Guest Author Interview: Kevin Henry by Cassiel Knight

Please join me in welcoming Kevin Henry. I love all of our guest authors but I’m so pleased to have the occasional male perspective. Please sit back and enjoy Kevin’s tale of his publication journey.

Coming February 2013

What a long, strange trip it’s been. I vividly remember sitting in a meeting during my first real job after college and being asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you want to be doing?” We were required to write it down on a tiny slip of paper. I guess if we were still there five years down the road, our boss would give us back the paper. I didn’t last in the job that long, but I distinctly remember writing “I want to be a published writer.” That’s all I wrote and that was about thirty years ago.

Life goes on. I was always going to be the next great… and you can fill in the blank here yourself from any of the long list of Sci-Fi or Mystery writers I have posted on my web site. Everything I thought of seemed to be a pale imitation of the writers that I admired. I struggled to be original. I tended to start a story, but never get very far with it. It was just not as interesting as the people I was reading. I kept most of my creative writing limited to the assorted grant application, additional resource requests and the occasional insert in my resume.

Things changed about two years ago. I was just sitting quietly, watching something on TV, probably on the History or Discovery channel. I began thinking about some of the history I had experienced and started thinking about the history I wish I could have lived through or seen. I imagined all the places I would like to visit and the times I could have visited there. Within a matter of minutes, the idea for the first segment of Amber Gifts was in my head. My editor says I should be calling them Chapters, but some are rather short, so for today, I’ll call them segments.

I wrote the first part quickly and then the rest just began to flow. Whenever I began to slow down or I wasn’t sure what should come next I’d jump to another time and place and write something I wanted to include. The end game finally arrived when I knitted all the parts together and had one complete story. The whole process, start to finish took about two months. I was very excited that I had finally finished a story I had started.

The next self-battle I hurdled was to find the guts to send it to a real live publisher. I used Piers Anthony’s web site to get the address of online publishers. I also have a friend who has been writing erotic romances for years, Samantha Lucas. Samantha was very supportive and read through the story, encouraging me to submit it. She has around twenty books to her credit and she guided me to the first publisher, who fairly quickly rejected it. The second submission went to Champagne Books and they picked it up. The rest, as they say, is history.

What’s the funniest thing to happen to you along your road to publication and what was the most exciting?

The most exciting is the easiest to tell. It is a combination of finishing the first story and then having someone agree to publish it. That combination of events was enough to cause me to be almost impossible to be around for close to a week. “Have I mentioned I have a story that’s going to be published?” People, complete strangers would cross the street to avoid me. It was pretty sad, but I didn’t care. I could start calling myself a (soon-to-be) published author.

As for the funniest, I guess it would be when I opened my manuscript for the first round of edits. I started the story by quoting one of my favorite lines from a Doctor Who episode (Season 3 of the newest incarnation, episode entitled Blink). I discovered a note from my editor, obviously a Whovian as well. It made me smile so much to realize that I could make a connection with another writer/editor. It also made me laugh. It was a very good day. I also learned two interesting things in my first session of edits. I love the word ‘had’. I used it about nine times in one particular paragraph. I’m not sure that’s a record, but I feel it should be. The other thing is that I seem to have an aversion to commas. I probably doubled the number of commas in that first edit. My editor deserves combat pay.

What has been the most challenging thing related to publishing you’ve had to deal with on your journey?

I guess my biggest challenge is that I’m a rookie. I haven’t gone through this process before. I find it all very exciting but also a tad bit intimidating, even a bit scary. It took me a few days to even open the email that contained my story for the first round of edits. I was so nervous. Once I read the encouraging things my editor said, I felt a lot better. I haven’t hesitated to open, read and respond to anything since then. It was just a hurdle I had to get over.

I’m ready to do it again too. Once I can retrieve the second story from my trusty band of proofreaders I’ll be submitting that book also. I’ve completed two novellas and a short story all within the Amber Gifts universe. I’m looking forward to writing at least two more stories.

Who is your favorite author, and what are you currently reading?

I guess I should first ask… living or dead?

Living authors would be Dean Koontz and his Odd Thomas series and Jim Butcher with his Dresden Files series. I love them both. I guess it’s why I have completed those additional novellas and short story in the Amber Gifts universe. I’m a sucker for a series. I’m also a big fan of a lot of writers for television and the movies. It’s a long list. On my blog site, I wrote a post about who I’d like to invite over for dinner. Most of them are included there.

As for our dearly departed authors, I grew up reading most of the people who are considered the classics by now. The two whom I was the most rabid to read were Arthur C. Clarke (1917- 2008) and Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988). I would always get those two authors newest books as soon as they became available. There were a lot of other writers who influenced me. I have a list. Someday I intend on dedicating one of my stories to all those influential writers who have gone from this world.

If your novel Amber Gifts was made into a movie, who would play the roles of your hero and heroine?

I’m a firm believer in what Hemingway once said about writing and Hollywood. At least the Internet attributes the quote to him. He said, “You drive up to the California border. The producers are on the other side. You throw them the manuscript and they throw you the check. Then you drive away fast.” I like the simplicity of that system. I’ve seen enough movies ‘based on’ a work by an author to know it may not have any resemblance to the original.

I would honestly like to see two unknown actors in the role of Mitchell and Crystin. That way they are not carrying a lot of baggage from other impressions they’ve made on the viewing audience. I suspect they would cast someone young for both roles. I’m not a good judge on younger talent these days. I’m more of an Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched) and William Hopper (He played Paul Drake on Perry Mason) kind of guy.

As you can see, stories related to time travel come very easily to me.


Posted on February 5, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great interview – very insigthful


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