Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on Pete Kahle, one of our two horror authors coming for our “Put Some Horror into Your Holidays” event this Saturday, December 17, from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. Pete Kahle is author of the award-winning novel SPECIMEN, as well as the owner of Bloodshot Books publishing company.
Welcome, Pete! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
In the “real world”, I’m a special education teacher for incarcerated youth from ages 12-22, but I have been a fan of horror fiction ever since my grandfather unknowingly gave his bookworm grandson a copy of SALEM’S LOT at age 10. For the next 3 decades, I always talked about my desire to write novels, and I took a couple of writing classes in college, but — out of fear of rejection and perpetual procrastination — I didn’t get down to writing until my early 40’s. Against the advice of many people, I decided to self-publish THE SPECIMEN through Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing. Now, just over two years later, I run my own small press, Bloodshot Books, and I’d like to think we’re making a name for ourselves. I started with two anthologies and reprints of horror novels that I personally felt deserved a wider audience, and next year we will be publishing 9 new novels, the first of which is ETERNAL DARKNESS by Tom Deady.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from THE SPECIMEN?
I like to write about topics that mix genres, horror and Sci-Fi mainly, because that’s what I read. Readers can expect vivid imagery — especially in the gory parts. I have no qualms in going for the gross-out — but I also like to focus on using a variety of historical settings. In THE SPECIMEN, there are numerous flashbacks to events in the Viking era and the Aztec Empire (and many other times). There are multiple plot threads that run parallel for 2/3 of the book before coming together in the end, so prepare to immerse yourself for days on end. I like sprawling horror novels like Robert McCammon’s SWAN SONG or Dan Simmons’ CARRION COMFORT, so that is what I write.
What was the inspiration for THE SPECIMEN? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
The idea for the alien Riders in THE SPECIMEN initially came from a video I saw about teratomas. These are extremely rare types of tumors that can be found in people’s brain and in some cases, ovaries. What makes them so unique is the fact that they can grow other types of tissue inside the tumor, such as teeth, fingernails, endocrine glands and even brain tissue. Naturally I extrapolated that into the idea that they were not actually tumors, but parasitic alien creatures. Much of my brainstorming over the next few months happened during my long commutes to and from work. Ideas for various scenes came from random articles I read on Wikipedia, or illustrations I may have seen in a textbook. I have a master document on my laptop entitled “Possible Ideas”. Whenever I come across anything that intrigues me, no matter how random, I write myself a note with a web address or notation attached, and I come back to it whenever I need inspiration. The internet is a bottomless fountain of weird shit and I go diving into it whenever I can.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I read horror and science fiction mainly, though I occasionally stray into crime novels and comics. Horror, believe it or not, is my escape from the true horrors of the real world – war, bigotry, racism, and everyday hate that we see on the news. I read about monsters to forget about the monsters that hide among us. Science Fiction, on the other hand, represents my view of the future. It’s generally a hopeful genre. I love to immerse myself in hypothetical encounters with alien cultures, voyages to alternate universes, and potential advances in technology. I think my attraction to these genres is very similar to that of my fellow readers. Hope and escapism – that’s necessary in this day and age.
What else can we expect from you in the near future? My current novel-in-progress is a stand-alone tale entitled BLOOD MOTHER. It has been much harder to write than THE SPECIMEN, but I’m determined to grind through and finish it. Hopefully I’ll have it completed in a few months. Next up — because I don’t want to disappoint fans of THE SPECIMEN are books 2 and 3 of the Riders Saga, THE ABOMINATION and THE HORSEMEN. After that, who knows? I have so many ideas swimming in my head that I’m not certain which one will rear its head first.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
I wear headphones that are tuned to a website called mynoise.net with a variety of white noise loops. Rain on a tin roof, waterfalls, the wind through the leaves, they have it all. They help me focus and drown out any distractions. It’s pure Zen.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Amazon.com is my bread and butter, but my books can also be found in various independent bookstores throughout Massachusetts
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
1) Our website – https://bloodshotbooks.wordpress.com/
2) Our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/bloodshotbooks/
3) Twitter – https://twitter.com/HorriblePete
Thank you again for joining us, Pete! We look forward to having you and Tom Deady with us THIS SATURDAY, December 17, from 2:00 – 4:00 PM!