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Harrisburg University Professor Dr. Robert Furey loves to travel and explore.

Not just in the physical sense.

Some of Furey’s most memorable adventures take place in his head and are recounted in the scores of fiction and nonfiction stories he has published throughout the years.

Writing is one of Furey’s biggest passions. Since he can remember, the Integrative Sciences professor has used creative writing as an escape that provides the freedom and ability to explore new places, even if those places are inside the confines of his head. The escape has led to quite a prolific writing career. He has written and published short stories in nearly every genre, he pens a regular column for Aeon Magazine, and he has nearly completed two novels that are currently in the final editing stage.

One of Furey’s latest writing adventures, “The Sad and Bloody Stones of Kerrigan’s Keep,” appears in a recently published anthology of short stories titled, “Over Hill Over Dale.”

“The Sad and Bloody Stones of Kerrigan’s Keep” is a ghost tale based on a real trip Furey took with friends to Ireland which, as Furey puts it, is a ghost story that “is absolutely true, until it isn’t. Readers will have to decide where that point happens.”

The story recounts Furey’s travels to King Kerrigan’s castle, where the murderous king is said to have buried victims of his bloodshed under the floor stones in the castle’s keep to conceal the treachery of his actions. He finds Kerrigan’s Keep and finds that loyalty is a powerful thing, and broken loyalties transcend time.  

Always looking to hone his craft, Furey submitted the story for “Over Hill Over Dale” as he attended a year-long writing workshop dubbed Story Makers at Cupboard Maker Books in Enola, where the book is now available for purchase.

 We recently caught up with Furey to discuss the story and learn more about his creative writing endeavors. The conversation is below:

Q:  Where did the inspiration for “The Sad and Bloody Stones of Kerrigan’s Keep” come from?

A: Well, it’s funny because even though it’s a ghost story, it is absolutely true – until it isn’t.  Readers will have to decide where that point happens in the tale, but essentially the story recounts a road trip in Ireland I took with friends in search of Kerrigan’s Keep.  We wanted to see for ourselves. The people and events in the story are true.

Q:  Can you briefly tell us about your writing career so far? Other stories/books published?

A: I have had a modicum of success with my fiction and nonfiction.  Two of my short stories have been produced to feature length films, and I sold the rights to a short story that may become an episode in a new paranormal series.  We’ll see.  I’ve been a solicited writer in a number of anthologies as well as writing-oriented collections.  I have had my nonfiction in collections.  I have also been the editor for two science fiction magazines, currently with Hard Universe online.

Q: Tell us about the class you took and the development of the Over Hill Over Dale book? When and where did the class take place? When is the book due to be published and how will readers be able to buy/view it? Who is publishing it?

A: I’ve been involved with several writers’ classes/workshops. Clarion West was the first real workshop I attended.  It was a Seattle-based six-week boot camp for science fiction writers.  I attended the Young Gunns science fiction workshops at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas, once in the short story workshop and then later for the novel writing group.  This recent workshop, Story Makers, was offered through the Cupboard Maker Bookstore in Enola.  It was a year-long workshop that unfortunately got disrupted by COVID. I heard about the upcoming call for stories and submitted a ghost story.  Copies are available at the bookstore now and will be available online soon, but that URL has not been announced yet.

Q: How long have you been writing stories? Do you tend to write short stories, longform? And what are the genres you focus on?

A: I’ve been writing stories my whole life. It wasn’t until graduate school that I started to learn the writing after the writing was maybe the most important part. As for fiction, all my published works are short stories (although there are a few poems out there too). I have two novels currently in that rewriting stage with publishers interested in each. If pressed, I would call myself a science fiction writer, but I have written and published Lovecraftian, horror, fantasy, comedy, and literary fiction.  What I like to do is switch genres when I have a hard time moving along.  Genre switching is the best tool I’ve ever found for writer’s block.

“Over Hill Over Dale,” featuring “The Sad and Bloody Stones of Kerrigan’s Keep,” is available for purchase at Cupboard Maker Books, 157 N. Enola Road, Enola. A PDF copy of the story can be found at this link.

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