With the paranormal adventure “Season of Secrets,” Kerry E.B. Black breaks into the novel-writing scene, and its sequel “Season of Sorrows” is in the works. Her short stories have crept into many anthologies, and she recently collected twenty-nine of her milder scares for a compilation called “Carousel of Nightmares.” Later this month, a second compilation of horror shorts, “Herd of Nightmares,” goes to press. This mother of five amazing young people, mother-in-law of one, and recent grandmama lives in a swamp along a foggy river outside the city of Steel and George A. Romero’s Dead.
Kerry, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Before we dive into your many works of fiction, I must ask you about your web writing position with Games Omniverse. Who are they and how did you come by the opportunity to write for them?
I met the fabulous Angel McCoy through HWA (Horror Writers of America) when she looked for another writer to add to the Games Omniverse team. I was thrilled she liked what she read of my work. Games Omniverse is an indie video game and multimedia storytelling company. They are working on a wonderfully creepy gaming experience called the Dire Mysteries, among other things. People should check them out! www.gamesomniverse.com I’m thrilled to be a teensy-weensy part of it.
In Season of Secrets, Casey Adams juggles the responsibilities of a stressful life, but after participating in a secret campus ceremony, she and her new friends fear they may have unleashed something deadly. Casey must overcome her own limiting shyness and mild autism and face a potential murderer.
At its heart, Season of Secrets reveals the strength inside even overlooked people. It explores responsibility to family, friends, and community, while acknowledging the importance of self-care.
The story is an escape, of course, but there are some important messages couched within the plot. Everyone has value, and kindness matters.
The press release indicates that your story is dripping with themes of self-acceptance and the importance of relationships. From your bio, it is no secret that you are a mother and wife who subsequently balances many responsibilities in your day to day life. Knowing that resiliency to life’s challenges are often countered by our interpersonal relationships, how much of yourself and your experiences might we find in the characters of your novel? Do their connections to others help them overcome the challenges in the novel?
People need a community. To belong is a vital part of well-being. Casey needs her friends for more than to solve the mystery they face, and they need her intuition and strength to survive. Casey’s family is vital to her, but they don’t realize how much they rely on her.
So, yes, the novel delves into the importance of connection, and life is certainly filled with plenty of challenges. It’s an important part of life many minimize.
While Season of Secrets might be said to be your debut novel, it is hardly your first publication! Your stories have found their way into multiple anthologies over the year. Do you have a favorite? What is the story about?
I was thrilled to write a sequel for Terry M. West’s “CarNex.” I set the story many years after the devastation of the Carnivore of the Nexus’s attack in Pleasant Storm, Texas, when a curious “urban explorer” journalist revisits the scene and unwittingly releases a bit of Lovecraftian-style history.
Your latest release, Carousel of Nightmares, is a collection of your own horror stories. With so many different tracks of horror (psychological, monster, paranormal, gore & disturbing), what should readers expect from your collection? Do you have a preference for what you like to write?
I put together Carousel of Nightmares as a mildly frightening anthology suitable for many younger readers. There is another collection, Herd of Nightmares, coming out later this month, also through Tree Shadow Press, which is a bit more adult in content.
I love short stories and flash fiction, perhaps because I can develop and complete their writing in stolen moments throughout the busy days more readily than maintaining a wide-sweeping plot and story arc for a novel. Plus short works are fun. Short fiction allows busy readers and writers the freedom to explore many stories in their limited spare time.
I admit, too, some of the stories that have stayed with me the longest are short stories. “The Lottery,” “Strawberry Spring,” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” are but a few of my favorites.
I do not think I have ever watched or read something in the horror genre that did not have an underlying message for the viewer/reader. What themes do you like to interweave between your words? What do you hope readers are left with when they finish one of your stories?
I believe what St. Thomas Aquinas said. We are responsible for what we learn. I’d expand upon that as well. It is our responsibility to learn.
What can we expect from you in 2019?
Later this month, my second collection of short horror stories, Herd of Nightmares, is being published by Tree Shadow Press. This one features cover art by my talented brother Chris Blickenderfer who owns American Tattoo in Verona, PA. I’m ridiculously excited to have my book feature my brother’s art!
I’m working with my remarkable editor at Rhetaskew on the second Casey Adams paranormal adventures, and we hope it will be publication-ready before the end of the year.
I’m also honored to have a bunch of my essays included in JaCol’s upcoming “4 Moms Talking” which is also slated for release before the end of the year.
And I’ll always return to short stories and flash fiction. I have some favorite publications to which I’ll submit and subsequently hope they’ll find “homes.” I’m a proud “Rough Writer” at https://carrotranch.com and enjoy participating in #horrorhaikuesday and other writing prompts on Twitter.
It has been a pleasure, Kerry! Please tell us where fans can find you online or in the upcoming year at events.
Thank you so much for your support of the writing community, Joshua! I’m so grateful.
I invite anyone interested to please join me at any or all of the social media below: