Terrie Leigh Relf: What are your daily writing and/or artistic rituals? How do you prepare your space for these activities?
Thomas Kleaton: I try to write for at least an hour every evening, more on weekends when I can.
TLR: What genres do you write within? How did you come to this genre?
TK: Definitely horror. It started with my interest in books like Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghostly Gallery, Haunted Houseful, and Monster Gallery from the time I was seven years old. I love a good spooky tale. I like a compelling Science fiction story as well, having grown up reading the likes of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Frederick Pohl.
TLR: Do you have a “day job” in addition to being a writer/artist—or is that your day job, too? If you have an unrelated day job, how do you balance your creative and work time?
TK: I do have a day job as a tech, and like to turn up Nirvana or Blue Oyster Cult on the drive home to clear my head of the day’s activities and become absorbed in possible story scenarios. It’s a great way to relax and prepare for an evening of creativity.
TLR: What tips do you have for other writers?
TK: My biggest suggestion for writers is to remember that you will be rejected, but do not let this cast a gloomy pall on your writing. If you keep writing you will meet with success. Remember Kathryn Stockett’s best seller, The Help? Her novel was rejected sixty times before being accepted. And there are too many distractions trying to keep you from writing. You will not find time to write, you must make time.
TLR: What are your thought on the creative process in general and your creative process in particular?
TK: Having been an avid reader my entire life, I still find myself asking “Now where in the world did he/she come up with that?” As for myself, I can draw a blank for a week, and suddenly see something that begins to take on a life of its own. I think it’s like Stephen King said. There are ideas all around you; you just have to recognize them.
TK: I once saw a magazine with a picture of a woman holding birdseed in an attempt to entice the birds to land on her hands. I imagined a little girl’s grandmother doing this, and the little girl wanting to imitate her. And I thought about what could be substituted for the birds, with horrifying results. Thus “Birds and the Bees” was born. Sometimes it’s just little things that inspire, like seeing kids lay pennies on a railroad track with a little dog loping around them.
TLR: What about upcoming publications? Awards and other accolades?
TK: Spooky Halloween Drabbles 2015 is just out. I have five stories in this one, a neat little book to read on your Kindle. Great Old Ones Publishing has accepted my story, “Scavenger Hunt,” for their anthology, Pernicious Invaders, due out sometime in the future. “As the Butterfly Changes its Spots” has also been accepted by Cyn Bermudez, Editor-in-Chief of Riding Light Review, for her Halloween 2015 edition.
TLR: What are you working on now?
TK: It’s NanoWriMo time, and I am about to attempt my first novel, Undefiled. It is my attempt to conjure up 50,000 words of material that hopefully makes sense and will survive the months of later revision. My advice to new writers on novel-length works is something I will also follow: Do Not submit your manuscript immediately upon completion. All novel-length works need revision. And if you find a good editor, hold onto him/her.
TLR: Anything else you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?
TK: Only to say that nothing tops the satisfaction you receive upon learning that something you wrote, poured your imagination and work into, will be published in a book or magazine for others to enjoy.
Thomas Kleaton is a freelance horror writer. He has had stories published in The Horror ’Zine, Dark Eclipse Magazine, and the anthologies, Cellar Door: Words of Beauty, Tales of Terror, Serial Killers Tres Trias, Bones, The Horror Zine Magazine Summer 2014, The Riding Light Review Special Halloween Horror Issue #1, Spooky Halloween Drabbles 2014, Speculative Valentine Drabbles 2015, and What Has Two Heads, Ten Eyes, and Terrifying Table Manners? He lives in the woods near Auburn AL, with his wife, Sheila. Please visit his Website: Random Musings.