Prey/Pray by Dicky Kitchen Jr.
This month I am happy to interview Dicky Kitchen Jr., the author of Prey/Pray. This book was my #aroundtheworldinindieauthor read for October 2020 and it did not disappoint!
Before we start the interview, let’s read the synopsis for Prey/Pray:
An interview is just an interview. It doesn’t matter if the person being interviewed is a computer coder, a sales representative, a CEO, or a man who brutally murdered five people and then burned down their house… Right?
Stripped of any means to record their interaction, The Tall Man sits across from The Average Man praying to get through the exchange, and maybe in the process figure out why the killer requested him to perform the interview in the first place. But, what will he do when The Average Man begins to confess to multiple murders that aren’t connected to the ones he’s been charged with? Does the Tall Man have what it takes to put together the pieces and make sure the killer pays for his crimes, or will he become the latest prey? A fast-paced psychological thriller that follows a serial killer through his violent beginnings as he’s interviewed from within the confines of a jail. But what is his motive to agreeing to the interview, and why did he specifically request this reporter?
J.C. - Welcome Dicky! I had the pleasure of meeting you through Instagram’s Writing Community in 2020 and have been able to learn more about you through your posts and our chats. Can you take a moment to introduce yourself to everyone else out there?
D.K - Sure. I’m Dicky Kitchen Jr. Unique writer with a unique name. I come from an interesting life that’s included teaching/learning martial arts, over a decade working in health care, and jumping out of a plane once (because why not, right?). I’ve published 3 books in my debut year as an author. One thriller novel, one thriller novella, and one children’s book. And I’m just getting started!
J.C. - I have a weird habit where I read magazines back to front so naturally, for this question, I am going to do the same and jump right to the ending of your book. It was ingenious. Did you know the ending before you wrote the book or did it unfold as you went along?
D.K. - Thank you so much, that’s very kind of you to say. I knew the ending before I wrote the book. The ending and the beginning were the only things I knew as I sat down and began to write. Originally, I thought I was writing a book as if someone was reading the diary of a serial killer, but the ending was still the same overall. That perspective changed as the story grew, and the first thing I wrote became chapter 2 in the book, but the ending stayed largely the same. The funny thing is, I had literally no idea how the story was going to get there. I relied heavily on the characters taking a life of their own to get to the ending.
J.C. - What originally made you come up with the idea of this novel?
D.K. - I wish I had a good answer for you on this one, but sadly I am not a planner at all. I literally sat down to start writing and chapter 2 of the book came out. I still remember the day I wrote it. I was working at a warehouse on the delivery truck and I was paired up with a driver who had just published a short story that he wanted me to read. It was basically a long poem about a knight and a dragon, but he let me spend half the day sitting on the truck while he ran the deliveries because he wanted me to read it. By the end of the day, I had the urge to write. So, after I got home from work, I sat down and wrote the beginnings of what became Prey/Pray: Origin of The Average Man. I have no idea what part of my head the story came from, but clearly, I may benefit from seeing a psychologist.
J.C. - Haha!
J.C. - There are a lot of very descriptive scenes in this book where every single detail is laid out. Did you have to do a lot of research in order to be so precise?
D.K. - In some ways I did a lot of research, in others I drew from things I had seen in my life. Some of the research was sort of done backwards. I would write a scene the way I saw it play out in my mind, and then I would go out for a drive and look for buildings or areas that could have potentially been where the scenes in the book played out. When I found an area that was similar to a scene I had written, I would pull over and take pictures and use them to iron out the finer details of a scene. I also researched the weapons used in the book, to the degree where I went out and bought every tool used in the book. Every dimension given for the tools/weapons in the book can be accurately traced back to an item that can be purchased in real life. It was important to me that the events in the book came across as having the potential to occur in real life. I wanted the reader to be able to close their eyes and visualize what they had just read in realistic details.
J.C. - The Average Man. Is he a good, bad guy or a bad, good guy? If neither, how would you describe him?
D.K. - I think it’s ultimately up to the reader on what The Average Man is. Good guy, bad guy, something in between? I think it’s in the eye of the beholder. At the end of the book, I want the reader to make their own decisions on what the character is, and feel dirty for it. I don’t think there is any other way to feel after making that choice. You’re either going to find yourself cheering for him or against him, and both choices will make you cringe a little if you think about it too long.
J.C. - I feel dirty for sure! I certainly cheered. Maybe I could benefit from seeing a psychologist too.
J.C. - Do you have a favorite character?
D.K. - I actually have more than one favorite character. One is The Average Man. I don’t know that I’ve come across any other character like him, or with such a unique way at approaching life. He makes me really wonder about what people are capable of. He became what he is through something horrible that happened, but it’s not clear if that dark side of him was always just under the surface or if it is a direct result of the event that happened. I think I’m still learning that as I continue to analyze and write the character. That part of him really fascinates me.
One of my other favorite characters is The Rose. I won’t go into too many details on her to prevent spoilers, but she wasn’t even supposed to be in the story. She was created after doing a lot of research into poisons, and is likely one of the most powerful characters in the book. From the feedback I’ve received from readers, she is definitely a fan favorite. So many people (myself included) are dying to know more about her.
J.C. - Who has been your biggest support system while on this writing adventure?
D.K. - I’d have to say that the Instagram writing community has been amazingly supportive. There are so many great people out there willing to share their experiences and lessons learned. I don’t know that I would have published 3 times already without everyone on Instagram being as supportive as they are. A lesser-known fact is that I didn’t originally plan on publishing Prey/Pray: Origin of The Average Man. I wrote it because I loved writing it. It was written solely because I wanted to see where the story was going. I didn’t write it with any intention of publishing it. It wasn’t until the story was completed that I had the idea of sharing it with the world. That decision exposed me to the Instagram writing community, and the people I met there (yourself included) motivated me to publish more. Without the support I received from publishing my first novel, I may have just stopped there and kept writing for my own enjoyment and entertainment.
J.C. - Finish the sentence. In ten years I’d like to…
D.K. - be writing for a living. Whether that is through my books, through freelance writing (copy, blogs, etc.), or any combination of that. I’m hoping it doesn’t take ten years to get there, but I hope in ten years I’m writing for a living. Writing is really where my heart and passion is.
J.C. - Following up to question #6, Prey/Pray has side characters.Your second book, The Nurse, is a Novella about one of those characters. Will there be more Novella’s featuring other characters?
D.K. - I do have plans on writing at least 3 more novellas that tie directly into the novel and explore the back stories of some of the side characters introduced in the novel. One of the things that happened as I wrote The Average Man’s story is, I was introduced to other characters along the way, each with their own back stories. Every character wanted their story to be told, but there was no clean way to do that in the main novel. At its core, the main novel had to be about The Average Man. It would have gotten too muddied to try and include every character’s story, but at the same time they all had such interesting stories to tell. That led me to the idea of creating a companion book (Prey/Pray: Hunting Party) where the side characters could have their chance to shine. Currently I’ve only published the first installment of that, and fully introduced everyone to The Nurse. I’m hoping to let 3 other characters, including The Rose, share their stories before 2021 is through.
J.C. - Lastly, where can readers find you and your work?
D.K. - Finding me can best be done through Instagram at the moment (@dicky_kitchen_jr). Currently you can also find a link to my portfolio website on my Instagram profile and read the first chapter of each book on there for free.
As for finding my work, my books can be found on multiple platforms, and I’m continually trying to expand their reach. Amazon is always a good option when searching for my books, but I really recommend people search for them by title where ever they typically buy their books.