CHHR: Please give a brief introduction.
Kyle M. Scott is a bestselling author of five novels and three collections of shorts, all within the genre of horror. He comes from Glasgow, Scotland.
Hi back. Nice to talk with you. It’s always fun to do these things. Despite what some may tell you, all writers enjoy flapping their gums about their work.
CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was pretty young when the inspiration hit, though I never did a damn thing about it till I was in my later thirties. I’d always been drawn to the arts, and had studied design and music, and was playing in local psychedelic bands, but the desire to write held firm thought it all. I was crushed by self-doubt back in the day, and it took me a long time to work up the courage to give writing a shot.
Initially, I started writing a short that I’d had buzzing around my skull for a few years, and during my work on that story, (solely for my own enjoyment, I should add), I found that the words came naturally. I fell in love with the process. Horror has always been the cornerstone of my life, so to create horror that was all my own and bring to life stories within the genre was satisfying on so many levels. I was a kid in my own toy store, doing whatever the hell I felt like doing, free as a bird. I knew then that I wanted this thing to be my life.
After writing four shorts, I decided to release them in a small volume, having gained a little confidence in myself by the time the fourth was complete. I released them independently, and, to my surprise, they were received well in the horror community. Enough so that I took the deep dive and began work on my first novel. It’s all been a blur of words, frustrations, obsession and love from there.
CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like?
I always lay out a schedule of work for the coming year, consisting of which projects I want to take on, and in which order. Then I just knuckle down and get to the business of slowly working through them as the inspiration comes. The road to the finish line may be unpredictable, but I usually reach my target.
I find it impossible to stick to any sort of regime when it comes to my daily/weekly writing pattern. Some days can be eight-hour sessions on the laptop, and some days I don’t manage a sentence. I never want to be writing because it’s expected of me. I don’t think any really worthy art comes from that method. Not for me, at least. If there’s a day when putting the words down feels like a chore, then I walk away. If it’s a chore to write, it’ll probably be a chore to read. I want it to be fun, so I write when the fire’s burning. I’m much more interested in putting out quality work than simply saturating the market to make a buck. That line of thinking just isn’t for me.
CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?
I tend to pace the floor for a while, worrying about the first line, then, when I’m psyched up enough, I sit down and get that first, always terrifying line onto the page. It’s every bit as nerve-racking each time, but once I get over the stage-fright, I settle into the flow and I disappear for a while. Not much of a ritual, but it works for me.
CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?
They’re both great fun and demand very different approaches.
Many of my shorts, I could easily see as full-length novels, or perhaps novellas, and I sometimes feel a little gutted that I can’t spend more time with the characters and enjoy their orbit. That can be tough going. The counterpoint to that, though, is the challenge of creating a rounded, tonally and thematically focused story, with authentic characters in twenty or so pages. It keeps you on your toes and sharpens your tools.
Writing novels presents its own set of challenges. Life tends to get in the way when spending a prolonged stretch of time on one project, but it’s just great fun to hang out with the characters over a long passage of time and get to know them well. They become family, and the freedom I have as a writer of a novel lets the characters evolve and behave as they see fit, free from my own petty plans for them. There’s room for deeper probing of the themes, and much more space to construct an authentic reality.
I love both the long-form and the short. It’s all writing.
CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?
Pretty good, as it goes. I live just outside Glasgow, and the horror scene in the city has been gradually growing over the last few years. There are a number of film festivals centered around the genre, and more and more frequently we’re seeing classic horror movies make their way back to the big screen for event-showings. Glasgow is very much a city that embraces geekdom, and that includes horror. I hope it’ll continue to evolve and reach an even wider audience.
CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?
A bit of both. I have the basic structure, the tones, and the themes worked out when I begin the story, but they never go as planned. Ideas spring up during the writing that can often lead to dramatic rethinking of the story, and the characters really do dictate the direction it goes.
CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?
That’s a good question. I’m not sure it did, really. From a technical standpoint, I became much more aware of my shortcoming and worked to produce work that was presented with much more polish, but everything else remained the same. I always try to better myself and hone my writing, but the process is the same. I’ll obsess over a concept, then throw myself into it. I write the horror that I’d like to read myself. I figure if I’m not entertaining myself, I can’t entertain the reader.
CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story?
It’s a writer’s job to hold the mirror up to the reader and show them what they really fear. I think emotional honesty is key. The success of any good horror story hinges on the depth of its characters, and I try not to shy away from the ugliness we all harbor inside us. My characters are rarely all good, or all bad. They’re the product of their choices, their frailties and their passions, and if you invest yourself in their inner worlds, they ring truer to the reader.
And it’s important to be fearless. To follow the story to its absolute end and be willing to go wherever it wants to take you, no matter how dark, how depressive or how depraved.
CHHR: What are you currently working on?
I have a couple of projects nearing completion at the moment. Three novels and a novella. The next release will either be The Infernal, which is a character-driven hardcore horror novel about a spiritual reckoning taking place worldwide, or Community, which is a shameless riff on Lovecraftian mythology filtered through the lens of b-movies and the video nasty era.
The other two are The Den, a very personal story about past tragedy and the scars it leaves on us, and IT’S IN THE TREES! (upper-case text and exclamation mark included), which is a short, frantic and vicious love-letter to both the monster movies of the 50s and the slasher movies of the 80s.
CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?
I’m currently working my way through the back-catalogue of Bentley Little. I’ve read him for years and love his work, but there’s still much to catch up on, so I’m digging into those at the moment.
I’m also checking out a number of works by an upcoming author, Christopher Motz. He’s a guy who’s work I very much respect. We’ve become firm friends and are looking to collaborate soon. Collaborating on a novel is something I wouldn’t normally do, but with Chris, I think our styles will blend well.
CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?
I found The Terror by Dan Simmons to be deeply unsettling. Death, dread and misery seem to permeate every single page.
CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?
IT by Stephen King. The characters, the world-building, the countless scenes of horror. It’s a truly frightening and heartbreaking book.
CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?
It has to be Halloween. My love for that movie is unending. It’s been a constant throughout my life and I can get lost in it on every repeat viewing. I adore it.
CHHR: What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite album?
I listen to all kinds of music – blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, the crooners from the 50s and 60s, reggae. My personal favorite genre has always been psychedelia. It’s ever-evolving and a wellspring of creative vision. Love, Syd Barrett, Spacemen 3, The Doors, The 13th Floor Elevators…all incredible and utterly unique.
My favorite album of all time is Lazer Guided Melodies by Spiritualized. It’s mesmerizing, agonizing and emotionally resonant. It slays me on every listen.
CHHR: What is your spirit animal?
In reality, it’s probably something puny like a hamster or a squirrel, but I don’t deal with reality so well, so I’m going with a honey bear. Those little guys are awesome. They’re like little furry panzer tanks. You don’t f**k with the honey bear.
CHHR: What is your favorite beer?
I enjoy an ice-cold Amstel. I first got turned on to it while in Amsterdam, and it’s became my favorite ever since. Damn fine stuff!
CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?
That’s a tough one. It would have to be Richard Laymon. He seemed like a genuinely lovely guy and was a stone-cold trailblazer. I’d love to learn about his process and the effect his work and his reputation as an author had on his personal life. I like to think we’d crack open a case of Amstel, (or whatever he prefers, because he’s Richard Laymon), and watch Madman together. That would be a fun evening, right there.
His novels and collections are all available on Amazon. Visit his author pages here: