Meet the VA Chapter of the HWA; Kari Kilgore

The horror world (not horrible world) is full of talented writers who swim the waters of the horror writing trade. Most people know of the big names in the business, but there are so many wonderfully talented people out there who have stories to tell, chills to give, and buckets of blood to spill. In that vein, I have the wonderfully talented Kari Kilgore with me today.

Bryan: So Kari, tell our horror fans a little about yourself!

Kari: I live and work in my native Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. From that solid home base, my husband and I find adventures all over the world to bring to life in fiction. Exploring local legends and mythologies.

I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and am happiest when I can scare myself. I live at the end of a long dirt road in the middle of the woods with my husband, Jason, four cats, and wildlife they’re better off not knowing more about.

Bryan: So, instead of just simply writing horror, you have pretty much done everything to try and bring the horror to yourself! I love it. Someday I am looking for find a similar plot of land that backs up to the woods and nothing else. I know you have some novels out, why don’t you tell us a little more about those?

Kari: I have two novels and one novella published so far. My debut, Until Death, made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for first novel last year. The Dream Thief is a steampunk dark fantasy, and my novella Songs in the Mountain is an Appalachian ghost story set here in coal country that’s actually pretty romantic despite the high body count!

Bryan: I like high body counts. Something about the idea of a pile of bodies intrigues my soul! How long have you been with the HWA and what were your primary drivers for joining our happily terrified band?

Kari: I joined in 2014 after the first gathering I attended. It was the first time I was around a bunch of writers who were as strange as I am! Not only were all of them into horror and speculative fiction, but most were either pros or actively pursuing a real career. After years of being around people who preferred talking about writing to actually writing, that was a great thrill and inspiration.

Bryan: I love those events! I know I look forward to Scares that Care and Ravencon every year and every year it seems to get better and better. So, building on what you so eloquently said, what would you say is the greatest benefit to being a member of the HWA?

Kari: The horror community does sometimes have its share of drama just like any other group of humans, but the vast majority of the people I’ve met have been warm and welcoming. Horror writers are some of the friendliest, funniest, smartest people you’ll ever meet. I figure we get most of our stress and anxiety out on the page.

Bryan: I think you are probably right. I love the people I meet who work in the horror genera. A lovelier group of people you will never find. We are really about helping those around us. I know I spend quite a bit of time giving advice where I can, and soliciting it as well. So, what is the best advice you can give anyone starting out in the horror and paranormal thriller genera?

Kari: I’d say the same to someone starting out in any genre. Read, read, read! Not only does it give us a break from the craziness in the real world, but it also feeds the story engines in our heads. Branch out a bit into other genres, sure, but find the things you love.

After that, my advice is always to write the next thing. Nothing works better at getting through the stress and worry over hearing back from a submission or putting one of your stories out into the world yourself. By the time you start hearing back, you’ll be deep into the next story and happy! Remember, this writing thing is fun! 🙂

Bryan: Reading is always solid advice. So, tell me what is your favorite story and why?

Kari: That’s so hard to answer! I feel like my favorite novel changes year by year. A short story that’s stayed with me for decades is Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut by Stephen King. I love everything about that one, and not just because I’m a real lead-foot driver myself. I love the way Homer finds himself a bit of an outsider in the town he’s always lived in, and the way he’s drawn to Mrs. Todd even though she scares him. King is wonderful at the short form, especially novellas.

Bryan: We could talk forever and ever, but we have to say goodbye soon. Those novels don’t write themselves. Speaking of that, before we go, give the reader’s an idea of what you are working on right now.

Kari: I’ve been in a science fiction phase lately, though I do wonder where the line between science fiction and horror falls with certain stories. I’ll have a bunch of novellas coming out next year that are all speculative. They’re magic realism or science fiction, yes, but everything I write seems to turn out decidedly dark around the edges. Next out of the gate will be an urban fantasy novella called Legacy of the Land, hopefully out in the world before the end of December.

Well, that does have to wrap things up for this installment of Meet the VA Chapter of the HWA. If you want to find out more about Kari or see her books, you can find her at or her amazon page at

Kari, thank you so much for spending time with me, at least virtually, and I look forward to seeing you at some of our events coming up this year.

-Bryan the Writer; Blogger/Northern Ghoul!

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