Today I'd like welcome Kerry Alan Denney, author of "Soulsnatcher" to the Thursday interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Colleagues and readers alike have dubbed Kerry Alan Denney The Reality Bender. The multiple award-winning author of the paranormal thriller SOULSNATCHER (Lazy Day Publishing, April 2014), the post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller JAGANNATH (Permuted Press, February 3, 2015), and numerous short stories, Kerry blends elements of the supernatural, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in his work. With joy, malicious glee, and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers—even when the voices don’t compel him to. His protagonists are his children, and he loves them as dearly as he despises his antagonists... even when he has to kill them.
Kerry’s novel SOULSNATCHER received a rave testimonial from New York Times bestselling author James Rollins. He was awarded Honorable Mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest in 2013 for his short story Something in the Air, and is the First Place Winner of the Atlanta Writers Club Fall 2013 short story contest for In the Night She Comes. Kerry is currently shopping for literary agent representation for his most recent novel, and writing his next paranormal novel, and deciding who to kill in it.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
1) Would you break the law to save a loved one? ...Why?
Absolutely, for a number of good reasons. First, a loved one is far more valuable than any punishment I might receive from the courts for breaking the law. No comparison, no question or contest; loved ones are the most valuable thing we can ever have in this life. Second, “break the law” is not specific: I’ve run a few traffic lights and stop signs, and exceeded the speed limit a number of times. Things like robbery and kidnapping etc. are deeper, but if it saved a loved one’s life, I’d do it and face the consequences like a man. Murder may be a different matter: to kill someone in order to save someone else whom I love would be like proclaiming myself an authority to judge the value of someone’s life over another, and that is possibly the ultimate hubris. If the person was a known dangerous killer or criminal, that would be different. But a stranger? That would be a deadly, mortal sin that would endanger my immortal soul. It would be the ultimate conundrum, and certainly gives one pause to consider such a life-altering decision and act. Overall, I would not want my criminal act to endanger or take the life of another or others.
2) What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Good question. Being alive might only constitute shuffling from day to day in a daze, without accomplishing anything of note, merely existing. To me, truly living encompasses touching the lives of others in ways that make their lives better. To live sheltered inside ourselves without sharing the great gift of the joy of life is to live a life hardly worth mentioning or remembering. The loved ones—family and friends—that I’ve lost and are no longer with us who left a positive mark on my own life are my most priceless treasure, and can never be taken from me no matter what tribulations life throws at me. To me, they truly lived because they are remembered with a fondness and joy that I will always carry in my heart, along with others whose lives they touched. I try to live my life in a way that would make them proud and honor their own lives, even though they can’t be here to see it.
3) What motivates you to write?
Living life with breathless joy and gratitude for each precious moment! Many things motivate me to write, but primarily the irresistible need to set free the multitude of stories swimming in my head, and share them with the world regardless of how they will be accepted. I’ve always had a love of reading, and a desire to bring the stories in my head to life. To write about characters, ideas, and concepts living only in my mind is to breathe life into them. A writer can receive no greater award than to have a reader tell them how much they love characters we’ve created. In essence, I write because I can’t not write. My head would explode if I kept the stories imprisoned inside it, lol.
4) Why do humans want children?
Sometimes I ask myself that same question, lol. Yeah, I’ve met a few people who make me wonder why they’re even here. From a purely physical perspective, having children is a natural, irresistible biological imperative, an act to which we are driven by the sheer nature of living: the compulsion to perpetuate our species. From a spiritual and emotional perspective, having children fulfills a need and desire to share with our own offspring the pure joie de vivre, or joy of life, that we have and cherish in ourselves. The psychological need to nurture our own and watch them grow and experience life is as irresistible and irrefutable as the natural compulsion to reproduce experienced by all biological organisms. And I’ve fortunately had the honor and privilege of knowing a good number of wonderful, kindhearted, generous people who not only make that compulsion worthwhile, they also make it a priceless treasure in my own life. There is no wonder, no magic, and no marvel that compares to the joy seen in a child’s eyes as our world unfolds before them.
5) What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "SOULSNATCHER"?
Getting it right and making it real so readers would not only love reading it, but also take away the incomparable experience of enjoying a work of fiction that comes to life for them! Through numerous intense edits before finally calling it finished, I needed to ensure that the changes I made kept the pace, characters, and story moving forward with clear imperative goals in mind, as well as nearly overwhelming obstacles to those goals, without bogging the story or reader down in overly complex or unnecessary conflicts that couldn’t be realistically resolved. The superfluous was deleted; I “killed my babies.” All that despite the need for suspension of disbelief required in all speculative fiction, lol. I wanted to make the story so irresistible that the words disappeared and the reader became captivated and engrossed in a world that was as real to them as the world in which we live.
6) What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
If you give and share love and friendship openly and freely, without expectations or requests for compensation, it will be returned to you tenfold, the greatest blessing we can ever have. One of my greatest joys in this life is sharing with others the unique, playful love and affection of my eight-year-old Golden retriever Holly Jolly, a professional Therapy Dog and certified Canine Good Citizen. Holly and I currently participate—going on 2 years now—in two local library-sponsored R.E.A.D. programs (Reading Education Assistance Dogs). We visit the Gwinnett County Library System’s Mountain Park Branch Library for their “Doggie Tales” program on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 1 to 2 p.m. EST, and the DeKalb County Library System’s Sue Kellogg Branch Library for their “Read to Rover” program on the fourth Saturday of each month from 12 noon to 1 p.m. EST. Holly and I sit in the children’s section with other Therapy Dogs and their humans, and kids read to the dogs, pet them, learn how to properly approach strange dogs, and we help the kids improve their reading comprehension skills—as well as foster in them a love for reading. Holly is a huge hit with the kids, like a furry four-legged rock star minus the rad shades and leather regalia. We also visit Sunrise Senior Living, a local hospice/ retirement home, where Holly is making lots of new friends.
