Can we expect more books from you in the future? As I’ve said, I’ve already written four novels. A Third Time to Die is my 2nd. The other two are my Al Warner detective series, which I hope to publish with GnD Publishers over the next year or so. I’m now busy promoting a 3rd Time to Die, so I haven’t even started with editors on the Warner series.
How important do you think villains are in a story? Pretty hard to have suspense without a villain, isn’t it? I guess villains don’t have to always be people, though. It can be weather, as in “A Perfect Storm,” or a short story I wrote, A Lucky Coincidence, available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CEFXT1Q) . Or it can be location, like the story of the climber who had to cut off his arm to escape a boulder, pinning him down. But you NEED a villain.
I attended a fiction writing seminar by famed fiction agent, Donald Maass, and when discussing plot, he asked, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” After we wrote down our calamity, he asked, “Now, what can be WORSE than that?” and then, “What can be EVEN WORSE than that?” That’s how you create tension for your characters, and it’s not something to be conquered in a few sentences… or even a page. Danger has to be strung out, getting worse and worse… until it gets better.
What writing are you most proud of? I think the response I’ve had, with over forty 5-Star & 4-Star reviews (many from professional reviewers and book clubs) for my first novel, Trapped. Not just that they loved the story… that they couldn’t put it down (one reader wrote me she couldn’t get her housework done, another that she read the ending THREE TIMES, she loved it so much)… but the frequent complements on how well I write. There are many reviews citing how they loved the way I describe and build the characters, how I drew them into her love and her terror. One reader I know said, “I want to marry Kevin,” and she’s a married woman. It’s wonderful to feel so validated about the real quality of your writing… not just your ability to tell a story.
What’s the hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? How about all of the above? Well, not so much writing. That generally comes pretty easily for me, once started. But it took 22 years to get my first novel, Trapped, published, and that only happened after I won TAG Publishers “Next Great American Novel” Contest. Prior to that, I had probably 80 rejections from agents and editors. Small potatoes, compared to someone like Louis L’Amour (Americas greatest Western Writer, with 89 novels published), who was reputedly rejected 350 times! But it’s still not easy to get conventionally published. Agents really aren’t interested in you unless you’ve got a track record, and that becomes the classic Chicken or the Egg quandary.
Marketing is tough, because most of us are writers, not publicists. It’s hard work to develop the experience and skill to market your work, and publishers do next to nothing to help. My first novel, Trapped, has had Best Seller review response, and in fact, did jump into the Amazon Top 100 in November, 2012. Still, sales aren’t reflecting the praises it’s received, and it’s a struggle to get public recognition. Readers may leave reviews at Amazon and Goodreads, where it also has loads of 4 and 5-Star reviews, but until they start pushing it on Facebook, Twitter, etc., sales aren’t keeping up with those praises.
How often do you write, and when do you write? When I’m into a novel, I usually write even day for a few hours, at least. I prefer writing in the morning, after breakfast. That’s when I seem to be most creative. When I’m in a “zone,” I’ll often write past lunch-time, without stopping. I’ll keep going until I’m too hungry to think.
I use the afternoons for editing and story review, and follow-up on any other projects I may have underway at the time. Then I need some time with my wife and the rest of the family.
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Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG13
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