Friday 13 October 2023

Interview with David Kempf - By Jon Donnis

I thought I would turn the tables on our resident interviewer Mr David Kempf, and interview him myself for his new book Tales of Monster Madness. 
Out now on Kindle and Paperback at

Tell us about Tales of Monster Madness.

It’s my new short story collection using classic horror and monster characters.

Why do you think readers are still interested in classic monsters?

Classic monsters have really stood the test of time. Both in books and movies. I remember when I was a kid and I used to watch classic universal monsters on Chiller Theater. Dr. Shock and his sidekick Dingbat, a silly bat puppet, hosted Chiller Theater, and there was a show called Shock Theater in Chattanooga Tennessee.

It was really a great show and I used to be really happy and excited to always see what monster would come up next. In-between showing movies, he did his silly skits and it was very enjoyable especially when I was really young. When I was a bit older, I saw Mad Monster Party, which I loved because it had stop motion animation, as well as every single classic monster that I could think of. When I got a little bit older, I watched Kolchak: The Night Stalker with my grandparents, and I was hooked on horror. Years later, I won an award on my paper on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This was at the student research conference at Millersville University where I got my degree in English.

The same year, I won a short story contest where I wrote a horror tale about the eyes of the serial killer being put into an innocent blind man. What happened to the blind, man? You can draw your own conclusions. Now, I have published six novels and more short stories than I can count.

I love Halloween and I love Night of the Living Dead, but nothing compares to the classic monsters. Thanks to some amazing characters being in the public domain, I can now proudly say that I have my own original stories about Count Dracula and the Invisible Man. It is my hope that you will enjoy reading and listening (the audiobook is coming soon) to these stories.

And if you love the classic monsters, as much as I do then, perhaps you can write some stories of your own. There are all these great characters and worlds to be explored. Writers are only limited by their imagination. 

How is it different to write about classic characters as opposed to the ones you created for your own novels and short stories?

I just imagine what it would be like to be them. That’s the same as bringing my own characters that I have created except with Dracula and the Invisible Man, people are already very familiar with who I am writing about. It’s quite fun to create your characters but I get a special nostalgic enjoyment out of writing about the creatures of the night I grew up with.

Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?

Jon, I think they really tap inside something that is inside of all of us. Dracula is immortal, Dorian Gray is immortal, and who wouldn’t want to be invisible? Well, at least invisible for the day. You can clearly see how the invisible man has lost his mind and why, in my own story as well as H.G.Wells’s classic tale.

What inspires your stories?

Well, I write about what I want to write about. I wanted to write about the Jinn and the wish gone wrong and then I wrote my Dark Fiction trilogy. When the idea of mashing up these classic monsters popped into my head, I just went with it. I started writing them one by one, and then next thing I knew I had an entire collection of them. Dracula vs. the Wizard of Oz? Now who could resist that?

What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?

Despite my English friends complaining about censorship of horror in the U.K, I agree with Clive Barker that Americans are more easily shocked than the British are. This is the birthplace of Dracula, the Frankenstein's Monster creature, Dorian Gray, and the Invisible Man. We have Edgar Allan Poe to our credit who many consider the only true American genius.

Tell us about the audiobook version of your book.

For the first time ever I am going to have an audiobook version of my work. The actor who reads the stories is Wesley Critchfield. He did the readings of some of my short stories for a podcast called Dead Airwaves. The podcast features stories from such authors as William F. Nolan, Richard Christian Matheson, Elizabeth Massie, Rod Serling, and my friend Gary Raisor. I am honored to be in their company Wesley is a great narrator and I look forward to working with him more in the future.

Why did you sell the stories individually before putting them together in one book?

Hey, who wouldn’t pay a dollar to be scared for a few minutes? That’s just how I started doing it. Besides, I also include short segments from classic authors, usually quotes that you may have forgotten about. Even a very short story first, before my short story begins. Lots of people have Amazon Prime so the story will essentially be free for them.

Tell us about the various authors you had write introductions for the stories.

Years ago, I read a book called My Favorite Horror Story, and it featured an introduction before each short story. Usually it was a favorite short story of a certain writer like Harlan Ellison or Peter Straub. Anyway, it was a great book and I got to be introduced to a number of authors and short stories that I had never previously heard of. I loved the heartfelt introductions idea so I asked some of my writer friends to write intros for me. Gary Raisor, Lorraine Evanoff, Tamara Thorne, Chris McAuley, and Richard Alan Scott wrote the intros. I also owe a huge debt to my editor A.L. Sirois, and my cousin Heather Slawecki for covers and formatting. I was very proud of the book that these collaborations produced.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

Wow. Writers always think there current book is their best work but in this case, that might actually be true!

What are your current projects?

I may write another novel again someday but for now, I would like to concentrate on writing more short stories. I’ve written ten stories based on classic monster characters but I am not done yet. I want to write ten ghost stories in a collection and perhaps ten dystopian stories in the future.

And we all know I fully intend to keep writing for Masters of Horror U.K. for as long as I can.

David, as always it has been a pelasure speaking with you, and I wish you all the best on the new book.

"Classic horror monsters never die. Like Count Dracula, the Great Old Ones, Scrooge's Christmas ghosts, and the stories of Edgar Allan Poe they continue to haunt readers. Now these legendary characters are going to meet for the first time. And for some, it will be the last time."

Out now on Kindle and Paperback at

"You'll have a bloody good time..."
—Richard Dyszel, (Count Gore De Vol), Creature Features Horror Host

"A rich feast indeed."
—William F. Nolan, screenwriter--Trilogy of Terror

"Leaves the readers' perceptions shaken and stirred..."
—Daniel Thomas, sound editor--Salem's Lot and The Blackout

"...genuinely thrilling..."
—Nicholas Grabowsky, author of Halloween IV: The Official Movie Novelization

"Buckle up, buttercup!"
—Gary Raisor, contributing author --The Horror Show and Cemetery Dance

"David Kempf looms large in the future of horror."
—Tamara Thorne, author of Haunted and Old Wives Tales

"I like where this series is going."
—Lewis Schoenbrun, Editor--HBO's Tales from the Crypt