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Interview with Leonard Kirke, author of Roadkill

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“What happens to us when we die?” is a question that has haunted mankind since the dawn of time.

Roadkill” offers one possible answer to this question, and that answer is: we go out for late night snacks.

When an average stray dog is hit by a speeding truck, he wakes up and finds himself a ghost with human thoughts, vague memories, and nothing in particular to do. Before long, our canine hero meets some friends in similar predicaments: the ghosts of a flattened skunk, a squashed possum, and a totally mangled raccoon. Unsure of where to go, and torn between an ontological mystery and an existential quandary, the four eventually decide to get some of their favorite fast food.

What happens next?
When a mysterious, hooded figure with a large net and an eerie black van begins chasing them, things get complicated. And the burgers served at their favorite restaurant, Stubby’s, might just be the key to keeping themselves from vanishing into the unknown forever.

What genre is this short story?
Roadkill” crosses several genre boundary lines. Featuring ghosts as protagonists, it has elements of supernatural fantasy, a brief hint of science fiction, magical realism, a few dramatic scenes and more than a few laughs.

If you’re a fan of “Seinfeld”-style dialogue, classic Disney movie-style animal characters, the surreal landscapes of Hayao Miyazaki films, and the weirdness of Franz Kafka stories and David Lynch movies, then “Roadkill” should have something for you. Considering that the main cast are all anthropomorphic animals, I would also say the book would appeal to members of the furry fandom community.

Tell us about this anthropomorphic animal.
The main character is the Dog; he’s a fairly even-tempered, laid back kind of dude, but is easily riled up by the bickering of his friends. He’s concerned about his bizarre situation but tries to keep a level head. More than anything, he wants to enjoy his night while it lasts…because nobody knows how much time they have left on this strange journey.

Tell us about his friends.
The Skunk seems to have the personality of a young girl. She wears her heart on her sleeve (er, paw) and tries her best to look on the bright side of things.

The Possum is a prankster who doesn’t appear, on the surface, to take much of anything very seriously.  He sees his and his friends’ predicament as absurd and is determined to have as much fun as possible.

Lastly, the Raccoon, the last member to join the group, has a bit of an ego. He doesn’t like to appear vulnerable or less intelligent than
anyone else…in fact, he seems to enjoy proving the greatness of his
logical reasoning skills at just about every chance he gets. His
typical raccoon-like love of eating out of the garbage, however,
clashes a bit with his tendency to put on airs.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born, raised, and live in the southern part of Ohio, USA. Since I was young I knew that I wanted to entertain people in some way; early on I considered stand-up comedy, and in high school and college I enjoyed creating short comedy videos with my friends. Writing has nearly always been a constant in my life, however, from the crude comic strips I created when I was in preschool to “Roadkill” today. My actual writing practice has waxed and waned over the years, and my release of “Roadkill” is part of my attempt to get back into the habit of writing regularly, learning to love it again, and, at last, sharing what I write with others.

How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
You can follow me on Twitter, @LeoKirke.

You’re very passionate about free culture. What is it?
I don’t believe that copyright law is a valid concept nor beneficial to artists, especially independent artists like myself. I’m an advocate of what’s called Free Culture. I want my works to be shared freely and one of my greatest hopes is that someone will turn “Roadkill” into an animated film, as it was originally written as a screenplay.

Great cover, by the way.
The cover art for “Roadkill” was commissioned by a very talented artist from Bangkok, Thailand named Piti Yindee. Mr. Yindee is the creator of a monthly web comic series called “Wuffle, the Big Nice Wolf.” I recently became a proof reader on the comic. Like me, Mr. Yindee has no love for copyright law, and also like me, he released his work with the Creative Commons Zero Waiver, straight into the public domain.

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