Over the course of this month and in the weeks leading up to the World Horror Convention 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah, I’m going to focus on two types of features–one group will be dedicated to the publishers accepting pitches at the convention and will highlight what people should keep in mind before approaching the publisher. My second set of features will focus on four authors, two of whom were previously nominated for or won the coveted Bram Stoker Award last year for works in 2010, and the other two are nominees this year for works published from 2011.
The fourth of these author features is devoted to a sergeant with the San Antonio Police Department who got the writing bug after spending some time on the force and has since gone on to be nominated for the Bram Stoker Award with Apocalypse of the Dead and Quarantined.
Bio: Joe McKinney has been a patrol officer for the San Antonio Police Department, a homicide detective, a disaster mitigation specialist, a patrol commander, and a successful novelist. His books include the four part Dead World series, Quarantined and Dodging Bullets. His short fiction has been collected in The Red Empire and Other Stories and Dating in Dead World and Other Stories. For more information, visit his website.
Darkeva: Share some thoughts on how it feels to be nominated for the Bram Stoker Award this year. If you’ve been nominated before, what does this most recent nomination mean to you?
JM: I’m thrilled to be nominated. Writers develop special relationships with each of their books. They’re like children. You spend so much time developing them, getting them ready for prime time…and then, once they start to develop a life of their own, and garner praise from one’s peers, well, it’s like watching your child succeed. That’s the way I feel about Flesh Eaters getting nominated. I’ve been nominated twice before, once for my novel Quarantined and once for my novel Apocalypse of the Dead, and believe, none of the blush has come off the rose. I was thrilled with the nomination then, and thrilled now.
Darkeva: Pre-Stoker nomination, where did you see your career heading in five years?
JM: Currently I’m known for zombie horror. I’m okay with that. I love zombies, and they’ve been good to me. But I am also eager to spread my wings a bit. In five years, I’d like to be known for writing not only horror, but crime and mainstream thrillers as well. I’d also like for folks to see how much I’ve grown as a writer, how much attention I’ve given my craft.
Darkeva: When the shortlist came out and you saw your name, what was your first reaction?
JM: I was in a meeting when the first notices started coming through Facebook and Twitter. My phone went nuts with emails and a few phone calls of congratulations. I snuck a few glimpses at those emails under the table, and had to contain my yells of joy until after the meeting, at which time I promptly went outside and howled at the moon.
Darkeva: Your plans if you win?
JM: Take my wife out on a date to thank her for putting up with all my crap. I can be a real crank when I’m staring a deadline in the face, and she’s a saint to put up with me. Which makes me think that I probably ought to take her out win or lose.
Darkeva: What can readers expect from you next?
JM: Next up will be a short story collection called Dating in the Dead World and Other Stories that will bring together all of my zombie short fiction so far. After that, a police procedural ghost novel called The Charge. That will be followed by a haunted house novella I’m doing for Dark Regions Press and the fourth book in my Dead World series, called Mutated. In between there will be several short stories published here and there. Readers are welcome to stop by my website for information on my latest releases and upcoming appearances.
A huge thank-you goes out to Joe for agreeing to be part of this feature. Be sure to visit his website here. You can follow him on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. Just a reminder that Blemish: A Ghost Story from The Red Empire, The Crossing: A Zombie Novella, and The Red Empire & Other Stories are available now. Lost Girl of the Lake came out March 15, Dating in the Dead World: The Complete Zombie Stories, Vol. 1 is coming May 1st, and Mutated: Book 4 in the Dead World Series is coming September 1st.