Thursday, January 23, 2014

Interview with Keith Milstead.

Full Name:
Keith Milstead

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
Perhaps but none I want anyone to know!!
I’m just going to call you Killstead then.  Add it to the list.
Better than Bumstead, a nickname created by my “best friend’s” dad originated.

Longview, Texas

Current hometown:
Bailey, Colorado but my heart is still in Texas.

Favorite city and why?
Austin, Texas.  Texas is filled with the friendliest people and the prettiest women you’ve ever seen (apologies for plagiarizing Gary P. Nunn).  Austin is a melting pot of people from all over the State.  It is also known as the Third Coast in regards to the music scene.  I lived there for 10 years back in the late 70s and I get back there every chance I can get.  I just love the feel of the city, the mix of the old and the new, although my wife tells me I am living in a missing 20 years of my life because most of the things I remember about the city are gone.  However, some of the best Tex-mex food and BBQ comes from Austin.  Plus it is the home of my favorite collegiate team…THE University of Texas!
I had a great time when I visited Austin and I’m planning on trying to move out there in the next year or so if I can get my writing career off the ground.  I was planning on trying to pull off that trick before the winter set in up here, but it looks like I’m stuck in Rhode Island for another infamous five-month winter.  It’s depressing, but at least I have a great excuse to avoid social obligations and bunker in and write.
My wife wanted to live in Colorado so being the good husband I am, I made it happen.  I love the entire area of Central Texas, even with the poisonous snakes and brown recluse spiders as well as scorpions.  I feel you about being stuck in a place.  With any hope, we’ll be back in the Austin area in a couple of years.  Best of luck for you getting there too.  We’ll have to hang out on 6th Street and have a few Lone Stars together.
My friend Alex Hamilton bartends at The Handlebar on Fifth.  Just as long as we don’t end up at The Texas Chili Palace.  They don’t serve Lone Star.

Birthday / Age:
September 14, 1957 / 56

How would you describe yourself physically?
Not as fit as I used to be and far from as fit as I wish I was.

How would someone else describe you physically?
I have referred to as a Teddy Bear by strippers and Hank Hill from King of the Hill by my publisher…’nuff said.

The first thing people notice about you is…
…my sense of humor.  I can be a funny guy.  There was a lady in my high school lunchroom that said I have beautiful eyes.
Did you use your beautiful eyes to get an extra scoop of fruit cocktail?
Shoot, you’re thinking small potatoes Scott.  I would get extra servings of everything, The lunch ladies just adored my sweet eyes.  Fruit cocktail, pshaw.

Sexual orientation?

Religion, if any?

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I have an immense fear of all stinging creatures; wasps, bees, hornets.  When I was a kid, I had a swing set I didn’t use much.  I went on it one day and a whole mess of yellow jackets had built nests under the seat.  They chased me around the house and didn’t stop stinging me until I got inside.  Another incident where these flying menaces got me was when I was riding in a car, holding my hand out the window and caught a red wasp at 55 mph.  Now that really hurt.  So yeah, I become a little girl around wasps.
Have you seen those commercials about superstitious people watching football and the heading “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work?”  That’s me.  I have worn certain clothing, changed seats while watching a game, held totems.  What can I say?  I really feel that I have an influence on things I have no control over.
That’s all fine and well, as long as your superstitions don’t inconvenience anyone else.
I make my wife get up and kill all the wasps that get in!  It’s a little inconvenient but man, I hate those little bastards.

Do you smoke/drink?  If so, what? Any bad habits?
I quit smoking and drinking when I had a Transient Ischemic Attack otherwise known as a mini stroke back in 2004.  It scared me senseless and took me 6 months to regain my physical strength.  I still can’t remember some things from my past.
That must be so weird!  I’m really curious to know what kind of stuff you don’t remember from your past.  But you can’t remember them!  There’s a really great story in there somewhere.
I was gonna tell you but I forgot the question.

