Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Ken Goldman in his featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
As I get older the events of my life seem a jumble of memories, and in recent dreams I’ve relived the more major events in no specific order. No lie, it feels, as in my story, “like someone has taken film snips from my life and tossed them into the air, then somehow re-edited everything and spliced them together in random order.” I share that feeling with my character more every day.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Leonard Cross has made some mistakes in his adult life—a life far more complex than when he was a child. Now forced to live his life with each day as a non-sequitor, like most adults he tries to put together the pieces (literally!) so that his life will make some sort of reasonable sense.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
I’m a big fan of the old Twilight Zone series that toyed with human psychology in many episodes. As far as I know, the ‘shattered life’ premise of my story hasn’t been done. Suppose you woke up tomorrow to find you were six years old, then the next day you were thirty? Pretty unnerving, yes? Your memory would retain some of your experiences, but just how would you deal with things like lost loves and deaths that hadn’t yet happened but that you’ve experienced? No wonder we find Leonard Cross in a psychiatrist’s office!
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
“The Last Days Of Leonard Cross” features some science fiction bordering on darker fiction bordering on horror…with helpings of eroticism and a love story thrown into the mix. Though I most often write horror, my stories usually bleed into other genres as well. In that respect, I try not to be predictable.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
Though I’ve always been single, I’ve had enough relationships that didn’t last, whether love affairs or friendships—but they certainly seemed strong in the beginning. I guess that’s true of many failed marriages and love affairs because we never can see where things are headed. But wouldn’t it be interesting if we could see that? Maybe yes, but also maybe it would be a little sad, too. I’ve also lost some close friends and family to death (yes and beloved pets, too), and it got me thinking that we don’t often appreciate those relationships we have while we still have them.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
Selfishly speaking, I’d like readers to remember who wrote it! But also, to answer this question, see the above paragraph.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
I like the twist at the end. It concludes with a sad irony, and I knew that was where I was taking “The Last Days Of Leonard Cross” before I wrote it. But I like the way it turned out. Life doesn’t always play fair, but maybe there’s a point to all the madness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I was writing before I knew how to write. As a pre-schooler I used to draw pictures that told stories. I had an on-going cartoon character, SHARKY THE BLIMP, and I kept that going into my freshman year of college. My first professional story that I got paid for was really a homework assignment I wrote for a creative writing class. “Pandemic” (written about 1992) won 2nd place in the Second Annual Rod Serling Memorial Writing Contest. The plot—a computer virus is programmed to spread to people! I figured, hell, people will PAY me for this stuff? I think I heard the Hallelujah Chorus after I won, and I’ve been writing seriously ever since.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
For many years, my pet parrot, Baby, was by my side during every story I wrote. When he passed away in 2017 I couldn’t write a sentence for months. When finally I did write, the story was “Baby Come Back” which appeared in the SORROW Anthology in 2019. Coffee? There’s a cup on my desk as I’m writing THIS. I must put away a bucket of the stuff for every story I write. I don’t outline my stories any more, but I always know the ending before I write the first sentence.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
Okay, this is a bit painful. I stuttered a little when I was young—couldn’t read aloud in class without flubbing my words. The teacher assumed I couldn’t read and held me back. For me, writing became a way to express myself non-verbally. You can’t stutter on the printed page, can you? When I discovered horror as a pre-teen, I used to keep my bunkmates awake during overnight camp with stories I made up on the spot. Early on, I knew I had some talent with my storytelling, and except for teaching English and Film Study for many years, it was just about the only real talent I had!
What font do you prefer to write in?
Times New Roman 12 point. That was an easy one…
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
Favorite word—Kiss. I like the way it sounds, and I like the activity, too!
Least favorite word—Trump. The word makes my skin crawl.
Have a favorite question you’ve been asked as a writer or one that you’re itching to talk about, include them here.
Okay, I’d love to be asked how I got to be so good looking. I’m still waiting for someone to ask that. Actually, I enjoy almost every question people ask, but please don’t ask me where I get my ideas. That’s the question EVERYONE seems to ask, and I always answer that I get my ideas from everything I see. It’s the truth.
Ken Goldman, former Philadelphia teacher of English and Film Studies, is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association. He has homes on the Main Line in Pennsylvania and at the Jersey shore. His stories have appeared in over 900 independent press publications in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia with over thirty due for publication in 2020. Since 1993 Ken’s tales have received seven honorable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. He has written six books: three anthologies of short stories, YOU HAD ME AT ARRGH!! (Sam’s Dot Publishers), DONNY DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (A/A Productions) and STAR-CROSSED (Vampires 2); and a novella, DESIREE, (Damnation Books, and on Kindle by eXcessica Publishing). His first novel OF A FEATHER (Horrific Tales Publishing) was released in January 2014. SINKHOLE, his second novel, was published by Bloodshot Books August 2017. Many of Ken’s stories can be found online. Stop by and scream hello.
ON TIME is coming in Summer 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.