Ken Spears author of the Step Patrick YA thriller novels has finished something new and yes, thrilling!
“How Deep the Night” is a compilation of short stories featuring normal people spontaneously catapulted into the unpredictable. The author promises terrifying ghosts and meteorites falling from the sky in his first venture away from the young adult reading audience.
Book Signing: Tuesday, May 26 2015 at Stoughton House of Brews, 9 a.m.
Ken Spears is known in local circles for his Step Patrick series; the adventures of a youth battling foes of the supernatural kind with his family, friends and neighbors. One monster under the bed isn’t all this twelve year old has in store for him. (Carved in Stone published in 2013).
And if that isn’t trouble enough an ancient evil rears its mysterious head in Step Patrick’s young life by the second installment. (In Hollow Trees published in 2014).
In a short impromptu Q & A session the author agreed to give some helpful advice to aspiring authors that are hoping to become published. And, also gave his fans some exciting up and coming news:
1. Q – Writing thrillers MUST be different than autobiographies, comic books and poetry. What motivated you to write in that genre?
A – This is the candy store of literature; at least, it is to me. I have to admit that I, like many modern writers, have been influenced by some pretty big names. Stephen King is my favorite and I have read just about everything he’s put out. I like Koontz, Straub, Dan Wells and many others that write in that horror/thriller/supernatural genre. I also appreciate the classics like Poe, Lovecraft and HG Wells (mostly the sci-fi stuff). One of my new favorites is CJ Box; not horror but good stuff. We literally have a library in our house with hundreds and hundreds of books.
2. Q – When did you finish your first draft of your first novelette?
A – I began with a story that I had written for my daughter for Christmas called, “Clan of the Tiger” a few years ago. It sounds dangerous but, it’s more Rudyard Kipling meets Lion King. It is based on our playtime activities and the roll playing stories that developed from that. I wanted to give her something from the heart, something uniquely Daddy, and then it was done. She loved it and now I plan on publishing it with some illustrations to go along with it.
The Step Patrick series came next; I wrote the first three stories in a row, one right after the other starting in the late summer of 2012 and finishing by spring 2013.
I originally did not plan on making them YA (young adult). A novelist named Alan Porter read them and said that I really had something if I made it more universal. The young adult readership is exploding and he suggested that I ride that wave. I write everything on my desktop PC using Word.
3. Q – Do you remember what your first goal was when you first began to publish and share your work with the public? Have you reached your goal?
A – Good question. The short answer is ‘yes’. My goal was to get published and have someone read and like my work, preferably someone that I did not know and was not related to. That has happened, many times in fact, so I have reached that particular goal.
My next goal is to continue to work, release more books in the hope that I get picked up by a Simon & Schuster, Penguin, or Harper Collins which will give me the opportunity to write full time. It would be nice to earn enough to pay the household bills doing that through my writing. Making JK Rowling money (over a billion dollars) would be nice, too, but that’s not really necessary.
4. Q – What medium(s) work best for you?
A – I have published on Kindle but I’m old school; I really love paper so my work is available in paperback as well. Someday – hard covers, but right now paperbacks work for me. The Kindle is a nice device, I have a Fire of my own, and it’s great for travelling but nothing beats holding a paper book in your hands.
5. Q – What is the actual writing process like? How do you get your ideas down on paper?
A – I get ideas from anywhere; I could be walking or driving, listening to a song or someone will say something and ‘boom’ there’s a story in there. I try to carry a notebook and write these things down, they may be interesting names or places or actual plot ideas that I could flesh out at a later time.
I tend to write more in the morning, I try to do three pages a day. Sometimes I do more, sometimes less. I start with some notes and maybe an outline and then I’m off. If the story is good, or I have it worked out already, then it almost writes itself. It’s like I’m watching a movie and writing down everything I see and hear. I keep writing until I get everything out then go back over it and begin making changes as needed.
Most stories have been read and reread many times before you will see them published.
6. Q – What would you do differently, knowing what you know now as a published author?
A – I would have started earlier. I enjoy it, I really do. Also, if your goal is to be published, please keep expectations realistic. You probably won’t be Stephen King or JK Rowling (maybe, but not probably) so just concentrate on making your work better. The rest will come.
7. Q – What advice would you consider telling a future novelist?
A – Learn your craft, for one. Take courses in creative writing join writers groups (there are many). I go called “Authonomy” which is promoted by Harper Collins.
Secondly, hire an editor; spend the money. A good editor will help you look better; no one wants to read a story with gaping plot holes and improper punctuation or language use. Good editors have had experience with published works already but some mostly do school papers and the like. Pricing can be from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, so be advised.
8. Q – Do you use the internet to support your work in any way?
A – Absolutely! I use Facebook and other social media to announce releases and personal appearances as well. I have a webpage that is fairly user friendly that has some neat things on it as well as links to purchase the books.
I also belong to several writers clubs or networks, many are available via Facebook but I found several outside of that. One is Rhino Publications and there’s Fiction Terrifica as well. I have also become personally friendly with some authors through these channels and enjoy emailing or the occasional phone call.
9. Q – How is your fan base? Are you satisfied with it?
A – The fan base is a work in progress this is very ‘grass roots’ in method. I probably give away as many books as I sell. I’m less interested in making money as I am getting it into the right hands.
Whatever it takes to put a book into the hands of a reader, do it.
Do public appearances, do interviews, radio shows, television (local if necessary) to get your message out. Donate books to the school and town libraries (if appropriate). In the end, your fan base will grow organically if your work is good and people like it.
I am fortunate that the feedback I get is terrific. The most common thing said about my books is: “I finished it in two days – I couldn’t put it down” and that’s amazing! Makes you want to work harder.
The only thing better is that you get picked up by a major publisher that has the fiscal wherewithal to get your message out quickly and loudly. Still, I like spending time with my fans. I like the fact that I actually have fans!
10. Q – What are some of your upcoming projects?
A – I just released a short story collection called, “How Deep the Night”. It’s a departure from the YA Step Patrick series. I find it interesting; as I was going through some of the older stories I’ve written seeing the change and growth of my writing. Some of the stories I think, are better than others but all of them entertaining and that’s really the point, isn’t it?
Up next is a vampire story called, “Natalia”. It is already through major editing (final editing and proofing are always part of the publishing process) and it’s now in the hands of a publisher that has expressed interest.
Behind that is the book I wrote for my daughter that will be going into editing soon called, “Clan of the Tiger” and suitable for ages 8 and up. This is scheduled to start the editing process very soon.
I am almost finished with my first detective story called, “Diamonds in the Snow”. I have an honest-to-goodness private detective as the main character that I plan on writing more of. It’s been fun to work on and a break from the other genres that I tend to loiter in.
I also have several short stories to be collected into another book; we’ll see how soon I can circle back to those.
And of course, the third installment of the YA Step Patrick series called, “Mister Midnight”. It’s been on hold waiting to go through the editing process.
You can always find Ken Spears works on his website ( kenspearsauthor.webs.com) or his Amazon author page where the author’s publications are available for purchase at anytime.