Tuesday, March 31, 2009

JA Konrath & Jack Kilborn Cornered By Rob Walker (an interview and a reunion)

I checked to make sure my phone was recording. “Tell me about horror.”

Konrath grinned at me, eyes glinting. “You know all about horror, Walker. Hell, I was reading you when I was a teenager. In fact, I read you under three different pen names before I knew they were all you. Maybe that’s why I decided on a pen name for Afraid.”

I glanced nervously at the gun, then checked my crib sheet. “That’s your first Jack Kilborn book, coming out at the end of March, right? Does it take place in Chicago?”

“Wisconsin. A tiny little town of nine hundred people. Something evil comes to town, and the population gets reduced. Drastically.”

“Any funny stuff in this one?”

Konrath/Kilborn shook his head. “This one is all scares, no laughs.” He leaned forward, lowering his voice. “I’m predicting that a lot of people who start it won’t be able to finish it. Too frightening.”

“Why the switch to horror?”

“I’ve always written horror. The Jack Daniels series has a lot of scary scenes. But Afraid gave me a chance to sustain the terror-level for a whole book, rather than just a few chapters.”

I checked my notes again. “Would you classify any of your books as your favorite? And if so, can you explain why?”

“I like Rusty Nail. It introduces Alex, who becomes Jack’s nemesis for two more books, Fuzzy Navel, and Cherry Bomb, coming out this July. It’s a pretty wicked book, in between the jokes.”

“As wicked as Afraid?”

“I’ve never read a book as wicked as Afraid.” He smiled. “Except for some of your stuff, Walker. Remember the first time we met, I called you a sick son of a bitch?”
“First words out of your mouth. Endeared me to you forever.” I switched gears. “ No author on the planet has done more guerilla-styled and classy promotion and marketing than has JA Konrath both on the web and in the real world, and if a prize were given for most endurance in an author on a tour and self-promotion effort, it must go to you, Joe. In fact, if I had a canned ham, I’d award it to you now.

“Thanks. I might even share it with you, if you threw in some bread and cheese.”

“You’re a generous man. My question is: Can you offer a quick word of advice to authors, new and old, who struggle with marketing or have flat out given up on it?”
Konrath took in a breath, blew it out slow. “Okay, in a nutshell. The one who gets their name on the most pieces of paper, wins. That paper could be a book, a short story in a magazine or anthology, or virtual paper, like a blog or web page. The more places people can find you, the better you’ll do as an author. So you need to help people find you.”


“Having an Internet presence that’s all about offering information and entertainment. Making sure people can easily find you, while also making sure other people find you when they’re searching for something else. That means you have to give good content.”

“What else?”

“Meeting as many people as possible, in person and on the web. Some people have more power than others. Media folks. Reviewers. Booksellers. Librarians. Bloggers. Give them extra special attention.”

“You make it sound easy.”

“Writing is a service industry, my friend. Give good service, and people will come back for more.”

We hear footsteps just outside and Konrath blows out the single kerosene lamp we have been laboring under. “Who is it, Joe? Who’s after you? For God’s sake man, perhaps I can help. If you are in some kind of trouble . . . you must tell me who is stalking you?”

“Same people who are after you!”



After a moment, the sounds from outside become muffled and soon are gone altogether. Joe relights the lamp. My gun is back in my possession, but the phone is still recording. “Final question for the ACME blog, Joe is not a question. This space is completely and utterly yours to sound off. Your time to add anything you wish.

"Anything I’ve failed to cover.”

“You’ve been in this biz long enough to know the secret, Walker. It’s about survival. But you can’t survive on your own. We’re writers. There’s no competition between us. My fans are your fans, and vice versa. So we need to treat each other better. Support one another. Recommend each other’s books. Hell, we should buy and review each other’s books as well. Never ceases to amaze me that something so simple, so obvious, is done by so few.”

Konrath stands up, offers his hand. “Thanks for the interview, Walker, and for watching my back. You know I’m your biggest fan.”

I nod, and he walks off into the shadows before I can return the sentiment. But if you’re reading this, Joe, know I feel the same way…

If you’ve enjoyed our brief interlude with Joe Konrath, you can learn a great deal more about him at his website -
If you’ve enjoyed our brief interlude with Joe Konrath, you can learn a great deal more about him at his website - http://www.jakonrath.com/

His blogspot - http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

MySpace - http://www.myspace.com/jakonrath

For more tedious information about moi, it’s http://www.robertwalkerbooks.com//

Thanks for coming by –
Rob Walker


Morgan Mandel said...

This was such great interview, I had to share it with the Make Mine Mystery crowd. Thanks, Rob and Joe.

Morgan Mandel

Mark Troy said...

Great interview. It's uplifting to find writers supporting writers.

Mark Troy

Dana Fredsti said...

VERY fun interview and AFRAID sounds like my cup of tea! Scary tea!

Anne Carter said...

Wow, great interview. Entertaining, informative, and not too long. I've never read Konrath but am now intrigued.