I’m interviewing TWO authors today. That makes this interview double as much fun as usual. Erin Beck and Kelli Beck are the author duo behind “Talking Walls and Cigarettes (And Other Dark Tales)”, an anthology of horror shorts.
1) Please tell us about yourself.
Erin: Well, I’m 29 years old and I have been writing since about the age twelve. I currently work full-time in a factory. Obviously, this isn’t ideal, so I’m also attending school and majoring in English. I work on my writing as often as possible. I love the written word and it is my dream to work with it.
Kelli: I, too, am on the precipice of Old Age: 29. My husband and I have three dogs and a snake. I currently work for the USPS and in my free time write, visit with family, and nap. You can’t underestimate the power of a good nap.
2) Tell us about your book.
Our book is a collection of seven dark short stories that deals with both real life monsters and those that dwell within us. We consider it part of the horror genre, but more than one story is meant to disturb more than terrify.
3) What inspired you to write Talking Walls and Cigarettes (And Other Dark Tales)?
Kelli had actually come up with the inspiration to put the book together. We both had a story or two on hand that would work well in the anthology. A few of the stories, however, were written for the purpose of being part of this book. The overall inspiration behind the book was to showcase stories that crossed the boundaries of what is disturbing and horrific.
4) How many hours per week do you spend writing?
Erin: Honestly, right now I haven’t been spending too many hours of week writing, unless you count essays and memos for my courses. I tend to write mostly when I am truly inspired and then there really is no limit to the amount of hours I may spend on a project.
Kelli: I’ve been slacking a little lately. I’m in the planning stages of a massive rewrite to a new project I’m working on so I’m trying to get the scenes in order and figure out who my characters are. On a typical work day I try to fit in an hour or two at least.
5) If you could meet three authors, which authors would you choose?
Erin: This is a great question, but also a difficult one. How do I limit myself to only three authors? The first author I would chose to meet living or dead would hands down be Kurt Vonnegut. He is my favorite author of all time and if I could model my writing after anyone’s it would be is. Second, I would choose to meet Christopher Moore. I know our book is part of the horror genre, but my true passion lies in humor. I don’t know whether or not I have a knack for it, but it is certainly something I’d like to try. The third author is actually two and it’s a tie between Stephen King and J.K. Rowling.
Kelli: I would love to meet Stephen King. I wouldn’t be able to talk, though, as I’d be intimidated by his mighty literary brain. I too would love to meet Christopher Moore, author of one of my top favorite books: Lamb. Another would be Neil Gaiman. I’ve only read one of his books, The Graveyard Book, but the mix of childhood whimsy, paranormal, and mystery was engaging. I could not put the book down. It’s an interesting story about a boy growing up in a most unusual place.
6) What are you working on at the moment?
Erin: At the moment I’m not working on anything specific. I’ve got a few ideas rolling around but nothing entirely solid. Our humorous full-length novel, Grabappleberry Punch, is never far from our thoughts.
Kelli: I’m working on a complete overhaul of a satire about a group of listless Midwestern pothead youths called There Ain’t Nobody in Kansas. It’s quite the project but I’m enjoying it. I’m also in the works with another humorous novel, The Soul Jar, about the loss of a loved one and the lengths a family would go to get them back.
Talking Walls and Cigarettes
Author: Erin Beck and Kelli Beck
Genre: Horror, Short Story Anthology
Talking Walls and Cigarettes is a collection of seven dark short stories that deals with both real life monsters and those that dwell within us. A bartender still grieving the tragic death of her brother, shunning from her family, and the whispers in the street is visited by a man who appears out of thin air to offer her a way out of her own personal hell in The Salesman. A poor family is cursed by a mysterious old man in the woods and the children are at risk for falling victim to their parent’s unspeakable acts in Porcelain. The title story follows a man as he is tormented by demons in his own mind. In Homecoming, can a young woman find what she’s looking for years after her father’s abduction by other-worldly beings?
Erin Beck was born and raised on the mean streets of Chatsworth Illinois. Every day was a struggle to survive, to overcome, to persevere. At the age of twelve, she took up writing. This passion for the written word saved her from such fates as teen pregnancy and tooth decay, that which have befallen many other great Chastworthians. Erin is also the author of The Pursuit of Hair and co-author of Grabappleberry Punch: The Adventures of Mister Tennison Volumes One and Two. Her influences include Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, and Christopher Moore. Erin spends her leisure time tossing a ball around with her dogs and parasailing, and has on more than one occasion been caught napping in a box full of packing peanuts. She is a drop-out of Hogwarts where she majored in English and minored in the contortion arts. She has scaled the dark tower; she has trekked through middle earth; and she thinks cannibalism is a real hoot. Erin now lives in the woods with her boyfriend and survives off of insects and pine needles. She wrote portions of this short fiction collection on homemade paper and her own blood.
When she is not gold mining or globetrotting with her husband, Kelli spends her time writing, reading, and playing with her two dogs. Often described as “worldly” and “well-traveled,” Kelli is envied amongst co-workers and friends alike. She has a knack for reading minds and can often predict the future. Many people worldwide come to her for financial advice and money as she is the sole proprietor of the only money tree in existence. Her heroes include her father, Stephen King, and Albus Dumbledore. She has read the Harry Potter series many times over and is proud to share her birthday with The Chosen One. She has been described as a fearless leader, charismatic, even bulletproof.