Current occupation / Dream job:
Disabled but I would love to be a famous writer.  Guess I’m living the dream.  I worked 30 years with individuals with developmental disabilities.  I loved this field.  I was even working towards a doctorate in clinical psychology but my disability prevented me from completing my degree.  To be a well-renowned PhD working with individuals with disabilities would have been my greatest achievement.  But, hey, I did get a Master’s, completed all my classes with a 3.90 GPA all with having a stroke.  Not bad huh?
Not bad at all!  I worked in the field of mental health/human services for eighteen years.  When I moved back to Rhode Island after a few years out of state I applied for a direct care position working with individuals with developmental disabilities.  I got an interview, and it was going well… until I asked what the rate of compensation was.  The interviewer told me that they were paying something like $9.50/hr.  I said, “You do know that that’s a really low rate of compensation.  It’s only like a dollar more than they’re paying people to work at fast food restaurants.”  That kind of tanked the interview, so I got a job working security, which has a base rate of $10//hr.  I think that whole thing says a lot about how our priorities have been mislaid in our society.  I shouldn’t make more money at a job where showing up on time and staying awake is 90% of the job and the second one is optional.  Providing direct care for individuals with developmental disabilities is hard work.  Sure there are good days, but the bad days can be quite challenging and the rate of compensation should reflect the challenging nature of the work.  I was making $12+/hr working at a group home for individuals with developmental disabilities when I was living in Connecticut and I wasn’t willing to take a $3/hr. drop in pay just because I moved an hour east.
Scott, you ain’t just whistling Dixie brother.  When I started back in 1978, the pay was $3.25 an hour!  I had so many injuries because these guys were vicious.  Throughout my career I had a bruised kidney, broken ribs and fingers, a concussion and herniated disks.  It was hard work but I felt that I made a change in these folk’s lives.  That was what was important.  Also, when I started back in ’78, every job change from then on was a move up.  I started as direct care and then became a Residential Director for group homes.  After getting my degree, I became a QMRP (Qualified Mental Retardation Professional, as it was known by back then), then an Assistant Director for group homes, then a Child Services Director.
Good on ya mate!  As my Aussie friends say.  And I never whistle Dixie.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I am a comic book fan, big time Marvel consumer.  My favorite character is Deadpool.  I watch any sport associated with The University of Texas Longhorns.  I bleed burnt orange and white!  I enjoy reading horror and psychological thrillers, watching movies in the same genre and spending time with my beautiful wife Rhonda and our dachshund Baxter.  He can be a mean little sonofabitch sometimes.
Glad to meet a fellow Marvel fan.  I used to have a huge Marvel Universe poster and I could name every character.  If I ever get rich and famous I’m definitely getting another one of those made up and it will proudly grace my favorite room.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Batman, but everyone likes Batman.  If you like comic books, you like Batman.  If you don’t like comic books, you probably still like Batman.  I was always a Coke Classic and Marvel Comics kid.  I got out of collecting before Deadpool was introduced.  I sold off all of my actual comic book issues a couple years back, as having to make space for the five long boxes holding my approximately 1,500 comic books each time I changed residences was a bit of a nuisance.  Plus I realized that I wouldn’t be able to sell them and pay off my student loans.  I have since managed to download full runs of all of my favorite Marvel comics titles and I have them stored in CBR format on a 1T hard drive about the size of my wallet, so, that’s a lot more convenient and complimentary to my vagabond lifestyle.  I still get to break out any issue of any comic book series that I used to own, and I still sort of miss the look and feel and smell of the comic I used to own, but towards the end of my collection around 1994, every other page was an advertisement, so I don’t mind being able to delete the advertisements out of my digital versions.  Plus in CBR format, using CDisplay, you can save single pages and then manipulate those images.  I read the first couple hundred issues of Daredevil, and deleted most of the early stuff, but I kept key frames that interested me to fuck with.
I have always been a big fan of Spidey and the Fantastic Four.  I used to have a ton of #1 issues but my Mom threw them away.  I could be rich if she hadn’t done that.  I prefer to feel the pages in my hand opposed to other formats.  I mean, e-books are great but the feel and smell of the printed word cannot be beat!
I agree, but as a reviewer as well as a reader, I had to come around on PDFs.  For a few years there I refused to review them.  But with the expense of sending out review copies putting an author out of pocket before the book builds up any momentum and resultant sales I’ve decided to accept PDFs.  I get a lot more books that way anyway.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Well, I live in Colorado so I am near the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Cheyenne Mountain which is the most protected place in the world and supports the NORAD missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control and provided warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.  So I would run by Mickey D’s and grab a few crates of McRibs; a truck load of Diet Cokes; download all the Kindle e-books from all the authors I love and head to the hole in the mountain, live with the soldiers down there blowing the crap out of the zombies.  Oh yeah, I’d also take my wife and dog.
Thanks for reminding me about Cheyenne Mountain!  In the post-apocalyptic zombie-epidemic epic-length book project I’m working on, I’m pointing the characters in the direction of Colorado because of the cluster of military bases in the Colorado Springs area, and the lower population in that area.  I’ll have to do some more research about Cheyenne Mountain and see how I can work that in there, because once I get the characters out there I’m really not certain about what I want to do with them.  I’ve got a couple directions I can go with it from there and I think that I’ll figure it out in the course of writing the chapters leading up to it.  But as things are going, each character origin chapter that I plan on shuffling together like a deck of cards is weighing in at between 15K-20K words, and I have to write ten more of them, so I think I’m going to be at what is traditionally considered “epic” length by the time I get them to Colorado Springs.
Colorado is a great choice for the apocalypse to occur.  You might want to refigure the population of Colorado Springs because there are a ton of people down there.  In my opinion, anyplace with a lot of room and only one or two guardable entry points and things will be hunky dory.  In Texas, there was the Super Collider, a huge hole in the ground that when the particle acceleration program was cancelled was considered for a prison site.  Again, minimum sites of egress and easily defended.  Your book sounds great because I would love to see a book on zombies the size of Michener’s TEXAS out there.  Keep ‘em coming!
Working on it the only way I know how… one word at a time.

