Alan Kelly of Rue-Morgue and This Is Horror answers our questions!

This week, answering our nosey JFB questions, we have Alan Kelly, a blogger who freelances for webistes such as Rue-MorgueThis Is Horror and Horror Reanimated – and because I’m feeling like we need a good old horror chat on the blog, you might want to stay tuned for a bit of a horror blog takeover from Alan – coming soon!
Why did you start blogging?

I didn’t take the traditional route – if even a traditional route for blogging exists – and during and after I trained as a journalist, I worked for Film Ireland, an amalgam of academic and entertaining journalism aimed at Irish filmgoers. The City Guidebook, writing club/pub/restaurant reviews for Dublin’s LGBT community.  Butcher Queers, a specialist advertisement-free queer quarterly magazine covering everything from Yaoi to The Rise of the Bi Curious Male and The GCN (Gay Community News) as film/music and book critic. To answer your question, I started book blogging because I felt there was a lack of book love from genre magazines which have large readerships. Many Horror/Fantasy/SF magazines prioritize film over literature and I sent several blog-pitches to Rue Morgue and was so happy when Monica S Kuebler and the Rue Crew gave me the opportunity to cover the best fiction genre has to offer with the column Hell’s Shelves. I love genre lit and ultimately why I blog/write a column is because I want to reach out to potential new readers for new and well-known writers and while doing it  improve my own writing skills and knowledge of the publishing industry.

What keeps you blogging?

That’s simple: I love reading and writing about SF/Fantasy/Horror, getting to interview writers and discover the wonderfully nasty things which lurk in the darkest corners of their minds.

What are your favourite blogs and why?

Oh Gosh! Do they have to be book-specific . . .?

Day of the Woman by Brittney Jade-Calangelo: A spirited, snarky and smart horror-themed blog with some great articles/reviews and non-fiction essays with a feminist bent. This writer doesn’t shy away from giving her honest-to-goodness, uncensored opinion on any topic.

Editor and critic April Snellings film column over at Metro Pulse is some of the best journalism available on the internet while Micheal Varratti’s “Cult Filmmakers you Should Know” over at Peaches Christ is insightful and bold. Book bloggers I like are Pornokitsch, Bookslut and thanks to JFB, Book Monkey – all because they are covering the same things I care about.

What are your all-time favourite reads?

Here are my top five favourite reads:

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly – A novel which explores themes and ideas which are still relevant today.
  2. Cruddy by Lynda Barry – an illustrated and ultra-violent fable about a foul-mouthed Guttersnipe called Roberta and her serial-killing father, think Todd Solondz by way of Derek Raymond!
  3. Weaveworld by Clive Barker – a book I return to again and again and one which has helped me through some tough times.
  4. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann – Gorgeous vintage trash
  5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – another one I fell hard for


What are you reading at the moment?

Right now I’m reading Louise Welsh’s The Girl on the Stairs, which is a throwback to European thrillers of the seventies. Megan Abbot’s Dare Me, about how an older woman fractures the dynamic between two vicious cheerleaders! I’m also hooked on Monica S. Kuebler’s dark-edged YA vampire serialization Bleeder, which is in the same vein as Kelley Armstrong and Charlaine Harris. Next up is Tom Pollock’s The City’s Son!

What is your best blogging moment? (i.e. did you get to interview a certain author? Were you contacted by a publisher personally?)

Getting asked to provide a quote for a new author was pretty awesome and seeing that quote on the jacket of a book nearly made my heart stop. I’ve interviewed so many writers; it’s difficult to pick one which made me go all gooey and weak at the knees! My favourite articles were The Ladies of Noir with Christa Faust, Cathi Unsworth and Megan Abbott and my Poppy Z Brite Goth line retrospective for Horror Reanimated.

Has blogging changed your social life?  (i.e. attending conventions, meeting other bloggers) If it hasn’t, would you like it to?

I’m planning on attending some conventions in Ireland and the UK this year which are exclusively bookish – well, almost exclusively – and I’m really looking forward to meeting writers I’ve only ever had a virtual relationship with thus far (God, that sounds pervy lol)

What are your top 5 blogging tips?

    1. Behave like a professional.
    2. Don’t Troll or be unnecessarily nasty.
    3. Try to always be concise and clear, but never less than compelling.
    4. If you’re writing about an author or book, keep yourself out of it. There is nothing more off-putting than somebody talking about themselves when they should be focused on their subject.
    5. Purchase a Kindle.


Who are your blogging heroes?

Chuck Wendig and Christa Faust are two writers whose blogs I follow and I guess I could call them my heroes. J

Do you write yourself? If so, has blogging helped or hindered your writing?

Yes, I’ve had a novella published. I think it has helped, rather than hindered my own writing. By reading so much, you learn a lot about the mechanics of writing: Tone, Style, Character and Plot, what works and what doesn’t and you have lots of fun while doing it.


Don’t forget to check back for more horror chatting soon, and while we’re at it – if you’re a fan of  horror, you might want to check out The Ravenglass Eye by Tom Fletcher, coming next month – a brilliantly creepy tale of the Ravenglass stone circle – and a gateway to hell. And you can also check out our anthology A Book of Horrors, edited by Stephen Jones, containing never-before-published stories from Stephen King and John Ajvide Lindqvist and the award-winning story from Elizabeth Hand – Near Zennor.



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