Cover Reveal – Like Broken China

It’s here! The moment we’ve all (but mostly I’ve) been waiting for! My third novel, Like Broken China, is being launched on November 21st and I’m pumped to be able to reveal the cover art today. A huge thanks to Alyssa at Uplifting Designs for the mountain of patience she had with me and for creating a cover that I absolutely love. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

LikeBrokenChinaWEBcover

Interview with Kenneth Kelly

Kenneth Kelly, co-author of the novel Virtue Inverted, joins us today to discuss his writing inspirations.

What genre do you write and why?

I dabble in Science Fiction, but I primarily write fantasy. Science Fiction is all about high tech gadgets, science, space travel…things that could possibly be in our own world or worlds very similar.  You have to have a good idea of scientific theories, astrology, and modern advances in space travel.  You have to follow certain ‘rules’ if you expect the reader to take you seriously, and while I’m up for a challenge, I prefer my writing to have a bit more freedom for creativity.  That’s what I like about fantasy: having more freedom.  That doesn’t mean I can write whatever story I darn well please.  Fantasy writing still has to have a certain verisimilitude, but it’s not as confined by research and ‘correctness’ of what constitutes good science fiction.  You can experiment a bit more with fantasy.  The rustic, woodland settings, sword and sorcery, outrageous monsters, things that aren’t possible and defy laws of physics and have no explanation and don’t need one; I can create the rules of the worlds my stories take place in.  With fantasy I can let my imagination go crazy in a way other genres wouldn’t permit.

Tell us about your latest book.

Virtue Inverted started off as a story I began in high school. I was very proud of it, showing it off to all my friends and English teachers.  But it wasn’t anywhere close to the work it is now.  Benny Clout’s character was essentially the same, but almost everything else (setting, plot, characters, etc.) was unrecognizable to how it is now.  After I graduated and began college, I quickly realized it wasn’t the masterpiece I’d hoped it would be and sat on it for a few years until I contacted Piers Anthony in 2015 in regards to another book I’d written.  We began to discuss this old story of mine, collaborated and before I knew it we’d completed Virtue Inverted and the following installments.  I don’t want to discuss too much of the story, but I’ll describe it as a hard hitting vampire fantasy.  However, it’s not your typical vampire story.

Who are your favorite authors?

This is a hard question because there are so many writers I admire. I’m obviously a big Piers Anthony fan, and I love the big names of sci-fi/fantasy like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Stephen King.  I love the more modern, popular writers like Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, David Farland, etc.  But there are a lot of lesser known writers I don’t feel received the recognition they deserved: John Bellairs,  H. Beam Piper, Niel Hancock, Brad Munson, and John Ruskin.  If I typed the names of every writer I consider a favorite this interview would go on forever.  An easier question would probably be “which writers aren’t your favorite?”

What advice do you have for other writers?

Keep writing and never give up. It’s hard to become well established as a published writer; I’m still working on that.  If one project doesn’t take off, set it aside and move on to the next.  You’re first big idea won’t always take off like a jet plane, so don’t become discouraged if your ‘magnum opus’ doesn’t get the reception you think it should.  Look at my example: it took over half a decade and the aid of a bestselling writer before Virtue Inverted was picked up by a publisher.  Also remember that I got lucky, and not everyone will get the chance to write with a man like Piers Anthony like I did. So I’ll go back a hundred times to the same advice: don’t give up and keep writing no matter what!  It’s easy to let everyday life and limited success steal your motivation.  Don’t let it happen.  The only way to be a writer is to write.

What’s your favorite quote about writing/for writers?

A now deceased English teacher, poet and father figure of mine, Kurt Van Wilt, once told me “write what you know.” I’ll remember this advice after everything else is forgotten.  You have to know what you’re writing about, even in a genre like fantasy.  I’ve never served in the military let alone gone to war, and I’ve never devoted much research to the idea, so for me to write a novel from the point of view of a soldier as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, or something similar, would be ludicrous and any readers who have experienced this would pick up on it.  It’s sort of like that.  Writing what you know is what makes your work believable and gives it credibility.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

I’d have to say Dale Beranger. He’s a tortured soul with a complicated past, who was a well seasoned adventurer who could handle any situation imaginable at any given time.  You never know what to expect with him.  Having him as a main antagonist and villain is what I feel makes Virtue Inverted the story it is.  I’ve always thought that the villain of a story is what made it compelling, and my own work is no exception.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

Virtue Inverted is a compelling, fast paced and action packed story. I know how much I hate a boring book, and I don’t want readers to find my work dull. The narrative is complex, with many twists and turns that will keep the reader on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Who Designed the Cover?

