An Interview with Jack Ketchum


Photo by Steve Thornton.

Available November 8, 2016 The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel offers up a psychological suspense story of a family’s fall as seen, in part, through the eyes of their loyally protective dog Caity. Written by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee, it promises to be a uniquely intriguing read. It was an honor to catch up with Jack to learn more on the subject.

Do you and Lucky ever get tired of working with one another? What is it like to find someone you can work so well with?

Working with Lucky is a little like putting on a play with a group of utterly like-minded actors, all of whom are working in service of the idea, the words, sans ego, who just love what they’re doing.

How does collaborating with others differ most from working solo?

You relinquish some element of control, and writers tend to be control freaks, but that’s countered by the pleasure of having someone you know who can inspire you in ways that tend to surprise you, things you haven’t thought of, nuances generated by their own experiences, their own insights, their own sense of humor.

Do you ever get nervous about how your work will be received upon its release?

 Sure.  Flop-sweat’s an old friend of mine.

How did the idea for The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel come about?

Lucky had the idea that he wanted to do something about telepathy. We messed around with it on e-mail and then instant mail over a period of a couple months and came up with the characters, themes and story.

What do you hope the reader takes away from this particular body of work?

A sense of connection. That we’re all in this together. And not just us humans, but the wider world as well.

What is the most challenging thing about writing from an animal’s point of view?

Avoiding Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.

Did you enjoy being able to do that?

I did indeed. The research was particularly enjoyable. How animals perceive their world, their senses, how they relate to us and to one another. Lots and lots of rich food for thought there. And then transferring your own interpretation of all this to the page.  Making it sing!


Do you think in today’s society the importance of animals is often overlooked?

By far too many, yes — but not by those who learn to love them. And I have to admit, I don’t quite trust anybody who can’t give over their heart and empathy to another creature.

Do you think it is fair to say that animals are often more accepting and loyal than most people?

Depends on the animal. Depends on the human. Kick me or kick my cat, we’ll both despise you for life. That much I know.

Did you ever have a pet growing up that left an impression on you?

 I grew up with dogs and a single cat. Never met one I didn’t like.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

 Reading, movies. Cats.

How do you think your work as an author has evolved and changed most over the years?

I’ve mellowed I guess. I’m less interested in in-your-face physical violence and more interested in the subtler kinds. And less interested in violence in general. I’d rather talk about connections, the ties that bind. But I suppose I still mostly get at those things by discussing what breaks those connections. So there’s that damn violence again.

If you could give anyone advice for dealing with thing called life in the best way possible what would it be?

Have the courage to love and be loved. I guess that’s it. Best I can do.

Is there anything you’d like to say before you go?

Spay and neuter. Give to no-kill shelters. Protect wildlife. Be good to the animals.

2 thoughts on “An Interview with Jack Ketchum

  1. […] talked a little about working on the book in an interview at TheOriginalVanGoghsEarAnthology: “Lucky had the […]

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