7) How did you come up with the title JAGANNATH?
I needed a cool word to encompass and describe the fearsome monster in my post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller Jagannath (coming from Permuted Press February 3, 2015). The Reaper is an amorphous creature that rises up out of the ocean depths, where it has formerly fed on only marine life, and it swiftly develops a taste for human flesh and blood—as well as a lust for our minds. When it absorbs its human prey, it assimilates our intelligence, and transforms into monsters from our darkest nightmares—and it loves tormenting its victims. It nearly wipes out civilization, growing as it feeds, and the story is about the courageous surviving humans who take a stand and try to destroy it before the human race becomes extinct. Jagannath [júggə naát, júggə nàwt] is a Hindu deity annually drawn out of his palace on an enormous chariot under whose wheels devotees throw themselves to be crushed, considering their sacrifice an honor. The literal translation is “lord or master of the world or universe,” and it is the origin of the word juggernaut, a relentlessly destructive, crushing, and pitiless force. Fits my monster The Reaper to a “T”!
8) How do you handle personal criticism?
With as much aplomb as possible, lol. After submitting my writing to literary agents and publishers for ten years now, I’ve learned how to accept rejection without blinking or flinching a long time ago. This process has helped me to achieve a “calm center” in which criticism rolls off me like water beading on a good wax job on a car. Our writings are our babies, and no one likes being told their baby is ugly, lol, but we must be prepared to accept negative criticism with a professional and respectable detachment. The key for writers is to find our ideal target audience, and get our works in front of these people where it stands a much better chance of being genuinely appreciated, enjoyed, and applauded.
9) Why should people read your book?
Make that books plural, please: To be entertained and delighted, of course! I have a long list of reasons, so I’ll list the top ones: Because my stories are always primarily about the depth of human emotion, strength, and resilience. Ultimate triumph in the face of almost overwhelming adversity. Passion and compassion for others. Mercy and forgiveness for enemies and adversaries. Making the right choice when it’s never the easiest choice, when it’s simpler to slink away and pretend ignorance. Taking the high road no matter how steep or insurmountable it may seem. Selflessness: Love, kindness, wholesomeness, and generosity over selfishness, avarice, desire, conquest, and subjugation. Protecting and nurturing those who cannot fend for themselves. Teaching others how to do all of the above the same, and more importantly, why they should. Facing overwhelming obstacles and taking a stand against them no matter how futile the endeavor may seem. Truly living instead of just being alive. Sharing the precious moments that make us and others want to dance and sing... even if we know how to do neither, even if we know some may laugh at us when we do. Conquering fear and uncertainty and taking heart and spiritual sustenance in our determination to succeed, excel, and show others how to do the same. Helping others make their dreams come true. I could go on and on, but these are the best. Feel free to contact me and I will share more! May you all find the strength to conquer and rise above your demons, whatever they may be.
10) Why is there something rather than nothing?
Ah, a physics question, I love it, and love a good challenge. Is it based on how we perceive reality? Is that perception subjective for some, and objective for others, and if so, how do we determine the difference... and should we even bother trying to?
To me, most of it all boils down to I think, therefore I am. Often in this life I have experienced profound, life-changing, mind-changing moments in which I discovered something along the lines of “Just the fact that we can feel this way means that there’s so much more than we can ever comprehend.” To wit, there are far more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in Horatio’s philosophy. In other words, life and everything around us has so much more to offer our minds—and likely our spirits and souls, if that’s what you choose to call them—than the mere shell of our physical bodies can possibly ever contain. Therefore, realms of existence must be, despite our pathetic inability to perceive or even conceive of them. I’m a part-time writer and a full-time philosopher, lol, even though the pay for both are often insubstantial in what we call the “real world.” My mind has left my body enough times—whether in dreams or so-called “waking” moments—that I have no doubt that the places it has traveled are far more than just “nothing.” There is a hereafter, but I believe that concept is a misperception based on the limits of our known “reality,” and here’s why: It’s an all-during, not a hereafter. We “were” before we are what we know of ourselves “now,” and are still, now and always... our minds just can’t reach that plane yet—although many wiser than I have touched upon it in mind-boggling ways.
Thanks so much to Sara and Patrick at Drunken Druid Books for this excellent opportunity to share my madness with the real world, whatever you may conceive it to be.
Thanks Kerry for taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out "Soulsnatcher" on
Children with extraordinary psychic powers are being used as pawns in a deadly supernatural war. Jasmine "Jazz" Tandy and her nine-year-old son Chaz, who can heal people with his touch, are fleeing from a ruthless organization that kidnaps these children. Children such as Kaylee Daley, who can control and manipulate plant life, and Mara Fleming, who can see into the future. Their only hope for salvation is a covert group called the Guardians, who protect these children from the organization's merciless hunters.
Dr. Larssen Sössnacher, the organization's leader--called "Soulsnatcher" by the remarkable children he abducts and exploits--believes Chaz is the miraculous prodigy who will grant him the immortality he craves... and he'll stop at nothing to get Chaz.
Cody Jackson, a Guardian and martial arts and weapons expert, rescues Jazz and Chaz from Soulsnatcher's hunters and takes them to Homestead, a safe haven where the children learn to use their powers to help others. But Soulsnatcher's hunters raid Homestead and battle the Guardians in a surreal deadly showdown--with the souls of all the children as the ultimate prize