By Ryan Bronaugh
Alex J. Kane, a junior English major at Monmouth College, has a scary story to tell. And editor Bill Tucker of the Library of Horror Press is willing to pay for it! Kane recently sold a short story titled “The Darkling Door” to Tucker, which will be printed in the anthology, titled Made You Flinch: Horror Stories to Unnerve, Disturb, and Freak You Out. The anthology, and Alex’s story, will be available at Amazon.com, selected bookstores, and horror conventions as early as Christmas 2010.
While “The Darkling Door” sets a small milestone in the author’s career, it is actually the second story of Kane’s to be published. When Bill Tucker bought the first story of his to be sold, Alex set out to write another specifically for the Made You Flinch anthology. His efforts paid off. Within six days of submitting “The Darkling Door” he received a contract to sell the short story. Commenting on the success of the story Alex told The Warren County Newswire this week, “I definitely feel like it’s a great place to start, although there are still plenty of goals I’ve set for myself that are a long way off. I certainly have no objection to getting paid for doing what I love more than anything, and the small-press horror industry has a massive readership.”
Alex gives credit to his education; he has taken four creative writing classes since high school, including Advanced Creative Writing at Monmouth College with Professor Bruce. On his major influences Alex said, “I think reading Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, was the single most intense push I’ve received toward taking writing seriously, but also there are certain aspects of life—College, age maturity, disillusionments of various kinds, heartbreaks, et cetera—that sort of drive you to the point of ‘do-or-die.’”
Success is often born from failure, and Alex is no stranger to disappointment in his writing. He has been writing for several years and said, “Over the past year, I’ve written seventeen finished short stories, some of which have been submitted and rejected over a dozen times.” He also had advice for other writers still trying to reach that goal of being published, “I can tell you that there’s really no secret. You simply have to read, write, and observe everything with a writer’s eye. The more you write, the better you get; simple as that. Those who find success as writers, I’m told, are the ones who simply never give up. Write, submit, and repeat. It’s really that easy. You just can’t get discouraged.”
Considering his approach to writing specifically for a targeted publication, Kane says that this is his second time of attempting such a tactic. He told the Warren County Newswire, “the first instance is ‘A Son of Nibiru,’” which fits into the science fiction genre rather than horror, unlike “The Darkling Door.” He said, “still haven’t received notification of how I fared the first time around.”
“The education I’ve received at Monmouth College,” Kane said, “has broadened the scope of my understanding about the world, as well as given me a deeper appreciation for the more formal components of literature.” For those wanting to read Alex’s story, read other stories and musings by Alex, or simply keep track of his writing career, he maintains a website, www.alexjkane.com. “I will definitely be keeping folks informed about when and where my work becomes available [on the website],” he said.