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Dale Eldon’s Blog

Author James Ward Kirk

Posted: 17 Dec 2012 08:49 AM PST

A writer, a small press founder, and a real Saint! I’m here with James Ward Kirk (and far as I know he’s not a star ship captain), and today we’re talking about his press and works. So, James, tell us about what made you start your press?

I love horror. I write horror. I wanted to showcase up and coming Indiana horror writers, to give them their first publishing credit. This is a work of love. I make very little money, if any, from the anthos. I hope to someday pay pro rates.

I love the covers for your latest anthologies; wanna tell us some more about, INDIANA HORROR 2012, and INDIANA SCIENCE FICTION 2012?

Indiana Horror 2012

Indiana Horror 2012



The cover for Indiana Horror 2012 came from Jim Sorfleet as a gift. I had him as a friend on Facebook and I’m a huge fan. So I thought, “What the hell?” and asked him if he’d donate a cover. And he did! Jim Sorfleet asked me not to tell anyone but at this point I think he’d be okay with it. The Indiana Science Fiction 2012 cover came free from the mad genius Scott Frederic Hargrave. I met Scott through Facebook and Indiana Horror 2011. I asked him if he do a cover and he said “Sure, no problem.” Wow.

I mentioned that you’re writer, have any stories you would like to talk about?

I think my favorite personal short story is “The Rose Garden.” The story appeared in the Lovecraftian anthology Shadow of the Unknown. Because of this story, I received a personal invitation to join HWA. The story is about sin, punishment, understanding and accepting punishment, and the absence of redemption.

What got you into writing horror?

I’ve loved horror since childhood. I remember rushing in from the school bus and watching “Dark Shadows.” I loved Star Trek: Anything that carried me from the hum-drum of daily rural life. Burroughs’s “John Carter of Mars” was so fun. The first horror novel that sticks with even today is It. Even my music was scary: Black Sabbath.

These days a lot of horror lacks real scare, what scares you?

A broken mind scares me the most. A lot of what I’m writing today deals with this, in the tradition of Poe’s “William Wilson” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

It’s been great having you here, James!

Pick up a copy of, INDIANA HORROR 2012

Pick up a copy of, INDIANA SCINECE FICTION 2012

James’ Bio:

James Ward Kirk is the publisher and editor of the annual anthologies Indiana Horror, Indiana Crime and Indiana Science Fiction. You can find him on the Internet here: http://indyhorror.wordpress.com/james-ward-kirk-fiction/

Find him on Facebook as James Ward Kirk Fiction. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife of 21 years and a mean Chihuahua named Lucy. He holds a Master’s degree in English from Indiana University at Indianapolis. He has taught literature and composition at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis and Ivy Tech State College.


October 15, 2012 · 12:22 pm

Someone Else’s Writing: James Ward Kirk

James Ward Kirk: “Sometimes I wonder if I’m expressing my unconscious into my fiction.”

Hi James! Tells us – what makes you different to other writers?

I also work as a publisher and editor. I think the insights I get from other writers and their work makes me a better writer. I’ve made a lot of friends through my editing and publishing work. One of the best ways, I think, to improve one’s writing is to hang out with other writers. I do live with severe depression—I’m fairly certain this affects me as a writer.

Why do you think we’d enjoy reading your work?

After completing my Master’s Degree and seeing my sons off into the world, I went back to school for a year and studied abnormal and humanistic psychology. Depression and my studies regarding human behavior and personality work together weaving a voice for my work that I think is unique.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Is there something – or someone – that acts as your inspiration?

I don’t remember my dreams. Sometimes I wonder if I’m expressing my unconscious into my fiction. I am a huge fan of Poe, and especially his stories “The Purloined Letter,” “William Wilson,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” In “The Purloined Letter” one learns how important the number two is, and the duality of human nature. The other two stories express what happens when that duality is fractured.

How would you describe your ‘typical’ writing session? Do you have any particular habits? Do you prefer to hand-write or type?

I write as soon as I wake up. I stumble (literally–I’m heavily medicated in order to sleep) and pour some coffee. I fire up my computer and go to work

Are there any other writers who you really admire? What was the last thing you read and would you recommend it?

I really enjoy John Connolly. He has a finger on the pulse of the dichotomy of existence. There are several Indiana horror writers I admire. There are too many to list here, but Paula D. Ashe and Murphy Edwards come to mind first. Paula D. Ashe’s story “The Mother of all Monsters” sticks in my mind. You can find it in Indiana Horror 2012.

Indiana Horror, edited by James Wark Kirk, is available to purchase at Amazon.com.



“Team R.J.” Blog interview series #2: James Ward Kirk

Welcome to the second in a series of short interviews focusing on “Team R.J.”: people who have influenced, worked with, or played some other vital role in taking me where I am today.

