Thursday, January 30, 2014

Interview with Michael Kanuckel.

Full Name:
Michael Kanuckel

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
Usually just Mike.  My sons call me Dagga, but that’s not a nickname- it’s their parlance for Dad.

Barberton, Ohio

Current hometown:
Killbuck, Ohio

Favorite city and why?
I fell in love with Boston- hard.  It’s so full of history, and easy to get around, and there are whole streets full of old book shops and bars.  I could wander downtown, around the common and Harvard, for days and not get sick of it.
I used to take the train up to Boston to visit the Museum of Fine Arts.  It was a regular pilgrimage but as of late finances forbid.

Birthday / Age:
April 6th, 1978, making me an old man at 35.

How would you describe yourself physically?
A gorilla with the power of speech.

How would someone else describe you physically?
“That big hairy guy with the tattoos.”

The first thing people notice about you is…
See above.

Religion, if any?
I don’t do religion.
Neither do I.  But sometimes people do.  That can be awkward sometimes.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I would like to say no, but I will try to avoid crossing paths with black cats.  And, while I don’t believe it’s really bad luck, I do make sure I don’t open an umbrella indoors or walk under ladders.  As for phobias, I don’t know what it’s called but I’m deathly afraid of open water.

Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
Oh, yes.  Vice, after all, is what separates us from the lower animals.  I’m a non-filtered cigarette smoking, whiskey drinking, fast-food eating fool.
Oh my!  You sound like Stephen King before he cleaned his act up!
I’ve been getting a lot of King references lately.  I’ll take it!

Current occupation / Dream job:
Currently, I’ve got a soulcrusher of a job at Burger King.  My dream job is to write for a living, and I’m working on making that happen.
I like your moxie!  What are you doing to make it happen?
Writing and publishing!  And promoting, we can’t forget that.  Like P.T. Barnum said: “A terrible thing happens when you don’t promote - nothing!”

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I’m a lover of books, first and foremost- and Z-grade cinema.  And I’m not talking about, “Oh, I saw Birdemic!”  No, I’m talking “Manos”: The Hands of Fate, Yor, the Hunter from the Future, and Troll 2 - that kind of madness.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Our house is a two storey affair, so my plan is get everything upstairs, break the stairs, and fill the bathtub with fresh water.  With any luck, the horde will move right on by without ever noticing us.

Weapon of choice:
If I had any sense it would be a shotgun, but I have no firearms.  I have a sword though, a big Scottish Claymore- and it never runs out of ammo.
Isn’t a claymore a bit unwieldy?  Or are you one of those big bastards that can one-hand a claymore?
Did you see my physical description above?
I did indeed, sir, which is why I asked, you big beautiful one-handed claymore wielding bastard!

Do you have any special skills?
Other than the ability to take blank paper and turn it into a living, breathing world?  No.
I think that’s a special skill.  Or at least one that deserves compensation.  A lot of people think that writing isn’t work because it’s something that anyone can do.  My response is always, “Oh really?  Let me know when you finish that first book and we’ll have ourselves a little chat about how easy writing is.”  You’re blessed that you can do with relative ease what some people can’t do at all.  Never forget that.
Thank you.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
I started, but couldn’t afford it.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
We have no pets.  We used to have a cage full of dwarf hamsters, which are adorable little creatures, but it turns out they are also the most vicious little buggers ever to roam the earth.  I had to wear an oven mitt to feed them.  As soon as the top opened and my hand went inside, all of them swarmed it and took hold with their little razor teeth.

What is your favorite animal?
I’ve always been in awe of elephants - they’re just so huge!  Also whales.  And in the opposite direction, I’m terrified of almost anything that swims the seas - especially sharks.  Sharks are like The Grudge - they simply do not care who you are, they are going to kill you.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve is the inability of people to correctly use “they’re”, “there”, and “their” correctly- also “your” and “you’re”, and ect…
Mine too.  Well, I have a laundry list of things about humans that irritate me, but that tops the list for authors.  Oh, you’re not good at the whole spelling/grammar thing?  Well, perhaps you should put a little time into learning that stuff.  If not you’re like a carpenter that doesn’t know how to use a hammer.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
My favorite food is that American stuff we call “Chinese” -  you know, sweet and sour chicken, crab Rangoon, that stuff. 
Least favorite?  Probably liver and onions.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
Klaatu Barada Nikto.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
That very first published short story, that was a hell of a feeling.  And finishing my first novel.  And seeing my sons coming into the world.  Life is full of “best” things.  I couldn’t really pick just one.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
That’s easier.  Getting divorced.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
I did, and it’s a long story.  Is it worth telling?  I don’t know.  You could hear it in any bar across this great nation, on a greasy juke box with a busted plastic bubble for a window and Hank Williams records on the turntable.

