Meet Kit Power

Every Friday, we meet a member of the BFS and peer deep into their soul (or, at least, a form they filled out). Want to be featured? Email us: online@britishfantasysociety.org

Name, including preferred pronouns
Kit Power (he/him)

Which region are you based in?
Buckinghamshire (Milton Keynes)

Genre you write 
Horror & Crime/Thriller (and very occasionally Sci Fi)

Are you drawn to any specific sub-genres?
Non-supernatural horror seems to be my most consistent wheelhouse. I’ve got a lot of love for Splatterpunk, also.

Your influences

Tell us about the book/film/thing that got you into horror: What was it? How old were you? What impact did it have on you?

So there are two books, both by Stephen King, that made me a writer. The first is his doorstop early career magnum opus IT, which I read for the first time at 11 years old, and which permanently altered my view of what fiction could be, could do – sure, how far it could go, but/and/also the scale you could write at, the limitless possibilities that the novel form allowed. You could do anything. I still thrill to the challenge of that novel.

But then fast forward to me in my mid-30s, and it was On Writing that finally persuaded me to give fiction a serious go – the moment where King says ‘Do you need permission to write? Very well. I give you permission to write” was absolutely a life changer for me.

How does that early influence show up in your writing now?

On Writing is not a perfect book, but it is a brilliant one, and the other piece of advice that King gives in there that sticks with me is ‘you can write about anything you want, but it has to be honest’ (he also says ‘if you’re serious about being a writer, your days in polite society are numbered’). But King’s fingerprints are all over my work – not, I hope, in the sense of emulation or pastiche, but rather in a commitment to character driven stories (‘plot is what happens when character meets situation’), a determination to dig deep into the things that scare me, and in my commitment to writing stories that hold your attention for as long as they demand it, whatever else my work does or does not achieve.

Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

Overwhelmingly non-fiction – history, current events, and that never ending fountain of horror, the evening news. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I’m often (not quite always) writing to make sense of Why? Why does something make me feel the way it does? Why do/can people do things that seem incomprehensible to me, for whatever reason? A lot of people half-joke that writing is therapy, but for me it absolutely is; and when it’s going right, it manages to simultaneously provide an escape from the day-to-day, and a method for me to interrogate the indigestible.

Who do you look to as a horror hero? Why?

*laughs* I really should read ahead. Tho in addition to King, I’d have to namecheck Barker; I’m only just getting to the Books Of Blood right now for a podcast series, but I’m very familiar with his doorstop fantasy/horror output and what a talent. But with King, in addition to everything I’ve said above, I most admire just how driven he still seems to be by the sheer joy of telling a story. I find that so inspirational.

Also Hunter S. Thompson, who was absolutely a non-fiction horror writer, and one of the best to ever do it. I want to emulate almost nothing about his life, but his work is a constant challenge to push harder and write better.

Your writing

You’re stuck in an elevator for 60 seconds with that hero, and they want you to describe your work. Give us the pitch.

I mean, no way I manage to regain the power of speech in 60 seconds. but let’s imagine that a cooler version of me might say something like:

It’s dark fiction, which contains a central, unifying obsession with asking what people will do, or not do, when they have no good choices.

What are you working on right now?

A novella called Millionaire’s Day. And for the third time, the end of the world as we know it is coming to Milton Keynes.

Thinking about all of your stories, which one sticks out most in your mind? Why?

I think The Finite casts a pretty long shadow, because it was pretty hard to write and even harder to revisit and polish. Another theme that a lot of my work to date has explored, understandably, is despair, and The Finite is probably the purest distillation of that so far (and, hopefully, for good, because I’m not sure I want to go that dark again). Once Millionaire’s Day is done, the next story, which I’m planning on running at least one novel in length, will pivot from exploring despair to examining the notion of resistance. Which I’m looking forward to immensely.

Where and when do you write?

Typically in my home office, these days, and not nearly often enough :/

What’s your writing soundtrack?

I recently (re)learned that, at least for longer pieces of work, I need an album to put on repeat while I work. For my debut novel GodBomb! It was Rage Against The Machine – The Battle Of Los Angeles. For my current work in progress, it’s The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die. As soon as I hear the opening of that album, I’m right back in the world of the novella.

