Wednesday, February 12, 2014


This is one of the most interesting and articulate 
human beings I've ever known.  
I met Enn Kae on Twitter, of all things, however, 
our friendship blossomed quickly. 
 His words, his use of language, is like poetry to me.  Whenever I read something by him I find I get lost in the story, even if he's simply describing his childhood.  This man has lived a lifetime in 36 years.  This interview is longer than most, however, I urge you to read it through, you won't be disappointed.
Pressed Leaf Publishing is proud to introduce to you, Enn Kae, the Author of The Cull.

Published: Aug. 20, 2013
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301081837
Publisher: EnnKae/Mispel Books

1.  The books you are writing go to a much deeper place than most fantasy, and tend towards cultural opposition and influence, the dystopian, sci-fi, even conspiracy arena, which I find very interesting. Through my research I found an interview that speaks about your growing up in the industrial North-East of England, and moving from there to Scotland.
It seems that you are a true observer of your world and that world carries into your writing…could you elaborate on this for us, why dystopian?  

1) Really... a much deeper place than fantasy?  Well, that would explain why I found it difficult to get into the Fantasy genre!  (**laugh**)  I just write based on what I have perceived and witnessed and sort of use the writing process as a means to attack the perceived order, to defend my vantage point and exorcise my demons.  When it comes to cultural opposition; well, I was backed into a corner (socially and politically) from the day I was born because of the sorts of labels that society throws at people - race, religion, colour, culture, gender and so on and so forth.  That's why I chose to strip myself of all of those preconceptions with my 
pen-name - I didn't want to be pigeonholed in any way and I didn't want to experience reader bias or confirmation bias because I wanted readers to make up their own minds: the point of which is that the things that I write about are, in essence, universal human experiences.  

I went for the phonetic spelling of the initials of my name....The irony is that, when I was like 10 or 11, I always dreamt (or dreamed) of seeing my name in print next to the copyright symbol.  Sad, I know!  
However, as you get older and experience life and all that life has to throw at you - it invariably shapes you.  I like the pen-name.  I know (to some) it will sound strange and foreign but, trust me, it's a lot easier than pronouncing my real name!  (**laugh**)

I suppose that alienation and marginalisation is something I have a real raw experience of, first-hand (growing up in the industrial North-West of England and then Scotland), and I've come to several conclusions about why and how and for what purpose it occurs.  It's a universal experience and it pushes you into a really dark place; emotionally and spiritually.  You become really bitter.  You begin to hate; yourself and others that are close to you, your 'people'.  You experience a strangeness and you become a stranger to your own self.  Your identity has to be reconstructed after it has been deconstructed for you by societal forces at large.  You constantly have to fight the subjective/objective dichotomy: meaning that, you are the one who is constantly under the microscope and you struggle to escape that paradigm.  

In certain respects, the world that I have experienced in my 36 years really lends itself to Dystopia.  I don't know if I can say this without sounding preposterous but my experiences are Dystopian in their nature.  I was joking with my sister about this the other day but our childhood was like something from The Hunger have to laugh...otherwise you'd cry...I mean the whole thing about being pushed to the corners of society and constantly feeling that, despite how hard you've worked to gain acceptance, the doors will be shut to you: in England, that's usually due to race, class and gender.

I didn't consciously decide to write Dystopia.  I was shaped into writing it because of my experiences and because they are the channel that I choose to, at this moment in time, vent my spleen (so to speak).  I feel I need to exorcise my demons in that way: "The Cull'' is closest to who I am as a person and as an observer of humanity - and I am using that word very loosely!  The world out there, as I see it, is lacking the mirrors it needs in order to reflect upon itself and then change and grow.  I see people are changing and growing but, as with everything, it takes time.  I like to think that a shift in consciousness is occuring right now and we see that in certain Movements which are taking on the existing order, such as Occupy and Anonymous. 

In the future, I would like to try my hand at Historical Fiction but, for now, it's Dystopia - the darker the better; the more layered even more so!

2 Let's talk about "The Cull", which is why were here today.  This book is pure dystopia mixed in with corporate control, which is usually the theme behind dystopian…yours has a love story written in as well.  What drove this story for you?

2.) Oh gosh, I suppose I don't have an accurate answer for that aside from the fact that love is what we all need, right?  It's the age-old cliche, I suppose:  ''all we need is love!"  However, for the story, Love is what makes Abe human.  It redeems his character, in a way, because the rest of the characters are really detached and alienated, if not an alien form of humans themselves!  The story is dark and cold and Abe's desire to be with Ophelia is really symbolic of the world around him at the time.  I mean, the story is set in a future world which is completely devoid of emotion and we are indeed heading towards that way now: relationships are breaking down; people are increasingly living in isolation; we live in a culture that teaches us to serve our own needs over the needs of others; neighbours don't talk to each other anymore and governments are increasingly becoming Draconian so Abe's relationship with Ophelia is that little seed of hope for humanity.  It also makes for a great literary device for the story itself.  