Weapon of choice:
I think I would like to have the gas powered cattle bolt gun used by Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men.  Up close and personal.
You’re a sadistic fucker, aren’t you?
You betcha!  I have always figured it was cathartic in a way.  Kept me from running around the community cutting people up with a chainsaw.  Then having some neighbor that thought they knew me saying “He was a quiet man.”
It’s always the quiet ones.

Do you have any special skills?
I am a great listener.  Pretty good at counseling others.  Some computer skills and some folks say I write pretty well too.  I was a Boy Scout so I can start a fire in the wild, patch clothes and help old folks cross the street.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
I obtained my undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in psychology then went to Walden University to get my Master’s and try for my doctorate in Clinical Psychology.  All I needed was to complete my dissertation and perform my internship and practicum.  I was about halfway through with my dissertation when the institutional review board (IRB) told me I could not use subjects in my study.  I would have to start over and then my stroke blew me being able to work the hours required for the degree.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
I was determined to be permanently disabled so the government paid my debts.  Woo Hoo!
I’ll have to look into that.  What kind of disability has disabled you?
Well, you want it alphabetically?  Just kidding.  Mostly I suffer from extreme back pain.  I live on hydrocodone, oxycodone and carisoprodol just to move around.  Balance issues, memory issues from the stroke and pulmonary problems from a bout with sarcoidosis. The worst thing is losing a lot of my long term memory.  I can’t remember much of my childhood and sadly, it interferes sometimes with my writing because the memories I had make up a huge part of my stories.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
Baxter is our little land shark.  Actually he’s a dachshund.  A rescue pup, his previous owners must have been abusive to him since the first year we had him he tore me up. Once, he got me so bad you can see bone.  I still carry the scars.  I had a great friend who was a psychiatrist that started him on Prozac and other than a few nips, he is a different dog.
So, let me get this straight, you put your dog on psychiatric meds?  That must be one awesome dog for you to be willing to sneak Prozac into his food.
Yep, he is a pretty cool dog.  We slip it into his snack of cheese and peanut butter.  What is really funny is he has to take pain pills too for his back and so we give him a medication that he just snaps up then mellows out on the couch for a while.  I recall not too long ago a story about people in Colorado where marijuana is now legal leaving there stash out where their pets could get at it.  Stoner dogs, only in Colorado!