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
I may have, though I don’t know for sure.  If I did, I’m pretty sure she’s over it by now.  High School was a long time ago.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Writing.  Without a doubt.  It’s what I was meant to do.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
That’s a tough one… I was a stupid kid and I did a lot of stupid things.  Probably the worst was getting in an actual fight with my dad, or something else I don’t even remember now.

If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
Only one?  Hmmm.  I think that I would travel back in time and kill George Lucas, right after Willow came out.  I would save us all from the Star Wars prequels and India Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  You’re welcome.
Yeah, but if you had done that, I’d have no idea what you were talking about aside from someone killing George Lucas right after Willow came out.  Paradoxes.
Which is why I don’t mess in with wibbly-wobbly things like time and space.

What do you do?
I write fiction, mostly fantasy in genre, with shades of horror and science fiction.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I started writing stories when I was in Kindergarten.  Being a writer has always been my dream.  I never went through a fireman or astronaut phase.  This has always been my goal.  I write.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
If you want to be a writer, you must write.  And read!  Like Stephen King said, if you don’t have time to read you don’t have time to write.  Simple as that.
I agree with that.  But I’ve done my reading.  Now I’m focusing on writing.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
Well, I’ve written several short stories, some appearing in print and some not.  My first novel, Winter’s Heart, is self-published through Amazon and doing fairly well, considering the fact that I really have no idea what I’m doing.  And I just signed a contract with J Ellington Ashton Press for my new book, Agent White, which will be out sometime in the near future.
J Ellington Ashton Press are good people and they do a lot of good for new / up-and-coming authors.  In addition to that, I haven’t heard anyone that had anything bad to say about them.
I’m thrilled they’ve picked me up!

What projects are you working on now?
Currently, I’m working on book one of a nine book fantasy series that will pretty much be my life’s work.  I would need a lot more time to tell you all about it.  Let’s just say it’s big.

What are you watching?
I don’t really watch television.  Usually when I watch something, it’s a movie or an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on my computer.

What are you listening to?
I also don’t really listen to a lot of music- just whatever’s on the radio when I’m driving somewhere.  Classic rock, eighties pop, you know.

What are you reading?
I just finished Doctor Sleep.  I honestly wasn’t that enthused about it when I first heard of it, I mean, a sequel to The Shining?  Come on.  But it turned out to be a very good read.

Favorite author / book?
Okay, that’s an impossible question.  There’s no way to choose ONE favorite author or book.  If I had to?  The Lord of the Rings.  But I have many favorite books- and really, Stephen King would be my favorite author.

Favorite band / song?
If you had asked me twenty years ago, my answer would have immediately been Nirvana.  Now?  Don’t really have one.

Least favorite band / song?
All modern pop.  It’s garbage.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
If I had gone to college, I would be an English teacher.  And hopefully I would still have a passion for the written word all of these years later, that I could share with my students.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Alive: Stephen King.
Dead: Charles Dickens.
Fictional: Allan Quatermain.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
The best job I’ve ever had is what I’m doing right now: writing.  The pay ain’t so great, but it’s my dream.
The worst job I’ve ever had is what I’m doing right now: working at Burger King.  The pay ain’t so great, and it’s crushing my soul.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
The ghost of Ricardo Montalban.  That is my answer to the question you didn’t ask.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
I think you’ve already interviewed the people I know - my circle’s pretty small right now.

Got any questions for me?
Ah, the table have turned!
Just tell me one thing, friend: Is it safe? (the real question is, who gets that reference?)
You mean this? *takes the one ring out from the collar of his shirt*
Well played, friend- but I was actually referencing “Marathon Man”.
Well, it was a pretty broad reference.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
You’re welcome!  It was quite painless.

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

About the Interviewee:
Michael Kanuckel is an author of fantasy fiction.  He lives in the middle of Ohio with his two sons and the books that will one day fall over and bury him.

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:
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