Greetings from the Ether,
With the upcoming release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 006, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the authors involved in the project. Ed Kurtz’s story “The Idea Of You” is a sorrowful, weird tale. Join us as we dive into the crafting of the story, and what the future has in store for the author.
CP: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How you came to write horror fiction?
EK: I didn’t grow up with horror, but I became enamored with it as a young adult, which I think gives me a slightly different appreciation for the genre than a lot of folks. I’m also an armchair history nut, so when reading about the Braddock Campaign in 1755 during the French-Indian War, an idea started to cement in my brain, which resulted in my first novel—a version of which is coming out many years later in 2019! I suppose I see so much real-life horror in our shared, global history that it seems a perfect fit, and more often than not my work tends to deal with a dichotomy between fantastical horror and the horror we human beings constantly inflict upon one another and ourselves.
CP: “The Idea of You” is a creepy piece that feels like it’s straight out of a nightmare. The prose is excellent and the story itself takes a rather macabre turn toward the end. Can you tell us how it came to fruition? What inspired the story?
EK: It’s probably one of the “quietest” horror pieces I’ve ever done, and though I can’t say it was a conscious decision, the Body Snatchers influence seems pretty obvious. But really, I just wanted to tell a story about the people we let into our lives, and how in a way, maybe we never truly get to know them (or vice versa). As I often say, most of what I write comprises of love stories, and this definitely fits into that, dark as it is.
CP: You’ve had many novels published, most recently the highly-acclaimed The Rib From Which I Remake the World, and a plethora of short fiction in many publications. Where exactly, from here, do you hope your writing takes you? What goals do you hope to achieve?
EK: I’ve always got more up my sleeve than time to execute it. I’m working on a new novel now, and before the end of the year I intend to begin to work on my first novel series. I just want to keep telling stories as long as I have them to tell, and to hopefully find new readers along the way.
CP: Do you have any other projects you’re working on? What does the future hold for Ed Kurtz?
EK: Next up for me is my epic post-Civil War era revenge novel, Sawbones, which comes out in July from Crossroad Press. After that, ChiZine Publications is set to publish my historical wilderness survival horror novel, Caliban, in 2019. In the meantime I’m chipping away at a new book set in the early 1960s Detroit rhythm and blues scene.
CP: What has been your favorite moment thus far, as a writer?
EK: Having fans is pretty neat, to be honest. Getting recognized on the street by a reader, or having someone drive a distance to see me at a reading with a stack of my books to sign is kind of an incredible feeling.
CP: What writer do you find the most inspiring, living or dead? Why?
EK: Just one? Jim Thompson has been huge for me, particularly The Killer Inside Me. Also indispensable are Megan Abbott, Haruki Murakami, Herman Melville, Elmer Kelton, Michael McDowell, Kim Stanley Robinson . . . it’s a long list. These are writers who tackle BIG subjects with real human acuity that cuts deep at the atomic level, stuff that really gets into you. And they’re damned entertaining, to boot.
CP: Can you tell us about your recent novella collection, At The Mercy of Beasts?
EK: This is a collection of three novellas which are linked by way of all being historical, and all featuring otherworldly monsters of some sort. In case you couldn’t tell, I love writing historical fiction, and I’ll often stumble upon a time and place that fascinates me enough that a story starts percolating, which was the case in all three of these. The first one, “Black’s Red Gold,” started coming together as I was reading Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil! I found myself enraptured with the trappings of the early oil boom and was living in Texas at the time, where I’ve set a lot of my fiction. Add a gargantuan subterranean creature and humankind’s insatiable thirst for wealth, and the story was set. The second novella is “Kennon Road,” which I wrote for my friend and occasional collaborator Billy Sagulo, a native of Baguio in the Philippines, where the story takes place at the end of the Philippine-American War. I got to reading a lot about Filipino history and folk stories, encountered tales of the aswang, and it was a short jump to diving into this one head first. The final piece is “Deadheader,” a pulpier entry that deals with a tough-as-nails trucker, a troubled Vietnam vet, and a great deal of hungry, mindless vampire-like creatures living in the deserts of the American Southwest in the 1970s.
CP: We always like to end our interviews with a little tidbit of advice for the many readers who are writers themselves. What’s the best advice you could give to a new author?
EK: First and foremost, exercise patience and publish well. Too many new writers are too eager to see their names in print and on book covers to stop and consider what’s best for them and the work in the long run. I know this because it’s a mistake I made in the beginning, and I’m fortunate to have learned from it. There are great books and stories out there nobody is reading because they’ve been published by fly-by-night presses with lousy covers and poor editing, and that’s just a shame that can be easily avoided. It’s a “dress for the job you want” kind of thing.
Ed Kurtz is the author of THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD, NAUSEA, ANGEL OF THE ABYSS, THE FORTY-TWO, and A WIND OF KNIVES, as well as numerous short stories. His work has appeared in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, BEAT to a PULP, Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, and several anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2014. Ed resides in Connecticut.
Visit Ed Kurtz online at edkurtzbooks.com.