Scary’s Voices – Spotlight & Interview
Welcome, airwave travellers, and thank you for choosing Scary’s Voices tours. Today we’ll be cruising through several dimensions of time and space with your Captain Luke Kondor. We’re in good hands as Captain “Kondor with a K” is himself a multidimensional traveller, excelling at splitting himself into several humanoids at once to create stories of a bizarre and horrific nature, narrating them to fill your ears until they burst and take over your entire being, plus other feats of superhuman output. Kindly keep your seatbelts fastened through our journey, and don’t hesitate to press the call button should anything with tentacles try to devour your seatmate.
Our first stop is within the vast lair of Hawk & Cleaver, Inc. (pause for oohs and aahs). An independent story studio and small press dedicated to producing incredible fiction that explores worlds beyond your imagination, Hawk & Cleaver offers several podcasts, books, and comics. As one of the founding members, Luke can easily guide us through the terrain.
If you look to your right, you’ll see a digital representation of Ben Errington and Andy Conduit-Turner scrolling through horror movie titles to select the next flick for their podcast Horror Hangout. When Luke, Ben, and Andy join their magical beards, they create terrific conversations on the best and worst horror movies. Each episode includes a segment of horror news, what the bearded trio has been watching, and then dives deep into reviewing one specific film. To boost their wizardry, Horror Hangout occasionally invites guests, such as Emily Booth to discuss The Gate, and Stu Freeman to examine The Taking of Deborah Logan. These entertaining episodes typically run around 2 hours, and you’ll find links to the show at the end of our tour.
Please, don’t be alarmed as we pass through this next dark tunnel. The glowing lights and disembodied voices are only part of another ongoing Hawk & Cleaver production called The Other Stories. Fans of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits are sure to love these strange tales that range through science fiction, horror, thrillers, and several WTF moments. Hosting a mix of several authors and narrators, you never quite know what these stories will bring, though they all include sublime storytelling. Not only are the tales fantastic, but the sound production is incredible. Within The Other Stories, Luke often contributes to narration and acts as one of the showrunners. All the episodes are worth exploring, and I highly recommend episode “67.1 Mum,” written and narrated by our Captain Luke “Kondor with a K” (pause for applause).
As we leave behind the domain of Hawk & Cleaver, those of you with more sensitive constitutions may want to activate your personal cone of silence. I’ll wait (counts to 5). If you can still hear me, you are my people, and I’m pleased to introduce you to Luke’s garage of creativity which births Tales of What!? For those unfamiliar with bizarro fiction, Tales of What!? is the perfect podcast to dip your toes into these strange waters. Fans of the genre will love the diversity of the stories and will want to check out more works by all the featured authors. From frightful explorations of what lies behind a crawl space to a hilarious trip through time and space reminiscent of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” all these tales are highly imaginative and entertaining.
(Flashes penlight to signal cone of silence is no longer required) This brings us to the conclusion of our tour as Luke’s garage of creativity is also home to his latest podcast creation Luke’s Massive Storytelling Podcast Thing… After creating so many stories and interacting with other creative people in the podcasts we’ve just visited, our final stop is where Luke candidly talks about his writing process, and interviews guests from different paths of storytelling, such as filmmakers, authors, and video game creators. Listeners can expect entertaining and informative discussions which may reveal techniques to improve your own productivity, as well as a peek behind the curtain of fabricating fiction in its many forms.
Now that we’ve safely landed, and it appears no one was eaten in our travels, I’ve arranged for Captain Luke “Kondor with a K” to spend a few more minutes with us for an interview.
J.A. Sullivan Talks To Luke Kondor
J.A. Sullivan: As a reader, when did you first discover Bizarro Fiction?
Luke Kondor: I caught wind of bizarro at the tail-end of 2018. I looked upon its crazy covers and naughty titles and found myself uncomfortably titillated. So, I picked up the Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange) and to my surprise found that it was pretty much the exact genre of fiction I’d been missing in my reading for most of my life. Not only did it remind me of some of my favourite authors — Kafka, Murakami, Vonnegut — but it brought to mind the strange movies of Charlie Kaufman or oddly sinister and silly TV comedies like Brass Eye and SnuffBox. It’s a genre that can be horrific, silly, sweet, and surreal, all at the same time.
JAS: Did finding the Bizarro genre influence your writing, or were you already writing in that style without knowing it?
LK: I’ve always written odd things. The first story I wrote that I believed was truly in my own voice was about tiny people living in a man’s beard. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was pretty much a bizarro story. Years later, when I found the bizarro genre, it felt like finding permission, to lean into those sides of my creativity. I was so pent up, I guess, that a couple of months after finding the genre I wrote four bizarro novellas in the space of a few months, two of which are now with publishers.
