Friends of GLAHW | Dean M. King

We here at GLAHW have met so many amazing and talented people out in the big wide world (you know, OFF the Internet) and thought it was high-time we introduced them to you. Who knows? You may end up discovering a favorite new artist, photographer, writer, or all-around awesome human. This time around, we will be talking to Dean M. King.  

Here is his Bio:

Dean M. King is an American author who lives with his wife, Kelly, and their son on Northeast Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.

Dean finds inspiration for his stories in remote areas of Wisconsin’s vast Northwoods, on the islands that lay off its coasts, and among the stalwart bluffs of Southwest Wisconsin. Whether Dean is writing about a dreadful creature that crawled from the Mississippi River or a drag race between a street-toughened hoodlum and the devil, you can be sure—maybe even, a little afraid—that his stories will haunt you long after you read the final page.

Dean has published several short stories in online and print venues. Sarah’s Cross is his first novel.


GLAHW: How long have you been writing? When did you get started?

Answer: I have been writing for more than 25 years, but I rarely submitted my stories for publication. For me, writing was more about creating stories than sharing them with anybody. I was in my mid-twenties (I’m fifty-eight years old now) when I wrote my first short story.

 

GLAHW: Why did you choose the horror genre?

Answer: There is something about being afraid that makes one feel so alive. Maybe it has something to do with our senses becoming more acute when we are frightened. I loved horror books and movies as a boy, and writing horror was just a natural progression for me.

 

GLAHW: Were you inspired by a person or event to begin your writing career?

Answer: I couldn’t get enough of Stephen King. I read everything he wrote. I enjoy long books because it allows me to become invested emotionally with the characters. I also marvel at King’s ability to describe the cities, towns, and countryside in such a way as to make me feel I have walked in those places at some point in my life.

 

GLAHW: Are you a Plotter or Pantser?

Answer: I am a Pantser. My stories start with a seed of an idea, and then I allow the tree will grow tall and spread its branches. Writing without a detailed plot is, for me, like taking a Sunday drive in a car. I find the most exciting places by turning down unknown roads.

 

GLAHW: Have you ever had an encounter with the supernatural?

Answer: There have been a few gooseflesh-raising events in my life, but the one that frightened me the most occurred in my home, a home I have since sold, about eight or so years ago. I was home alone. The house was perfectly quiet, and I was sitting in my living room, reading. Suddenly, a breathy voice whispered my first name, very clearly and distinctly. It was so distinct that I automatically responded by saying, “Yes?” I looked up and scanned the room, then got up and walked throughout the entire house. I was alone, and there was nobody outside. On one other occasion, in the same house, I heard two very sharp handclaps coming from the open staircase above me as I stood in my kitchen. I immediately looked up at the area from which the sound came and saw nothing.

 

GLAHW: Are you superstitious? Why or why not?

Answer: I am not superstitious. I’ll carry a black cat under a ladder on Friday the thirteenth. We make our own luck by our deeds and words. I am also a man of faith, which informs my belief system.

 

GLAHW:  What do you do for a living, outside of writing?

Answer: I am a real estate broker.

 

GLAHW: Do you keep a journal every day?

Answer: I don’t, but I wish I had, at least, during my youth. I have excellent recall. I know the facts, what is lost is what I was feeling at the time.

 

GLAHW: What do you prefer to write – short stories, poetry, novels, scripts, etc.?

Answer: I prefer to write novels because book-length fiction allows me to really flesh-out my characters and settings. Short stories for me tend to turn into novelettes with word counts over 15,000. I have published several Drabbles, which are stories of exactly one hundred words. It is challenging to limit myself to a hundred words and feel as if I have told a complete story, but it can be done, and they are fun to write.

 

GLAHW: What truly scares you?

Answer: Voids of either black or white infinite space, frighten me. If I picture myself walking in a void with no objects around me to mark distance and the passage of time, I can get the willies. I suppose a psychologist might conclude that I fear loneliness. Maybe I do.

 

GLAHW: What sort of hobbies are you into?

Answer: I love to bow hunt for deer, camp with my family, and hike. I am into spending time out of doors in wooded areas with lakes. I’m a Northwoods kind of a guy.

 

GLAHW: Do you read outside of the horror genre? If so, what else have you read?

Answer: I love crime stories and courtroom dramas. My favorite authors are John Grisham, Nelson Demille, and Michale Connelly.

 

GLAHW: What’s your favorite genre to write?

Answer: I like to write horror. But horror comes in a wide variety of forms from alien horror, which can also be classified as sci-fi horror, to dystopian futuristic societies, where merely living your life can be horror, to what I call, “soft horror,” where the horror element is subtle, and the story is more of a mystery.

 

GLAHW: Do you use a pseudonym?

Answer: Dean M. King is my pen name.

 

GLAHW: What do you think makes a good story?

Answer: Believable characters and settings. If the characters and settings seem like people I might meet or places I could actually visit, that makes the story enjoyable. I also don’t like gratuitous foul language or depictions of sexual acts. If they don’t play a role in the story, it is unnecessary. Just get on with the plot!

 

GLAHW: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Answer: I wanted to be a game warden. This relates to my love of the outdoors.

 

GLAHW: Are you spiritual?

Answer: I am a practicing Christian. Nothing I have ever written compares with the word of God in the Holy Bible.

 

GLAHW: What are your influences?

Answer: The single most significant influence in my life is my faith. It dictates the rules under which I write. I will not use foul language or write detailed description of sexual activity in my stories. I will not make true believers out to be maniacs or hypocrites. I will not write anything that I would be ashamed to have my wife, my children, or my mother read. (Mom would smack me if I did!)

 

GLAHW: What are you reading right now?

Answer: I am reading “The Cabin” by Natasha Preston. She is a successful YA author, and my current work in progress has evolved into a YA book, even though that was not the direction I intended to take it. I decided to read a few YA novels to learn more about their structure.

 

GLAHW: What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.

Answer: My goal as a horror author is to make my work accessible to those who don’t usually pick up a horror novel for spiritual or moral reasons. I want my stories to deliver a good old-fashioned scare without leaving my readers feeling dirty from foul language and sexual descriptions. I also like to end my stories on a positive and even heartwarming note. The greatest horror stories that were ever written (think Dracula and Frankenstein) were written without vulgarity. The best example of what I am describing here is “Odd Thomas” by Dean Koontz.

My debut novel, “Sarah’s Cross,” published by Austin Macauley of London and New York, comes out on February 28th of this year. It is set in 1961 in Northern Wisconsin. “Sarah’s Cross” exemplifies the standards I have set for my writing. It is frightening and mysterious and, at the same time touching and heartwarming. It is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in brick and motor stores.

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