While it sucks that I’m not going to get a chance to catch up with Kim Fielding in Paris this year – Covid 19 sucks! – I’m thrilled to welcome her to the blog today! She’s here to chat about Hallelujah by Kim Fielding and F.E. Feeley Jr. It’s out March 31, 2020 and don’t miss her upcoming blog tour either!
1: Can you tell me a little bit about your new book?
It’s a bit of a departure from my usual, in that it’s horror rather than romance or fantasy. It takes place in 1991 and 2019 and explores themes of faith, evil, and love. I think it has a little bit of a Stephen King vibe. Our hero is the son of a farmer from small-town Nebraska who deals with the pressures of being gay in a church and family that won’t truly accept that. He also deals with ghosts and demons. Poor guy.
2: How did you and co-author F.E Feeley decide to take the leap and co-write a book? Did you butt heads on anything as you found your groove?
We were chatting online—I don’t remember about what—and started discussing this video.
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of my favorite songs (I like the Rufus Wainwright version best), and the song and video gave me the beginnings of a plot bunny. Fred was into it too, and somehow we ended up starting a novel.
The process was really fun. We didn’t plan anything ahead of time, although we did chat frequently en route. I don’t remember any disagreements about anything. But since we didn’t plot before we began, receiving a new chapter always means surprises. Hmm. We might possibly have had a friendly discussion over who was going to kill… a certain character.
3: Horror is a new genre for you, what made you decide to take that leap for this book?
I have always been a huge horror fan: Stephen King, Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe, Joe Hill… all of these authors are dear to my morbid little heart. I’m not sure why I never took the plunge in my own writing. And originally my thoughts for this story were more along the lines of angsty romance. But then Fred and I got to talking, we added in some ghosts, and then things got really dark.
One thing I love about horror is that it provides a great way to deal with social and political issues without getting preachy and without having to sugarcoat things. Fred and I definitely took major inspiration from the kinds of conflicts facing the US (and other countries too) today. I think the scariest horror stories are the ones where the evil springs from human actions rather than from monsters, and that’s definitely the case with our story.
Also, although horror heroes have become more diverse in recent years, I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement. So it’s important to me that our hero is gay and that people of color play important roles in our story as well.
4: How do you-personally-define the difference between horror and urban fantasy?
Oh, ugh. Boundaries. I have a really hard time putting stories into neat little categories, maybe because a lot of what I write could easily fit into several
boxes. For instance, Blyd and Pearce is a noir private eye story in a medieval fantasy with some gay romance helping drive the plot. And within speculative fiction in general there’s almost always a lot of room for overlap.
I guess if I had to articulate the difference, with urban fantasy the emphasis tends to be on the quest—although there may certainly be monsters along the way—whereas with horror the emphasis is more on the monsters. Also, horror is almost inevitably dark, whereas urban fantasy doesn’t have to be. A lot of my favorite authors straddle these genres so well that I find it impossible to classify them. Neil Gaiman, for instance, for instance, or Ray Bradbury for another example.
5: Any plans for more books in the genre/with F.E Feely?
We’ve been talking about it. Without giving too much away, I can say that the ending of Hallelujah—while it absolutely wraps up the plot elements—leaves open the possibility of sequels. Fred and I are very fond of our characters, so I think we may be tempted.
6: What is your favorite deleted/edited out scene or line from the book?
There’s a scene in which a minor character—who’s the protagonist of Fred’s Objects in the Rearview Mirror—is recalling an event that occurred when he was in the Army. It’s a fantastic scene (Fred wrote it, so that’s not me bragging). Really scary but also sad and intense. In the end, though, a lot of it wasn’t truly essential to our main story, which is already pretty long. So we ended up cutting most of it, but I hope Fred decides to share it as an outtake.
7: Who is your favorite horror movie monster/bad guy and why?
Although I dearly love almost all vampires, I’d have to say my number one is Frankenstein’s monster. I feel for him when I first saw one of the old movies—I was three or four—and still adore him. Poor guy! All he wants is love, but instead he gets an emo creator who can’t even be bothered to give him a name, let alone try to help him properly. Frank’s monster is enormously sympathetic. And he reflects that theme I mentioned earlier, that I think the best horror is man-made.
In general, I have nearly always empathized with the monsters. Hallelujah is an exception. Our monster has zero redeeming qualities. Which meant he was great fun to write. ☺