It’s always nerve-wracking when your book is done, edited, proofread, and sitting at the printer. You know it won’t be long before it’s out there before the eyes of the world. You’re proud of the book and you hope the reader loves it. But before the book-buying public gets it, uncorrected manuscripts (advance review copies) are sent to reviewers, in the hope of garnering some positive word to generate some buzz and to aid sales. And as those reviews come trickling in, each one is read with some trepidation. In the ten years that I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve had my share of both kinds of reviews.
Now, wisdom suggests a writer should ignore reviews entirely, but this is easier said than done. After all, you’ve labored over your book for the better part of a year. It’s not something you threw together while your mind was on something else. It’s a part of you, and when you were creating it, you became it, and it became you. You cared about the characters, grew invested in their plight, and dedicated many a sleepless night to worrying over plot points. So once it’s out there, it’s as hard to watch it being torn asunder as it is to watch your child being harassed on the playground. You feel protective of it, and while time can grant you a certain distance (in keeping with the child metaphor, let’s say as the years go by, you entrust it, and yourself, to be tough enough to deal with whatever may come), it never ceases to sting a little when a critic pans your book, and certainly never gets old when they love it. At the end of the day, though, whether your work is well-received or not, there is a little a writer can do but shake it off and get right on with writing the next one.
This is where I am now. My new novel, KIN, will be released soon, and advance word has started to come in. In this case, I am more than thrilled with the critical consensus thus far. It allows me a smile before I return to work on the last novel in the Timmy Quinn series.
“It’s odd that an Irish transplant to the Northern US has written one of the best Southern Gothic novels in recent memory. I’ll look forward to Burke’s next work just as much as I hated to see this one end. I would highly recommend Kin to lovers of old fashioned horror fiction with a twist. If you’re going to read just one noir cannibal revenge novel this year, Kin should fit the bill.”
— Dark Discoveries
“…with this novel, Burke has fully arrived as a novelist, his voice more assured, his hand steadier, and his talent running full throttle… It’s compelling because what Burke does here, which so many of those slasher movies fail to do, is give us characters we care about…Burke doesn’t skimp on the violence in this one, but he shows just enough restraint at just the right times to keep it from becoming a simple gorefest…Kin ends a long period of silence from Burke, and has me quite excited to see what’s coming next. It’s due out this Fall from Cemetery Dance, and I urge you to get a copy. It gets my highest possible recommendation.”
— Blu Gilliand, october country
“What places KIN apart from similar redneck horror tales is its time frame: our main protagonist, Claire, is brought into the picture beginning at the END of her first ordeal with the killers. Much of the novel is seen from her shattered viewpoint, giving the entire story a fresh tone. And while the novel works on the mental anguish of its characters, Burke also delivers some gruesome b-movie violence without sinking into silliness, and keeps a steady, dark aura until the grim and satisfying conclusion. KIN is basically an intelligent version of an 80s redneck slasher film, with genre staples (such as corrupt law enforcement and cannibalistic killers) molded into something that somehow seems new. THIS is serious horror fiction that has set a high standard for future stories in this subgenre. Don’t miss it.”
— Nick Cato, The Crow’s Caw
“The blurb will tell you that this is in the vein of the ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ and ‘Deliverance’ and, while I can see what they mean, it doesn’t do the book justice. This is not a ‘slasher’ book or a book that reads like a movie. This is far more. This is a novel that begins where the other stories ended and explores the impact such horror has on the survivors, their family and, though we may not like them, the perpetrators of the horror. It doesn’t excuse them but it does try to offer what their mind set is and where it developed from. This is not empathic per se; I still wanted to see them come to a gruesome end but the fact that their point of view was portrayed added depth to the story.”
— Derek Gunn, The Big Thrill
“Kin is a horror thriller of the human kind that shows the worst the species offers. Kealan Patrick Burke provides an action-packed tale yet it is the cast, especially the malevolent Merrill mob, who make the tale exciting. Readers will be on edge throughout as we root for Finch and company to enact vengeance of an Old Testament kind.”
— Genre Go Round Reviews