Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Sean Kerr author of Dead Camp.
Hi Sean, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hello! Well, I’m a 46-year-old gay man living in Cardiff, Wales, with my partner of 27 years, Derek. Oh, and our two cats, Rita and Harry, and a load of tropical fish! I have worked in retail most of my life, and for the past 11 years, I have been running my own Interior Design business in Cardiff with my fabulous business partner, Jayne. I am a huge sci-fi and horror fan, Doctor Who being my first love in television, Alien my first love in film. Sigh. How I would love to write for both of them, but that is never going to happen, so move on lol.
Working for yourself, and trying to pay yourself, is not easy. Bit like being an author then lol. In an ideal world, I would love to see our shop run by someone else so that I could spend my days writing, but again that is just not going to happen. I love the design industry, I love working with fabrics and blinds, and helping our customers to create a beautiful home, but at the same time, I do not want to spend the rest of my life tied to our store. The recession hit 3 years after we opened and it has been a struggle, but we survived, and Jayne and I are proud of our achievement.
Writing has always been my passion. I never thought, never in a million years, that I would be published, and here I am with two books out, and I am now busy writing my third! When I started this series of books two years ago, I wrote to every agent in the Artists and Writers yearbook, and then some, well over 200 emails and letters, and I have a huge pile of ‘no’s’. I was on the verge of giving up. I knew my book was a bit fruity, I knew my book was contentious, but it was something I really wanted to write, and I loved every minute of writing it. Just when I thought there was no point in pursuing Dead Camp, I started to write something else, but then I thought I would try contacting some publishing houses direct. I contacted 6 publishers, and within two weeks had 3 offers of a contract! To say that I screamed a lot would be an understatement. I signed with the wonderful Extasy Books, and boy are they fabulous. My editors, cover designer, all of them, just wonderful, talented, incredibly supportive people, and I feel mighty privileged to be with them. I owe them everything, for making my dream come true, and I hope that we will be together for very, many years!
Dead Camp is a series of books, all with different stories that tell one big saga. As a gay man, I wanted to write it from a gay perspective, so all my characters are gay, well, except the odd one or two…spoilers sweetie. The series of books start during World War 2, and as they progress, you will find yourself in Victorian London, the Crucifixion, and then back to the downfall of Hitler. It’s a complex story, and every character is linked, even if they don’t know it. Book 1 & 2 are out, and I am currently working on book 3, which has been the toughest write so far. This book is proving particularly challenging because of the subject matter, but I think I have just broken the back of it, so now, with a bit of a push, I can finish the first draft.
When all is said and done, Dead Camp may contain Vampires, Ghosts, Demons and Angels, but ultimately, it is a story of a father’s forgiveness, and tolerance of that which is different, in a roundabout sort of way. I know the very last page of the very last book, it is there, in my many, many notes, and all I can say is, have a very large box of tissues at the ready!
Describe your book to us.
Dead Camp came out of my desire to tell a story about gay characters from the perspective of a gay man. It also grew out of my need to tell my version of the Vampire myth. It worried me that so many fantastic books about Vampires already exist, by authors far more talented than I, but I have always loved Vampires and I have always wanted to write about them, so Dead Camp is my own spin on a familiar subject.
Eli is a Vampire with no memory of being human, so this series of books is about his journey of discovery, about himself, and ultimately about the world in which he inhabits. The trouble is, his identity will have a huge impact on the rest of the characters. Lie after lie, secret after secret, and all of it to preserve his identity, and to hide it from him. The greatest love that he has ever known kept that secret, and lied about his own past in the process, so when this all starts to bleed out, Eli is thrown into a world, and a war, that he really would rather hide away from. Book 1 is really about Eli having to re-engage with the world, and book 2, the consequences of allowing himself to feel again. Some truths are better left buried, and some truths are just too painful to learn.
Have you ever read something that made you think differently about your genre? Can you tell us what it was?
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. To me, that book is the true successor to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This book is like a history lesson, and the research she did makes my head hurt. But the story is told from the point f view of various characters, letters, and diaries, and it made me realise that writing a book can be so much more than just telling a story from A to B. She made me realise that the Vampire does not always have to be at the fore of everything, that quite often, the events and the stories surrounding it, are just as, if not more so, telling. She breaks from convention, and it gave me the courage to do the same and to create my own spin on a subject so very well covered in so many wonderful books. I have a lot to be grateful to that books for, it is a slice of absolute gold, and I have read it now a number of times. I can only aspire to her level of talent.
Tell us about your character’s family life?
That’s a tough one, because as this series starts out, we learn that while both Eli and Malachi are dead, neither of them have any memories of their human existence. So they know nothing of family life. As a result, they form their own little family, just the two of them hiding away form a world that disappoints them.
Malachi is in love with Eli, but Eli is having none of it. Eli hated Malachi at first, but a friendship developed out of pain and tragedy, and as such, Eli quickly found that he could not exist, or function, without Malachi by his side.
Malachi will do anything for Eli, such is the depth of his feelings towards him, but he knows that Eli is a creature torn apart by his past, and he knows that Eli still holds a flame for his ex-boyfriend, but that doesn’t stop him trying, even if it means risking his soul in the process. Eli takes advantage of this devotion, and then ends up hating himself for it, so he finds it difficult to reconcile his feelings for Malachi, irritant, friend, soul mate, he wants Malachi to love him, but he doesn’t want to feel the same towards him. It makes for a complex relationship.
Compare yourself to your main character.
I am a mixture of Eli and Malachi. Sadly, I do not have Eli’s outrageous good looks and physical attributes, but I do have a sex drive the size of a planet, and I can be very sarcastic, cutting, and bad tempered. I also have a rather loud personality. I am also a little camp. Maybe. Sometimes. Okay, often. But I have a huge sense of humour, and I like nothing more than a bloody good laugh, and when I fall in love, I fall in love bad. That is why I have been with my husband for 27 years.
Describe your past week as a type of landscape or a weather forecast.
Extreme gales, heavy rain with the occasional moments of sunshine and calm. I have been trying to get a week off work so that I can write, and always, without fail, I go into meltdown the week before a holiday trying to get so much done. So, I stress, I lose my temper, my sense of humour evaporates, and only occasionally can I force myself to smile. Not until the last day, before my holiday, am I calm again.
Author Name: Sean Kerr
Book Name: Dead Camp
Series: Dead Camp Book One
Pages or Words: 87,422 words, 260 pages
Categories: Dark Themes, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, Horror, M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires/Demons, Thriller
Publisher: Extasy Books January 1, 2016
Cover Artist: Latrisha Waters
Eli is an ancient vampire with an ego the size of a planet and a sex drive to match, but his tumultuous past left him broken, so he hides from humanity and cowers from love, left to endure the crushing guilt that haunts his every waking moment. Even his best friend Malachi, a ghost who is hopelessly in love with Eli, remains unaware of all that transpired in London. Malachi can never know the truth.
When the Angel Daniyyel pays an unwelcome visit, Eli must face his secrets, secrets that he has tried so long to hide. To make matters worse, a chance encounter with the most beautiful man he has ever seen shatters his beloved isolation, pushing him into the world of the living once more. Something about this strange man seems so familiar, but Eli can’t even remember who he was before he became a vampire, never mind explain the unwanted emotions the enigmatic stranger ignites in his dead heart. So Eli has a choice—return to the world that ruined him, or continue his self-imposed exile with no hope of salvation.
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A little more Dead Camp:
With a sickening wet sound, his body finally broke free of the earth. A cry of agony burst from between his perfect lips and his head fell back against my shoulder. I felt his long eyelashes brush against my neck as his eyes flickered in defiance of the blackness trying to consume him.
“Stay with me fella, stay with me, we’ll be home in a jiffy.”
Home, back to my castle, what the fuck was I thinking? I was out of my little fucking mind. I didn’t know the man. I owed him nothing. I had an Angel in my dining room and a German soldier in my dungeon and to top things off, I lived with a ghost. Yet I still wanted to take him home? No, I was intent on taking him home, I had decided that the moment I saw him.
But why, why should I get involved, why should I tread that path again, the path that could only lead to pain. It always did. And yet, as I held him in my arms I felt it, something inescapable, something that I could not understand, a stirring, a feeling, like something found when all hope of ever finding it had been forgotten. Something complicated.
A tingle of warning trickled up and down my spine making my hair stand on end. I lowered the hunk to the ground, slowly, carefully and whispered into his perfectly shaped ear. “Remain quiet.”
