Friday, January 3, 2014

Interview with Chris Kelso.

Full Name:
Chris Kelso

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
My friends call me Chris.  My parents call me Christopher (usually when they’re pissed off)
That’s pretty common.  I don’t know why parents think that saying your full name will put the fear of God in you.  Mostly it just serves as an early warning system.
Absolutely!  Only, when my parents go “full-name” me it usually does put the fear of god in me, so I guess it’s a fairly effective technique.

Irvine, Scotland

Current hometown:

Kilwinning, Scotland

Favorite city and why?
My favorite city is probably Rome.  A little cliché I know, but it’s the only place I’ve ever wanted to back to outside the UK.  What a boring thing to admit…
You really should travel a bit more.  All of Europe is a train ride away.  Get out there and explore a little.
On a librarian’s wage it’s not just as easy.  But I know you’re right, it’s like a rite of passage or something to get out there and find yourself.  When I save up I’ll go to Rome.

Birthday / Age:
I’m 25 and my birthday is on March 22nd

How would you describe yourself physically?
Average height, thin but athletic, maybe…

How would someone else describe you physically?
Scrawny but short, probably…

The first thing people notice about you is…
My baby face.  Everytime.
It doesn’t get better when you get older.  I’ve got babyface too, and the only benefit is that people think I’m younger than I am.  “I can’t believe you’re almost forty!”  Well, I am.  Oh, and you can still date girls half your age, so if that’s the kind of thing you’re into, you’re in luck.
See, now that’s where the difference lies. I think when you hit 40 and over, looking younger is a total compliment.  Hopefully I’ll appreciate it more later on – unless I age horribly!  Fingers crossed I don’t wind up a 35 stone bald headed buffoon with a beer belly and wrinkles like an elephant’s arse.

Religion, if any?
I’m an Atheist but I don’t preach about it.
I’m an antitheist and I do.  But since you’re an atheist it would be like preaching to the choir.
I appreciate your restraint!

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I’m kind of superstitious.  I usually have to sleep on the left side of the bed.  If I wake up on the right side I know I’m going to have a shitty day.  I also used to do this thing where I had to (HAD TO) put on my socks before any other garment while getting changed.  I seem to remember being terrified of stepping on cracks on the road and wearing the same wrist band for 2 years straight because I was paranoid my girlfriend would dump me if I took it off.  She dumped me anyway as it happens.  *laughs*  Maybe I’m more superstitious than I originally thought!
I’d say I’m afraid of heights. I get really bad vertigo when I reach a certain altitude. There was a time, believe it or not, when I was terrified of water too.  I fell into the deep end of an outdoor pool when I was about 6 and had to get hooked out by the lifeguard – but there was a moment, when I had anchored straight to the bottom and I was looking at all the adults legs wagging about above me near the surface, when I accepted that I was probably going to die there and then.  Pretty scary for a young kid, but I’m over it now and am able to swim.
You’re not that bad.  Not, like, “Joey Ramone, count your footsteps, touch every other fence posts” bad.  At least you’re not saving your urine in jars.
I used to save toe nail clippings and women’s eye-lashes…not really.
I actually used to save hairs off of my pillow if a girl slept over.  Just one per girl.
Permission to be terrified!  Actually, that’s kind of sweet – in a uniquely terrifying sort of way.

Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
I don’t smoke, I can’t handle it.  My lungs ain’t made of strong enough stuff.  I do drink, but I drank more back when I was a teenager.  The only bad habit I have is that whenever I get something good going in my life I seem intent on obliterating it.  That’s an annoying habit I can’t seem to shake.
Give it time.  I used to think that my life was running on a good/bad cycle but that’s just how life is.  Flash floods and dry spells.  “And in time, this too, shall pass.”