What is your favorite animal?
That would have to be the armadillo.  I love them.  Kinky Friedman, the Texas singer, writer, Statesman and one time gubernatorial candidate for Governor of Texas reports he keeps one as a pet.  They use kitty litter.  Did you know they bark when in danger?  I got treed by one when I was little in camp.  Loved ‘em ever since.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
Stupid drivers, telecommunicators, people who give destructive criticism and no white noise when I sleep.
I often listen to audio books when I’m trying to fall asleep.  It’s like reading a book, lying in bed with your eyes closed, and then, when you fall asleep, you just pick up the audio book from the last part you remember before you fell asleep.  It’s how I finally managed to get through the second half of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and a lot of his books that I hadn’t gotten around to reading without feeling like I was wasting time that I could be spending working on my own projects.
I did too.  Problem is I fall asleep and can’t remember where I left off.  End up listening to the same disk over and over.  There are certain folks whose voices I love like Scott Brick who for the longest time did the Pendergast stories for Preston and Child.  He nailed the southern accent wonderfully.  John Rubenstein, who reads for Jonathan Kellerman is another voice that leads to a whole ‘nother level in the book.  King, of course, when he reads his own stories is amazing.  A narrator can make or break the telling of the tale for me.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
I love BBQ and Tex-Mex food.  A good enchilada and I am a puppet in your hands.  There is a city in central Texas called Elgin that makes a helluva sausage.  Elgin sausage is to die for.  Fortunately, I only have to drive 140 miles round trip to Loveland, CO because they ship them in.  Yes, I drive 140 miles for a sausage.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“Excelsior!” - Stan Lee

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
I met my future wife at a meeting for Service Coordinators in Austin, TX.  I had walking pneumonia and had a temp of 103 degrees but somehow I still managed to charm her.  She says she fell in love with me that day.  Later that evening, I went to a movie with a friend and had to drink 2 bottles of Nyquil just to be able to sit through the movie.  The next best thing was being picked up by J. Ellington Ashton Press with just a chapter written on my book.
Tell us a bit more about that.  How did you solicit J. Ellington Ashton Press?  Did they give you an advance to go off and write the rest of the book?  Where can we read this magical sample chapter?
It is a kinda interesting story.  I was working on the first chapter of my book Baptism and a friend of mine, Stephanie Lunsford, said she wanted to read the chapter.  So, after much internal debate, I shared it with her.  At that time, I was unaware that she was associated with J. Ellington Ashton Press.  I just wanted some feedback.  Stephanie then gave it to Catt Dahman, who is one of the head honchos at JEA and she believed I had a tremendous amount of potential.  She offered me a contract based on that one chapter.  The magic chapter…will be the first chapter of my book Baptism when finished.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Wow, where do I start?  I had a stroke in 2004, developed sarcoidosis in 2005, my back pain became so great I couldn’t stand or sit comfortably requiring me to file for disability and live on pain killers.  In 2013, a woman texting and driving slammed into the back of our car causing more damage to my back.  I lost my dog, Maddy, in February 2012 and my father in March 2013.  ‘Nuff said.
Well, at least now you’re being interviewed by me, so things are looking up!

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
So many times I can’t bear to share.  I am one of those people who wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
When I was in High School, I worked at a record store with an older girl.  She began stalking me, showing up at my house at odd hours.  After a while she stopped so I guess she got over me.
Oh man!  I wish I had a stalker!  I mean, I probably don’t because it’s probably pretty annoying if not more than a bit inconvenient, but it still sounds pretty cool in theory.
Believe me, it is no fun.  Now, if it was like they showed on Cinemax late night, yeah.  In this case, it was more like LAW and ORDER: SVU!

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Devoting my life to working with individuals with special needs in order to give them better lives and the skills to live in a least restrictive environment.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
If I told you that, I would have to kill you.
You’d have to find me first, Killstead.
I haff my ways!
Better have tried… and died!

If you could kill one person, consequence free, who would it be and why?
The first guy that introduced that sorry techno song played at sporting events now.  That song makes me ill every time I hear it.  He should be hung along with all the members of that group from goal posts all over America!!
So pretty much you just declared a death sentence against Gary Glitter.
To start with, for sure.