In a flash of lightning speed, I leapt into a tree, clinging with one hand to a thick branch while my legs wrapped around its thick girth. Someone was out there and not just Mr Fuck Me He’s Perfect. The smell of human, living heart pumping human was unmistakable, that incomparable odour carried on the wind to entice my nostrils and excite my senses, and I was dutifully excited. But there was something else there too, a feint undercurrent, an elusive aftertaste that went beyond sweat and skid-marks, an elusive scent that pricked at my memory, the smell of Demon.
I saw him then, a German soldier winding his way through the field of corpses. His uniform, a grey green feldbluse replete with bottle green collar and shoulder straps, made him almost invisible amongst the branches and the sludge. I could not see his face beneath his field cap but I could easily make out the eagle and swastika emblem embroidered on the bottle green cloth and I noted with disgust the Sturmgewehr semi-automatic rifle hanging loosely from his shoulder.
The Nazi stood barely six metres away from my injured future husband. Do not move lovely man, I said to myself, do not move and don’t make a sound and if you can, be still your beating heart, because to me it sounded like a jackhammer pounding through the forest. He was frightened and in pain. His eyes darted everywhere looking for me, desperate for me, pleading for me to drag him out of that Hell.
I saw the agony flash across his face before the sound escaped his lips. My entire body tensed. Too late, the soldier heard his pain.
He was running then, running towards my Adonis in the pit. Without hesitation, I soared through the air and landed with feline grace before him. The soldier fell backwards with a bloodcurdling scream. The rifle landed at my feet and I picked it up, rising to my full magnificent height, slowly and with purpose, relishing every moment of fear that blossomed across the soldiers white features. I snapped the weapon as easily as though it were a twig and threw the shattered weapon at his feet, watching with satisfied relish as he scrabbled backwards in the mud, his mouth curling away from his face as his terror burst from his throat.
“Demon! You are not from the camp. What are you?”
My teeth extended and my eyes flashed black. My Vampire was out. In one swift movement, barely visible to the human eye, I leapt at him, pulling him off the floor with effortless ease, lifting his flailing body high above my head. I threw him with all my might at the nearest tree. His spine snapped with an audible bang as his fragile body wrapped itself backwards around the trunk of the trembling pine, his lifeless body sliding to the ground and my stomach rumbled. Dinner was served.
I think that as I approach that milestone that is fifty, I must be one of the oldest gamers on the face of this earth. Many a day you will find me lashed to my PS4 enjoying a good session of Skyrim. Who doesn’t love a good session of Skyrim?
I love writing—I have done it since I was a child when I would happily write about the latest episode of Doctor Who (Tom Baker in those days) in my schoolbooks. Growing up and becoming a business owner with my friend Jayne left little time to pursue my dream of publication, but of late the desire and the compulsion to put words onto paper have once again dominated my life so that now, my laptop has become surgically fused to my fingertips.
There is something desperately satisfying about telling a story. My fascination with History, Religion and Conspiracy theories have, in this instance, gone hand-in-hand with my love of all things vampire, fantasy, sci-fi and horror. I drove my parents nuts when I was young because that was all I would read about in books, all I would watch on television, but they have held me in good stead, and long may my obsession with the subjects continue, at least, that is, until the day they put me in my own wooden box. And imagination is such a wonderful thing. I once had a rather vivid dream about David Tennant and the Tardis console, but I could not possibly go into details about that here. Let’s just say that my polarity was well and truly reversed.
Dead Camp is just the beginning. I have to check my knickers every day at the thought that this book is now in the public domain. My first book, and I hope the first of many. And to those out there who love to write, who love to transport us to new worlds, or old worlds with a twisted perspective, I say to you keep going. I never thought I would ever see my work available to download, and thanks to eXtasy Books, the dream that I always thought unobtainable has finally come true. So thank you all at eXtasy, I am one happy homosexual thanks to you, and thank you the reader for taking the time to read this strange tale and allowing Eli and the incomparable Malachi into your lives.
And now I really need Skyrim.
You can stalk—oops—follow Sean
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Dead-Camp-blog-402721546519007/
Dead Camp site:: http://seankerr5.wix.com/deadcamp
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6207037.Sean_Kerr
You can win an eCopy of ‘Dead Camp’ book one