(Pictured: the author shows fashionable support for the BFS)

What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity?

Write what scares you. Which sounds like horror advice, but it goes way beyond that; write the thing you’re not sure you can write, the one that you feel yourself growing nervous about, the one that challenges you. The closer I hew to that advice, the better the work is; that edge, that fear, is where the juice is.

The (horrorific) quickfire round

Stephen King or Ramsey Campbell?

Stephen King, though Demons By Daylight was transformative and Campbell is an absolute master. I just wasn’t lucky enough to encounter Campbell at 11 years old.

Gothic or slasher?

I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan, but even so; slasher. Purely because I’m more likely to be able to enjoy a bad slasher than I am a bad Gothic. The best of both is transcendent.

Vampire or werewolf?

Team Jacob! I understand why vampires are classic villains/monsters, but I feel like the werewolf still has so much untapped potential as a protagonist/antagonist. 

(Pictured: Jacob the werewolf in his human form)

Creeping dread or noisy bloodfest?

I love them both. Best, of course, is the creeping dread that leads to a noisy bloodfest 😊

Strict lines or genre blend?

Genre’s a marketing tool, horror is everywhere, all fiction is a blend.

Awards or bestseller?

Bestseller.

Fiction or non-fiction?

I need to read and write both.

Poetry or prose?

Prose, all day every day.

Plotter or pantser?

Pantser.

Reading or listening?

Reading. There are some amazing audiobook narrators out there, but I find it very hard to process novels that way. Entirely my failing.

Notebook or computer?

Computer. My handwriting and spelling are appalling, I doubt like hell I could have been a writer in a pre-digital era.

Favourite horror book of all time?

IT

Last horror book you read?

A review copy of Stephen Volks new collection The Good Unknown. An absolute stunner.

Any horror author on auto-buy?

Aside from King: Paula D Ashe, Jasper Bark, Priya Sharma, Stephen Volk and Laura Mauro have simply never let me down. Nor has RJ Dark. 

Favourite podcast?

I Don’t Speak German – two people I’m honoured to call friends doing Actual Work in the field of antifascism. Often a hard listen, but increasingly a vital and necessary one. And they’re both quite brilliant.

The home stretch

What scares you?

Oh, the usual; death. Loss. Pain. The impending capitalism driven climate apocalypse. The notion that I might live long enough to see the end of the world begin, and know my daughter will have to live through the actual end. Pretty standard stuff. 

What’s the best thing about being a horror writer?

Right up there has to be getting to socialise with other horror writers; overwhelmingly the nicest, kindest, most generous and welcoming people you could hope to meet.

Time to plug your stuff! Where can we find you and your work? What have you got coming up? Consider this your advertising space.

All my work can be found on my Amazon author page. Most of my ebooks are Kindle exclusives, but all the paperbacks are widely available, so if you prefer a physical copy, please feel free to take the ISBN number to your local bookshop or library, if you’re lucky enough to have one—or buy direct from the small press publishers, where possible. For my fiction, The Finite is the bleakest thing I’ve written, and A Song For The End probably the most fun pulp horror, so pick according to taste. For non-fiction, you really can’t go wrong with My Life In Horror Volume 1 or 2 (and you don’t need to have read either to enjoy the other).

Most of my reviews end up getting published at Gingernuts of Horror, as does my ongoing Brian Keene essay series.

I do a lot of podcasting work with George Daniel Lea over on his Youtube channel. What The Hell Is Wrong With Us? Covers horror influences past and present.

And our story by story deep dive on Clive Barkers’ The Books Of Blood has just reached Volume II.

Whereas my own podcast feed is currently doing an album-by-album critical appraisal of the albums of Bruce Springsteen. 

And finally, if you want something new from me every week (something new might be an extract from my work in progress, a short story, a review or essay, or a podcast episode, either early release or one of two exclusive series, one covering the Sherlock Holmes cannon and the other a book review series with my 13 year old genius daughter) for as little as a dollar a month, with even more cool perks available at higher levels, please go to www.patreon.com/kitpower.

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