Welcome back to this week’s author interview! Today I’m thrilled to spotlight Lance Keeble. Lance is the author of numerous short stories as well as the lycanthrophy novel, Globes Disease.
Recently, Lance and I discussed his favorite authors as well as the evolution of his writing. Lance also talks openly about many of the struggles writers face in completing projects as well as how he overcame those obstacles to finish his novel, Globes Disease.
A couple icebreakers to start: When did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?
Off and On I have been writing since I was a child. Around 6 or 7 years old, I would make up songs, write poems, I even wrote, illustrated and bound my first book. It was a story about an ant that becomes an astronaut. My mom had it for years and then I ended up with it. It is now in the safe hands of my mother-in-law.
I have a diverse and eclectic taste but some of my favorite authors include Joe Nazel, Nnedi Okorafor, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Stephen R. Donaldson, Piers Anthony, Anne Rice, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, Chuck Palahniuk, John Byrne, Frank Miller, Howard Chaykin, Dwayne McDuffie, Edgar Allan Poe, Homer and Dr. Seuss.
Congratulations on the April release of your debut novel, Globes Disease! What inspired you to write a multi-perspective story about lycanthropy?
Thank you. Well my original idea for Globes Disease happened around 1985. I asked myself a question, which is how I often start out. What if? How come? Why is something a certain way? Etc.
As it pertains to Globes Disease I asked, “What would happen if a black man was a werewolf? How would he feel walking down the street, having to wonder, “Are they staring at me because I’m Black or because I’m a Lycanthrope?”
Around 2006 I committed to completing the short story, mainly because of being a lifelong fan of sci-fi, horror and adventure. I felt some things had not changed much as far as the main characters. I would often read something or watch something and use my imagination and mentally replace the characters with whom myself, my friends, and family could relate to.
I love ensemble casts of characters. Superhero groups, the diversity that Empire Strikes Back attempted to explore. So I added more characters to my books and the response from beta readers was positive. Eventually my short story turned into 5 novellas; by 2012 I had a collection. That collection eventually was merged to make a complete Novel. Thus giving life to the multiple perspectives.
What writing challenges if any, did you experience in the editing process?
Oh my lord, (laughing) I needed an editor who could make sure my continuity was well developed and consistent. It turned into a hair pulling experience.
My first editor looked at the book and thought it was too long. Then after reading it, she felt it was a fast read and asked me to add a chapter, a cruelty scene that could humanize what animal cruelty from the animals perspective (recurrent theme here), which I thought was a great idea, so I did it. Alas, she had a family illness and had to back out of the project.
Second editor formatted my work and did a good job but then I discovered a missing chapter and had to scour all my drafts till I found it. She had moved on to another project by then so I had to find someone else.
My last editor was great but it took way too long to edit, she had health issues and family health issues, and at some point felt she had low bid the work. With all that we were able to compromise and complete the book with only a few minor disagreements. She was great; she found and helped me correct a lot of issues that I needed found. Overall, she did a great job.
My writing challenges were numerous. Most Writers and Authors deal with deadlines, writers block, criticism and self-doubt. In my case, add, working on a job where you have to leave at a moment’s notice, deal with the constant interruptions and requests for your time. I endured a divorce, a rekindled relationship, a new child, and a myriad of family/friends issues that most people go through but would surely derail any hopes of writing let alone finishing a project.
Blessing or Curse I have a form of AD/HD and OCD, so I had to steal my time or go crazy. Working early mornings, using technology, texting, emailing, syncing things I’d written, when I couldn’t sit down and type on a computer.
It made my work feel schizophrenic at first but it aided my exploration when it came to speaking from multiple perspectives.
In addition to Globes Disease, you’ve also written short fiction. Is your writing process different when crafting longer fiction versus short stories?
Not entirely. I do what I call a brain dump. If I have a compelling idea, I just dump it all on the page and decide what it will become later. Keeps it pure. Some things that I write feel better as scripts, others as short stories and a few just beg to be novels. The first novel I wrote and re-wrote with no outline. The second book, the prequel (that I now need an editor for), I somehow ended up outlining it. It begged to be organized, and doing so worked out great. To me, my writing can often become real and alive, and at some point you feel like you are a loon because the characters take over and tell you what to write.
Do you find one [kind of writing] is more challenging or enjoyable than the other?
Believe it or not, I love poetry. It is pretty cut and dry. Beginning, Middle and End over a couple of pages. Short Stories and Novels can be complicated and of course they have a lot more details you have to cover. You don’t want to over describe or leave out too much. There are more things you have to consider so that you do not go over a certain word count. I wanted my first novel to be short but it kept growing, the more I cut, the more it grew, like hair. (Laugh) But now I look at it, and I don’t see it being any other way.
Your work often leans toward horror and dark fantasy. As an author, what draws you to the supernatural?
I love the fantastical. I was the kid who got up early on Saturday mornings to watch superhero cartoons. I devoured creature features with Godzilla and Gamera, etc. I was glued to the set watching black and white horror like, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Dracula; you name it. I read comic books, fantasy, and science fiction…
Later I was thoroughly impressed with An American Werewolf in London, Blade, even the basic premise behind Underworld.
Other works that impacted me were Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven,” Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earth Sea and the Thomas Covenant Series by Stephen R. Donaldson. These works and others like it really influenced how I thought about that Genre. It changed how I viewed my work. I like things that are slightly different and away from the traditional.
Where would you like to see your writing career in five years?
I would love to have a large cult following the way Chuck Palahniuk has. I would love to find different ways to present my work as well. Be it Television, comic books, Internet etc. I really just wanna have fun being creative, find my audience and hopefully get paid for it.
What new projects are you currently working on?
I wrote a Super Hero comic, that’s been in several magazines. Well I completed the Graphic Novel script quite some time ago, I am looking for an artist my partner and I can afford, so that they can help create 200 pages of awesomeness.
I am also looking for an artist for a children’s book I’ve completed.
I have written and I am currently writing scripts for Music Video Production Company.
I am also writing another Super Hero prose for Ascension Epoch public-domain-superhero-anthology. The premise is to resurrect public domain characters. I myself am reimagining one and I am excited, I hope I make the cut. That should be available in December.
I wrote another superhero prose titled “Nikia the Pandora,” it will be in Black Power: The Superhero Anthology in December as well.
I finished the prequel to Globes and I am looking for an editor.
I am entering contests, submitting work and looking forward to more events.