Current occupation / Dream job:
I’m an assistant librarian, a job I actually enjoy.  It means I can be around books all day too.  They even let me teach kids art class which is tremendously rewarding.  My dream job would probably be one of two things.  The first – a full-time writer, not just a part-time one (which is such a ludicrous notion that I’m reluctant to even mention it on here), and the second is probably an RSPCA officer.  I’d love the feeling of protecting animals from scum-bags, they need a Charles Bronson style vigilante to stick up for them!
You’d probably love the work of Edward Abbey.  You should check him out if you haven’t already.  Being a part-time writer isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds.  Most people don’t start writing full-time unless they’re laid off or disabled.  Most people start with awful poetry, move onto hit-or-miss short stories, write a bad novel, and then start writing books.  The first book is the hardest and after you finish it, you should just delete the file and start your next book.  Your first book is where you learn how to write a book.  Once you know how to write a book, each one gets easier.
It’s so weird you mentioned Edward Abbey, I’m actually about 100 pages into The Monkey Wrench Gang.  It’s pretty great!
If you like that, you’ll love Dessert Solitaire.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I do a lot of reading, writing and illustrating.  I also do some editing for various publishing companies – on top of organizing the magazine I created with Garrett Cook, Imperial Youth Review.  I also watch movies and play music too.  I’m an encyclopedia of weird movies, books and music… I try and stay healthy, of course.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Find a high vantage point and keep them at bay then wait for the quarantine folks to arrive.
What if the quarantine folks don’t arrive?
Then it’s grenade launcher time…

Weapon of choice:
Something subtle like, um....a grenade launcher?

Do you have any special skills?
I can play guitar and draw.  I try my best at writing

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
I did.  I went to Strathclyde University and Law put me off.  I mean I really hated it.  Then I went to Cardonald to study my NCTJ journalism…and what was the first thing we had to learn…LAW.  Fortunately I was able to stick that one out, but if I come across the subject of Law again I’m going to scream.  I’ve also done various courses through the Open University.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
Still tryin’!

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
I have two boxer dogs called Casper and Jake.  I had a cat called Louie but he passed away last summer which was heartbreaking.  My parents live on a farm and have four horses and a stray cat who comes to the back door every day for feedin’.

What is your favorite animal?
I love most of them.  I do love rats and mice, I think they get a bad rep.
Rodents leave urine trails on you when they crawl around on you.  I don’t want to eradicate all rodents or anything, but when someone tries to get me to hold their pet rat I’ll pass, thanks.
I’d still rather take the piss-trail of a rodent all over me than the company of most human beings.  I realise I may be alone in that sentiment.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Eating with your mouth open…then trying to talking to me.  Mainly they’re eating habits that bug the living shit out of me.  If I see someone licking a plate clean or sucking food off their fingers, by Christ, you better stand clear!  I also hate ignorant people and mean-spirited, selfish people.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Anything meat-based probably.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“So it goes….”

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
I got published, MORE THAN ONCE!  That’s been my dream for as long as I care to remember.  I’m living my dream, right now, I’m living it.  That’s the best thing that’s happened to me.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Jesus… I’m trying to narrow down one singularly horrifying experience, but I feel like it’d be pointless whining on my part.  Everyone has horrible stuff happen to them I suppose, just like everyone has miraculous, great stuff happen to them.  Take the rough with the smooth.  None of my awful experiences compare with those folks out there who’re starving or stuck in a dead-end.  When my cat died I cried for the first time in a decade.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Many, many times, yes, I absolutely have had my heart broken.  They call me the human piñata.  *laughs*  I’ve loved a couple of people, either they left me or I pushed them away.  Same old, same old…
So it goes…

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
I can honestly say that I have never broken someone’s heart.  Not to my knowledge anyway.  Most of the women I date are strong, independent people; I couldn’t hurt them if I tried, seriously!  I’ve maybe hurt people or done some thoughtless things that I paid for later but never anything too serious.  I’ve never ruined someone’s life or anything…I don’t think!

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
This questionnaire!
Oh, I bet you say that to all of the interviewers!
Well… would you be awfully jealous if I did?
Not really.  Most of these interviews are the interview equivalent of one night stands.  We meet in a dark and smoky social networking website.  We have a brief conversation.  We do the interview and then we go our separate ways.
*Laughs* You make it sound so seedy!

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve a few regrets, mainly with regard to missed opportunities.  Dropping out of university the first time round was a major regret but not so much anymore.

If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
I’d kill the people on that reality TV show The Valleys (a UK show where talentless steroid abusing arrested adolescents fuck each other on camera and promote their own shallow ideologies).  I’d fucking kill them in a heartbeat.

What do you do?
I’m a writer and assistant librarian.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I started writing when I left university.  I had a lot of negative emotions that I wanted to get out of my system.  They took the form of a story called “Out With Temptation”.  It was a weird sort of dark, sexual drama about a heroin addict or something.  It was also appalling.  It will never see the light of day.  (I’ve since deleted the file, so HA!)

