old girl who finds herself entangled in A.J.’s haunting adventure through Fear Village. There’s an element of mystery about her character that captivates readers right to the end, and she’s a very spiritual, uplifting character with instant likeability. She’s polite yet sometimes stingingly blunt, remarkably courageous yet not incapable of tears, and so humorous and charming that she brought a smile to my face during all five revision phases.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
The book can be ordered in print version and electronically on all major bookselling websites, including Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, and Smashwords.com. For links to these sites and more information, visit www.kmflanders.wordpress.com. My marketing team is in the process of improving the site, which will soon include information about giveaways, author events, and monthly trivia questions. To contact me directly, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. My days as a reporter made me very diligent about answering every correspondence I receive, so it may take a little while but I’ll definitely get back to you.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
I would encourage all writers to just keep writing. No matter how much rejection you get or how many agents decline your manuscript, keep writing. I actually wrote Escape from Fear Village very soon after my previous manuscript, a book called Don’t Wave Back, received hundreds of rejection letters from agents and publishing companies. On the heels of such tremendous rejection, I became determined to write an even better, stronger, more inspiring and thought-provoking book than ever before (hockey has made me very competitive, and I love to succeed). Luckily, one of the very first publishers to read the proposal for Escape from Fear Village was interested. Now I’m in the process of revising Don’t Wave Back (which has a different name now) and other previously written manuscripts. Soon all of my characters will be in print, their trials and tribulations visible to readers around the world. If you work hard enough and keep writing, your characters will be out there as well. Who cares about the hundreds of rejections – all it takes is that one person who says yes.
What is up next for you?
I expect my next novel, a ghost story called The Inhabitants, to be published by the end of the year. This novel features my favorite character of all my books, Montreal native Jocelyne Leclaire, and I’m really looking forward to its release. Then, at the beginning of 2014, my third novel, a chillingly timely work called Inside the Orange Glow, will be available, followed by The Inhabitants II, Anathema, Laser Tag, and others. Thankfully, I never suffer from writer’s block – the ideas are endless, each book seeming more frightening than the previous one.