Many who follow blogs I frequent have met the comment genius of Zack Kullis, G-Man (!), FBI under(space optional)cover operative.
He frequently leaves KA-SHNORT worthy comments, titillating double entendre word play, and…
He is always up for a good BJ.
When I see his profile picture in the LIKE row on blogs, I get a hiccup of glee, because I know we’re either game on (!) for a blog-jack, or I’m about to read a well-thought, and artfully expressed opinion about a serious topic.
NOTE: This is a special picture he sent from a charity event in which he participated several years ago.
Zack Kullis is more complex, and diverse than most see in his comments.
On his blog, Flashbangs and Fiction, I found a talented, eloquent writer capable of writing short fiction, position articles, and tongue-in-cheek prose with equal proficiency. My first exposure to his fiction was a short story titled A Tale of Darkess – Fictitious or Not?
That was my first peek at the world(s) and countries Zack knows intimately.
And, there’s more.
Zack also has an official author website for his debut Indie ePub Smite the Damned and upcoming sequel, Realm Crossing.
When Keith Da Silva finally confronts the circumstances surrounding his mother’s death, his eyes are opened to the darkness that is waging an ancient war against humanity. Keith is physically confronted by demonic forces, shattering his view of reality, and fights for his life with beings that live on pain and death.
In Smite the Damned, legions of spirits and demons fight alongside an ancient evil, the Nephilim, that have been hiding among their human prey. Keith is asked to help keep the dark forces at bay, and becomes a hunter of the damned. But, his role as a hunter soon brings anguish and death to his family and friends. With only a few people to help, Keith takes the battle to the forces of the Dark Lord, and ultimately, is pulled into a fight within a grand demon’s personal realm.
AND NOW! The AUTHOR INTERVIEW (I get to be purple. Zack is as black in print as his villains.)
Smite the Damned engaged me on a theological, spiritual, and philosophical level with biblical references and villains who morphed from dark angels. It made the story darker. How did you come to bring that element to your work?
That’s a great question. When I started this story, I had a concrete idea of who the protagonist was. But the dark element developed a little more slowly. Once it started to evolve, however, it took a life of its own and I became a scribe. I’ve long thought that acting against knowledge or understanding has the ability to twist an individual’s core values and beliefs into something wretched and monstrous
As an F.B.I. agent, you’ve likely had adventures most of us can’t imagine. Did you ever consider fictionalizing some close-to-reality plots based on cases in which you’ve been involved? If not, why?
The short and immediate reply to this is no. I don’t want to run the risk of exposing things that shouldn’t be exposed. My job and my writing will never cross paths, mostly for operational security. Besides, it would be too easy. It would take all of the creative flare out of the story-telling process.
As I’ve come to know you, I find you have a wonderful sense of humor and are down-to-earth (although I wouldn’t want to stare down the barrel of your weapon in dark alley). Why thriller/horror as your genre of choice?
First of all, thank you. Thriller, horror, paranormal and fantasy were the genres that filled my head through my childhood. I quickly became bored with books that didn’t elicit some strong emotions. When I read, I want to get into something that will pull me in, gnaw on me, and then spit me out as an emotionally charged and tweaked guy. Writing is the same. I believe (and hope) that I can inject the reader with emotions and energy.
You have an aptitude for languages and fluently speak many. Did you learn from immersion in these cultures, or are your language skills part of the reason you chose this profession? Can you share with us how many languages you speak, and which is your favorite?
I do speak a number of languages. A vague reply, I know. I moved around a bit as I grew up (including some foreign countries). Learning to manipulate my tongue/speech and understanding the culture was important to me because I always wanted to seem like a local. How many do I speak? Well, I can communicate anywhere between Canada and Argentina, in at least half of Europe, in parts of Africa and Asia, and some places in the Middle East. A favorite language? That’s tough, I enjoy them all. It would be a toss-up between Arabic and Portuguese.
In Smite the Damned, and in some of your blog articles, you speak with eloquence, respect, and love of other cultures; their history and heritage. How many countries have you visited? Were most of these part of your many assignments, or are you a natural adventurer when you aren’t on duty?