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Persevere!  If you want to be a write, make sure you’re manuscript is the best it can be.  Rejection is harsh and all part of the process, I can’t tell you how many rejection e-mails I received for Out With Temptation before I took the hint that it was unmitigated dog shit.  Once you’ve binned the book you feel terrible, like you don’t have enough energy in you to do it all over again, but trust me you’ll find the impetus somehow.  It can be an unrewarding and brutal business, be prepared for it.  Your next try will be better.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
I have three books at the moment – “A Message from the Slave state”, “Schadenfreude” and “Moosejaw frontier”, as well as an anthology out with Hal Duncan called “Caledonia Dreamin: Strange Fiction of Scottish Descent”.  I run Imperial Youth Review, my magazine with Garrett Cook and am associate editor over at Dog Horn Publishing.

What projects are you working on now?
“Last Exit to Interzone” is a chapbook coming out soon through Black Dharma Press” which is limited to 50 copies.  I have a few books out next year.  There’s “The Dissolving Zinc Theatre”, “Transmatic” and “The Black Dog Eats the City”.  I also have a load of other exciting things that I’ll announce really soon. 

What are you watching?
Just finished Breaking Bad.  I love so many shows, it really is the era of well-written US drama.  I love Louie CK’s show too!  I suppose the one I’m watching most is Frasier.
That’s weird.  I’m watching Louie as I edit this.  I’ve watched the whole series through at least a dozen times.  It’s like comfort food for my brain.
Totally!  Although, I couldn’t believe the New Years episode when he went to China!  It was like a fucking Lynchian nightmare.  So cool!

What are you listening to?
I go through spells.  One minute it’s John Coltrane and John Zorn, the next it’s The Beastie Boys and The Smiths.  I love so much music.  Right now I’m listening to everything Crass ever released.
That is a bit weird.  Nothing wrong with a little Crust/D-Beat.

What are you reading?
I just finished The Cone-Gatherers by Robin Jenkins.  It was stunning.

Favorite author / book?
Again, this is tough.  For the sake of quickness, I’ll say “Lanark” by Alasdair Gray.  I already feel bad not mentioning the rest of my favorites…

Favorite band / song?
Used to be The Smiths in a big way, then The Beastie Boys… then I had a spell of listening to Black Flag and Cave-In.  You know what, I can’t answer that in good conscience.
I love myself some Black Flag.  What’s your favorite Black Flag song?
Depression is a personal favorite. Big surprise, right?
Not really.  I really like the Live 1984 album.  Bill Stevenson on drums and Kira Roessler on bass are just amazing.

Least favorite band / song?
Anything by Nickleback or 30 Seconds to Mars, both horrible acts.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
I’d be a veterinarian or a doctor.  My mum is a doctor so I must have the capacity for it somewhere in my gene-pool, right?  Maybe not…
I’d recommend practicing by playing doctor.  I remember that being pretty fun.
Somehow I don’t think I could pull that off as a responsible adult.
You’ll never know until you try.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Irvine Welsh.  Ingmar Bergman.  Henry Chinaski.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
The worst job I ever had was working in Dominoes pizza at 17.  I had to take calls on a phone with a bad receiver and handle meat and onions all day.  I also got yelled at a lot for being an incompetent waste of oxygen.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
I think you got ‘em all Scott!!  I’m pooped!
I know that the initial questionnaire is a bet exhausting.  The good news is that every other pass is a lot easier.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Since you already snared Vincenzo Bilof, I’d say Garrett Cook’s a good shout and always gives interesting interviews.  You could probably interview Tom Bradley, Adam Lowe, Michael Rose, Gabino Inglasias, John Palisano, Jason Wayne Allen, I have many, many friends, talented one and all…
Cool!  You make the introductions and I’ll handle the follow through.
*Chris gets on symbolic phone to his pals.*

Got any questions for me?
Have I got the gig?
We’ll have to schedule a second interview.
This is grueling stuff! I thought my casual flirting was enough to win you over?
You were flirting?  I totally didn’t pick up on that.  Then again I’m pretty oblivious.
Well, this is embarrassing!

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
It’s been a pleasure!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.
Facebook: https//

About the Interviewee:
Chris Kelso is a writer, illustrator, editor, librarian and journalist from Scotland.  Along with Garret Cook he is the co-creator/editor of anti-New Yorker zine “Imperial Youth Review”.  He has yet to make any actual money from his shitty books….

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
E-mail him at:

No comments:

Post a Comment