As we wind down our featured authors from State of Horror: North Carolina, set to be released on Tuesday February 10th our newest author on the tour is Randal Keith Jackson. Jackson joins the ranks of the other State of Horror: North Carolina authors including: Kathryn M. Hearst, L.J. Heydorn, Frank J. Edler, Nathanael Gass, Kenneth W. Cain, Frank Larnerd, Susan Hicks Wong, Armand Rosamilia, Stuart Conover/Kerry Lipp, and Margaret L. Colton. As we come to our next stop on the tour, we will explore Randal Keith Jackson’s uniquely fun perspective of North Carolina in his story Death with Benefits.
Randal Keith Jackson is an Internet Manager at NASA and a produced playwright. He’s originally from Georgia and now lives with his wife and son in Santa Barbara, California. He has been known to rescue neighbors from snakes and build elaborate Halloween experiences in the garage.
Randal’s debut novel, the psychological thriller THE GRASS MAZE, will be published this fall by Random House Alibi.
State of Horror: North Carolina
Story synopsis- “Death with Benefits”
“Set down for a minute, Jordan, and listen at me. There ain’t nothing they can do for you at the hospital. Look, you ain’t breathin’. You ain’t got no heartbeat.”
Baylee accidently killed her cheating husband with the fireplace poker during a fight. When she realized he was dead she retrieved her grandmother’s spell book and weird live frog in a jar from under her bed and brought him back to life temporarily. She needed his help to dispose of his body and hoped he would take himself to the dump. After Jordan, her husband, woke they had a discussion and worked on their issues. As time runs out for Jordan, things take a unusual turn.
Fun Facts – Randal Keith Jackson
Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
Randal Keith Jackson: I was brainstorming titles for my first novel and I thought of “Death With Benefits,” but it didn’t really fit. Still, I kept thinking, “That’s a cool title. I need to write something to go with it.” Hence, the short story.
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
RKJ: I’m from the South, and North Carolina has always been one of my favorite states. It’s a place of abundant natural beauty — you have the Appalachian mountains, rivers, gorges, and waterfalls. I’ve done a lot of hiking there. It’s also a state that’s rich with history, atmosphere, and rural character.
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
RKJ: I like suspense, atmosphere, and originality. I’m not a big fan of graphic gore for its own sake.
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
RKJ: Earl Gray tea. (Sorry, I don’t eat when writing – just in-between.)
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
RKJ: My short story, “All the Devils,” was the cover story for the special Alfred Hitchcock edition of “Penumbra” magazine.
I also have a novel coming out this fall from Random House Alibi: “The Grass Maze,” a psychological suspense thriller. Like the short story, it’s set in the Deep South.
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
RKJ: I once wrote a newspaper headline that said “Police Probe Nude Body.” (I wasn’t fired. Not quite.)
CCP: Who are your favorite authors?
RKJ: This question is too hard. Okay, okay, Ray Bradbury and Tennessee Williams are way up there.
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
RKJ: The brilliant concept.
CCP: Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
CCP: Music or no music when writing? (and if yes on music, what are you listening to?)
RKJ: So far, no music. But if I had listened to music while writing “Death with Benefits,” it would probably have been: Johnny Cash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Blind Boys of Alabama.