Five Questions With: Todd Keisling

[Today, we sit down for a quick interview with horror and speculative fiction author, Todd Keisling. Here, he discusses his novels, his Patreon account, and his upcoming projects.]

ev0ke: How do spirituality, mythology, and folklore inform your work? Do you find yourself drawing upon any one particular mythos, or does it change depending on the needs of the story?

Todd Keisling: I grew up in a religious household, grew up going to various churches, and even when I went to college, I studied several philosophies and dabbled in more new age concepts. So, some aspect of that weird ideological melting pot always shows up in my work, from Christian mythology to Jung’s concept of dreams and the collective unconscious. I’m particularly interested in occult symbolism and the history of paganism, especially how it’s informed mainstream religious practices since the dawn of civilization.

All that said, the story will always dictate its needs. Lately, my work tends to lean toward the occult as a means of combating the evils of religious extremism (or, really, religion in general), as evidenced in my recent novel, Devil’s Creek.

ev0ke: Most of your work could be defined as horror and weird fiction. What do you find so compelling about those genres? What draws you to them?

TK: For the weird, I think it’s the mystery. I’ve always had a speculative nature, always questioning “What if this happened? Or this?” I like to explore those mysteries. Horror tends to be a side effect of those explorations, as what we find in the weird is often so alien. Horror is our reaction to what we find in the dark, either because it’s unexpected, it’s repulsive to our sensibilities, or it’s the unimaginable made manifest in some way. I’m one of those weirdos who enjoys the exploration and what I might find waiting for me in the dark, even if it terrifies me.

ev0ke: You recently set up a Patreon. Why, and what can your patrons look forward to reading?

TK: I restarted my Patreon earlier in August due to a recent job loss. I’ve spent the last decade (and then some) working in the corporate world, and after this most recent job, I’ve decided it’s time for a change. I’d love to be able to write and create full time. Patreon is a way toward that goal. Anyone who supports me on Patreon will have access to anything I post, regardless of their pledge amount. So far I’ve shared deleted scenes from my most recent novel, Devil’s Creek; given a private virtual tour of the town which inspired the story; and I plan on more “insider” events for supporters.

ev0ke: Where can readers find your work?

TK: I’m all over social media. Twitter (@todd_keisling) and Instagram (@toddkeisling) in particular. And then there’s my website, which has a comprehensive list of my works, written or otherwise.

ev0ke: What other projects are you working on?

TK: Currently, I’m working on some private art commissions, and also the full book design of the forthcoming charity anthology, One of Us: A Tribute to Frank Michaels Errington, out later this year from Bloodshot Books. I just wrapped up a draft of my next novel, Nonentity, the final novel of the Monochrome Trilogy, and I expect to be digging into edits sometime later this fall. And then there’s the occasional short story that pops up from time to time. I’m always busy!

[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. A complete list of her published works can be found there.]