Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Sean Kerr author of Dead Camp.
Hi Sean, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hello! Well, I’m a 46-year-old gay man living in Cardiff, Wales, with my partner of 27 years, Derek. Oh, and our two cats, Rita and Harry, and a load of tropical fish! I have worked in retail most of my life, and for the past 11 years, I have been running my own Interior Design business in Cardiff with my fabulous business partner, Jayne. I am a huge sci-fi and horror fan, Doctor Who being my first love in television, Alien my first love in film. Sigh. How I would love to write for both of them, but that is never going to happen, so move on lol.
Working for yourself, and trying to pay yourself, is not easy. Bit like being an author then lol. In an ideal world, I would love to see our shop run by someone else so that I could spend my days writing, but again that is just not going to happen. I love the design industry, I love working with fabrics and blinds, and helping our customers to create a beautiful home, but at the same time, I do not want to spend the rest of my life tied to our store. The recession hit 3 years after we opened and it has been a struggle, but we survived, and Jayne and I are proud of our achievement.
Writing has always been my passion. I never thought, never in a million years, that I would be published, and here I am with two books out, and I am now busy writing my third! When I started this series of books two years ago, I wrote to every agent in the Artists and Writers yearbook, and then some, well over 200 emails and letters, and I have a huge pile of ‘no’s’. I was on the verge of giving up. I knew my book was a bit fruity, I knew my book was contentious, but it was something I really wanted to write, and I loved every minute of writing it. Just when I thought there was no point in pursuing Dead Camp, I started to write something else, but then I thought I would try contacting some publishing houses direct. I contacted 6 publishers, and within two weeks had 3 offers of a contract! To say that I screamed a lot would be an understatement. I signed with the wonderful Extasy Books, and boy are they fabulous. My editors, cover designer, all of them, just wonderful, talented, incredibly supportive people, and I feel mighty privileged to be with them. I owe them everything, for making my dream come true, and I hope that we will be together for very, many years!
Dead Camp is a series of books, all with different stories that tell one big saga. As a gay man, I wanted to write it from a gay perspective, so all my characters are gay, well, except the odd one or two…spoilers sweetie. The series of books start during World War 2, and as they progress, you will find yourself in Victorian London, the Crucifixion, and then back to the downfall of Hitler. It’s a complex story, and every character is linked, even if they don’t know it. Book 1 & 2 are out, and I am currently working on book 3, which has been the toughest write so far. This book is proving particularly challenging because of the subject matter, but I think I have just broken the back of it, so now, with a bit of a push, I can finish the first draft.
When all is said and done, Dead Camp may contain Vampires, Ghosts, Demons and Angels, but ultimately, it is a story of a father’s forgiveness, and tolerance of that which is different, in a roundabout sort of way. I know the very last page of the very last book, it is there, in my many, many notes, and all I can say is, have a very large box of tissues at the ready!
- Tell us about your book.
Dead Camp came out of my desire to tell a story about gay characters from the perspective of a gay man. It also grew out of my need to tell my version of the Vampire myth. It worried me that so many fantastic books about Vampires already exist, by authors far more talented than I, but I have always loved Vampires and I have always wanted to write about them, so Dead Camp is my own spin on a familiar subject.
Eli is a Vampire with no memory of being human, so this series of books is about his journey of discovery, about himself, and ultimately about the world in which he inhabits. The trouble is, his identity will have a huge impact on the rest of the characters. Lie after lie, secret after secret, and all of it to preserve his identity, and to hide it from him. The greatest love that he has ever known kept that secret, and lied about his own past in the process, so when this all starts to bleed out, Eli is thrown into a world, and a war, that he really would rather hide away from. Book 1 is really about Eli having to re-engage with the world, and book 2, the consequences of allowing himself to feel again. Some truths are better left buried, and some truths are just too painful to learn.
- How difficult was it to get into the main character’s head?
I loved writing Eli. Once I decided that he was going to be a rude, rough, dirty son of a bitch, his voice came relatively easy. Because I had the plot of the books written out in detail, and because I knew exactly where each scene and each chapter needed to start and end, his voice very quickly asserted itself. I tried a number of passes at the prologue, and when I hit on the tone that felt good, I was away.
- Is this book a standalone or do you plan on visiting it again?
Dead Camp was planned as a series right from the start. It is a huge historical saga that spans a number of historical events, so I knew it would have to be a number of books, with each event taking place within its own novel, and each novel linked to the other by these events and characters. Things mentioned in book 1 or 2, will not pay off until book 3, and then it will all start to come together in the last two novels. The last book. What can I say about the last book in the series? The plan is to make the reader cry like a baby. That is all I can say. Spoilers sweetie.
- Why did you choose to write M/M stories?
