I’d like to introduce you to a new author of speculative fiction I met recently: Lance Keeble.
His latest release, Globes Disease, is a horror novel set in the quiet town of La Mort Douce. A vampire threatens the small group of werewolves, who treat them like wild game. The government promises a cure, but will it come in time?
Tell us about yourself, Lance.
Well let’s see, I was born and raised in LA. My mother was my primary parent; she worked for social services for 20 years. She earned her Masters Degree when I was 13. She was my first influence when it came to reading. In fact I would get in trouble because I would read books under the covers with a flashlight and be too exhausted to get up for school the next day.
I was a “B” average student with a fantastical imagination and though I read fiction and non-fiction, I found Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy and even Comic Books quite intriguing. Around 7 years old I wrote, illustrated and bound my first book about an Ant that becomes an Astronaut.
I was always writing poems or songs. I devoured Godzilla movies and black and white horror movies like Dracula, The Wolf-man, The Fly, I Was a Teen-age Werewolf, along with Speed Racer, James Bond movies, Batman and American football.
I did some brief college, became a fireman when my first son was born, been married a few times, had a gaggle of kids and provided for them. I stopped writing in the early 80’s for way too many reason to write in this article. In 2003/2004, I picked up a pen and dedicated myself to writing again.
Currently I am working on retiring in 3 years and I hope to establish myself into my new career so I can stay home, write and help raise my 3-year-old daughter. I love geek stuff, technology and new takes on the Science Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Superhero and Horror genres. I have a sick sense of humor and I am general immature (when I am not being responsible) and harmless. I am one big bifurcated contradiction of sorts.
What inspired you to write dark fiction?
Science fiction and horror monsters have always been a fascination of mine. I like the classic protagonist, and love when someone is successful at giving the genre a new twist. It’s funny whenever I sit down to write the only thing that comes out is dark fantasy, fiction and super hero stuff.
And the impetus for Globes Disease was…
I wrote a short story about a man who contracts Lycanthropy and is walking down the street trying to figure out if people are looking at him because he is Black or a Werewolf. That story grew. Eventually the characters increased and evolved. Eventually I began to include people I was familiar with and had not yet seen before in those types of stories.
I think True Blood was onto something but the show jumped the rails. That happens, it’s hard to talk about the same people over and over and over.
I liked Underworld’s initial introduction, but now it’s Romeo and Juliet with fangs to me.
No diss on any of these ideas and stories, they have to evolve to keep people interested, I am certain I will gain and lose readers the same way. Though personally I would prefer Game of Thrones’ success, but how often does that happen– where someone takes your work and attempts to keep it as close to the original as possible? I believe everyone would love that type of success.
Impetus? Basically I was tired of seeing the same thing with the same people in the same roles and scenarios. I thought it was about time to explore the Who? What? Why? And When? Using different perspectives when it comes to the Werewolf.
As authors of color, how can we gain a larger share of the dark fiction fan base? Is it all about visibility?
It’s the numbers, the more creators, writers and authors of color, the more the world will get used to us and just naturally buy our work with out thinking about it.
It also is gonna take the gatekeepers, the powers that be, allowing or funding, artists of color to be expansive and groundbreaking. Making sure not to pigeon hold authors in the Urban Section of the book stores or only highlighting Street tales, Ghetto Soap Operas and Afro Pulp Fiction. Again I am not dissing anyone, I just want to see the same variety and exposure that we see in mainstream publishing. I want to be allowed to and to be celebrated for, being different and strange like Waters, Palahniuk, Burton, etc.…
I want to find my audience.
Globes Disease blends horror and fantasy, making lycanthropy a disease—similar to how some have tackled vampires and zombies—with a heavy dose of action thrown in. Why mix these genres, and why werewolves?
I always felt Werewolves were an afterthought over all in the genre. Almost like they don’t know exactly what to do with them. Which is sad cause I loved movies like The Howling and American Werewolf in London, Ginger Snaps yet somehow the sequels jumped the shark. Underworld is phenomenal. But most portrayals are normally sympathetic to the Vampires. Vampires we know by name, Dracula, etc. Can you name any Werewolves? Vampires are portrayed as classy, well-dressed, romantic and societal, Werewolves are portrayed as dirty, uncontrollable, wild, always alone or in warring packs.
I don’t see Vampires that way; look at Salem’s Lot there is a reason it stands out. I think Anne Rice’s vampires are romantic but, the Vampires in her books have tipping points, human failings, I like that. I think someone who lives forever has to be alone on occasion, don’t ya’ think? Would you, could you really be with your significant other or best friend for 100 years plus? You’d want to kill one another; you need 50-60 years of alone time every now and then.
I think Wolves are natural pack animals and seek support and love; they are passionate, and unselfish, yet they can be loners as well.
I think in the past, writers and moviemakers didn’t care if Werewolves loved or had feelings. I think they were fetishized, kinda like some people who date different types to prove something or to check off the “I did that!” list.
I do like that books and movies in recent years have attempted to explore Werewolves but when I started this idea, there wasn’t much material that I found interesting.
And honestly, I love Werewolves. I like that rawness.
In short I think it’s been said that Vampires are a metaphor for romantic sex. I think Werewolves are a metaphor for passionate fucking. (Can I say that?)
(Yes. Yes, you can.)
What research do you perform or is your work mostly spawned from personal experience?
