KillerCon 4 Guest of Honor Interview—Jack Ketchum
Jack Ketchum is a one-time actor, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk who credits his childhood love of Elvis Presley, dinosaurs, and horror for getting him through his formative years.
Jack Ketchum’s first novel, Off Season, prompted the Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher in print for publishing violent pornography. He personally disagrees but is perfectly happy to let you decide for yourself. His short story "The Box" won a 1994 Bram Stoker Award from the HWA, his story "Gone" won again in 2000—and in 2003 he won Stokers for both best collection for Peaceable Kingdom and best long fiction for Closing Time. He has written twelve novels, arguably thirteen, five of which have been filmed—The Girl Next Door, Red, The Lost, Offspring and The Woman, written with Lucky McKee. His stories are collected in The Exit at Toledo Blade Boulevard, Peaceable Kingdom, Closing Time and Other Stories, and Sleep Disorder, with Edward Lee. His horror-western novella The Crossings was cited by Stephen King in his speech at the 2003 National Book Awards. Most recently, he was Grand Master for the 2011 World Horror Convention in Austin, Texas and a Guest of Honor at Killercon 3 in 2011.
KC: How did you first find out about the KillerCon Convention and what were your initialthoughts about a horror convention held in Las Vegas?
JK: Wrath James White, who's a good friend of mine, invited me, and insisted we'd have a good time. I had some reservations about Vegas, not because it was Vegas, but because it's a long flight for me and I was having health issues. But when Wrath speaks I tend to believe him. And he made sure those health issues were addressed in fine fashion.
KC: You were the guest of honor at KillerCon 3, and by all accounts, had a bloody great time. What made you say yes again to being a guest of honor at KillerCon 4?
JK: Those accounts were all true. I'd never done a Con in that part of the country before, so I got a chance to meet a lot of new readers and catch up with some old friends in the business. Suffice it to say, we partied.
KC: What was the best part about KillerCon 3 for you? What did you enjoy most?
JK: You mean aside from the partying? I'm one of those writers who really enjoys meeting his readers. I enjoy seeing the diversity—young, old, working-class, middle-class, from Goth to white-collar straight. Though I'm not sure anybody who reads me can be totally straight. I like to spend some time and listen to their stories, their personal stories, stories about how they came to my stuff, whatever. Once they figure out I don't bite, they often open up delightfully. And KillerCon isn't one of those massive cons where it feels like an assembly-line for autographs. It's big but not too big. You have a chance to chat a bit between signatures. Some personal contact. I like that.
KC: What are you most looking forward to at KillerCon4?
JK: More of the same. That and hanging out with Paul Wilson, Brian Keene, Edward Lee, Bill Nolan, Eric Red and Don D'Auria—all great guys, the latter three of whom I haven't seen in a long time—and meeting Kelley Armstrong.
KC: What can readers expect from you next?
JK: A book called I'M NOT SAM, two linked novellas written with Lucky McKee, with whom I wrote THE WOMAN, due out some time this year from Cemetery Dance. We think it's pretty disturbing. And a longish short story we also wrote together called SQUIRRELY SHIRLEY, out soon in Midnight Echo magazine. SHIRLEY 's utterly ridiculous, a kind of fun throwback to my Stroup stories in BROKEN ON THE WHEEL OF SEX. Lucky and I had a fine old time with all this stuff. Hope you do too.
KillerConLV would like to thank Jack for taking the time out of his jam-packed schedule to stop by for this interview! :-)
Jack will be involved in various panels and events during KillerCon4. For more information, please visit the Schedule/Events page.