Interrogations: Donald Allen Kirch, Horror Author of Drop Dead Gorgeous
I recently had the pleasure to talk (I consider it an interrogation) with horror author Donald Allen Kirch after reading (and very much enjoying) his newest book, Drop Dead Gorgeous. Donald has built up quite the resume of thrilling stories: I Am, Reich, A Stake in Murder, Marley: The Other Christmas Carol, Dark Passenger (formerly Still Waters), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Roswell, Through a Glass Darkly, The Mirror, Selznick’s Folly, The Seventh Second, The Silent Pulpit, An Incident at Ann’s Diner, and Manchester House. Many of his stories are in audio versions for your listening pleasure, for those of you who like to have your reading material read to you. I have provided a nice plethora of links for you to check out at the end of the interrog…I mean interview.
RAIN: I read your newest release, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and have to say that it was a very fun and twisted story. There is a Frankenstein-esc feel to the book but with a dark and sexy twist. How did you come up with this story line?
DONALD: I am happy to hear that you loved the story! Drop Dead Gorgeous came right out of a weird happenstance. I was sitting in a public library and happened to overhear a couple of women talking about what they would do if their husband or boyfriend cheated on them. Even by my standards, what each woman stated was “colorful” and “violent.” It made me think of that old saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” From there, I just allowed my imagination to run its course. That you mention Mary Shelly or Frankenstein, in the same breath as my name, is quite an honor, and, I thank you!
We have spoken before about the reception of Drop Dead Gorgeous, and you had mentioned some less than stellar feedback, primarily from your female readers. Why do you think that is?
Perhaps, while I was writing this story, I was just a little too close to the mark. One reader flat out told me I was “Just a sick person!” Another stated that “I was just too female-minded to be a male author.” I like dealing with the not-so-pure thoughts each of us has every day. The “fantasies” we play around with, even if we, ourselves, find them sick or disgusting. It is from this deep and dark pool that I like to yank out my horror. I even had a female reader block me on Facebook and left my friendship circle stating, “I never want to talk with you again!” It is the job of every writer to pull out a response from the reader, although it cost me a genuine and dear friend, I did my job. A word to all would-be authors out there: Take heed, your work could one day cause a reaction you were not counting on. Mine, sadly, did.
Do you think it takes a certain taste or interest to enjoy stories that make people uncomfortable (such as an erotic portrayal of the bad guy/girl) or that with the right storytelling, anyone could get into a controversial book?
I honestly believe, if a person is open-minded enough to enjoy reading a good story, ANY form of communication should be acceptable, or, at least, tolerable. My only “pet peeve” is too much descriptive narrative. I do not need sixteen pages, explaining to me an old chair, sitting in the corner of a library. I do not require the main character to explain to me, while he’s looking at it, that his fat uncle Robert had a problem of farting in it all the time! If a book starts to do that nonsense, I close it and walk away, lol! No disrespect to Robert’s who like to fart in old chairs.
For Drop Dead Gorgeous there was no way to get past the vulgar narratives. You get captured and wake up with organs from the opposite sex connected to you, and see if you can preach a Sunday sermon. What is more horrifying than being “forced” to become the opposite sex? We are still human, but the perception is so alien, it becomes primal.
Now, you have several other books, short stories, and audio books out. I haven’t had a chance to read the others, though I have a few I want to look into, do you find your writing taking different sub-genres or styles between each book or is there a similar darkness and niche feel to all of them?
One little game I do like to “play” when I write a book is this: One of the characters in the story is ALWAYS me. I like to see if anyone can guess whom. I like to mix up genres. I like to break the rules. If I ever become “established” I want people to say, “Oh, Hell! What’s he writing now?”
I have been known to mix my styles. I am writing a fantasy series, that will have both magic and science, dragons and aliens, and knights and vampires. Should be fun!
How did you get into writing horror? What was your first piece?
I have loved horror since I snuck downstairs, at six years old to watch The Twilight Zone. Later, I graduated to a little-known series called Kolchak: The Night Stalker. That show was mainly responsible for my “style” of horror. NOTHING is more frightening than the monsters we make up in our own minds. The horror itself is sometimes worse than the “Monster,” but we chuckle., turn on the lights and tell ourselves, “It’s only a movie.”
My first piece is one I have always been afraid to print. It’s entitled The Trick, and it involves a street whore, who picks up a strange “john,” never realizing that he’s a vampire. It’s a heartfelt story about the woman visiting a grave, telling the sad story of the undead creature, and how he missed the simple act of touch, for contact’s sake. I actually cried while writing it. The whole story is still somewhat good, but I am saving it for a special event. Perhaps, one day…
You also have a web page on Facebook called Stranger than Fiction, tell us what that’s about? I read that you had an interesting occurrence in the “Sallie House.” Did that prompt your venture into nonfictional horror and supernatural, or just an unexpected event for an already curious mind?
Stranger Than Fiction was a “project” of mine that was started several years back, where I concentrated on telling stories about the Paranormal world. As a child, I loved a series called In Search of…, hosted by Leonard Nimoy. It fascinated me and caught my imagination. I love knowing that there are still some things in this world that cannot be explained. The unexplained gives a quality of life that insurance companies and warehouse grocery stores have taken away – MAGIC! God! I feel so sorry for the younger people. They never will know the full adventure that “making a phone call from home” used to be!
Which of your stories (print, audio, fact or fiction) is your favorite? Why?
Drop Dead Gorgeous is on the top of my list. The main character, Steve/Eve, was not really an evil man – just weak. My heart really went out to him as the female character Eve. The way he was “forced” into his role. The personal horror of looking in a mirror and realizing that he…SHE…was beyond the point of any reasonable return. Who amongst us hasn’t looked at ourselves, drunk, half-crazed with lack of sleep, and haven’t “discovered” that no matter how hard we try, we can NEVER GO BACK? That is why I love this book.
Is there anything you would like to tell our readers, here on GrueMonkey?
Yes! Love horror. 🙂
Thank you so much for your time, talent, and invasion into your creative mind!
It has been both a pleasure and honor. Thank you for having me!
Drop Dead Gorgeous is available on Amazon HERE.
Don’t forget to check out his web page with information about all his works www.Donaldallenkirch.com.