How long have you been writing?
I started writing short stories when I was 8 years old, in the 4th grade, and except for a break in the mid-90’s (when I was working two and three jobs at a time and raising a family), I haven’t stopped.
Which writers inspire you?
Tolkien, of course—I took two college courses on him—but also Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, HP Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury—all the old school sci-fi/fantasy writers. One of my prized possessions is a tattered copy of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthology, published in 1970, with “The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time” as selected by the members of SFWA (back before SFWA became the travesty it’s become). I’m also a huge geek for Norse and Greek mythology, medieval literature, as well as Beowulf and the Ramayana.
So, what have you written? I’ve published three young adult sci-fi/fantasy novels: Dragontamer’s Daughters, Lost Dogs, and This Wasted Land, as well as a children’s picture book, and a non-fiction “how-to” guide to help authors sell books in person.
DTD is like Little House on the Prairie with dragons: two girls in an alternate Old West find a tiny dragon that’s been hurt, and as they try to heal it and save its life, they learn its fearsome nature and tremendous power.
Lost Dogs is about a German Shepherd named Buddy, and the end of the world. The reader gets inside his head and experiences what he sees, hears, smells, and feels in a post-apocalyptic story that’s on a much smaller scale than is usual for this type of literature. Lost Dogs has been my bestseller, because it really resonates with dog lovers, and because it explores the theme of abandonment, which (unfortunately) a lot of teens and younger adults can relate to.
This Wasted Land is a dark fantasy/horror novel about a misfit teenager named Alyx whose boyfriend Sam is abducted by a witch and dragged off into a nightmare world, an endless gray desert filled with monsters unique to the story. I started writing TWL as a senior in college in 1988, and struggled with it for many years, until I was finally able to pull it off in 2018.
All of my books are standalone, but they do contain elements of each other. For example, This Wasted Land has cameos from most of the dogs in Lost Dogs, as well as certain items from DTD.
What draws you to Superversive writing?
Family is paramount to me, and the ongoing destruction and dismissal of the traditional nuclear family appalls me. Each of my novels deals with family, even Lost Dogs, which one wouldn’t necessarily think that a story about dogs would. Each book promotes the family as the source of stability, growth, and happiness—which, of course, it is.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m writing a sequel/spinoff to Lost Dogs called Stray Cats, because so many people have asked me for a version from a cat’s point of view. Stray Cats, though, is its own thing, basically being nine short stories woven around a common narrative. While one of the stories is set in the post-apocalyptic world of Lost Dogs, the others go off in all kind of different directions: space opera, swords-and-sorcery, high-tech superheroes, etc. It’s also considerably more lighthearted and fun than Lost Dogs. I’ll publish Stray Cats in 2021.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.
The “literary-correct” answer would be, “Oh, yes, I read all the time, and I’m a big fan of [insert list of contemporary authors here]. The reality is that my day job, family, and church/civic involvements keep me very busy (I’m an active member of the Knights of Columbus, and have just finished a 2 ½ year term as president of the Eastern Shore Writers Association). Any time I spend reading, I could be writing, and the fact that I’m a hardcore D&D and Warhammer 40K player doesn’t help. When I do read, it’s almost always non-fiction, bits and facts of which I use in my fiction.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
A great place to start is my website, kentonkilgore.com, where I have my books and my blog, and where people can sign up for a free short story from Stray Cats. I also have author pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads. All of my books are on Amazon.