Author Interview: Luther Kross

a man's hand turning a book page; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out Fever Dreams: Volume I! My review is here.

Interview:

1.  Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

To be perfectly honest, I read most books in ebook format these days. It allows me to carry multiple books at once, ready anywhere I like, and make notes in the text. It’s the perfect solution for a person that’s always on the go. That said, I do have a small collection of paperbacks at home, that I am slowly adding to.

2.  Pick a genre, any genre!

Anyone who’s talked to me for more than five seconds probably already knows the answer to this question; horror.

I’ve been a horror fan for as long as I can remember. As I’ve gotten older, that love has only solidified.

Horror is the perfect genre for a deep exploration of the human condition and the world in which we live. It also gives us a chance to reframe our own lives. To think, “Yeah, things are bad, but at least I’m not living through that.

3.  What is the first book you remember reading?

That would have to be The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

I’m sure I read other books prior to that, but it was the first one that really stood out to me.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that there are other worlds than these.

4.  What book shaped your childhood most?

That honor goes to The Dark Tower 3: The Wastelands. An older cousin of mine was reading the book and had left it open on the page with the illustration of the creatures that Roland and his ka-tet saw while riding through the wastes in a sentient bullet train.

It wasn’t long after that until I found the first book in that series and started reading it. If it wasn’t for The Dark Tower, my own series, The Toad Road Chronicles wouldn’t exist.

5.  When did you first start writing?

That’s hard to pin down. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, my dad had shared a notebook of his own poetry with me. I remember thinking, “My dad wrote this? No way.”

After that, I started dabbling in poetry myself. Maybe a year later, I tried my hand at my first couple of short stories.

From there, I floundered in and out of writing, until about five years ago when I truly took the plunge and started pursuing it more seriously.

6.  What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

Ultimately, it was the desire to share a story as epic and meaningful as King’s Dark Tower. That series helped me push through some of the darkest moments in my life. To this day, that remains my focus. To tell stories that people can turn to when things get rough. To provide an escape hatch for when reality is just too much to bear.

7.  What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

So far, that would definitely be book one in The Toad Road Chronicles. It took me five years to finish that book. Between struggling with Impostor Syndrome, beating alcoholism, and fixing my marriage, I somehow managed to finally finish a full-length manuscript. I honestly never thought I’d get there, but I did.

8.  Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I decided to publish it. After putting so much blood, sweat, and tears into that manuscript, I couldn’t being myself to hide it away.

Besides all of that, the plans for a sequel (or multiple sequels) were already rattling around in my mind by the time I finished book one.

I firmly believe that The Toad Road Chronicles will be my magnum opus. My readers are, of course, free to agree or disagree. Only time will tell.

9.  How many books/collections have you published so far?

As of right now, I have six short story compilations published and one full-length novel.

The short story compilations are fairly small, with just three stories per volume, but that was a stylistic choice on my part. They are an homage to my favorite short story compilations of yesteryear. Things like Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, and others of that ilk.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

My go-to genre is horror. Probably always will be. That said, I do have some ideas on the back burner for other genres. I have the plans for an entire urban fantasy, super-hero series, a couple fantasy ideas, and another that is purely human drama.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I do tons and tons of research. Some stories require little to none, especially if they’re set in entirely fictional worlds. Others require knowledge of real world locations, events, people, etc. For those, I hit the books…and Google. Definitely Google.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

When I’m in short story mode, I fly entirely by the seat of my pants. Short stories are my playground. It’s where I go to simply have fun and create something new and weird.

For my longer works, I do lay out a general plot line, always keeping in mind that it could change.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I chose the self-publishing route through Amazon’s KDP and Kindle Unlimited.

First and foremost, I don’t believe that the literary world needs the gatekeepers of traditional publishing. We, as readers, can determine for ourselves what we do and don’t want to read. Moreover, there is a plethora of downright amazing Indie books out there. Books that, most likely, never would have managed publication via traditional means. That’s a crime as far as I’m concerned.

Secondly, Amazon has the largest share of the Indie market. I think choosing another route would have been a bit foolish, but that is my own personal opinion on the matter.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Definitely King’s Midworld! I want to stand in the field of Can-Ka No Rey and see The Dark Tower firsthand. Can you imagine standing at the very nexus of all of existence? Touching it with your bare hands?

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Well, that is decidedly a loaded question. At the moment, I am working on Book Two of The Toad Road Chronicles and I am astonished at where the story has chosen to go. I’m also working on a new volume for The Interwoven Underverse. It’s called Edges of the Abyss. And, of course, I am still jotting down ideas for new volumes of Fever Dreams. That will probably remain true until I draw my last breath.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Once upon a time – read, about seven years ago – I had an idea pop into my head to write a detective noir novel. I wanted to do something completely outside of my normal genre and surprise readers with it one day. The main character – a private eye named Tommy Knox – was your typical, grizzled, antisocial private eye, complete with a missing fiancée and a HUGE chip on his shoulder.

Unfortunately, that manuscript simply never came to fruition, but old Tommy Knox never stopped kicking around in my head. I tried resurrecting him in a number of ways, but none of them felt right.

Finally, when I sat down to write Book Two of The Toad Road Chronicles, I’d found a place for him. I won’t give away much because I wouldn’t want to spoil the story, but I think this is the place for him.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

At the moment, that would be Book One of The Toad Road Chronicles. It is the book that almost never was.

It took me about five years to finish that manuscript. Between the Impostor Syndrome, my obligations, and some other things, this book became difficult to write.

Now, I’m not only writing a sequel, but I’m planning even more for this story’s future. It’s crazy how that worked out, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

My favorite relationship thus far has been the family dynamic between the main characters of Toad Road.

You start with Donnie and his older brother Will. Will’s been raising Donnie since childhood. Then, you add Sean – Donnie’s best friend – who’s more like an extra little brother to Will. Now, you add Gabby – Will’s long-time girlfriend – and voilà! You’ve got a tight-knit little family that would go to the ends of the Earth for each other. Family might start with blood, but it doesn’t end there.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. When I do, it’s usually some kind of metal. Lately, I’ve really been digging Ice Nine Kills. Their album Welcome to Horrorwood is freaking killer!

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Sadly, I do not. I, myself, am not much good with drawing or painting things. I haven’t commissioned any character art thus far, either, though I may do so in the future. I do have a gnarly character sketch in mind, and I may know an artist willing to do it.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

I’ll give you the same answer to this question as I gave to another interviewer recently, because I believe in it that strongly.

To quote Margaret Atwood, “A word after a word after a word is power.” Never forget that. You don’t need a publisher or an agent to validate you as a writer. A writer writes. Simply by putting those words on the page, you are accomplishing something that a large number of people will simply never achieve. Don’t let the naysayers deter you, including your own inner critic.

If you’ve been bitten by the writing bug, embrace it!

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

Never participated in any writing contests, per se, but I did submit a couple of stories to Creepypasta.com many years ago.

I’ll never forget how stoked I was to get that first story approved for a post on the main page. Felt like a small-time celebrity for a moment.

It didn’t take long until people started picking it apart and leaving negative commentary. Some of it was downright hilarious, but it all served to fuel the fire.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

All right. Here goes nothing!

1. Stephen King – Hard to start this list with anyone else. If it wasn’t for Stephen King, I wouldn’t be writing today.

2. Clive Barker – Let’s face it, the man’s a genius. There’s no way around it.

3. H.P. Lovecraft – No matter what, you can’t deny the impact that cosmic horror has had in the literary world. This man created an entire genre, then stuffed it full with massive universe.

4. Jeff Strand – One of the best writers working in the genre. Nobody can weave a horror-comedy quite like Jeff Strand does. His body of work serves as a reminder that horror doesn’t have to be serious one hundred percent of the time.

5. Iain Rob Wright – If you haven’t read his Hell on Earth series, you are seriously missing out. If there ever were a story to perfectly capture the unyielding human spirit, Hell on Earth is it.

6. Erik Henry Vick – Erik has a wide range as an author, and it shows when you look at his bibliography on Amazon. Whether you’re into fantasy, horror, detective noir, or a blend of all three, Erik’s got you covered.

7. Benjamin Wallace – Benjamin is the author of one of my all-time favorite post-apocalyptic series called Duck and Cover. If you’ve never read it, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The Librarian is a force to be reckoned with.

8. Bryan Smith – Bryan is another author whose range is impressive. He covers every subgenre of horror you can think of, and probably a few that you haven’t. If you’re on the hunt for a scary story to keep you up at night, Bryan has definitely got you covered.

That’s my list, as it stands now. I’m sure there will be many names added to future iterations.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I hang around Twitter quite a bit (@lutherkrossauth). Also, here’s a link to all of my socials and other whatnots. https://hy.page/lutherkross.

6 thoughts on “Author Interview: Luther Kross

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