I’m fascinated by other cultures. The more time I spend around people in other cultures and environments, the more I want to know and experience. How many have I visited? Quite a few (sorry if that’s a little vague). As far as that last question, I’d say it’s a bit of both. I’m very adventurous.
Do ever truly go off duty?
Nope. I will when I retire. 😉
Have you had cases where you felt it was too bizarre to be sold as a story plot and theme?
Yes. Reality can be so strange at times that it would seem absurd when found in a book. A number of cases I have worked on have involved people so monstrous that I wouldn’t even want to try to write about what they did. Or why. As odd as it might sound, I would rather write stories about demons and malicious paranormal beings than about their human counterparts that are often much more wicked. Maybe it’s my way of trying to insert some decency into a humanity that sometimes flails hopelessly at the edge of morbid fanaticism.
If writers wanted to call on you as a Subject Matter Expert on the inner workings of the F.B.I., what type of information would you be able to share with us? Bureaucratic structure? Scope of F.B.I. versus other federal agencies? Plausibility of evidence and DNA testing?
I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to do this. I try to separate my bureau-self with my author-self. And to be honest with you, I wouldn’t be able to do this anyway.
When you relax, what do you enjoy doing (aside from the obvious ;-))? What books/genres do you read?
I love to travel, go fishing, hunting, backpacking, riding motorcycles, reading, writing, snorkeling, site-seeing, listening to music, and all sorts of stuff. When I read, I tend to read horror, thriller, urban fantasy, paranormal, etc.
Do you have cases (unsolved or otherwise) that haunt you? To what extend is writing a way to vent those frustrations and purge the memories? Do unsolved cases ever hit your brain’s cold case lockbox?
I don’t have any unsolved cases. But things I have seen, experienced and witnessed haunt me with some frequency. There are smells and sights that I will never get out of my head. Writing is a great way to vent and purge. Between my writing and my time in the gym, I’m able to keep a pretty tenacious hold on my sanity.
When I write, I connect some of my own life experiences to the plot, protagonist, and other main characters. Your hero, Keith, was bullied and ignored for much of his childhood, but I love that he chose to keep his non-violent nature, yet focus on building physical strength. He also likely has a genius level IQ based on internalizations. How much of “you” is in Keith’s back story?
With the exception of IQ, there is quite a bit of me in Keith. On top of moving around a fair amount, I was also much smaller than any of the other kids in school. In fact, I didn’t begin to hit puberty until I was nearly done with high school. (gym class was hell) There were guys sporting facial hair and that had reached their physical apex when I was just starting to notice hair starting to sprout around my unmentionables. It was horrible. Girls? I constantly heard “you’re such a nice guy” from the girls in school, but I couldn’t pay somebody to go out with me. I didn’t go to any dances because no girl in their right mind wanted to be seen going out with a kid that looked like their youngest brother. When I was about 26 I started to hit what I felt was physical normalcy. Keith and I have quite a bit in common.
Did you marginally humanize your villains because that’s the way you see them on the job? The worst of the worst, that is.
I wanted the villains to be a combination of the horrific side of humanity and supernatural wickedness. When I wrote, I wanted people to absolutely loath the villains.
You write chilling villains and are a master at world-building. My guess is the traits of the villains may be a composite of the no-longer-human people you hunt, cage or kill, and your world-building is enhanced by your extensive travel, fascination with, immersion in, and respect for other cultures. True?
Thank you, Gloria. That is quite the compliment. Yes, that is true.
While the main plot doesn’t center around this topic, it’s one I personally feel passionate about. Your hero shares my dislike of wars and atrocities committed by religious zealots. I believe all religions have a Higher Power — no matter what name they choose call him (her). When we begin to accept those extremists as the standard for all practitioners of that religion, it belittles our own beliefs. That’s my opinion. Yours?
I think it is good for people to believe in something that will give them hope, that will give them purpose, and that helps them want to be better people. But there are those who want to control and usurp, and they know that if they can do this under the guise of being directed by a Higher Power, that they can exploit the beliefs of otherwise good people and get them to do monstrous things in the name of faith. In my opinion, extremism, whether religious, political, etc., is stupid. Yes, I agree with you.
Phew! Quite a man, our G-man! And, now let’s show Zack some Glob love. Question, comment or just say “HI!”