Jack Ketchum

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Jack Ketchum
Born Dallas William Mayr
(1946-11-10) November 10, 1946 (age 67)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.
Pen name Jack Ketchum, Jerzey Livingston
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, Actor
Nationality American
Genre Horror fiction, thriller, Western fiction, Dark fantasy, Genre fiction
Notable works Off Season, The Girl Next Door, Red, The Crossings, and The Box (Short Story)
Notable awards Bram Stoker Award (1994), (2000), (2003 twice)
World Horror Convention Grand Master Award (2011)

Dallas Mayr (born in Livingston, New Jersey on November 10, 1946), better known by his pseudonym Jack Ketchum, is an American author. He is the recipient of four Bram Stoker Awards and three further nominations. Many of his novels have been adapted to film, including The Girl Next Door and Red. In 2011 Ketchum received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award for outstanding contribution to the horror genre.[1]

Ketchum lives in New York City.[1]

Biography[edit]

Education[edit]

Ketchum earned a B.A. Bachelor of Arts in English from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, and later taught high school level in Brookline, Massachusetts, for two years.[2]

Early years[edit]

A onetime actor, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk, Ketchum credits his childhood love of Elvis Presley, dinosaurs, and horror for getting him through his formative years. He began making up stories at a young age and explains that he spent a lot of time in his room, or in the woods near his house, down by the brook: '[m]y interests [were] Books, comics, movies, rock 'n roll, show tunes, TV, dinosaurs [...] pretty much any activity that didn't demand too much socializing, or where I could easily walk away from socializing'. He would make up stories using his plastic soldiers, knights, and dinosaurs as the characters. He was also big on Halloween and his mother, being '[...] pretty good with the sewing machine [...]', ensured young Ketchum had an authentic costume: his favorites were Peter Pan and Superman.[3] Ketchum has further expressed an early interest in horror films like Nosferatu and the classic Universal Monsters such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923 film) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925 film).[4]

Later, in his teenage years, Ketchum was befriended by Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, who became a mentor to him. He supported Ketchum's work just as his work was supported by his own mentor, H.P. Lovecraft. This relationship with Bloch would last until his death in 1994.[5] Ketchum's parents, Dallas William Mayr and Evelyn Fahner Mayer, were the owners of a luncheonette and soda fountain where Jack would work to support his writing, as a short order cook during the day and a soda jerk after dark.[6]

Ketchum indeed worked many different jobs before completing his first novel (1980's controversial Off Season), including acting as agent for novelist Henry Miller at Scott Meredith Literary Agency, a pivotal point in his career - his extraordinary encounter with Miller at his home in Pacific Palisades is one of the subjects of his memoir in Book of Souls.[7] He also sold articles and stories - both fiction and non-fiction - to various rock 'n roll and men's magazines to supplement his income. His decision to eventually concentrate on novel writing was partly fuelled by a preference for work that offered stability and longevity.[8]

Throughout his life Ketchum has read widely and voraciously, authors like Robert Bloch and Charles Bukowski, Jim Harrison and Ernest Hemingway. Apart from his proficiency as a short story and magazine writer - and a vivid imagination - reading was the essential tool in the writing kit that led Ketchum from his 7th Grade A-Minus Essay to the Magazines and, eventually, to Off Season and beyond.[9]

The Jerzy Livingston years[edit]

Before Ketchum turned his pen to novel writing, he sold a prolific amount of short fiction and articles to magazines. His initial pen name, Jerzy Livingston, came about during this period. Because he often had more than one piece published in a specific magazine he would use his own name for the first byline and then adopt a pseudonym for the others. He came from Livingston, New Jersey and, at the time, had been reading work by the author Jerzy Kosinski: "I liked the in-joke. Hence, Jerzy Livingston." he explains.[10] One of his best known characters while writing as Jerzy Livingstone is Stroup, a play on Proust: Stroup, however, had zero understanding of people, even himself. Ketchum refers to Stroup as "[a] boozer. a loser. a homophobe. A highly questionable friend and unreliable lover. Misogynist as hell and for the most part proud of it."[10] Stroup is the exact opposite of Proust, whom Ketchum calls "[a]rguably the most sensitive writer in history".[10] Stroup appeared in the men's magazine Swank. He was recently resurrected in the tale "Sheep Meadow Story" that formed part of the book Triage (2001), a collection with Richard Laymon and Edward Lee. His exploits can be found collected in Broken on the Wheel of Sex: The Jerzy Livingston Years (2007).

