Alumni Magazine

SPR-SUM 2016

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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Page 9 of 67

8 PIERCE / SPRING 2016 RAVENINGS K evin Flanders '10 of Monson, Mass., answers our questions about his recently released Burn, Do Not Read, the frst of eight novels slated to launch online this year. He writes mainly in the horror genre because he feels it "connects" with everyone. When he isn't writing, Flanders enjoys spending time with his family and two dogs, playing ice hockey, photographing trains, and traveling to a new baseball stadium with his father each summer. He also takes part in several writing functions and mentors student writers, while serving as a guest instruc- tor at David Prouty High School in Spencer, Mass. Flanders is a reporter for the Spencer New Leader and the Auburn News–both owned by Stone- bridge Press, of Southbridge, Mass. He welcomes visits to his website: kmfanders. Q. How did you get started as writer? I started writing fction seriously at Frank- lin Pierce. I remember receiving a creative writing assignment to begin a story, and I ended up spending several hours on what I was initially assuming to be an easy, half- hour assignment. The process of creating settings and characters and a plot was addictive. With guidance from professors like Dr. Sarah D'Angelantonio and Dr. Donna Decker, I not only discovered how to write but the joys of writing. They have a tremendous ability to accentuate that, at its core, writing is meant to inform, inspire, and entertain. By the time I graduated from FPU in 2010, I had already written two novel manuscripts. Q. Why did you decide on horror books? As author Shirley Jackson famously said, "I delight in what I fear." I think horror has an unparalleled way of resonating with readers. With other genres, I think there can some- times be a disconnect because people haven't necessarily had certain experiences that enable the story to be driven home for them in a direct and personal way. But fear is ubiquitous–everyone is afraid of something. Everyone has experienced nightmares, or a moment on their own where the unknown gets their imaginations churning. A lot of us have the same fears, and I try to not only convey those fears through my writing, but present characters and settings that people can identify with. Stephen King is obviously the master at doing this— from a lonely night road to the infamous Colorado Lounge, you feel like you've been to these places as a reader. And you always feel like King 's characters are not fctional beings, but real-life people carefully defned with every word. I hope readers can get those same kinds of perceptions when they read my work. Q. Why did you self-publish online? Is it easy? I chose Kindle Direct to allow my friends and family to read my works in an easy format. For me, it's not about sales or fame, but just giving people a chance to connect with my books. Sharing the story is my biggest goal, and I feel like Kindle Direct allows me to reach a large number of people. I am also having print books created through CreateSpace. I had previously queried hundreds of literary agents without success over fve years. I had also had two books published through small presses with limited marketing, and neither of those routes seemed promising in terms of maximizing my audience. I like the Kindle format and the ease with which I am able to upload my books. The most challenging aspect is marketing my books and trying to let readers know about them. Q. What are some highlights of your FPU experience? I majored in mass communications. I wrote for both The Exchange and Pierce Arrow newspapers. Most of my time was spent in the Fitzwater Center, and I was also a Marlin Fitzwater scholar. I loved my time at FPU and the rural environment was perfect for writing. Unsur- prisingly, I also helped put together a haunted house for a community service project freshman year. I believe there were a few reports of it being too scary, which we found hilarious. —Barbara Hall Everyone is Afraid of Something Horror The process of creating settings and characters and a plot was addictive. CHRISTOPHER BEAUCHAMP

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