Throwing practical matters out the window, I pursued a creative writing degree at IUPUI. James Kirk and I met as fellow undergraduates, first in creative writing classes, then as co-staff members of the university literary magazine. James also worked in the university library, and after I’d graduated, James went on to receive his masters in literature. He taught literature for the university for several years.

Throughout the time, James remained dedicated to his writing, probably with at least as much passion and focus as I had in my own work. Horror was his genre of choice even then (I saw myself as more of a sci-fi guy, and still do), and his approach of unsettling the reader by dropping them into the viewpoint of mentally unstable characters did much to distinguish his stories. And it’s an approach he continues to use to this day.

Many years and a Facebook connection later, I caught up with James a few months ago and found he was returning to his writing after a long break. Since then, he’s released his first novel, The Butterfly Killer, and has had some success with his short stories.
Q: You were a driven, passionate writer when we first met almost…yikes, OVER…20 years ago. When did you get the writing “bug” and what drives you to keep pursuing it?

A: I remember a writing assignment from the third grade. The teacher read the short story to the class, a comedic kind of story. It was a hoot. My classmates loved it and the teacher praised me.

Q: What writers inspired you? What made you pick the horror/psychological thriller genres as “your” genres?

A: I really enjoy John Connolly. He incorporates the supernatural with the private detective genre. Of course, I grew up with Stephen King—not literally, dang it. My favorite film genre is psychological thrillers and horror. The music I listen to relates well with psychological thriller, horror and the supernatural (Goth Industrial, Goth Metal, Symphonic Goth Metal).

Q: What circumstances caused a break in your writing, and what were the challenges when you returned to it?

A: First comes love, and then comes James pushing a baby carriage. Work and family came first. After the kids were out of the house, I picked up the pencil and paper again. Creativity never left. I encountered no problems with the creative process and writing the novel. The challenges came with the mechanics. Grammar, sentence structure, passive sentences, bad words: “that” and “had,” and so on. Thanks to RJ for jogging my memory.

Q: You attended a university campus for many years, worked in the university library, taught classes in your alma mater. How do you think the university environment affected your approach to the publishing business, good and bad?

A: I don’t remember a single instance of an instructor teaching anything at all about the publishing business, even while working on my Master’s degree. I worked with genesis, the university’s student literary journal as a board member, senior editor, and as faculty advisor. I did learn about the publishing business to a small degree while working with genesis.

Q: Describe your unique approach to your characters. How do you “psyche yourself up” to get into the bizarre mindset of your characters?

A: I just be myself.

Q: Tell us about The Butterfly Killer. Include an excerpt.

A: The Butterfly Killer is the first novel of a planned trilogy. I’ve finished two-thirds of the follow up novel. I am incorporating Christian spirituality. The protagonist is chosen by God to metamorphose into an agent against evil. The protagonist, female, is beginning to catch on by the novel’s conclusion. The first novel focuses primarily on human evil. The second novel incorporates the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, demons and saints in addition to just plain mean people. Excerpt:

Engelbert didn’t believe in God. But, of course, God believed in him.

Engelbert pondered this truth, momentarily, as the flames of his life burned cruelly, just like his mother’s final moments, and as his arterial blood sprayed into the very shadows he’d considered his fortress, from his surgically cut throat by the hand of God, He who rules the darkness and its violent dramatis personae, he whispered: there is a God, Momma.

In this instance, “God” is self-proclaimed, the master puppeteer of other serial killers.

Q: Like I did, I know you’re re-approaching old stories from years ago and brushing them off for rewrites. Tell us what that’s like.

A: Taking old short stories and rewriting them was a lot of fun. I got to see where I was and where I am now.

Q: I remember back in college, a singular science fiction piece in your group of short stories. Do you think you’ll continue to experiment with genres?

A: I think you’re speaking of the short story entitled Joe. I don’t think the story was science fiction in the way the novel 1984 is science fiction. The piece was more of a commentary on society than anything else. I don’t see any science fiction in my future unless, of course, I turn Joe into a novel.

Q: One consistent aspect to all your fiction is an element of faith and religion. How does your faith affect what you write and how do you weave it into your narrative.

A: I haven’t been to church in at least a decade. There’s a lot about organized religion that gets on my very last nerve. However, I am spiritual and believe in a higher power. For example, our planet is around three billion years old. Think about the trillions of events and nonevents leading to me sitting here talking about God. I don’t believe in coincidence. The Butterfly Killer contains graphic/adult material. I don’t think “God” has given it much thought.

Q: Tell us about your sequel novel and anything else going on.

A: I’ve mentioned above the sequel. I’m also working on an anthology of short stories, some new and some revisions of old short stories.

Order The Butterfly Killer from Amazon Here.

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