Colleagues and readers have dubbed Kerry Alan Denney The Reality Bender. The multiple award-winning author of six published novels and numerous short stories, Kerry blends elements of the supernatural, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in his work: speculative fiction at its wildest and craziest. With joy, malicious glee, and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers—even when the voices don’t compel him to. His protagonists are his children, and he loves them as dearly as he despises his antagonists…even when he has to kill them.
Kerry lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia with Gypsy Dancer, his remarkably exuberant year-old puppy, where he is currently training her to be a therapy dog and writing his next thriller … and deciding who to kill in it.
Kerry, thank you for agreeing to this interview. You have been writing supernatural stories and rock music for years. Where do you find your inspiration?
You’re welcome. I love meeting new writers and readers, so thank you for this opportunity.
My inspiration comes from all facets of life, from its origins to its eventual demise—including what lay beyond life. Out of necessity, that encompasses all the joy and wonder in addition to all the pain and sorrow. I’m a firm believer that there are far greater things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies. Pondering those concepts provides me with an endless flood of story ideas that straddles the borders of the “real” world as we know it and asks—and sometimes answers—the question “What if …?”
But on the other hand, sometimes I feel like the story is just there, and my job is to reach out, grab it, and translate it into words. When that happens, I’m merely a conduit from some ineffable Storyland that exists in a collective imagination beyond our comprehension to this version of reality as we experience it together. As a species, we’re compelled by our very nature to invent and share stories. It’s an integral part of our existence.
In this way, it can be said that I am in tune with my muse, and merely channeling concepts, characters, and events that originate from some part of my subconscious mind. But I keep my mind open to the possibility that some stories come from an external source that we don’t yet understand. Maybe we will one day. All I know for sure is that if I don’t tell—meaning write—these stories and songs, my head will explode.
Yeah, I don’t mind being called strange. A friend once said it best: “Kerry, if you were rich, you’d be eccentric, but since you’re not rich, you’re just fucking crazy.” And so I write.
Beyond the Vale released in 2017. Readers said the book was “a compelling story of regret, forgiveness, and redemption.” What is the plot of the story? Are these the themes you hoped readers would discover or are there additional messages you included?
Instead of me being lazy and posting the synopsis, interested readers can see it here.
The majority of the story takes place in the afterlife. A good friend said, after beta reading it pre-publication, his favorite thing about it was that every character was already dead from the opening scene.
It’s one man’s perilous and often humorous journey through the next world to discover the mistakes he made in life, and redeem himself in the afterlife in order to earn his passage to “the next level.” If he fails, he’ll lose everyone and everything he loves—and maybe buy himself a one-way ticket to Hell.
Reviewers, bloggers, some respected authors, an editor, and even a publisher reveal in their reviews and testimonials that they “get” the big picture and received the message, which means I did at least part of my job well: It’s mostly about how we should treat each other with respect, compassion, and mercy, and about the many grim consequences of selfishness, contempt, and deceit.
Take a peek inside my mind and join me on the wild ride that one reader calls “the afterlife adventure of a deathtime.”
This novel was awarded the 2017 Top 20 Best Indie Books and became a Top 10 Finalist in the 2017 Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll – Horror Novel category. What was the most difficult part of the novel to write? Were you surprised by the response of your readers?
I wouldn’t call it difficult so much as intense: The second half, where the protagonists travels through a succession of pictures from his lifetime that are portals into his past. There he rediscovers hope for his redemption as well as despair over his failures, and must make the ultimate sacrifice to save himself and everyone he loves.
And yes, I was very pleasantly surprised by my readers’ responses. I wanted to make it fun as well as enlightening, and it appears as if I did.
You may as well ask a parent who their favorite child is. If they have a favorite, they’re not likely to reveal that—if they’re smart. Shhh! Don’t let my stories know I may have a favorite; they’ll kick my ass if they find out.
In Soulsnatcher, children with extraordinary psychic powers are used as pawns in a deadly supernatural war. Two opposing factions battle for the children’s souls: one to help them learn to use their powers for good, the other to exploit them and turn them into obedient soldiers in their battle for dominion over humankind.
In Jagannath, an amorphous creature rises from the depths of the ocean and discovers an insatiable lust for human flesh and blood. It grows as it feeds, reads our minds as it consumes us, and transforms into monsters from our darkest nightmares. It has nearly destroyed civilization, and the few surviving humans must learn how to kill the nearly indestructible creature—or face the extinction of the human race.
I heartily encourage readers to give them a look, check out the synopses, read a free sample in Amazon’s “Look Inside!” feature, and get ebook or paperback copies here:
In addition to your successful books, you have written several short stories in multiple anthologies over the years. Most recently, you have been published in Deadly Bargain: A Colors in Darkness Anthology. Please tell us a bit about your addition to this collection.
Gladly. It’s entitled “Wish Upon A Music Box.” A tragic accident permanently cripples a former prima ballerina. Drowning in despair because he caused the accident, her husband finds a mysterious music box that rekindles his belief in magic and gives it to his wife. Her mangled legs are useless, but when the music plays, the ballerina dances again. Under the box’s spell, the couple soon dances themselves toward exhaustion and madness. The most precious gifts often demand the steepest price, and only the most heartfelt wish can save them from the box’s compelling dark magic.
What can we expect from you in 2019? Anything else you would like to add?
More short stories being published, hurrah. My most recent novel is currently in a literary agent’s hands and awaiting their response, so anything could happen there.
And yes, I’ll add this: Treat each other well at all times. Commit random as well as deliberate acts of kindness and compassion. Treat every moment as if it is precious because it is; no one here knows how many moments they’ll get, so dance and sing a lot. Spend each of those moments making lemonade out of life’s lemons … and beer out of anything you can get your hands on.
Happy reading to everyone!
It has been a pleasure, Kerry! Please tell us where fans can find you online.