What do you do?
Now, I am a writer.  Before, I devoted my life to working with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I have been a horror fan all my life and with the prodding of my wife, my mother, and my stepmother, who always thought I had a writing gift, I turned out my first whole piece of work…FISH TO DIE FOR.
I have been working on a novel called Baptism for a while and gave the first chapter to a friend with a connection to J. Ellington Ashton Press.  She gave it to Catt Dahman and TL Decay, both incredible authors on their own and the upper echelon of the press and Catt got back to me and indicated she wanted to sign me.  Now as I understand, this is virtually unknown of presses as all I had written was the first chapter of a book.
I’ve never had a contract with a publisher.  My first book was sort of written on contract, but it was more of a “We’ll hold off on assigning another author to write the book we want for a few months to see if you can get the job done”.  I contacted Schiffer Books about getting a couple of their books written by a local author for review.  In response to my e-mail, they asked if I had ever thought about writing a book.  I said I had, and they asked me if I could write a regional paranormal book about Long Island, New York, for their line of regional paranormal books.  I thought I’d be getting an advance that I’d be able to use to go out to Long Island and do the research for the book.  Turns out it was more of a “You write and submit the book, and then if it sells we’ll cut you in for a percentage.” deal.  I don’t have many regrets.  One regret that I do have is that my editor stole the title I came up with for my book and pretty much used it to rebrand their entire regional paranormal line.  Go ahead and look up “Spooky Creepy” on Amazon, and you’ll see my book, “Spooky Creepy Long Island” and about a dozen other books published by Schiffer Books that are called “Spooky Creepy (Place Name)” that came out after mine.  Wait, I’ll go ahead and do it for you.
I think that was a pretty shady and unoriginal thing to do, but it’s not like I own the copyright to “Spooky Creepy” anything.  It does irritate me a bit, especially since they contracted out new regional paranormal books for Rhode Island and Massachusetts without contacting me to see if I was interested first, which I consider kind of a dick move on their behalf.  Especially since they stole my title, or at least turned it into a franchise.  It’s not all sour grapes though.  It got my name in print and that opened up some doors for me.  But I am looking forward to getting picked up by a publisher someday.  I’ve gotten books I’m working on that I plan on self-publishing as it’s been pretty difficult to get any of the publishers I know to consider my work for submission.  Hopefully self-publishing them will help to raise my public profile so that I’ll be taken seriously by a likeminded publisher and we can work something out.  I can write a novel-length book every week if I had a publisher that would cover my rent and my cigarette habit and handle the promotion of the books.  As a primarily self-published author, half the time I spend towards my work is promoting the books.  Cut & pasting promotions in any author/publisher/book groups that I join on Facebook.  It’s not how I prefer to spend my time, but until I establish a fan base that’s interested in helping me to promote my work, I have to be my own representation and marketing and publisher and promotional machine.
That is rough but you know the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  Or is that a Carrie Underwood song?  Anyway, getting your name out there is half the battle for sure.  I really don’t like the promotion side of this at all.  It is time consuming and eats into my creativity time.  I got lucky with JEA and they are calling out for my works.  I didn’t take typing in high school so I still type in a hunt and peck motion.  Therefore it takes me forever to write something.  The folks at JEA are wonderful, supportive and caring so they are like a really dysfunctional family in that sense of the word.  Now, regarding Schiffer, how many pieces you want them cut into? They don’t call me Killstead for nothing!!
Well, I always say “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… except the thing that kills you.  That just fucking kills you.”.
I still hunt and peck too.  I just do it really fast.  I don’t use the “home keys” method.  I just splay my fingers like flesh-spiders and use whatever finger is most convenient.
