Ginger Nuts of Horror
Kelli Beck is the co-author of Talking Walls and Cigarettes (And Other Dark Tales) with her writing partner/best friend/sister-in-law, Erin Beck.
Her heroes include her father, Albus Dumbledore, and Stephen King. She shares a birthday with Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling too, of course) and is a member of Pottermore (Ravenclaw!).She doesn't like to be taken too seriously and her fiction often includes humorous/absurd happenstances.
She grew up on a healthy diet of horror fiction and Tales From the Crypt, and has a strange and fearful fascination with death/dying, being murdered, serial killers, alien abduction, zombies, and bugs.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Kelli Beck and I’m on the precipice of old age—29 to be exact. I’m not fond of aging although I still act like a child and I shouldn’t be too burdened by it. I have a strange fascination with all things disturbing and a strong fear of death that keeps me reading and watching things that I shouldn’t. I’m restless and can’t make up my mind but my husband, who is the exact opposite, helps to keep me balanced so I don’t lose my mind. I also found that meditating, exercising and getting lost in the world of fiction helps too.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I like the term Dark Fiction. I’ve read and watched a lot of horror growing up and it doesn’t affect me the way it used to. Horror is “an intense, painful feeling of repugnance and fear,” and I can tell you that I don’t feel that way about the horror fiction I read or movies I watch. Frightened, certainly; shocked and surprised, yes, but not intense or painful. I know the things I’m reading are make believe, so it’s easier to put distance between me and what’s happening in the work. Unless there’s a real life bug in close proximity to me, I don’t really experience “horror” in the true sense of the word.
Dark, on the other hand, that’s more like it. Sinister, “characterized by gloom,” and having “richness and depth.” I like that a lot better. I was even hesitant to describe the book I co-wrote as horror, and thus listed the stories as Dark Tales and Dark Fiction.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I’ve loved Stephen King since I was eleven after growing out of R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. Others include Anne Rice, J.K. Rowling, John Steinbeck, and Christopher Moore. I recently got into Cate Gardner. She has a unique voice and writing style that’s haunting.
What are you reading now?
I tend to read three books at once because I have a hard time picking just one. I’m reading The Whole Death Catalog by Harold Schecter, The Christmas Train by David Baldacci, and I’m reading a fantasy book called The Deepening Dark by Alastair Rosie to review. So far each book is amazing.
How would you describe your writing style?
When I’m writing dark fiction: macabre, twisted, darkly humorous. I’m working on other fiction now that’s more whimsical, quirky, and funny in a bizarre sort of way.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
A typical day writing involves squeezing it in whenever I can. I work for the USPS and my schedule can get wonky. I can be caught writing at 4am, 10-11am, or at night before bed. I like to spend my day off writing for as many hours as I can manage. I don’t have any unusual habits, I just write whenever and wherever I get the notion.
What’s your favourite food?
I love coconut milk ice cream, birthday cake (any flavour and frosting), and chocolate chip cookies. Oh, wait, you said FOOD, not junk…in that case, I’m really fond of rice and veggies.
What’s your favourite album?
Distorted Lullabies by Ours. It’s an album I fell in love with when I was a teenager and the songs still resonate today. I like music that can last.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Show don’t tell? Ha! In all seriousness, I’d say the most important thing I learned is to write honestly. Make your characters real people with beliefs, values, and motivation. All of this you can drum out of your personal life and unique experiences. It makes the work honest…as honest as fiction can get, of course.
Fame and fortune, or respect?
Respect. Absolutely. Nothing else matters if people think you’re a damned fool. Well, fortune could help with that, I suppose.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
As far as the short story collection, I’m the most proud of Porcelain. I’ve been told it’s the most disturbing of the lot, so that makes me feel good. Plus, I put 13 years into that story, trying to mold it and fix it and make it what I wanted it to be. It’s very personal to me, not in the content, but that it’s the story that had been in my head for the majority of my writing journey. It’s a good feeling to get it out into the world.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
Talking Walls and Cigarettes (And Other Dark Tales) is a collection of seven short horror stories that I co-wrote my sister-in-law/best-friend Erin Beck. The collection includes a few stories we had been tinkering with for years and finally had the sense to get them finished and put together. The stories range in topic from a young woman dealing with alien abduction and the sense that she doesn’t belong (Homecoming), to a dark fairy tale about a family of four who are cursed by a passing stranger in the woods (Porcelain).
My next project is not as dark. As it stands now it’s a new adult low fantasy novel about the sudden death of the Strange family patriarch and how his children defy the laws of nature and magic to bring him back from the dead. It’s lighter, funny, and quirky.
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