We here at GLAHW have met so many amazing and talented people out in the big wide world (you know, OFF the internets) 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 Shad Kelly.


GLAHW: How long have you been writing? When did you get started? I have written sporadically since I was about 10 years old. I used to draw all the time and would sometimes write stories to go the pictures. It became something I do “more often than not” when I joined GLAHW in 2013.


GLAHW: Why did you choose the horror genre?


I chose horror because during the 2013 World Horror Convention, David Hayes and Nicole Castle convinced me to submit a story to Erie Tales VI. It was accepted and is my first published work. Collaborating with Nicole Castle on our story for Erie Tales XIII taught me my work is probably not horror as much as dark fantasy. My ending hinted at something horrific; hers put black marks on both our souls so that’s the one we went with.


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


I’ve dabbled for most of my life just to amuse myself and had plans to publish a fantasy novel after reading a particularly bad one and thinking “This sucks! I can do better than this.” Very shortly after that I discovered it’s a lot easier to criticize than create. As an adult, seeing Nicole published in Erie Tales V was so cool I almost started writing. World Horror 2013 was the final push from the nest.


GLAHW: Are you a Plotter or Pantser?


Plotter ad nauseum! Plotting is my favorite form of procrastination.


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


Maybe. I was holding someone’s hand while they were dying and felt something like an electric shock when they passed. I’ve seen my wife’s soul once, casually, almost in passing and it was beautiful enough to make me tear up a bit writing about it just now.


GLAHW: Are you superstitious? Why or why not?


My first thought was no, because I am a rational person who understands cause-and-effect, but that’s not completely true. There are enough things in this world, let alone an entire universe, that we can’t really explain that I’ve taken a “but let’s not tempt Fate” attitude as I get older. For example, there was a retired State mental hospital in Traverse City that Nicole and I visited with friends one dark night. It was spooky and we loved it. Later we found out they were being turned into condominiums and though I don’t believe in bad energy and negative mojo and all that, I thought “but why would you take the chance…”


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


I am an engineer and for the past twenty years have designed and built battery packs for hybrid and electric passenger and commercial vehicles, industrial equipment, drones, and boats. I like being an engineer, I like solving problems, and I love it when something that once existed only in my mind enters the real world and becomes objective reality. That’s also how I feel about my stories. They aren’t “real” until someone else has read them.


GLAHW: Do you keep a journal every day?




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


Short stories, although I would like to write novels too.


GLAHW: What truly scares you?


That’s a bit personal isn’t it? But that’s how we get to know people. This interview really should have been done over bourbon. I’m afraid of losing my wife, my family, my friends. Not losing in the sense of a falling out that could perhaps be mended, but the losing where you never, ever get to share a moment or a conversation again. I’ve already had a taste and that was enough to let me know far worse is possible. I can only imagine how bad it is for people with children. With age I fear losing my physical and/or mental capabilities; my mobility and independence.


GLAHW: What sort of hobbies are you into?


Writing of course! I’m a hobby writer and am thankful I can write for fun not out of necessity. The COVID year of 2019 made me relearn how much I like to read! I read a lot that year. I used to draw a lot as a child and still sketch for work and for fun. I would like to work on that a little more. I’ve always been interested in martial arts because of the movies and have a black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, a Japanese martial arts school. I did a kickboxing class for fun but quit about a decade due to injury. 


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


I started out reading comic books. My first comic was ROM #8 and was bought by my aunt. The cover had a robot, ghosts, an evil priest, and a dinosaur and caught my nine-years-old eye. I collected as best I could The Shogun Warriors, ROM, Micronauts, and The X-Men. When I was ten my uncle loaned me The Hobbit; my first “real” book and I made it through but can’t say I got a lot out of it. In Fourth Grade we had a field trip to the public library to get library cards and books. I checked out Runaway Robot by Lester Del Rey because of the cover. It was much more accessible than The Hobbit. With my library card I checked out books on my own after school or on Saturdays. I had been a mediocre student until then but made straight-As after becoming a reader. It changed my life. I still read comic books, mostly as collected editions or graphic novels, and have a complete run of The Savage Sword of Conan. Nicole introduced me to the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child and those are my favorite contemporary thrillers. During 2019 I real all of Joe R. Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series. Like many people I got hooked on the A Song of Ice and Fire (AKA Game of Thrones) series by George R. R. Martin and waited years between novels. Still waiting!


GLAHW: What’s your favorite genre to write?


Dark fantasy and horror because it was my first genre.


GLAHW: Do you use a pseudonym?




GLAHW: What do you think makes a good story?


I read to be entertained but I’m picky. Plot holes, technical mistakes, and clichéd writing are dislikes, so I like the opposites. Witty, sharp dialogue (check out the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust, or The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny). Stories with a logical chain of cause-and-effect even with magic or madness or an unreliable narrator. Clean, concise writing so I forget I’m reading and just experience the story. I like a real threat of danger to characters and sometimes an unhappy ending (George R. R. Martin). I like some philosophy and hint of a larger universe, even for short stories. Make me suspicious there is a backstory. I read Clive Barker created the Cenobites because he wanted depth and mythology for his stories. I like multiverses and metaverses. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series has a lot of Easter eggs.


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


An astronaut.


GLAHW: Are you spiritual?


Sort of. I believe there is a human spirit and to crush it is the worst sin. You may have heard me say that live music and children are two things I accept as proof of actual magic in this world, and when I lost my father concerts and babysitting really helped. Alcohol did too and I do believe there are true things to learn under the influence of mind-altering substances. I know the love I feel for my wife is something I never expected in this world. I read something about love being a song no one else hears and I think that’s a good summary. There are a lot of things in nature that make me feel good and alive, but so do cemeteries.


GLAHW: What are your influences?


I’ll limit this answer to writing. As far a craft and technical skill, I name dropped some of my favorite writers above and how they exemplify one or more aspects of good writing. I keep them in mind when I edit and I hope the things I like about them find their way into my voice. For the creative side, the “where do you get your ideas?” part, I get bored easily and make things up to entertain myself. I did it as a child and still do it although now I have to watch how much time I waste as “screentime”. I’m a product of 1970s and 1980s cartoons, Cinemax movies, weird finds in the video store, comic books, and interests in history, philosophy, and martial arts.


GLAHW: What are you reading right now


 I’ve been on an old-school graphic novel kick lately. I just finished “Elektra: Assassin” and “Elektra Lives Again”. Next up is the Marvel Epic Collection “Iron Fist, Volume 1”. I love John Byrne’s art. I also started Novus Monstrum. So far the stories are unique and memorable! I went through a long period where I didn’t read much because I thought I should be writing or doing something else, but the Quarantine Year made me remember how much I love to read. 


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.


If you like to read consider writing. If you can’t write well then write poorly and learn to rewrite. I’ve seen tremendous progress from many writers in GLAHW and other places over the years. Some people seem born with talent but if you write and listen to constructive criticism you will get better. I know I’ve found it’s a lot easier to criticize than create! It’s also still satisfying to see something I wrote published somewhere. I like to sit with family and friends, drink bourbon, listen to Heavy Metal, maybe smoke a cigar, and talk. We do it at home and on vacation given the chance.