When I started writing, I did not realise it was M/M. What I mean by that, is that until the first book was published, and I started to meet all these fantastic people on Facebook groups, I did not realise that M/M was a genre in its own right. What I started out to do, and what I am still doing, is to write a book about gay men, from a gay perspective, because that is all I know how to write. I am a gay man writing for gay people. One of the most surprising things I have realised about this genre, is the readership of such books. I wrote Dead Camp because I wanted to write something as a gay man, from a gay perspective, for gay people. Yet, this genre, M/M romance, gay fiction, whatever you may call it, is read by a huge, enormous readership of wonderful, supportive, and very kind women. Married women with children, single women, just lots of fantastic women. I had no idea. When my Facebook presence began to grow, it was only then that I realised this fact, and I have met so very many wonderful women who have really enjoyed my books, and who really love this genre of M/M fiction, and that surprised me more than anything. I assumed, stupidly, that I was writing for a primarily gay audience. WRONG! And I am so glad, because I have now been accepted into a world that I never knew existed, and I love it, and I love the people who inhabit it.
- Where do you find your inspiration?
Film, television, and documentaries continue to be a great source of inspiration. I love the Discovery channel. I once watched a documentary about Hitler and his obsession with the occult. That made something in my head explode, and before I knew it, I had the outline of Dead Camp plotted. Also, as I work through an idea, other ones present themselves. Sometimes they fit, sometimes they have to be put away for another book. When an idea hits me, I write it down, and then I start to write around it, play with it, and see where it leads me. Dead Camp presented a series of strong ideas, and once I realised that they could all be linked, that there was an entire series of possibilities, I was at my computer writing furiously.
I recently finished reading a book, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and I consider that book to be the true successor to Stoker’s Dracula. However, as I was reading it, another idea hit me, albeit one that does not involve Vampires. Her style of writing, and the way she tells her story, got me to thinking about how I could tell a story in a slightly different way, and then I realised that I had the outline for a completely new book. So I wrote it down, put it in my file, and that will be my project once Dead Camp is finished.
Dead Camp (Dead Camp #1)
Publisher: Exstasy Books/ Length: 260 pages
Eli is an ancient vampire with an ego the size of a planet and a sex drive to match, but his tumultuous past left him broken, so he hides from humanity and cowers from love, left to endure the crushing guilt that haunts his every waking moment. Even his best friend Malachi, a ghost who is hopelessly in love with Eli, remains unaware of all that transpired in London. Malachi can never know the truth.
When the Angel Daniyyel pays an unwelcome visit, Eli must face his secrets, secrets that he has tried so long to hide. To make matters worse, a chance encounter with the most beautiful man he has ever seen shatters his beloved isolation, pushing him into the world of the living once more. Something about this strange man seems so familiar, but Eli can’t even remember who he was before he became a vampire, never mind explain the unwanted emotions the enigmatic stranger ignites in his dead heart. So Eli has a choice—return to the world that ruined him, or continue his self-imposed exile with no hope of salvation.
Categories: Dark Themes, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, Horror, M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires/Demons, Thriller
MEET THE AUTHOR
I think that as I approach that milestone that is fifty, I must be one of the oldest
gamers on the face of this earth. Many a day you will find me lashed to my PS4 enjoying a good session of Skyrim. Who doesn’t love a good session of Skyrim?
I love writing—I have done it since I was a child when I would happily write about the latest episode of Doctor Who (Tom Baker in those days) in my schoolbooks. Growing up and becoming a business owner with my friend Jayne left little time to pursue my dream of publication, but of late the desire and the compulsion to put words onto paper have once again dominated my life so that now, my laptop has become surgically fused to my fingertips.
There is something desperately satisfying about telling a story. My fascination with History, Religion and Conspiracy theories have, in this instance, gone hand-in-hand with my love of all things vampire, fantasy, sci-fi and horror. I drove my parents nuts when I was young because that was all I would read about in books, all I would watch on television, but they have held me in good stead, and long may my obsession with the subjects continue, at least, that is, until the day they put me in my own wooden box. And imagination is such a wonderful thing. I once had a rather vivid dream about David Tennant and the Tardis console, but I could not possibly go into details about that here. Let’s just say that my polarity was well and truly reversed.
Dead Camp is just the beginning. I have to check my knickers every day at the thought that this book is now in the public domain. My first book, and I hope the first of many. And to those out there who love to write, who love to transport us to new worlds, or old worlds with a twisted perspective, I say to you keep going. I never thought I would ever see my work available to download, and thanks to eXtasy Books, the dream that I always thought unobtainable has finally come true. So thank you all at eXtasy, I am one happy homosexual thanks to you, and thank you the reader for taking the time to read this strange tale and allowing Eli and the incomparable Malachi into your lives.
And now I really need Skyrim.
Rafflecopter Prize: eCopy of Dead Camp #1
TOUR DATES AND STOPS: