Author Brian Keene
I have always said that I do not have a favorite author or favorite book, even within a genre. My tastes and preferences vary way too much from day to day. However, I do have those authors and books that I generally favor within a subgenre, those books I collect and reread numerous times.
Among those writers permanently on my list of those I favor, is Brian Keene. Keene has been on that list for years.
I find Keene’s writing to be intelligent, deep, and entertaining. It has appeal on many levels and to many types of readers without being basic mainstream. Keene takes concepts and weave in-depth tales that surpass the mainstream horror genre offerings. His flawless characterization pulls the reader into his stories on a personal level. His vivid character interactions, action sequences, settings, and subplots keep the reader engrossed in the tale. Additionally, Keene writes within many subgenres of horror fiction, appealing to several reader preferences.
Of course, I base this on the stories I have read. As I have let it be known, I am not a zombiephile. While Keene is known for being the pioneer of the current zombie craze in horror fiction writing, I have not partaken of his extensive selections of zombie stories. I probably will at some point, but it is not my thing right now. Nevertheless, I am a true fan based on the stories that I do enjoy. In particular, I am a fan of the Levi Stoltzfus series. I also greatly enjoy several of his non-series books. Of course, I have found that some of his non-series books tie into the Levi mythos, creating the type of continuity that inspires bookgasm levels of enjoyment.
Meeting Brian Keene in person was on my bucket list for years under the heading of “Things that aren’t gonna happen.” Then, Wrath James White brought Killercon to Texas, and after years of being his “friend” on social media, I met Brian in person.
I watched him for entirely too long from across the room before I gathered up the courage to go speak to him that first time. I saw the book I had hoped to purchase from him and get signed sitting on the table before him as he chatted with another person. I grasped the handles of my rollator walker firmly, held my head high, and carefully made my way over to him. Mary SanGiovanni and Kelli Owen sat the table with him. (Their stories are for another time. Lovely women.) Both smiled at me as he finished his conversation. I looked at the book I wanted, looked at them, looked at Brian, opened my mouth to speak, and promptly lost 20 IQ points. My determination not to fan girl like a teenaged groupie failed. To his credit, he hid his notice of my fumbling and engaged me in very personable conversation, encouraging my brain back to reason. I did return to close to normal brain function, had a great conversation with all them, purchased my signed copy of Pressure, and retreated to the safety of the SSP table. It was glorious. He is a very personable man, respectful of his fan base.
Later in the event, high on adrenalin and looking over a publishing house book table with my dear friend Christina, I came across a book of his that I had never seen. It was a Levi Stoltzfus novel titled A Gathering of Crows. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Brian walking by and some demon decided I needed to make a fool out of myself again and engaged my mouth before my brain could catch up.
“Brian,” I said entirely too loudly, “you’ve been holding out on me. It’s another Levi story. I haven’t read this one.”
As I stood in absolute horror at the words that jumped out of my mouth, he came over to us, smiled, spoke, and signed the books we were looking at before we had even paid for them. My copy of A Gathering of Crows is signed, “Levi lives!” Brian did not just respond to fans being fans, he heard my words and appreciated my love of the Levi stories. My presumption was met with a camaraderie I wasn’t sure I deserved at the moment, but I will treasure the encounter always.
There are a few other Killercon stories of Brian Keene, but I will keep those for myself.
So, one more reason to be a Keene fan. He’s a nice guy, respectful of his fans and peers, and a lot of fun to be at a con with.
It occurs to me now, as it did then at Killercon, that I should have done an “Interview” with Brian Keene while I had the chance. But, I chose not to. I was enjoying meeting the man and getting to know him as a person in the brief time alloted to me. We did have a fabulous discussion about his novel Ghoul, the book vs. the movie. It was fun and meant too much to me to give away here. I also got to see his face when I told him I read SIXTY-FIVE STIRRUP IRON ROAD. Another fun discussion. Many have done interviews with Brian Keene for obvious reasons. I choose instead to simply give my impression of the man, the writer, and his work.
From Brian Keene’s website http://www.briankeene.com/about/
Brian Keene writes novels, comic books, short fiction, and occasional journalism for money. He is the author of over forty books, mostly in the horror, crime, and dark fantasy genres.
Keene also hosts the popular podcast The Horror Show with Brian Keene, which airs weekly on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and elsewhere via the Project Entertainment Network.
Keene’s 2003 novel, The Rising, is often credited (along with Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later film) with inspiring pop culture’s current interest in zombies.
Keene’s works have been translated into German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, French, Taiwanese, and many more.
In addition to his own original work, Keene has written for media properties such as Doctor Who, The X-Files, Hellboy, Masters of the Universe, Silverwood, and Alien.
Several of Keene’s novels have been developed for film, including Ghoul, The Naughty List, The Ties That Bind, and Fast Zombies Suck. Several more are in-development or under option. Keene also served as Executive Producer for I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday.
Keene also oversees Maelstrom, his own small press publishing imprint specializing in collectible limited editions, via Thunderstorm Books.
Keene’s work has been praised in such diverse places as The New York Times, The History Channel, The Howard Stern Show, CNN.com, Publisher’s Weekly, Media Bistro, Fangoria Magazine, and Rue Morgue Magazine.
He has won numerous awards and honors, including the 2016 Imadjinn Award for Best Fantasy Novel, the 2015 Imaginarium Film Festival Awards for Best Screenplay, Best Short Film Genre, and Best Short Film Overall, the 2014 World Horror Grandmaster Award, 2001 Bram Stoker Award for Nonfiction, 2003 Bram Stoker Award for First Novel, 2004 Shocker Award for Book of the Year, and Honors from United States Army International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and Whiteman A.F.B. (home of the B-2 Stealth Bomber) 509th Logistics Fuels Flight.
A prolific public speaker, Keene has delivered talks at conventions, college campuses, theaters, and inside Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, VA.
Keene serves on the Board of Directors for the Scares That Care 501c charity organization.
The father of two sons, Keene lives in rural Pennsylvania.