As for Schiffer Books, I bear them no ill will.  I knew what the contract was going into it and I was just happy to finally be in print and a lot of excellent opportunities came from that first book.  Plus I won’t have to do anything to them.  They’ll fold soon enough.  They’re a family style business and not doing a really good job with keeping up with the times.  I contacted them to ask why my book wasn’t available in Kindle format because a friend of mine wanted to read it as a Kindle version, and they said they were “thinking about” creating Kindle versions of their books.  Thinking about it?  Three-quarters of the royalties I make from my self-published books come from Kindle rentals.  Plus I like to check and see how my book weighs up against the other titles in the Spooky Creepy game.  My book is #1,053,799 in books.  The title where my editor stole my title is #3,901,154.  Spooky Creepy New England is #2,128,960.  You know what they say about living well being the best revenge?  Well, selling more books than anyone else that stole your title isn’t bad either.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do? Do what you love.  If you want to write, write.  If you don’t, don’t.  You have to enjoy this kind of work, find joy trying to find the correct assemblage of words and then start all over again for the next sentence.  Joe R. Lansdale said it best when he wrote:
 “Many would be writers never become writers because they spend all their time planning to be one, or sometimes planning a book for which they never actually go to the trouble to write.  Planning makes them feel in the game, and this can go on for years, waiting for that right moment, that perfect time.  If you're not careful, it may never come.  Like the would-be explorer who studies and plans and buys the proper equipment, but never sets out on the adventure, you have to be careful you're not fooling yourself. Write.”
He is a very wise man.
I like that very much.  I never understand people that spend years working on a book.  My first full-length book took me six months to put together.  It was my first book, and kind of non-fiction, so I had to do a fair amount of research.  I just checked and Spooky Creepy Long Island weighs in at around 30,600 words which isn’t a bad length for a first book, especially considering that it was “nonfiction” and I had to work with what material was available.  The publisher asked me if I could write a regional paranormal book about the Buffalo, New York area, but they wanted a book twice as long, with about half as much information available to work with, so after drafting a couple test chapters I declined the contract.  I guess that might explain why they didn’t approach me about working on the new versions of the regional paranormal states within driving distance of my home, but it still irritates me that they didn’t offer.  I still have a lot of the research materials I gathered to work on that book, so maybe someday I’ll finish it and self-publish it and sell it at cost just to knock my former publisher’s dick in the dirt.  But I still approach them about projects every now and then.  It’s the masochist in me.  The last thing I approached them about was offering to adapt all of their regional paranormal books into PDF/Kindle/e-book format on a work-for-hire basis to allow them to take advantage of the lucrative Kindle/e-book market.  Maybe something like $50 per book to cover the time and effort of handling the formatting and transfer of the books into PDF for submission to Amazon’s Kindle platform site.  I also offered to adapt the books into audio book format to insure complete coverage of every available format.  Mostly I offered because a friend was asking for suggestions for stories about haunted abandoned asylums, and I was like, “Dude.  I wrote a whole chapter about that in my first book.” and he was, like, “Dude.  Amazon frequently recommends that I buy that book, and I never noticed that you ere the author, but I’m looking for stuff I can read on my Kindle.”  I checked, and my publisher wasn’t offering a Kindle edition of the book, and I figured if I was going to offer to adapt my book into a Kindle e-book edition, I could probably adapt the entire regional paranormal series into e-book versions while I was at it with relatively little effort since I’m pretty savvy at creating e-book/Kindle/PDFs, with the self-publishing I’ve been engaging in over the past month.  But I won’t be surprised if they steal the idea and do an end-run around me and have someone in-house do the transfers.  They seem readily able, and quite willing, to take someone else’s idea and run with it, but if they do that, then I’m done with them.  No more free ideas for them.  I’ll just keep an eye out for my quarterly royalty check and cash them until they stop coming.
I personally love the research aspect of my work.  I spent weeks looking up information on Afghanistan and Pakistan for Fish To Die For that gave it a realism people have remarked positively about. I studied Jeremy Wade from River Monsters, researched fish breeds and habits and I LOVED IT!  I’m hoping to get a jaunt into East Texas again soon as it has been 13 years since I have been there to do some further research for Baptism.  The book is set in the real town of Uncertain, Texas and I need to get down there and walk the streets, talk to the people and dodge a few snakes.
I am going to have to check out your book Scott.  I love real life stories and myths based in fact.  Think about it.  I am in the state where Alferd Packer made people croquettes, where Jon Benet Ramsey made Boulder famous and where the Unsinkable Molly Brown anchored, just to name a few.
I’ll send you a PDF version.  Friends don’t make friends pay to read their books, friend.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.

