Stephen Kozeniewski

skAfter actually being in the same place at the same time and not seeing each other (Scares that Care Weekend), I decided to toss some breadcrumbs and lure Stephen Kozeniewski into the tank.  I think that and the bacon did the trick.  I left some kitty treats as well.  Can’t let Shoulder Cat go hungry.

Why writing?  What drew you to it? Why do you continue?

This is such a bullshit “Writer Trying to Curry Favor With Other Writers 101” answer, but I guess I can’t not write.  I’ve been writing fiction since I was at least eight, so there’s never really been a time when I wasn’t writing.  Sadly, it’s the only thing I’m even remotely good at.  I haven’t got an artistic or musical bone in my body.  Which is sort of sad because any asshole can write, so what kind of a thing to be good at is that?  I suppose I continue out of sheer masochism.  It can’t possibly be because I think I’m going to succeed in this business.

If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last?  (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)

This is a very interesting way to frame this question.  I suppose this presupposes that I can still purchase books after the ice storm, so it would have to be books with special sentimental value to me.  Three would definitely be GHOUL by Brian Keene, HUSK by Rachel Autumn Deering, and HYDE by Vince Churchill.  Those three were my prize for winning the 2016 World Horror Convention Gross-Out Contest.  I’d also be loath to lose my signed copy of THE RISING.  But dead last I guess would have to be my signed copy of CLICKERS VS. ZOMBIES.  Sadly, J.F. Gonzalez has passed away so there’s no way I’d ever be able to replicate that.

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?

The most challenging thing I’ve done in my life is working at a call center.  And this is coming from a war vet.  Customer service reps have nasty, brutish jobs, and seriously, it’s not their fault that you can’t get your iPhone fixed or whatever.  I mean, that whole business of call centers is such a scam on the part of the corporations.  They’ve figured out a way to get everyone to voice all their frustrations at some low-level peon getting paid $9 an hour, rather than at the company itself.  Seriously, be good to your customer service reps, people, no matter how angry you are at the company.  Here’s another pro tip: when you get good service, ask to speak to the supervisor and tell them.  That could be the difference between that guy getting a bonus that year or fired.

What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts?  Why?

Oh, I don’t know.  There are a lot of things that irritate me.  I guess “You mad, bro?” is one of the most evocative.  It’s just so immediately dismissive of anyone’s feelings.  It’s like it was tailor-made to irritate someone who’s already irritated (which, I suppose, it probably was.)

Do you have a favorite character you’ve created?  If so, who is it and why?

A favorite character I’ve created?  That seems self-indulgent, but I guess I can try to pick one or two.  Sidney Graves from EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED is one of my favorites because I think he’s so three-dimensional.  Rand Bergeron from THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO is probably my favorite to write, because he’s such a weaselly little shit.

Creepiest place you’ve ever been?  Has it appeared in your fiction?  Why or why not?

Oh, I don’t know.  I don’t find a whole lot creepy.  I guess one thing that’s kind of strange is being on a rooftop.  During college I worked at the library, which was about ten or twelve floors high.  When I went out on the roof there was no railing or anything, and it was like the edges just called to you.  As though if you had to stay up there for any period of time you would find yourself just stepping off.  That’s always how I feel on tall buildings without railings.  I don’t know if everyone feels that weird pull or if it’s just my own personal imp of the perverse.

What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?

The best rejection I ever received was from Greg Gifune at Dark Fuse Press.  He said he liked my writing and should try again with something in the future.  I know, it’s not much, but it’s better than “doesn’t meet our needs at this time.”

How did you get that scar?

From my cat.

What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?

Probably that “fat guy walking” tuba song.

Promote yourself and/or your writing

I am a good work…guy.  Seriously, though, you can find all of my published novels and short stories at amazon.com/author/Kozeniewski and you can follow me on my blog manuscripstburn.blogspot.com.  All the links to all my social media accounts are on the blog.

Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?

Thanks for having me!  It was most enjoyable.

Thank you for visiting, Mr. Kozeniewski.  It was quite nice to spend a bit of time with a fellow Gross-Out Contest winner.  Granted, mine was in 6th grade when the teacher decided to punish me by sitting me with the boys. Talk about mistakes!  In your exit packet, I’ve attached a map that will take you to the roof so you can answer a few calls for the hidden lair’s call center.

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