The cover for Virtue Inverted was done by Mitchell Bentley from Atomic Fly Studios.  I stumbled across his website a while back and loved his work.  So, Piers and I agreed to let him to the cover for our works.  I came up with the general idea for the cover, which Mr. Bentley used to design the finished art.

Who inspires you?

A short, simple answer would be God, family and friends. So many people have aided and supported me throughout my writing and life. My parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and friends, living and dead, have always pushed me to give nothing less than my 110% at any task I set before me.  I feel compelled to make them proud, and to help others in the way they’ve helped me.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

It may seem like a childish inspiration, but an old VHS tape is what inspired me to become a writer. When I was a toddler, a neighbor gave me some old video tapes full of old cartoons that I would watch on a daily basis.  As a child, I was mesmerized by the colors, characters, places and things I saw, and I would become lost in these amazing worlds I witnessed.  This inspired me as a child to create and tell stories to my parents, who would write my tales down before I knew how to write.  There were few things that stirred my soul more than a compelling story.  Each movie or book I watched or read became a real place, with real friends where I escape the boredom of everyday life.  They kept me motivated and gave me something to live for.  Every story I watch or read inspires me to this day, but it was those old VHS tapes, which I still have, that set me on the path to become a writer, so that I could help inspire and motivate others with my own work.

Kenneth Kelly

 

 

 

Interview with Author Piers Anthony

Piers Anthony is one of the world’s most popular fantasy authors, and a New York Times bestseller twenty-times over. His Xanth novels have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world.

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. If I lost my memory and had my choice of reading matter, I hope my favorite would be Piers Anthony. I try to write what I would like to read. As for other authors, I have admired many in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields, from Robert A Heinlein on down. I am also an admirer of the plays of George Bernard Shaw, and not just because he was a vegetarian.

Q. What advice do you have for other writers?

A. Publishing is changing so much now that much of what I might say would become dated about ten minutes after I wrote it. So I’ll just say read and study the genre you are in, keep writing and improving, and may the world go well with thee.

Q. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

A. For me the best thing is getting to exercise my imagination and being independent. I can’t be fired for someone else’s mistakes.

Q. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?

A. It used to be dealing with publishers, who were like insensitive robots interested only in money, regardless what they claimed. But the old order is passing and the new publishers I am dealing with are generally more compatible. Some of them even like good fiction. So now the hardest thing is facing the prospect of my declining ability with advancing age. I’m not capable of simply letting it go and retiring. So when I no longer write well, I hope I am the first, not the last to know it.

Q. Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

A. My web site is http://www.hipiers.com where I have a monthly column, commenting on whatever is on my mind, and background information on my titles. I have also written two autobiographical books: Bio of an Ogre and How Precious Was That While.

Q. Where can a reader purchase your book?

A. From wherever the publisher puts it.       

Q. What are you doing to market the book?

A. Precious little. I’m a writer, not a marketer.

Q. Who inspires you?

A.  The world inspires me.

Q. Have you written other books? Where can readers purchase them?

A. I have written about 175 other books. Readers can find many of them listed on Amazon. Many readers like my Xanth fantasy series, which now number 42 novels, not all in print yet.

Q. Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

 A. I needed to decide on my college major. I pondered a day and a night, and it came to me: I wanted to be a writer. It was like a light turning on and it has guided me ever since.

Q. Does your family support you in your writing career? How?

 A. My wife supported me. She went to work so I could stay home and try to be a writer. That was when I broke through with my first story sale – for $20.00. But it led to greater things, in time.

Q. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

A. Writing is my passion and my life. All else feels like dross. But I do make the meals and wash the dishes, as my wife is infirm. I also like to play cards on the computer, mainly Free Cell, which I believe is the best card game ever.

Q. What is your favorite line from a movie?

A. Great lines in movies are myriad, but it’s the quiet personal ones that get to me the most that others may not even notice. There was one whose title I don’t remember, where a man, a widower, got a girlfriend he was considering marrying. His early teen daughter lived with him. When the woman made them a meal, the man told the teen to do the dishes. The girlfriend intervened. “No, she doesn’t have to do that. I’ll do it.” Why?  “She’s your daughter and I want her to like me.” That disarming candor surely ensured that the girl would like the woman.

