I’m so excited to be sharing this interview with author, Dean M. King!
I read Mr. King’s novel, titled Sarah’s Cross, back in March and absolutely loved it! This is definitely a book that I want to jump up and down and wave my arms and shout to everyone to go read it ASAP!
I’ve also read Mr. King’s 100 word short story titled Too Late from 100 Word Horrors, Book 3 presented by Kevin J. Kennedy. This short story got a 5/5 from me! It was so creepy!
Let’s dive in!
Interview with Dean M. King, author of Sarah’s Cross
Who is Dean M. King?
Dean M. King is an American author who lives with his wife, Kelly, and their son on Northeast Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.
Dean finds inspiration for his stories in remote areas of Wisconsin’s vast Northwoods, on the islands that lay off its coasts, and among the stalwart bluffs of Central and Southwest Wisconsin. Whether Dean is writing about a dreadful creature that crawled from the depths of Lake Michigan or a drag race between a street-toughened hoodlum and the devil, you can be sure (maybe a little afraid) that his stories will haunt you long after you read the final page.
Dean has published many short stories in online and print venues. Sarah’s Cross is his first novel.
What is your first memory of writing for fun?
I was in elementary school, maybe fifth grade. I wrote a story about a boy who rode around on a steam-powered tricycle. It got a lot of laughs. I don’t have a copy of it, but I wish I did. I’d like to see if my writing has improved since then.
How many books have you written?
As with most writers, I have numerous short stories in print in collections and anthologies. My first novel was released at the end of February, just as the pandemic hit. (Ugh!) The manuscript for my second novel is undergoing revisions now. I have started my third novel, which will be a good oldfashioned haunted house story.
What are some of your other interests outside of writing?
I am an avid outdoorsman. I hunt, camp, fish, and do a lot of hiking with my wife. There is something inherently frightening about being out of doors in remote areas. I love to explore them.
Are you also a reader?
My love of writing comes from my love of reading. I have read too many books to recall, and I wish I had kept a list so I could remember all of the titles I have read or listened to over the years. I make regular time to read and consider it a part of the writing process. I learn more about writing from reading than I do from the act of writing.
What genres do you reach for the most?
Horror and crime novels top my list. Though I write in the horror genre, I love a good crime novel.
Do you have an all time favorite book or author?
My favorite author is Stephen King, of course. My favorite book is a series of King books that make reference to so many of his other works. It is the Dark Tower series. These books are wonderful, and even more so if you have a thorough knowledge of his extensive bibliography.
Book Related Questions
Each of the characters in Sarah’s Cross are so wonderfully developed! Are any of them based on people that you know?
The protagonist in Sarah’s Cross (Tommy Ryan) is not based on anyone I know, but rather on someone I wish I had been when I was in my twenties. I was far too self-centered and oblivious to the needs of others when I was a young man. In Tommy Ryan, I created the kind, caring, and sensitive young man I wish I had been.
Abe Johnson (the owner of the junkyard) is a composite of many of the salvage yard owners and mechanics I have come across over the years. Like Tommy, this hulking man is also kind-hearted and sensitive. I like the incongruity of a big, overall-wearing, callous-handed man who can be moved to tears by the death of a small girl he never knew.
Sarah’s Cross was set in Wisconsin where you reside. I’ve always wanted to visit the Wisconsin Dells State Park. There’s just something eerie to me about the rock formations! Any chance those may make an appearance in a future horror novel from you?
I am in the process of editing and revising the manuscript for my second novel, which is about a group of narcissistic high school girls who unwittingly summon the spirit of a witch who died a century ago at the hands of a group of narcissistic high school girls. It is a take on the Bloody Mary legend. It is set in Central Wisconsin, and the mental image I use when writing the various scenes is of the area surrounding the Wisconsin Dells. I grew up in Wisconsin Dells, moved away, and then moved back there for 12 years before relocating to the Door Peninsula in Northeastern, Wisconsin.
There’s a nerve-wracking scene in Sarah’s Cross where a bunch of crows are present. I couldn’t help but think of the film The Birds while reading that scene! What was your inspiration for that?
I couldn’t help visualizing scenes from The Birds as I was writing the crow scenes in Sarah’s Cross. But crows are just asking to be villainized in literature. I mean, they’re large, black and kind of sinister-looking birds, easily imagined as evil. Crows are the smaller cousin of the raven and look at what Edger Allen Poe did with ravens in his famed poem The Raven. Poe is quoted saying that the raven is meant to symbolize “Mournful and never-ending remembrance.” Could I have picked any other bird for Sarah’s Cross, when one underlying theme is precisely that—never-ending remembrance?
Another aspect of Sarah’s Cross that I would like to share with your readers relates to writing the book to appeal to a broad audience. I wanted to write a ghost story without graphic language and depictions of sexual situations or go too far with gore or violence so that it would be suitable for those who would not usually pick up a horror novel. I wanted to do what many horror writers can’t conceive of—white a horror story that delivers the tension and fear, yet ends on a touching and heartwarming note. I believe I accomplished that with Sarah’s Cross.
Just one last question; Where can readers find you?
I am still working on my website, but I am on Facebook @AuthorDeanKing, and I welcome any who would enjoy following me. I also have an author page on both Amazon and Goodreads. Just search Dean M. King.
Thanks for reading!
And thank you again to Dean M. King for taking the time to answer these questions! I’m so antsy to check out the next books that are in the works!
If you haven’t snagged Sarah’s Cross yet, I highly recommend doing so! I loved everything from how the story line traveled from the very first chapter to the last, to the characters and the paranormal elements… Sarah’s Cross was a home run for me! If you enjoy ghost stories with a lot of heart, you gotta check this one out! Click here to check out my review of the book if you’d like!