JAS: What inspired you and the other members of Hawk & Cleaver to deliver stories via a podcast rather than in just the written form?
LK: I used to do a student radio show around 2010/11, and we used to create little audio sketches. They were almost like mini-audio dramas (for the brave and the curious Craig & Luke Radio Highlights), so I’ve always enjoyed working in that format. Cut to 2016 and me and a few friends started a little studio writing short horror fiction. We decided to start The Other Stories, which was supposed to be a monthly horror magazine. Given my experience making podcasts, I suggested adapting the stories to audio, add music, some sound effects, etc. The magazine lasted about a month, but the podcast really snowballed. We managed to find an audience with the show very quickly and five years later it’s still going, has been downloaded over 8-million times, sold a Film/TV option, and is still scaring the pants off of people all over the world.
JAS: Based on the podcast of the same name, The Other Stories: Volume 1 book is due to be unleashed August 1st, 2021. What can you tell us about this collection?
LK: We’ve taken 30 of the best stories from the show (best is quite difficult to quantify; it’s mainly favourite stories that are brought up by the audience repeatedly) and we packaged it all up with an amazing cover by artist, Pye Parr, and a foreword by This Is Horror royalty, Michael David Wilson. There’s a limited edition signed hardcover available here (The Other Stories Best-Of Volume 1 SIGNED HARDBACK) and paperbacks and e-books will be available from August 1st.
JAS: You recently revived Luke’s Massive Storytelling Podcast Thing… after a brief 5-year hiatus. What prompted you to return to it?
LK: I’m not entirely sure. The first time I ran that show, it kind of changed my life. On the face of it, it’s similar to a lot of other interview style writing podcasts, but I also used the show to challenge myself.
Running that show enabled/forced me to make a viral short film, learn how to publish books, and to start the company that would go on to launch The Other Stories. It also taught me a lot about good writing habits such as working to deadlines, not comparing myself to other writers, to build a creative family, etc. And unfortunately, in the five years since the show ended, I think I forgot most of those lessons. So, restarting it has been a way of re-discovering myself as a writer, relearning some key fundamentals, all the while making connections with amazing writers and storytellers based all over the world.
JAS: Besides writing fiction and hosting podcasts, you also have a comic book called El Marvo and a number of film credits under your belt. Is there a format of storytelling you find easier to create in than others?
LK: I think prose, whether for the page or for audio. Though I do enjoy writing for film and for comics, I find I have a much deeper understanding of prose. Well, in the sense that I can tell when the work is good and when it’s so bad I should be kicked until bloody. And that’s half the battle.
JAS: You have two new books out this year (The Run Fantastic and His Dirty Little Portal) what can you tell us about them?
LK: The Run Fantastic is a kind-of Beetlejuice/Mighty Boosh story, about a man who dies and then goes to run a marathon. His Dirty Little Portal is a bizarro story about a man who lives in a world where happiness doesn’t exist and is sort of a Terry Gilliam-esque story involving portals to other dimensions, tiny scientists, and a cat who refuses to pay rent. Both are weird and wild and full of heart, or so I hope. Go sign up to my newsletter and not only will you find out when those books are out, you’ll also get a free book of short stories. Hot damn!
JAS: I’d sincerely like to thank Captain “Kondor with a K” (aka Luke Kondor) for taking us through the various portals of his creative output. I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey, and if you would like to know more about this creator, feel free to connect with him on the following social medial platforms:
Tales of What!? – A Bizarro Fiction Thing: Tales Of What!?
Luke’s Massive Storytelling Podcast Thing…: Massivestorytelling
Hawk & Cleaver (home to The Other Stories and Horror Hangout): www.hawkandcleaver.com
Think you have what it takes to have your work featured on The Other Stories podcast?
Check out their current open call guidelines: Submissions
J. A. Sullivan is a horror writer and paranormal enthusiast, based in Brantford, ON, Canada. Attracted to everything non-horror folks consider strange, she’s spent years as a paranormal investigator, has an insatiable appetite for serial killer information, and would live inside a library if she could.
As curator of “Scary’s Voices” on Kendall Reviews, an article series reviewing horror podcasts, Sullivan loves listening to all things spooky. If you have a horror podcast recommendation, let her know.
On top of contributing short stories to Kendall Reviews, her fiction has appeared in Don’t Open the Door (2019), It Came From The Darkness (2020), and she acted as an assistant editor for Black Dogs, Black Tales (2020). Other spooky tales and updates on her writing journey can be found on her blog.
You can follow J. A. on Twitter @ScaryJASullivan
Check out her blog https://writingscaredblog.wordpress.com
Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan
Find her on Instagram www.instagram.com/j.a_sullivan