I do what I call a brain dump. My mind has a wealth of trivial info and general knowledge that I can mostly refer to (snicker), but I want to tell a story first. Flush the plot out, see if I can give it something different or interesting as well as exploring the characters I’m curious about, after which I do deep research to answer questions I have or beta readers may have about certain details.
What I love about fiction is, you can make something up and then combine facts that make it seem plausible. I created a superhero character that was spawned from the technology of the Kuwaiti wars and when I tell people the origin, they think its real. I find that reaction to be very kool.
As far as research, folklore makes the best place to draw from, in my the third Globes Disease novel I found a perfect Native American tale about where the Werewolf comes from that I was able to incorporate into my story perfectly.
What’s your next project?
The Prequel to Globes Disease (second novel) is finished and I need an editor…
I am writing a superhero prose using public domain characters. I did another one already for Black Power: The Superhero Anthology! organized by Balogun Ojetade, titled: “Nikia the Pandora“. I completed a children’s book I need an artist for that. I am currently working on the 3rd book in the GD series as well.
What truly scares you? How do these fears inspire your writing?
Rape. Children getting hurt or dying (I walked out of Pet Semetery).
I was told once to write what scares you or makes you uncomfortable (Helen Gerth)…I tend to turn off movies and put down books that cover the above subjects. So I thought I would address it a little and see where I am at with it in the third book. Honestly, I actually still don’t like it, but the book is too good to rewrite it.
What do you like to read and/or watch?
Read- I like to read a variety of things, but not all the subjects I am interested in hold my attention. I am currently reading Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor. I just finished George Clintons bio titled Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You?: A Memoir, I read the Fight Club 2 comic and a few other comic books and I’m trudging through Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey…So for me, I pick up books and then if it grabs me I read them, if not I put it down or come back to it and see if it was my frame of mind…
Books that stood out to me, and made an impact on my writing are The Tell-Tale Heart by Poe, On a Pale Horse by Pierce Anthony, Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, the Thomas Covenant Series by Donaldson, and the first 3 books of Anne Rice’s Vampire series…(I’m sure there are more but I don’t want to bore everyone)
Watch- That varies too, the Thing, Empire Strikes Back, the Force Awakens, almost any Superhero movie (even the bad ones), Star Trek (Wrath of Kahn, Under Discovered Country, the 2 J.J. Abrams reboots), NFL and Two and Half Men, and a plethora of Animated films (Especially the ones my 3 year old likes), I like Vampire Hunter D. 1 & 2, the Killing Joke, Mask of the Phantasm, Under the Redhood, Zootopia, etc. 007 (Connery, Brosnan and Craig) again I could go on and on but…
What’s missing in fiction? What shape would you like to see the future of horror take?
It’s as if Grey, Twilight, Hunger Games and Divergent, have shaped the mainstream industry…I would like more quality, more variety and less cooperate machine stuff. Which is kinda hypocritical cause I am happy about all the superhero stuff, even though they could have better diversity as well.
I think things are moving along because all the avenues to share content available, we are getting new voices but I would love to see more women and men of color. We seem to be rehashing shit and the voices aren’t diverse enough yet…It would be nice to find the next Shonda Rhimes, Matty Rich, Spike Lee, John Singleton, George Tillman Jr., Antoine Fuqua, M. Night Shyamalan, Adi Shanker of fantasy, sci-fi and horror…
I would like to see more color come to the top of that heap…and less formula…I know there is a Black Ridley Scott out there somewhere! (Laughing)
Who is your main inspiration?
My main inspirations are my Mother, Edgar Allen Poe, Chuck Palahniuk, Howard Chaykin, and a few people I may have mentioned earlier…
I like people who take the normal tropes and tweak them a little…
What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?
Time. I have a busy job. I now have a busy life. Prior to this I had relationship issues that hindered me. And children are always a challenge but can be managed. I get up early or take parts of my off days to write. I text, email and sync to myself often, especially in traffic or when I’m stuck waiting for everything: Dr. Office, restaurants, DMV, (laughing). Sorry I am thinking about Zootopia and the Sloths.
I finally sit down to type and then fall asleep. So needless to say, I would love to write full time. I think I will get better at it, when I can dedicate more time and efforts into it.
Is there a subject you refuse to touch?
There was but since I have passed that, I will say, I will not do child abuse/sexual abuse stuff like that… Even in my second book, when I pushed my comfort level, I didn’t necessarily describe the situations more than they needed to be described. Just enough to I indicated that they happened…
What do you do in your spare time? (If you have any, that is.)
I used to play video games but not any more. I am multitasking, watching and writing, working and parenting, I suffer from toddler fatigue, seriously (laughing). Writing has provided me more opportunities to write, so that is what I do in my spare time, write. I like it.
Thanks so much for the interview. Is there anything else you like to mention?
Thank you for having me. It was a privilege and an honor to be able to share with you and your fans. Please read my book, fans. It’s a fast read and a character driven take on the genre that you might love. I think you will enjoy it overall.
Globes Disease is my debut novel, and as a fan of the genre it’s pretty good. I am excited cause I know I can only get better, so come grow with me…
Please submit a review on my book that is how authors build a following. If you can, send me book-selfies. I will post them, unless they are dirty. Like my YouTube vid, and follow me on FB, Twitter and Instagram. I love you all. Thank you.