3.  Did you do any research into building the physical dystopian world.  Relate to images, other works?

3) Well, I lived and worked in East London for 2 years and it's pretty Dystopian there in the sense that social exclusion is pervasive there but I was born and raised in the the industrial North West and I lived in Manchester for about 8 years....and when they say it's 'grim up north' they're right...Manchester is apparently supposed to be the Anti-Social Behaviour capital of England; possibly Europe, so that's saying a lot.  I used to teach socially excluded children: in Manchester and London so I've seen the worst of it all, aesthetically speaking, as well as the extreme urban poverty that is now rampant throughout the UK.  I grew up for 10 years in a pretty grim city in Scotland too: the poverty there was something else - there were areas that usually consisted of high-rises (apartment buildings) that I knew were definite no-go areas.  In the UK, we have something called Council Houses or Social Housing and it can be like a war zone in some of those places, especially in the economically deprived pockets.  It's not as bad as Detroit is now - not yet, at least, but the whole drink, drug and celebrity culture really adds to the sense that it's like stepping into a scene from ''1984'' by Orwell.

I chose Battersea Power Station in London as the focal point for ''The Cull'' because I have a real affinity to Art-Deco and the 1920s.  I may have lived there in a previous life, who knows, but I would do anything to have an Art Deco house.  I think that the style of vertical lines is symbolic of Masculinity and Patriarchy; those being the central control systems of Modernity.  I look at the Battersea Power Station and I think - gosh, that must have been so imposing on the landscape at the time it was built.  It's a very masculine building and, for me, that building in itself represents so many things which Abe is fighting against: establishment, control, power, strength and order.  The fact that, in the book, it stands isolated from the rest of the buildings around it says a lot about how the world has changed since then.  It's a relic of that age of traditional patriarchal structures in society and that's why I chose it really.  The antagonists (the Pro-Gens) drive the Bugatti Atlantic and I knew that it was definitely going to be a Bugatti so I did a little research and if you ever see a picture of the Atlantic from the 1920s/1930s (look up the Atlantic Type 57) then you'll understand why I chose it.  It's just so uncompromising, stylistically.  I may have taken something in subconsciously over the years about what a Dystopian world would look like, such as Brutalist Architecture, but I didn't do anything consciously other than having a conscious love of Art Deco and I thought that it would lend itself well to the themes of ''The Cull''.

4. So we see the actual inspiration of beauty beneath the cloud of tyranny…I like that.  What do you hope can be imparted from reading your series…(I'm sorry, is it a series?) from our younger generation…are they your target audience?  I know you've written another book called Zeek and the Hoodies and it's presented as a comic book format, so it would appear you are attempting to garner their attention. 

4.) I hope the younger generation can realise that they need to take ownership of their future and it starts from realising that the excessive consumption of media; the herd mentality; the way they are being educated; they lies they are being sold are leading them down towards a very dark future, a very Dystopian future.  I have hope because, from my experience in teaching and in general, there is a significant majority of the younger generation that are not swallowing the Kool-Aid, so to speak. 

I have been asked if I will write a sequel to ''The Cull'' given the way it ends - I love that ending - but I'm not sure yet.  I think it's a very good stand-alone novella and I don't want to ruin the essence of the story by adding more to it.  I want young adults to be able to read that and realise that we are all sleep-walking towards our own demise unless, as a humanity, we wake up and start questioning everything that we are being told and taught.  I hope that they look at Abe and realise that it could be them: that they need to understand the world around them a lot better instead of just accepting the way things are now.  I mean Abe makes a conscious plan to get out of his situation and I have met several young adults who are making great strides and changes in their lives to create the realities and the world that they want.  We are a long way from achieving a critical mass but a journey of a thousand miles starts with a first step!

The Zeek Series was my original body of creative investment but I just so happened to have taken a side-step inbetween marketing Zeek and the Hoodies and starting the follow-up (which is going into production around the summer) - I wrote ''The Cull" - but I've since taken another side-step and I'm in the middle of a full-length Sci-Fi novel that's set during the Iraq Invasion which, I hope, should be finished by Easter 2014 (it's a bit delayed, unfortunately).  However, the Zeek Series turned into a graphic novel because I had a very set idea of how that would look like because it is full of dark, adult themes which lend themselves well to the graphic novel genre.  I wanted it to be cinematic in a sense and very visual.  I couldn't have told that story in prose because I don't think it would have had that sort of impact and, of course, I wanted it to appeal to young adults or even teenagers primarily because I want people - especially the younger generation - to wake up to their realities and stop buying this celebrity culture c**p!  

5.  Do you find it a challenge to be who you are, in terms of your social consciousness?  Are you able to project your ideas without pushing people away? Or do you find people, younger people in particular, listen to you?

5.) I don't know anything else other than being who I am.  I've tried different identities but none that I was happy know how it is when you're in your twenties...following the herd and discovering yourself.  I think I was more of an individual, without realising it at the time up, until I was about 21....I mean I grew up listening to Prince and I even wrote a dissertation about him for my Masters!  After university, I found the real world very unreal in many ways.  At least, at university, I could escape to my Ivory Tower and live in that cacoon...I didn't have to deal with the fakery and the pretentions and the hidden agendas and the stupidity - oh, the stupidity!  I've learnt to deal with the world the way it is but a couple of traumatic events marked my adulthood, specifically loosing both of my parents, that really made me want to take control of my true self and now I just keep working incredibly hard to get keep reaching the new goals I like to set myself every year.  I know that the purpose of my soul is to make a change in some way and that way, specifically, is through my writing. I don't care about making money or fame or the notoriety.  I have everything in the world that I could possibly want or need (well, apart from that Art Deco house!)  

In actual fact, that's the way that I was brought up: my parents made it very clear to us that they were only responsible for our basic needs - everything else we had to go out and work for.  It was brutal but it set us up for life!   It means that I'm not materialist and I am more socially aware: I believe that, in order to receive, you have to first give.  That's was just something I grew up with because my kundalini had been raised from a very young age and I'm beginning to appreciate that philosophy more as I get older.  Today, I've agreed to sponsor a charity that is being run by a friend of mine that provides financial assistance to the families of young girls in Bangladesh that are attending school.  It's all about keeping the equilibrium going.  Of course, I struggle with the world around me and, I suppose, that's why I've outgrown everyone I knew in my twenties...ever decreasing circles, as they say, as you get older!  If I have something that another person needs more than I do, I would rather they have it.  I've decided to pass on my inheritance to other family members who need it more than I do. That sort of thing.  It's about stocking up good karma but karma is actually the essence of a person's being.  You can have good karma or you can have bad karma and it's how you choose to conduct yourself: with or without a conscience.

I'm very lucky because I have finally arrived at this point in my life with my career, my writing and my personal life that I am finally able to say yes and no to whomever I choose to let into my life.  Like most, I've had my fair share of toxicity so you learn to appreciate the goodness that comes when it does and to really cherish it.  It does require work though, to maintain it, but I've gone so past caring about the approval of others.  Who cares, really?  I mean - the only ones that should matter are those that love you for who your are and vice-versa.  As far as my writing and general contact with people, especially the younger generation goes, I find that I am pressing some buttons and that's super exciting for me as a writer who wants to communicate certain messages very strongly through my writing.  Of all the students I have taught in my 8 years of teaching, I can honestly say that I have never felt a disconnect: I've always managed to get them to access me as a person and as a teacher as well as being able to communicate myself and my ideas to them.  I find that some of them are beginning to question a lot their realities and the world around them and I like that a lot!  So who knows how many more buttons I will press and what effect my writing will have in the future?

6.  What's your favorite hot beverage?  ha actually, what do you do for fun, other than writing?

6.) Ha ha ha...that's a sudden departure...getting bored are you!  Ha ha ha...well, let's see....erm I'm in Rooibos Tea at the moment - or PG Tips or Tetley's (British readers will know what that is).  Other than that, I am really into this Hazelnut coffee at the moment which comes freeze-dried...I culture, right? (actually) I like going to Museums and Art Galleries and at the moment I really miss hanging with my friends in the UK - going for coffee, meals out, that sort of thing.  Most of my time is currently taken up with my main job: I long for the day when I can leave teaching (though it pays well in The Netherlands) to become a full-time writer!

7.  I noticed there is no dedication in your book, this is usually something writers look forward to.  I'm curious as to why you choose not to dedicate your book…and since this is my signature last question I'll simply have to ask you, if you could leave us with one now…what would you like to say?

7) Do you know what?  I completely forgot!  I went back to check and I thought.....nooooooooooooooooo..... I did a dedication in Zeek and the Hoodies, though, and you're's one of those things writers love to do so I take great pleasure in dedicating it:
 ''To all the Truthers out there; To all the Light Warriors and anyone else pushing against the Darkness.  Hang in there."

From Zeek and the Hoodies
Enn Kae was born in a small town in the north-west of England to immigrant parents. When he was 11, his family moved to live in Scotland. At the age of 21, after graduating with a Masters in English from Dundee University (he also studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a year), he left Scotland to live in England. He lived and worked there until 2012 when he left the damp isle for political and spiritual reasons. He has worked in many guises: office worker; car insurance salesman and, for the past 7 years, as an English teacher. He has taught one of the most vulnerable groups in Britain: socially disadvantaged young people at risk of exclusion. His stories evoke the sense of isolation and alienation that he encountered whilst growing up in the UK and they are also inspired by the kids he taught. He currently resides in The Netherlands with his partner and family of animals and he teaches English at a university in Rotterdam. He cites his main influences as African-American history and literature; Frantz Fanon; Noam Chomsky; Edward Said; Jean Baudrillard; Ayn Rand; William Blake and Prince, the musician

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1 comment:

  1. Thank You ever so much for taking the time to host/interview. Ever indebted.