|Scott Michael Kessman
Scott Kessman describes his Tales of Tanglewood
as the culmination of many years worth of dreams. It is a wish upon a star, he tells us; childhood dreams come to life.
His wish? For the reader to feel the same magic
he felt when writing the story. And after reading his book, I believe the fairies have granted Scott his wish.
Because his story is absolute magic, no matter what age the reader is.
We are honored he has taken the time to answer a few questions for us about Tanglewood...the inspiration
and the creation....
of Tanglewood begins with a narration by 'the scribe'. Who is the scribe? Is
developed as a combination of myself, and a completely fictional character. As we learn shortly in the beginning of the story,
the Scribe is a writer who has always shared an affinity with Tanglewood, and in the midst of old age, has been recruited
by one of the druids residing in the ‘wood to write the Tales of Tanglewood, so that a recorded history may be kept.
Many of my own thoughts, feelings and experiences
have been instilled within the creation of the Scribe, though he has certainly been developed further, and may play a larger
role in future books.
did the story of Tanglewood come about?
You might say that the Tales of Tanglewood began about 12 years ago, when I wrote a four page short story
entitled “The Woods”. The story was about a young boy who used to dream that magical creatures lived in the woods
behind his house. One day, the boy actually enters the woods at night, and finds these creatures dancing around a bonfire.
He is invited to join the dance, and does so until morning, when he finds himself back in bed again, and we are left wondering
if it was a dream or if it was real.
2007, I was sitting on a small bridge in a local wooded park, when I was suddenly hit with a flurry of ideas for a story.
I had to run home to write them down (which is when I learned to always carry something to write with), and as I was leaving
the park, the surrounding scenery induced further ideas. Tanglewood was developing before my eyes.
After all was written down, I realized this could all be tied to that
short story “The Woods”, which essentially became the first chapter of The Tales of Tanglewood, except now we
know it was not a dream, and the boy has in fact found a hidden section of the woods in which the fey, mainly creatures of
Irish folklore, reside.
always enjoyed Irish and Celtic folklore and mythology, and after a trip to Ireland with my wife, who is from Dublin, the
book definitely progressed towards the flavors of Irish folklore. I’ve also incorporated some use of the Gaelic language
into the book as well.
like Colin as a child?
I did always enjoy the woods, and would often go off seeking imaginary adventure or looking for evidence of
elves and other fey, but Colin has definitely developed as a separate entity from myself.
When did you
discover your talent and desire to write?
I began writing short stories in grade school and have been writing ever since. My style has
of course changed and developed over time.
Do you discover
your characters, or do they discover you?
I typically make up the story as I go along, or rather, the story writes itself, and I
am merely the vessel through it flows from pen to paper; Likewise for the characters. They are there already, simply waiting
for their story to be told. I find it much easier to write this way, rather than to force a story or a character to go in
particular direction. The story and characters remain truer to themselves in this way.
Do you remember
the first time any of your work was published?
I remember the first time my work was almost published! It was the mid nineties, and I had
submitted a vampire short story to a magazine whose name I currently forget, but it was accepted and due to be published in
the next issue. It was a quarterly publication, so I waited impatiently and excitedly for months for the issue to be released.
And then I unfortunately received the news that mere weeks before the magazine was due to be released, it went out of business.
Needless to say, I was dismayed.
Were you encouraged
by family and friends to pursue your writing?
did you choose this genre?
The Tales of Tanglewood is fantasy, or more specifically urban fantasy, but with the exception of a few short
stories in the dark fantasy genre, I’ve typically written horror-based stories. But I’m not married to any one
or two genres. If I have an idea for a story that I really like, I’ll write it regardless of genre.
What do you think of genres? So many stories are blending
genres these days, that they can not be categorized into any one of the mainstream genres. Do you think
genres put writers in a box?
are good as a general guideline, but often, brick and mortar and even online stores will categorize books mainly by a standard
genre, such as "Fantasy", Horror", "Romance", etc. You find typically find books in stores further
separated into "Urban Fantasy", "Paranormal Romance", etc., so of course it's best to read the description
of the book to gain a true sense of what the story encompasses.
I don't think genres necessarily put writers
in a box. Books typically need to be associated with at least one mainstream genre. Note that I said "associated",
not "belong". I think publishers are the ones who put writers in a box, mainly for marketing purposes. This isn't
necessarily a good thing or bad thing, it really affects each writer individually. For example, my book is categorized as
fantasy, but it could be further categorized as YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Folklore, and maybe a few others. I prefer The
Tales of Tanglewood to remain strictly under the Fantasy genre, because further categorizing it under one of the others
might turn some readers away who might have otherwise enjoyed it.
What authors, artists,
musicians, influence your work?
I always hate questions like this, because I know that I’ve found many influences throughout
my life, and there are simply too many to name or recall. But I will name a few, with an apology to any I’ve left out:
Poppy Z. Brite, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Brian McNaughton, Richard Laymon, Graham Joyce, M. Gira, Marilyn Manson, Tori
Amos, Trent Reznor (NIN), Clive Barker, Brom, Royo, Charles Linsner. And of course many more!
How much time do
you dedicate to marketing your work?
As much as possible, but definitely not as much as I’d like. I find myself often inundated
with regular work and other social activities that severely restrict the time I have available to market my own work, but
I’m trying to find the avenues that work best and achieve the most results, and focus on that.
When do you
find the time to write?
Pretty much the same answer as above. I see daily writing counts from several writers on Twitter, and it really
shames me, because I’m just simply not writing even half as much as I should be. But I’m trying to change that.
What has been
your worst experience as a writer?
think I can honestly say that I have never had a bad experience as a writer. Wait, actually that’s not true. I was employed
as a copywriter for a while at one place, and for months they were loving and complimenting all my work. Then one day, when
I came back from lunch, I found an email reply from the boss to something I had written that basically said the janitor could
have done a better job and it was crap. Maybe he was in a bad mood that day, but I was obviously very personally insulted
and angry. Plus, it wasn’t crap, but whatever; everyone’s a critic at some point in their lives.
What has been your
best experience as a writer?
to be receiving the phone call from my publisher letting me know they wanted to publish the Tales of Tanglewood!
you knew you would never be published again, would you continue to write? Why?
Yes. There are stories that simply must be told, and I always enjoyed
having friends and family read my stories and seeing and hearing their reactions. As long I still have an audience, then published
or not, I will continue to write.
What advice do
you give to aspiring writers?
Always carry a pen and paper to write with, and write down everything that comes to mind if you think it worthy,
even if it’s just one particularly great sounding sentence. You never know when one sentence might become part of something
much larger, as has often happened with my own writing.
Finally, what is next for Scott Kessman the writer?
The second Tales of Tanglewood novel is
complete and waiting publication. A preview of both novels can be found on the official Tales of Tanglewood website at http://ww.talesoftanglewood.com
I have ideas for 2-3
more so far, so the Scribe will be telling the adventures of Colin and others for some time. I am also compiling some ideas
for an anthology of stories centered around some of the other characters in Tanglewood.
I also have an old vampire novel I write about ten years ago that I’d
like to revise and update, and I have many short stories in progress that need to be finished. Again, it’s all about
finding more time to write, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to manage.