Q. What do you like to snack on while you write?

A. I maintain my college weight, and I exercise seriously. I don’t eat between meals. I’m pretty fit for my age, pushing 82, and mean to stay that way.

Q. When you walk into a book store, where is the first place you go?

A. The last local book store closed down.

Q. What is the funniest thing that you’ve been asked during an interview?

A. At the moment I’m not thinking of anything funny in an interview. But I was amused by a sentence in my fan mail: “Ha! Caught you reading fan mail!”

            Sometimes I do learn things from my fan mail.

            I had a suicidally depressive girl in one of my novels (Virtual Mode, if you must know) who regularly cut her wrists so that they bled. So she wore red bands on her wrists to conceal the blood. A reader wrote that I had it wrong: blood dries black, so she needed black wristlets. I suspect she spoke from experience.

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Book Dedications

Hi Everyone!

Although I realize that I’ve been MIA over the last little while, I’d like to assure you that I’m still very much alive and well. Life got in the way as it so easily does and I had to shelf the blog for a little bit. That being said, I will do my best to post more regularly (pinkie promise, as my children would say).

Since I’m currently trying to word the dedication for my third novel (easier said than done), I’ve decided to feature my top ten book dedications.

 

  1. Austenland, by Shannon Hale

 

For Colin Firth

You’re a really great guy, but I’m married, so I think we should just be friends.

 

  1. Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

You know how it is. You pick up a book, flip to the dedication, and find that, once again, the author has dedicated a book to someone else and not to you. Not this time. Because we haven’t yet met/have only a glancing acquaintance/are just crazy about each other/haven’t seen each other in much too long/are in some way related/will never meet, but will, I trust, despite that, always think fondly of each other! This one’s for you. With you know what, and you probably know why.

 

  1. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

Dear Pat, You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?” I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.” “What for?” “To put things in.” “What kind of things?” “Whatever you have,” you said. Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation. And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you. And still the box is not full. JOHN

 

  1. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint Exupery

To Leon Werth I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books about children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate the book to the child from whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children—although few of them remember it. And so I correct my dedication:

To Leon Werth, When he was a little boy

 

6. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson

 

I want to thank everyone who helped me create this book, except for that guy who yelled at me in Kmart when I was eight because he thought I was being “too rowdy.”

You’re an asshole, sir.

 

5. The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

 

To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys.

 

4. Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Neil Gaiman

 

Because she’s threatened me with consequences too dreadful to consider if I don’t dedicate a book to her…

And because she’s taken to starting every transatlantic conversation with “Have you dedicated a book to me yet?”…

I would like to dedicate this book to intelligent life forms everywhere.

And to my sister, Claire.

 

3. The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer

 

To Grandma,

For being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: “Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer.”

 

2. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
To Lucy Barfield

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather,

C.S. Lewis

 

1. A Series of Unfortunate Events(books 1–13), by Lemony Snicket
To Beatrice– darling, dearest, dead. (The Bad Beginning: Book The First)

 

For Beatrice– My love for you shall live forever. You, however, did not. (The Reptile Room: Book The Second)

 

For Beatrice– I would much prefer it if you were alive and well. (The Wide Window: Book The Third)

 

To Beatrice– My love flew like a butterfly Until death swooped down like a bat As the poet Emma Montana McElroy said: “That’s the end of that.” (The Miserable Mill: Book The Fourth) 

 

For Beatrice– You will always be in my heart, In my mind, And in your grave. (The Austere Academy: Book The Fifth)

 

For Beatrice– When we met my life began, Soon afterward, yours ended. (The Ersatz Elevator: Book The Sixth)

 

For Beatrice– When we were together I felt breathless. Now you are. (The Vile Village: Book The Seventh)

 

For Beatrice– Summer without you is as cold as winter. Winter without you is even colder. (The Hostile Hospital: Book The Eighth)

 

For Beatrice– Our love broke my heart, and stopped yours. (The Carnivorous Carnival: Book The Ninth)

 

For Beatrice– When we first met, you were pretty, and I was lonely. Now I am pretty lonely. (The Slippery Slope: Book The Tenth)

 

For Beatrice– Dead women tell no tales. Sad men write them down. (The Grim Grotto: Book The Eleventh)

 

For Beatrice— No one could extinguish my love, or your house. (The Penultimate Peril: Book The Twelfth)

 

For Beatrice— I cherished, you perished. The world’s been nightmarished. (The End: Book The Thirteenth)