A- Thanks for having me here at Murder by 4 Ron. I consider it an honor and am grateful for the invitation. If I were to go back to the very beginning of my writing career, we’d have to go back to the late 1970’s, early 1980’s when I just learned to write. I remember as a young grade school child, writing scary stories and taping them to the outside of my bedroom door for people to read. I had three sisters and both parents, so I was playing to a sizable audience.
My beautiful little girls Emily and Olivia, who are 13 (in November) and 11 are always asking me when they are going to make a movie out of the book and tell me that they want to star in the movie when they do. It is the cutest thing. But Ron, you read that book, so you know what it is about; a bunch of copy cat serial killers who all live on the same street, Areal street (nicknamed Serial Street in the book by the two main male characters, one based off of my son Christian, now 16, and his weird friend Jordon). The teens in this story are trying to gather enough information on their neighbors to go to the cops without looking like fools. The neighbors know they are on to them so they are out to eliminate the teens and their families. It is like an intelligent game of cat and mouse. It has been very popular among teens and young adults and it is a fun read for people of all ages.
My point is, I don’t think there is enough time in one person’s life time to write all the stories I have to tell if they were to write each story as a full length novel. So, what I did with A Demon’s Dozen was take twelve different story ideas and boil them down to the bare essentials and wrote them as short stories. They vary in length from roughly 5,000 words to a couple long ones of 12,000 words. I didn’t just put them all in though, I wrapped them comfortably within another, ongoing story, a 13th story so to say; making it a real demon’s dozen. The ongoing story is of that man who walked into a bar. He’s disappointed because he has received yet another rejection letter from a publisher for his writing. While at the bar he meets a stranger who claims to be a “talent agent.” The writer claims he’d sell his soul to the devil to make it big as a writer. Enough said. The ‘agent’ pulls the dancing girl (one of his clients) off the stage and orders her to pay special, private attention to the writer while he reads his work. The work just happens to be the twelve short stories. After each short story, the setting goes back to the bar; more bar scenes. We see the relationships of the people progress as we read through the collection. Our writer and stripper it seems, have plans of their own. Plans that would free the girl from the ‘agent’s’ employ and allow the writer himself to avoid a similar fate. So not only is the reader being entertained by the twelve short stories, they are interested in the story within the stories, or visa versa.
I’ve kept my promise. Ron, as you know, I spend about 9 months a year living in the Philippine Islands in Southeast Asia. I spend the rest of my time in my native West Virginia. I write full time in both places. Many people ask, “Why the Philippines?” There are many reasons, like my beautiful girlfriend of nearly two years, the tropical, year round summer weather. The beauty of the beaches and jungles. From an economic standpoint, the biggest benefit is the currency conversion. One US dollar is equal to forty two Philippine pesos! This means your money goes a lot farther, and for those of us in any type of art business, be it writing, painting, sculpting, who don’t make a lot of money in the early years (if ever), it allows us to focus on our art without starving. I could come back to America full time, go back into the private sector and make a lot of money again, as I did when I was a stock broker during my marriage. But then I wouldn’t be able to write like I do now. I would be focusing on making a living, not a life and I’ve already wasted too many years doing that.
People think I’m crazy for not chasing the “American dream,” but to me that ‘dream’ was a nightmare. One hundred years from now, no one would ever care or even know that I was making ten thousand dollars a month as a stock broker. However, it is my hope that 100 years from now people will still be reading my books. That is a contribution I can make to society. I would rather contribute to society, the next generation, the future- than to contribute only to my own bank account.
You didn’t ask about it during this interview Ron, but I’d like to point out to people that it is currently the number one ghost novel on Amazon based on customer satisfaction. And it has been for 5 of the 8 months it’s been in print! I am more honored to be number one in customer satisfaction than I would be even in sales because that lets me know, not only are people buying my book but they are thoroughly enjoying it. This is another thing that inspires me. My friends, old and new, and even people I’ve never met, passing me on the street, or looking me up on facebook and saying something along the lines of “I read your book and it was awesome!” gives me enough fuel to keep going in this lonely business. So, to them, I want to say ‘thank you.’ For them, there will always be the next Kevin E Lake novel (as long as the great spirit of the universe sees fit to keep me alive). For me, there’s a white sandy beach and a beautiful little island lady a waitin’!
Thanks so very much for joining us, Kevin, and I know I will be following you and your career for a long time to come. All the best!