This is continuing feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule.
Q. Hi Chris, welcome to Fantasy Authors Unplugged on Archer’s Aim. What motivated you to begin writing fantasy?
A. Hi P.H., thanks for having me. The decision to write fantasy was an easy one for me. I grew up reading fantasy and playing Dungeons and Dragons, and it was always something that I wanted to do. To me, though, writing fantasy is more difficult than writing some of the other genres, so it wasn’t the first book I wrote; I needed to develop my craft a little first. My first book was actually a military fiction book called “Red Tide: the Chinese Invasion of Seattle.” Having been in the navy for 20 years, it was something I knew and thought I could do well.
Q. What’s your current book and the brief synopsis?
A. My fantasy book is called, “Can’t Look Back,” and it’s the full length novel I wrote to follow the short story “Chasing a Spectre.” In the current book, John Gatsby is falsely accused of a crime by creatures from a world of magic, and follows the real perpetrator through a mirror in an effort to clear his name. John immediately finds himself in a world at war, where magic is real, and is drawn into a quest that will save the world…or extinguish everything good in it forever.
Q. After the earth laps the sun about five more times, what writing goals do you want to have accomplished?
A. In five years, I’d like to have sold a million books. I know that seems like a lot, but I sold over 40,000 last year, without really knowing what I was doing, and while I was doing it part time. At some point in the next year or two, I would like to start writing full time and, if I do, I think I can sell one million books in the next five years.
Q. What does your main character fear the most?
A. My main character most fears not knowing what to do. He is presented with a world where magic is real and has to figure it out if he is going to complete the quest. Even though it isn’t his world, he has a stake in it, as he doesn’t have a way back to his world. If the world dies, he does, too.
Q. What makes you say, “That’s a good book”?
A. I like a good story, with lots of action. With 20 years as a naval aviator, I also love stories that have an element of self-sacrifice for the team—people that are willing to do what it takes so that the group can survive.
Q. What activities generate creative energy for you?
A. Ever since I started writing, I now find stories in the most every-day things. I love a good challenge, where someone says, it would be really cool if… and then I go and bring it into the book. For example, when I was writing “Can’t Look Back,” one of my readers (from the U.K.) said, “I served on the HMS Hydra. It would be really cool if you had a hydra in your book.” Bang! Done! If you look at the cover of the book, you will see a beautiful paladin fighting…you guessed it, a hydra.
Q. How do you decide what you want as a book cover and how did you find your cover artist/designer?
A. I absolutely love the cover of “Can’t Look Back,” which was created by a designer I found on 99Designs.com. I posted the descriptions of several characters and told the designers that I wanted one of the characters fighting one of the hydra heads. They could put more in the background if they wanted, but they didn’t have to. The winning designer, Lee Dunning, chose to focus on one character and her battle with one of the hydra heads. Quite simply, it’s stunning. I knew I had a winner when my wife, who doesn’t like fantasy, came up behind me. She saw the cover and said, “That is really cool. I’d pick up that book.” If it could make my wife pick it up, it was definitely a winner.
Q. What insights have you gained that you can share with newer authors?
A. Before my first book, people always thought that I wasn’t very creative. With seven books and almost 50,000 copies sold, though, I think I’ve proven them wrong. What I would tell newer authors is to not let other people define them. If they have a story within themselves, they should write it down and take a chance on it. Self-publishing is very possible these days, and it is a great way to make some extra money. If they have questions about how to start, they can check out the book I wrote on self-publishing, or get one of the others that exist on the market. Don’t just jump into it without learning the process, though, or you’ll be disappointed. Make sure you have a plan, and you can be successful, too.
Bio & Links
A bestselling Science Fiction/Fantasy author and speaker, Chris Kennedy is a former naval aviator with over 3,000 hours flying attack and reconnaissance aircraft. Chris is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an advisory board member of Hampton Roads Writers.
Chris’ full length novels include the “Occupied Seattle” military fiction duology, “The Theogony” and “Codex Regius” science fiction trilogies, and the “War for Dominance” fantasy trilogy. He is also the author of the self-help book, “Self-Publishing for Profit” and the forthcoming leadership book “Leadership from the Darkside.” Called “fantastic” and “a great speaker,” he has coached hundreds of beginning authors and budding novelists on how to self-publish their stories at a variety of conferences, conventions and writing guild presentations.
Catch up with Chris and join his mailing list at http://chriskennedypublishing.com. You can also find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/chriskennedypublishing.biz and on Twitter at @ChrisKennedy110.
Book Sales: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PXK8OPA
Amazon Author Site: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00E4MIJA8
Thanks to Chris for the interview and please take some time to support his work. If you’re a fantasy author and would like to be interviewed for “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” just contact me via email or one of my social media channels and we’ll set one up.
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