Ginger Nuts of Horror
Hi Kasey, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. How are things with you?
JIM! Things are great, hectic and busy just how I like it!
What three words would you use to best describe yourself?
Outgoing, Optimistic, Loud
Knitting? That’s not something I’d associate with a country music star? How many mittens for kittens have you made?
It’s not something I am very good at, but it is relaxing. Getting a jump on my crazy cat lady status!
You were born and raised in Nacogdoches Texas, how the hell do you pronounce that? And does the name mean anything?
Nac-uh-doh-chez. It’s the oldest town in Texas. When you are a kid, they tell you it was the name of an Indian and his brother Natchitoches who each walked their separate ways and stopped. One in Texas one in Louisiana. It isn’t true, but it’s a cool story.
Texas is a state that has a lot of misconceptions, what would you say is the one misconception about Texas that really annoys you?
Texas is my home, and I love it for so many reasons. SO MANY. You will not meet kinder, more genuine people. But I think sadly that gets overshadowed sometimes because the news focuses on certain aspects that don’t represent the entire population at all. Also, when you have a state that big, there’s just going to be more things to talk about cause there are more people and more space. But no, not everyone carries a gun, rides a horse, or has an ultra conservative mindest. Those things certainly exist, but you can’t take it for granted by any means. What I am greeted with on a regular basis is hardworking people who care about their heritage and land and want better things for those in their community.
Some of the readers may not know that that you are the daughter of one of horror’s grand master, the amazing Joe R. Lansdale. What was it like being the daughter of one the greatest storytellers? I bet your bedtime stories must have been fabulous?
You know, I get asked this a lot but it wasn’t different than anyone else in the broader sense. I had a normal childhood in terms of two parents who loved me. A sibling who would say the same. Our extra curriculars and house guests weren’t the norm, but I never knew one way or another until I got a little older that we were sorta different, but in many ways, we are the most normal family I know in terms of traditional family structure.
If I had a parent who was a writer, I would have got them to give every ex-girlfriend and person who bullied me a grizzly death in their books, have you ever done that?
I have not.
So what was the most unusual pet you brought home and were allowed to keep?
I brought home all manner of pets, but nothing too outrageous. Mostly cats, dogs, lizards, gerbils, guinea pigs. It was a zoo. My poor parents.
Before we talk about your books and your writing, I would love to chat about music career. Do you think that living in Texas meant that being drawn to country music was inevitable?
I am sure that had a big influence, but when I was younger people would make fun of the fact that I liked country. It wasn’t ‘cool’ as the Alan Jackson song states. I think what had the most effect was just that my parents had very diverse musical tastes, and I just gravitated to what I felt was the best fit. I love country music, but it is in no way the only music I adore.
I’m a huge fan of country music, but over here in the UK there is practically zero media coverage of it. In fact I think Shania Twain, was the last country star to appear on any music channel here. Why do you think that out of all the musical styles to originate in the US Country is the one that doesn’t seem to have travelled all that well?
I have thought this over a lot, and I think country music is identified traditionally as the working man’s music of the south. And I think most people see the south as this ignorant little bubble. In some ways that’s true, and there are people that work very hard to maintain this stigma, (not consciously mind you) but I think it started for people as a way to entertain themselves because there is lots of space, no money, and you don’t need much to make music happen.
I think also that a lot of country music, Texas country in particular maintains this elitist mentality. That if ‘you ain’t Texas, you ain’t country.’ But what comes from a place of state pride and that feeling of solidarity based on having been our own nation previously, has somehow become misconstrued as being something that we as a state don’t share. I have nothing but Texas pride, but I think music should not be a state to state endeavor.
Even in America Country music at times is looked upon as a joke, why do you think that is?
I think country music now has become something different than it was when I started. Before I think it was viewed as a ‘joke’ as you say because it touched on things that were real struggles for certain people, but not everyone. Again, going back to people viewing the southern traditions as old fashioned or out of touch. To me though, the traditions of many things about the south are what makes it so endearing to me. I think also because many people who were singing these songs perhaps were less educated in that time. But we all learn and grow and when we know better we do better. (That goes back to that optimism)
You got your big break when you toured supporting Ray Price, wow, just wow. I love Ray’s music especially his album Night Life. Were you a fan of his before you toured with him?
I knew who he was but I had no idea his impact until years after that stint. He was a great man, great performer.
Still touring at 81 years of age, could you ever envisage yourself touring at that age?
I would like to think that if I were it was because I could not stop out of sheer love. But I don’t want to think I am out at 81 because I am trying to make ends meet.
Why did you set up The East Texas Songwriter's Workshop?
It goes back to the attempt to bring people together and eliminate this TX vs Nashville mentality. I will probably get a lot of flack for saying it out loud, but they need to just accept that music is for everyone, not a town to town basis. I love Texas, I love Nashville. So sue me.
And how successful do you think the workshop has been?
It was a huge success personally, and I still get people thinking me for it. I hope to be home long enough to host another.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Chris Stapleton and the Steel Drivers.
And if you could form your perfect touring band featuring anyone alive or dead who would be in that band?
That’s going to change depending on my mood and the music I am creating at that moment.
I’ve been listening to your album Restless pretty much nonstop for the last few weeks, and I must say congratulations on such a brilliant album. In terms of pigeon holing how would you describe the musical style of the album?
Thank you, that is so kind. Country blues.
If Sorry Ain’t Enough what would be?
Actions. Actions really do speak louder than words.
If it’s so Hard to Be A Lady, why don’t ypu just be a tom boy they have a lot more fun?
I am, that’s the problem, and why being a lady is so hard. I look like a proper lady, but that’s what hairspray and lipstick will do for you.
How well has the album been received?
Extremely, I am very lucky at the response. The trick now is just getting that same response out of a wider audience.
In terms of your musical career, what’s next for you?
Just keep promoting the album and working hard, also start writing for the next one.
Musician, actor, model, and writer. Do these all stem from the same creative source, or do they serve to feed different aspects of your creative desires?
Both. I am drawn to the arts in general and some days I want to explore different ways to express them. Some days the art tells me from within how it wants to be expressed.
Do you feel more comfortable doing one over the others?
I am definitely a singer first. SInging is where I have the most passion probably, and have exerted the most effort, but I like them all for different reasons. Writing is amazing because of the solidarity of it. Music is, for better or worse a group endeavor at some point. You can do the music all alone, but eventually the musicians and producers and co-writers end up involved. I know some musicians do that all by themselves, but I think that collaboration is oftentimes the spark. With writing I don’t think collaboration adds in the same way. (I have collaborated and will again, but those are my preferences)
Am I correct in thinking that your debut published story was The Companion which featured in Great Writers and Kids Write Spooky Stories? And who came up with the original idea?
You would be correct. It’s been a while, but I think that dad had the boar concept and Keith and I formed everything else and sorta dictated to dad as he typed. One thing I remember for sure was I wanted them to find a body hanging in the closet. That was my addition and I liked it. They wrote back and said it was too intense for a children’s story. It was a sad day at the Lansdale house.
So are you a fan of horror fiction, and if so what is your favourite horror novel?
I am a fan of all fiction. I don’t consider myself a horror person, but neither does dad. If you think about what he writes it is mostly mystery and crime. But I think the things he did write in that genre were so horrific he became identified as a horror writer. I am a thriller suspense kind of girl, and I also like women’s fiction. Choosing a favourite is like choosing a song. Just depends on the mood.
You have concentrated on short stories, do you have any plans to write a novel?
I actually have one finished that I am supposed to be editing right now, and a second in the works.
But that’s for another time.
You have recently edited the anthology Impossible Monsters, which was published by Subterranean Press. Can you tell us about this anthology? Was it an open call or an invite only anthology?
It was a super fun project that originally I was going to do with my father. But Bill over at Sub offered me the opportunity to do it and I jumped. I invited friends I have known for years, my whole life most of them, and I knew that based on who agreed the collection was going to be killer. It’s easier when the writers are as good as those guys and girls.
Twelve stories and twelve monsters, was it important to you as the editor that these stories didn’t present your typical clichéd horror monster?
It was. I think Charlaine had the only traditional monster, but even that story was so fun and unique I felt like she touched an area that was really different. I think the monster thing has gone really mainstream which is amazing to expose another audience to that side, but sometimes it loses its grit and I think all the authors here brought their A-game, and struck a feeling of being at a campfire and scaring the bejesus out of yourself just sitting around telling stories.
What’s your all-time favourite monster?
I was always a vampire fan. Way before they were how they are now. Nosferatu (silent version) scared me to my core. (still does)
The anthology features a veritable who’s who of genre writing, was there one author who gave you goosebumps when they agreed to be a part of the anthology?
I thought Chet’s story was particularly creepy. I knew Chet would deliver, but something about that story really struck me. He also wrote it in my home town so there are a few nods in it that hit me harder than maybe it would for someone else.
In a previous anthology which you edited Fresh Blood Old Bones, you used established authors alongside lesser known authors. Do you think this helped to give some of the lesser known authors a helping hand?
I tried to do something there that was unique, so I hope so.
So what’s next for you in terms of writing?
Just finished a Sherlock story for Rebellion, a flash fiction called The Flame from SST Publications, (both British companies) and dad and I are working on a Dana Roberts novella for Sub Press.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, do you have any final words for the readers?
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON KASEY LANSDALE FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW
The Lansdale name is legendary in the horror field. Now acclaimed musician and actress Kasey Lansdale follows in her father's footsteps, making her editing debut with this anthology of monstrously innovative stories. The twelve creatures that stalk the pages of Impossible Monsters spring from the twisted imaginations of a dozen of today s most noted authors.
International superstar Neil Gaiman is a storyteller s storyteller, and with 'Click-Clack the Rattlebag' he weaves an atmospheric tale that ensures readers will never hear a simple bedtime story the same way again.
In 'The Glitter of the Crowns,' New York Times-bestselling author Charlaine Harris, the creator of the Sookie Stackhouse series, turns her attention from vampires to werewolves--but appearances may be deceiving where monsters are concerned.
Mystery legend Anne Perry offers 'Monster,' a story that takes the reader from an antiquarian bookstore in Cambridge to the blue seas of the Mediterranean and leaves the reader guessing until the very last page in true whodunit style.
And, of course, this anthology wouldn't be complete without a contribution from beloved, award-winning author Joe R. Lansdale, who offers the latest adventure of supernatural sleuth Dana Roberts in 'The Case of the Angry Traveler.'
Including stories by the likes of Al Sarrantonio and David J. Schow, among others, this collection of tales delivers on its promise. Because these monsters are never what the reader expects...