Interview with an author: Ken MacGregor
Welcome Ken to The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl and thanks so much for taking the time out your busy schedule to help us get to know more about you and your works better!
What does the title of this novel, series or set of stories signify?
Well, I have several, so we’ll go with the most recent: STITCHED LIPS: An Anthology of Horror from Silenced Voices. This is my second curated anthology, and I theme is “silence.” I only accepted stories from people who are traditionally underrepresented: women, People of Color, LGBTQ+, etc.
Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you? If so, give a few examples…
Okay, so I’ll change tack and talk about the one novel I have out there, cowritten with my friend Kerry Lipp: HEADCASE. The title character, Johnny Headcase, is an aging bounty hunter who tends to wade into trouble with both fists and a large gun. Generally speaking, however, I tend to use names that seem to fit the characters while trying not to be too overt. In one story, I have a German piano teacher who turns out to be quite sinister: his name is Klaus Engel. Engel is German for angel; he’s the fallen kind. Subtle? Maybe not. Too obvious? I don’t think so.
What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?
I have always loved “what if?” stories! I cut my teeth on Piers Anthony as a kid, graduation to more serious writers in my teens. I adored the world-building of Roger Zelazny; the hugely creepy yet relatable Stephen King, and the antihero Thomas Covenant in the Stephen R. Donaldson series. Later, I discovered Clive Barker, along with a massive pile of astounding authors, and I’m still discovering more all the time. I continue to love to read, to immerse myself in someone’s world. One of the main reasons I write is to tell the stories no one else has, the ones I want to read that haven’t been written.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?
This is an interesting question. It sort of implies that all writers are barely containing their madness. That we’re all teetering on the brink. I don’t know. Maybe there’s some truth to that. I doubt it’s just writers though. I think that human beings are often pushed beyond what they believe they can handle, and yet, somehow, we manage to keep going, most of us. Tragically, some do not. I have been pushed very close to my limits, and not that long ago. In 2018, my wife of 17 years died suddenly, leaving me and my two children to flounder in grief and misery for a long, long time. I stayed drunk for a while. I stayed angry for about 18 months. I’m still (in 2021) a badly wounded animal, but I function well enough. To answer the second part of your question, that depth of emotion worms its way into my fiction. My characters are broken, devastated, lost. I feel kind of bad for them sometimes.
What makes you laugh?
Like most people, kittens, cute babies, prat falls… but, really, what gets me going is the very clever: where wit shines. I have a deep appreciation for a sharp mind.
What makes you cry?
These days, seeing anyone grieving will trigger that. Or just thinking about my dead wife. Hell, for a while there, just being awake was enough.
Is there anything else you want to add about the story, series that has not already been mentioned?
We’ll go back to the first question for this. STITCHED LIPS is not only an anthology of stories by underrepresented authors. Those authors are wonderful! There are multiple Stoker winners in there. The talent is staggering. Also, the proceeds (50% until I’ve paid back my investment; 100% after) go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization which works hard to fight discrimination and to promote equality for all.
What is the best way for readers to interact with you?
I’m between websites (I have a new domain but am still working on building it. Not my wheelhouse), so probably Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KenMacGregorAuthor
About Ken MacGregor
Ken writes stuff. Sometimes, he edits stuff too.
He has two story collections: AN ABERRANT MIND, and SEX, GORE & MILLIPEDES, a young adult novella: DEVIL’S BANE (YA winner of the 23rd annual Critters Readers Poll), a co-written (with Kerry Lipp) novel: HEADCASE (available in serialized form), and is a member of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (GLAHW). He is a somewhat regular contributor to HorrorTree with his column Brain Babies. He has also written TV commercials, sketch comedy, a music video, some mediocre poetry, and a zombie movie. Ken is the Managing Editor of Collections and Anthologies for LVP Publications. He’s curated two anthologies: BURNT FUR for Blood Bound Books, and STITCHED LIPS for Dragon Roost Press..
When not writing, Ken drives the bookmobile for his local library. He lives with his kids, two cats, and the ashes of his wife.
Ken is currently between websites. He can be found via social media on the following platforms: