Bios for authors Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
Between the two of them, Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall have worked in writing jobs ranging from cowboy-poet to science journalist to restaurant reviewer to university press officer. After they met, their fiction writing career took center stage when they wrote the first book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection as a test for marriage. They passed.
The book—A Very Unusual Romance—was picked up by Llewellyn with a first edition published in 1999, making it among the earliest stories in the resurgence of the undead myth pegged to modern life. In 2010, Midnight Ink, a new Llewellyn imprint, issued a second edition of the novel. Clark and Kathleen went on to write three more books in the series.
Clark and Kathleen have more recently embarked on a provocative and timely new series that reimagines the life of Bonnie and Clyde, casting them as defenders of the working class.
Clark and Kathleen have won several writing awards, including a Pushcart Prize nomination (Clark) and a fiction fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts (Kathleen). The books in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection have been honored with a Best Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, Best Books of 2016 by IndieReader and a Silver IPPY Medalist in horror for 2017.
Ten fun things
- Clark's short-lived Ask-A-Cowboy column was a big hit with the romantically-lovelorn on the rodeo circuit. There's an archive of the advice over at www.cowboyandvampire.com.
- Kathleen is not a fan, in fact she is an anti-fan, of theatrical intermissions and the muppets.
- Clark accidentally shot himself on the day of his high school prom in Whitehall, Montana, bleeding through his sky-blue rented tuxedo. Despite this, he is an excellent marksman and a staunch supporter of gun safety.
- Kathleen had a Near Death Experience after being thrown through the windshield of a Chevy van in Reading, Pennsylvania during a very, very bad crash. That is probably why she's experimented throughout her life with mind-altering substances (trying to get back there) and is obsessed with the mystery of human conciousness.
- As a child, and despite being born in Texas, Clark won a contest for best Scottish brogue while reciting poet Robby Burns just after his father drilled the first oil well in the North Sea.
- Kathleen worked as a geologist for many years in the international consulting world hived in Washington, D.C., working on projects related to tar sands, shales and coalbed methane. She intends to visit every active volcano in the world.
- Clark is a vegan chef of inestimable talent (ask Kathleen) and a connoisseur of whiskey and scotch.
- Clark grew up on a 5,000-acre ranch, spending most of his young life wandering the Montana mountains and grasslands alone and shooting stuff (mostly gophers, and himself; see #3). This may account for his occasional surly reticence around people, and poetic nature, and likely why he is a vegan (1,000 squirrels screaming).
- Clark and Kathleen believe fervently in the combined power of kindness mixed with active, vocal sometimes in-your-face dissent, and try to live modestly by philosophical choice believing that wealth accumulation and consumerism are false roads to meaning, while reading voraciously to both challenge assumptions and expand knowledge.
- Clark and Kathleen are exceptionally proud parents, and are grateful for how their daughter (and nieces, nephews and their friends) keep them passably hip (which, by virtue of stating it, obviously means they are not at all hip).
A native of Texas, Clark received a B.A. in history from Montana State University. He has published poetry and short fiction in a number of journals. Professionally, he worked for Portland-based Central City Concern (an advocacy organization for the homeless) as a senior grant writer, and later as a senior writer and strategist for an international financial services corporation. Clark lived all over the world as a kid, following his father's profession as a wildcat oil drilling engineer, eventually landing in Montana where he spent his formative years on the family ranch.
Kathleen received a B.S. in geology from George Washington University and a M.A. in Communications/Film Studies from The American University. She worked as a petroleum geologist before transitioning to writing. Her work in journalism has been widely published, with articles focused on energy, the environment and bioscience. For more than a decade, she served in multiple communications positions at Oregon Health & Science University, including press officer and crisis communications, before settling in as director of communications and senior advisor to the dean at the School of Medicine. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C.
Clark and Kathleen now live in Portland, Oregon.