Keith Lansdale is currently working to bring to life an illustrated novel which take place on the same island setting as featured in the short story Prisoner 489 by Joe Lansdale. The novel is tentatively titled A Prisoner of Violence. I recently sat down with Keith to find out a little more about the project.
What was it about the story Prisoner 489 that sparked the idea for this project?
Prisoner 489 is a fun little story about an unstoppable monster terrorizing people stuck on an island designed like Alcatraz if it was in the Bermuda Triangle. The island itself is a bit of a mystery which is why when asked to do a story in the same universe, I knew the island had a lot of potential.
How does it feel to be creating your own work which shares the same setting as one of your father’s stories? Do you feel lucky to be able to do so?
When you have someone who’s as well known as Dad, people are clawing over each other for a chance to work with him. So lots of offers I get are people looking to adapt or expand that well known library of Lansdale. This is actually one of few projects that, while inspired by his universe, is my own creation within that. Oh, of course. I’m humbled every time I get to work on a project with Dad.
Did you look up to him as a child growing up?
Absolutely. And still do.
How has his influence helped you in your own career so far?
It would probably be easier to answer how has it not. He’s a man that knows his stuff and growing up with him meant we had a lot of time to talk about several aspects of storytelling.
What would you say is the most important thing you have learned from him in regards to that?
Growing up I learned a lot about deductive reasoning. This is a mighty effective tool not only to better my day-to-day life, but an important aspect of storytelling.
What do you love most about the act of writing?
It mostly boils down to it’s fun to create something. I love a good puzzle, and lots of times I’m not sure where the story is going to end up until it gets there, but I just keep putting those pieces together until, bam. A complete picture.
Can you tell our readers a little more about A Prisoner of Violence? What can they expect from this one?
It’s not a secret, but I don’t want to give much away. Prisoner of Violence complements the original Prisoner 489 while still being its own beast. I’ve got a couple characters who are fighting to survive that I enjoyed writing. One of which was actually a throw away character who I had no real plans to keep around, but no matter how many times I tried to lead him to his doom, the story leaned a different way.
What are you hoping the reader takes away from this piece of work?
A suspenseful ride with a few laughs. That’s the most anyone could ask, really.
What elements are still in development?
Well, the first draft is written and turned into Dark Regions Press. But that’s about it. We still don’t have an artist or anything decided yet.
What is the most challenging issue you have faced so far in bringing this project into existence?
Just trying to make sure I do the original work proud without stepping on it.
When do you think it will be available to the public?
That I couldn’t guess. It’s still in the early stages and depending on how fast the artist and everyone else works on it, could be this year. Could be next.
Do you ever get nervous about how your work will be received?
Not really. Obviously to be successful I need other people to like the work, but I don’t think about that much at all. I don’t really even like looking at reviews of things I do. Good or bad. I know that if it’s got my name on it, I liked it. Or at least liked it when I touched it last and handed it to the next person. After that, if someone says they didn’t like it, I just think, then it wasn’t for them. But I put the same amount of stock in the good reviews, too.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
A perfect day would be pizza and PJs with my girl and a new show to binge watch the hell out of.
Are there any little known things about yourself that your fans might be surprised to learn?
I make a damn fine waffle.