Featured Author: Keith Gouveia is an accomplished horror and dark fantasy writer and fierce advocate of independent and artisanal publishers. His recent releases are Animal Behavior and Other Tales of Lycanthropy, The Screaming Field, and The Dead Speak in Riddles. He is also editor of the horror anthologies, Bits of the Dead, Skeletal Remains, and The Snuff Syndicate. Keith was born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts, but now lives in Orlando, Florida.
Featured Author: Keith Gouveia Interview
- How long have you been writing?
- What/who inspired you to be a writer?
- What genre do you prefer to write in?
- Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
- What is your daily routine as a writer?
- What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
- Do you have a set number of words each day or a goal?
- How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
- Do you prefer short stories or full-length novels in your writing?
- Can you give some us some insight into your story?
- What advice can you give other writers?
LHP: How long have you been writing?
Keith Gouveia: Jeepers, the characters in my head have been yelling at me since junior high. The only time they shut-up is when they’re on paper. It’s a love-hate relationship.
LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?
Keith Gouveia: The genre seems to find me. I would start with an ordinary person, in the ordinary world, and then poof, he or she would disappear into the netherworld on a parallel universe with a six-shooter and a sidekick named Romeo.
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LHP: What/who inspired you to be a writer?
Keith Gouveia: Teachers! From grammar school to college, they are number one. Especially the teacher that told me my grammar sucks, but my stories were outstanding. She corrected my mistakes, and I tried to learn my past participle.
LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
Keith Gouveia: I’m more of a panster. Ideas hit me first, and I can be anywhere. So I keep a tiny notebook in my purse, a palm-size recorder, and of course, my cell phone where I can write those Ah-Ha moments that usually disappears if I don’t jot them down. I’m paranoid. I need multiple devices in case one fails. Gotta have back-up.
LHP: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?
Keith Gouveia: I don’t think I have a routine. I imagine. I write. I drink wine. (Not necessarily in that order)
LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?
Keith Gouveia: I like trying new software tools, but I have my “go to” programs like Microsoft Word and Dictionary.com. Resources would be from websites to articles I snip from magazines. However, Dropbox is my lifeline. A cloud base storage for everything I had written. It works online and offline. I would be lost without it. Lastly, it’s my iTunes playlist while I’m on my treadmill. I discovered running is the best way to think, particularly when my characters are in a jam, which happens quite often. They are such troublemakers.
LHP: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
Keith Gouveia: Doubt. The feeling my writing is juvenile. How I should keep what I wrote to myself. Oh, and did I mention past participle; I have yet to master it. I would love to find an agent for the novel I wrote, but it is sitting in my Dropbox, twiddling its thumbs, waiting for me to be brave enough to say, “We’re off!” I’ll do it this summer, I promise. Let’s hope my past participle passes.
LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?
Keith Gouveia: I don’t set targets or goals. They make me nervous. One year, I participated in a national writing competition and failed miserably. What I wrote was a mess. I skipped necessary research so I can keep up with the word count, and then my characters decided to go on strike. No one wanted to talk because I was confusing who was where and with whom. I read setting goals help many writers, but it’s not for me. Writing is my meditation time. I look forward to it every day, and thankfully, my characters agree.
LHP: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?
Keith Gouveia: I lean towards novels. I enjoy revealing the different layers of the characters, and the roller coaster ride of the story. However, I do like short stories. A short story is a discipline, to keep the idea under a certain word count. I see paragraphs, sentences, words, as puzzles pieces that must fit to complete the picture I want to express to the reader. And hopefully, it’s a memorable tale.
LHP: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
Keith Gouveia: I don’t know how much time I spent, but I had created an Excel spreadsheet with agents interested in science fiction/fantasy. I have their names, emails, and if they want the dreaded synopsis. Also, I discovered some require social platforms. Those I placed at the bottom of the list. I completed my query, the god-awful synopsis, and it only took me five years. Not bad.
LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story?
Keith Gouveia: An emotion of loss and confusion sparked the story. Years ago, when I was twelve, my close friend and I watched Jeopardy with a neighbor. Monday through Friday, after supper, around 7pm. Rosy was an elderly lady, lived alone, never married. She could guess every answer right. One night we were on her porch. 7pm. The door was open, but the screen door locked. Rosy was lying on her sofa, TV on, head propped on a pillow, face not showing. We called out and then yelled. That’s when I knew something was wrong. After her funeral, Rosy’s sisters invited us to the house where we played bingo and the winner received trinkets that belonged to Rosy. I didn’t want to play, but I thought it was disrespectful to say no. They gave us cookies and patted our heads. Later, after the game, the sisters spoke to me. The words are vague now, but the sentiment stayed. They were glad; Rosy had little neighbors like us. She liked children. How Rosy rarely left her home. She was always so sad, and they guessed I knew that. They were relieved she timed her death so she could be found and not discovered decomposed. They thanked us when we left, arms filled with trinkets. I never knew Rosy was sad. We just watched Jeopardy, and she was so smart.
LHP: What advice can you give other writers?
Keith Gouveia: I enjoy writing. I love it when my ideas come together, the characters feel real (if only to me), and I learned through the years my style developed into a voice. Or it’s vice versa. It doesn’t matter. What matters is writing is fun. Hard, but fun.
Submitting is tougher.
After so many rejections, I wanted to call it quits. I would get upset, disappointed, frustrated, and I took it personally. I asked myself, do I want to submit? Really, want to go through this again. My answer is yes. Stories make you feel good, fiction, or non-fiction, the tales spark the imagination, interest, and it’s darn entertaining. It’s your talent, and you should not suppress your talent because of setbacks. So, submit, and write on!
Keith Gouveia recently authored “Soul Dew” for Terrors Unimagined on sale now.