Awards and nominations[edit]

Print books[edit]

Ballantine Books - Off Season, Hide and Seek
Berkley Publishing Group - She Wakes, Joyride
Biting Dog Press - The Transformed Mouse
Bloodletting Press - Book of Souls
Book Club Associates in association with Headline Publishing Group - Red, Road Kill, Only Child
Cahill Mtn Press - Dust of the Heavens
Cemetery Dance Publications - Hide and Seek, She Wakes, Joyride, Right to Life, The Lost, The Crossings, Triage, Weed Species, Old Flames, The Woman, I Am Sam
Diamond Books - Offspring
Gauntlet Press - Hide and Seek, Cover, Only Child, Right to Life, Ladies' Night, Sleep Disorder, Closing Time and Other Stories
Headline Publishing Group - Off Season, Offspring, Red, Road Kill, Only Child
Leisure Books imprint of Dorchester Publishing - Off Season (with Winter Child), Cover, The Girl Next Door, Offspring, Red (with The Passenger), Joyride (with Weed Species), The Lost, Old Flames (with Right to Life), The Woman, Peaceable Kingdom, Triage
Obsidian Books - The Exit at Toledo Blade Boulevard
Overlook Connection Press - Off Season, The Girl Next Door, Offspring, Red, Broken on the Wheel of Sex
Silver Salamander Press - Hide and Seek
Subterranean Press - Peaceable Kingdom
Warner Books - Cover, The Girl Next Door

Short fiction[edit]

Amid the Walking Wounded
At Home with the VCR
The Best
The Box
Brave Girl
Chain Letter
Closing Time
Cow (with Lucky McKee)
Damned If You Do
Do You Love Your Wife?
Elusive
The Exit at Toledo Blade Boulevard
Eyes Left
Father & Son
Firedance
Forever
The Fountain
Gone
The Great San Diego Sleazy Bimbo Massacre
The Haunt
The Holding Cell
Honor System
Hotline
I'd Give Anything For You
If Memory Serves
Lighten Up
Lines: or Like Franco, Elvis Is Still Dead
Love Letters from the Rain Forest
Masks
The Passenger
Rabid Squirrels In Love
Redemption
Returns
The Rifle
The Rose
Sheep Meadow Story
Snakes
Snarl, Hiss, Spit, Stalk
To Suit the Crime
The Turning
The Visitor
When the Penny Drops
Winter Child
The Work

Film adaptations[edit]

Writer

Actor

  • The Lost (2006) as Teddy Panik
  • Header (2006) as State Trooper #2
  • The Girl Next Door (2007) as Carnival
  • Red (2008) as Bartender
  • Offspring (2009) as Max Joseph

Self

  • The Cult of Ichi (2007)
  • The Making of The Girl Next Door (2007)
  • Dark Dreamers (2011)
  • Inside the Plain Brown Wrapping (2013)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jack Ketchum Official Website, p. 1. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  2. ^ Pupek, Jayne, Jack Ketchum: American Horror Novelist and Recipient of the Bram Stoker Award in Suite 101: Insightful Writers. Informed Readers. online zine, Sept 30, 2009.
  3. ^ Donahue, Suzanne. An Interview with Award-Winning Horror Writer Jack Ketchum. Associated Content, 2007, p. 1.
  4. ^ O'Rourke, Monica. Story Time ... Jack Ketchum. Feo Amante's Horror Thriller. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  5. ^ Jack Ketchum, Official My Space page, accessed, March 7, 2002.
  6. ^ Pupek, Jayne. ''Jack Ketchum: American Horror Novelist and Recipient of the Bram Stoker Award. suite101.com, Sept 30, 2009, p. 1.
  7. ^ Modesto, California: Bloodletting Press, May 2008.
  8. ^ Sardina, Martel. Jack Ketchum from the Offspring Movie Set Part/2. Dark Scribe Magazine, 2008, p. 1.
  9. ^ Killer Reviews Writer Jack Ketchum Featuring The Girl Next Door, 2008, p. 1.
  10. ^ a b c "Jack Ketchum Interview" in Vaguely Borgesian, April 7, 2003.

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]