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. Kevin M. Folliard’s story “White Noise” is a creepy, unique piece. 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?
KF: I’ve always been drawn to speculative fiction but had a special love for creepy tales ever since I discovered Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books as a kid. I had great teachers growing up who encouraged creative writing, and I ended up majoring in English and fiction writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)—where I was always the guy in the writing workshop who wrote that weird story that made people gasp.
Today I work for the online writing center at The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) by day and write those weird stories on the side. I have a great job that allows me to engage written language every day, and that’s really helped me to hone my prose over the years.
CP: “White Noise” is a pretty interesting, disturbing tale with a great voice. The narrative devices you employ are fresh, and some of the imagery is downright haunting. Can you tell us how it came to fruition? What inspired the story?
KF: For “White Noise,” the opening sentences formed first, and I discovered what follows after. A lot of people struggle with nightmares, night terrors, and sleep paralysis, so that’s always fascinated and frightened me. Sleep is supposed to be an essential and nourishing part of life, so there’s a special kind of terror for anyone who dreads it.
Colin’s story is as much about his desperation for someone to understand him as it is about his lifelong struggle with the beings that haunt him. It’s easy to dismiss another person’s experience as delusion. In this story, I wanted to explore that entrapment where it was virtually impossible to convince another person that you’re in danger. Without giving too much away, I also thought it would be fun to have a one-sided story with a narrative voice that feels unreliable—but may actually be perfectly transparent.
CP: You’ve been published in a lot of great publications in the past year. Where exactly, from here, do you hope your writing takes you? What goals do you hope to achieve?
KF: I’d like to keep publishing more, of course! I have a long list of stories in various stages of development. In particular, I have several novelette/novella length pieces that need good homes. I’d also love to find an agent or publisher for my middle grade fantasy adventure novel Grayson North: Frost-Keeper of the Windy City. All of my novel-length books so far have been for younger readers. I love writing for kids, but it seems I’ve had a lot more luck publishing adult horror, so one of my goals is to write a sci-fi or horror novel for adult readers. I’ve got a couple of those in the works . . .
CP: Do you have any other projects you’re working on? What does the future hold for Kevin M. Folliard?
KF: In addition to what I mentioned above, I’m currently sludging through the drafting process of a dinosaur adventure novella (or novel? All I know is I’m stuck somewhere in the middle!) set in the same world as my story “Baryonyx Crossing.” I’m also in the process of workshopping and revising an adult fairy tale that’s my own twisted take on Rapunzel. Every October and December respectively, I challenge myself to write a new Halloween and Christmas “terror tale,” so when I feel I’ve got a solid batch, I’ll collect another anthology—hopefully they’ll get showcased elsewhere beforehand! I have a handful of more “literary” short stories that I’m dying to get out there too.
CP: What has been your favorite moment thus far, as a writer?
KF: I accomplished a childhood dream when I published my dinosaur adventure story “Baryonyx Crossing” in Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy: Lost Worlds anthology. The story is my love letter to Michael Crichton and Arthur Conan Doyle. I had originally written it for a different anthology that rejected me. I never expected it to actually be collected in a beautiful book alongside iconic writers—including Doyle! When I read the acceptance email, I literally shouted with joy, and it’s still surreal to walk into Barnes and Nobles, page through that collection, and see my story in there.
CP: What writer do you find the most inspiring, living or dead? Why?
KF: Tough question! I will go with Stephen King for his prolific nature, wild imagination, smashing success, and sage advice on the process and art of writing.
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?
KF: Find a great writers group and/or a network of trusted readers and critics. And listen to them! I’m a member of two excellent groups in the Western Suburbs of Chicago who have really helped elevate the quality of my writing over the past decade. Feedback is essential for getting any story to where it needs to be. A lot of aspiring writers fear or push back on criticism, and it’s very counter-productive. Your writing needs other people’s eyeballs on it before it’s ready to go.
Kevin M. Folliard is a Chicagoland writer whose published fiction includes scary stories collections Christmas Terror Tales and Valentine Terror Tales, and adventure novels such asMatt Palmer and the Komodo Uprising. His work has also been collected by Sanitarium Magazine, Flame Tree Publishing, Black Bed Sheet Books, and more.