Fish To Die For was a short story that grew into a novelette. It was based on the real life outdoor angler, Jeremy Wade from River Monsters.  I was a big fan of the show and loved how he drew on the weirdest and most vicious freshwater fish.  So, I created my character James Poraque (which incidentally is an electric eel that is known as THE ONE WHO PUTS YOU TO SLEEP!) is a host of a long running fishing show that has been one of the highest rated shows in history.  However, he is running out of fish to catch and follows up on a legend of a fish that exists at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The fish is a mutated Wallago Attu capable of growing the size of a big man.  The fish is known as the Zombie Fish because of the rumors that it eats the living and the dead.  The story becomes a man vs. the inhumanity of fish sort of thing.  I spent a long time researching the geography of the area, types of fish and where they are located.  This is one spooky ass journey and my reviewers say it is a fun story.

What projects are you working on now?
I am working on another fish tale called Hole InThe Head, a story about goldfish diseases that cross the human / fish species barrier and become infectious.  Baptism, which will be my first novel, is a coming of age story for Jeremy Steelwagon.  A stranger has come to town known only as the boy and has significant influence on Jeremy and his family.  It is a psychological story of murder and revenge.  Set in the East Texas city of Uncertain and with its closeness to the Caddo Lake, environment will have a lot of influence on the main character and the population of the city.  Will Jeremy overcome the psychological and physical abuse by his grandfather?  How will the stigma of abuse affect Jeremy in the long run?  How will it affect the people in Uncertain?  Time will tell.  I am also working on another novelette called Entomophobia which is the term for fear of insects.

What are you watching?
That’s easy, THE WALKING DEAD, like 75% of the world.  I like COVERT AFFAIRS, ELEMENTARY, THE BLACKLIST and SONS OF ANARCHY.  My favorite is Elmore Leonard’s JUSTIFIED.  The characters are so realistic and down home. The dialog is entirely realistic.

What are you listening to?
I am a huge THREE DOG NIGHT fan.  Been getting back to my southern roots with some David Alan Coe and Willie Nelson lately.  Classic Rock is my genre.  Although, I have been growing attached to IMAGINE DRAGONS, FUN and MUSE lately.

What are you reading?
Currently, I am finishing up Zeus, Inc. by Robin Burks.  Waiting for my copy of White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, followed by Dog Days by Joe McKinney

Favorite author / book?
Funny thing, I fell in love with a book back when I was younger called Dallas Down by Richard Moran.  It was a story about a giant sinkhole opening up under Dallas.  Kind of a disaster movie on paper!  My next favorite is anything by the King family, specifically Stephen and Joe Hill.  The Stand is still my favorite and Joe’s new book NOS4A2 has garnered a place in my top five.

Favorite band / song?
J. Geils Band – One Last Kiss.  I met Peter Wolfe once in Austin.  He is a real rocker.

Least favorite band / song?
Kernkraft 400 - Final Countdown.  This is that techno song played at sporting events that does everything BUT fire me up.  It is so annoying.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
I really can’t think of anything I would rather do, other than being more popular and mainstream as a writer.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Alive – Quentin Tarantino and/or Robert Rodriguez and/or Eli Roth.  These guys are just amazing.  Great imaginations and they just look fun.
Dead – B.F. Skinner - one of the leaders of behaviorism.  He is my hero.  I once had a chance to meet him at an APA conference but I couldn’t go and the next year he passed away.
Fictional – Dracula – the man has a way with women.  Plus c’mon, he sleeps all day and parties all night.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
Best job was working at a record store called the Melody Shop in Tyler, Texas.  I got access to all the new music and the people I worked with were wonderful.  The worst job was picking up trash at Disch Falk Field on the University of Texas campus.  Tobacco chewers have developed a skill to turn their spit cups upside down without spilling a drop… until I picked it up.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
I feel completely revealed!  Nothing more to share.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Joe McKinney
Jonathan Maberry
Charles Day
Mark McLaughlin
Cool!  You make the introductions and I’ll handle the follow-through.
On it! I’ll let you know.

Got any questions for me?
How did you get to be so cool, brother?

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!

You betcha.  Thank you.

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

About the Interviewee:
My name is Keith Milstead.  I was born and raised in the great State of Texas.  Currently I am a displaced Texan since my wife Rhonda of 16 years asked that we move to Colorado.  We bought a home in the mountains and now live with the wildlife and our rescue dachshund Baxter.  If I could move the weather from Colorado down to Texas, it would be awesome but then it wouldn’t be Texas then, would it?
Up until last year, I had been working on my dissertation in Clinical Psychology however, like with many students, my coffers ran dry.  My work experience was comprised of working with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health issues.  I have been a horror fan all my life and with the prodding of my wife, my mother and my stepmother, who always thought I had a writing gift, I turned out my first whole piece of work…FISH TO DIE FOR.

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