Wednesday, November 18, 2009
INTERVIEW: Award-Winning and Bestselling Author of Dark Fiction primarily Thriller & Horror: Nate Kenyon
Nate Kenyon is a member of the Horror Writers Association, and the International Thriller Writers. His dark fiction stories have appeared in various magazines, and in the horror anthology Terminal Frights. Mr. Kenyon earned a BA in English from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1993, where he won awards in both playwriting, and fiction.
His short fiction has been published in several magazines. He sold his first novel, Bloodstone, in 2005. Bloodstone was named Bram Stroker Award finalist, and won Horror Novel of the Year, and that year became a bestseller.
Nate Kenyon has been a publishing dynamo ever since he found his creative stride. His second book, The Reach, was published in 2008. It received a "star" review from Publisher weekly, Booklist and many more industry sources. It also has been optioned for film by PCH Films, an independent film production company who produced the famous movie, Walk the Line starring Oscar nominee & Golden Globe winner, Joaquin Phoenix and Academy award winner, Reese Witherspoon.
His third novel, The Bone Factory, was released in July 2009 the same month Prime, his fiction novella, hit the market. Sparrow Rock, which is Mr. Kenyon’s fourth novel, will be available in bookstores in May of 2010.
E.I. Would you share some early insight into who you were as a teenager? What were you like? Please tell us more about Nate Kenyon-- the man behind the award-winning writer of dark fiction?
NK That's a complicated question! I suppose on the surface, I was pretty well adjusted for what I'd been through, losing my mother and father at an early age. I had lots of friends, was athletic, fairly easygoing and I'm sure I seemed happy enough to most people. Under the surface, though, things were different. I was still learning how to cope with my own mortality at an age where that normally doesn't come into play very much. I had to be responsible (or at least I felt that I did) for both myself, and to some extent, my little sister, while figuring out who I was and where I wanted to go with my life. But I loved reading and writing, and although I got away from it a bit in my later teen years, as sports, friends and girls distracted me--I came back to it pretty quickly after college, and being a writer was always what I wanted to be.
E.I. What is it about the art form of writing that enchants you the most?
NK I think it's the idea of creating an entirely new world from scratch, a world you control. It's a bit about playing God. It's also about readers loving your work, wanting to walk through that world with you, and not being able to tear themselves away until they find out what happens. I love that.
E.I. How do you imagine audience as you are writing? Do you try to do character development, chapter outlines, various novel-related brainstorming? Do you have sheets of newsprint covered in a story boards all over your walls?
NK I don't think too much about my audience during the writing process, but I do after i finish a book. I normally work in a more free flowing way, with a spark of an idea, frantic notes and pieces of dialogue and scenes, and then letting the novel unwind from there. My most recent novel, SPARROW ROCK (May 2010), was the first one I ever wrote off a pretty detailed outline. I needed the outline to sell the idea to my publisher, but I found that once I had it, the writing actually seemed easier. So I may try that from now on.
E.I. What was your biggest challenge in developing the character, David Pierce and his daughter, Jessie in your book “The Bone Factory”? Did you work them out in advance, or did they evolve as you wrote the story? How did you overcome these challenges?
NK They developed as I wrote. I often go back to earlier parts of a book as things come to me, so character becomes more fleshed out and complicated as the story develops. It helps to do it that way, too, because sometimes you need a character to react in a certain way in a later scene, and it only makes sense if you go back and adjust some of the details to make it fit. Sometimes this can be frustrating, but it usually works. If I have particularly complex characters with major backstories, I do sometimes write out those backstories in 5-6 page character profiles, which helps to keep me anchored.
E.I. How much of their life is planned out in your head? How do you know where you will go next with any of your characters?
NK Again, things often just spring to mind, and a lot of times they make sense and I realize I have a pretty good idea of who this person is in my subconscious. I really love the moment when a character "clicks" with me, and I realize I'm beginning to hear their dialogue in my head as if they are a separate person, and their backstory makes sense to me, as if they're a friend I've known for years.
E.I. If you were asked to read a page from “The Bone Factory” is there one that you would personally select to share with your fans?
NK Probably the scene that ends the second part of the novel. I won't give much away here, but it's an intense yet brief, very chilling scene where the little girl goes into her mommy's room and announces that "the bad man is coming for them." Writing that gave me chills.
E.I. How do you weave so much suspense and paranormal elements of information into your stories and yet you keep them so fast-paced?
NK It's a lot of fun to do that. I try whenever I can to drop important pieces of information into the action or dialogue, always try to keep the story moving, even when explaining something that might seem un-explainable. I love that part of the writing--working out something paranormal by trying to apply logic to the situation. It's like a puzzle.
E.I. Many writers describe themselves as "character" or "plot" writers. Which are you? And what do you find to be the hardest part of writing?
NK I think I'm a character guy, if only because I firmly believe that great characters are the most important part of a novel. Plot is wonderful, but if you don't care about the people, no story will stick with you. You have to be emotionally invested as a reader, and that comes from truly complex, well rounded characters.
The hardest part of writing I suppose is getting about 2/3 through, and hitting that "wall" where nothing seems to make sense anymore, you've written yourself into a corner, you can't see the end, and you feel miserable. That's tough to fight out of.
E.I. Mr. Kenyon, you are well known in the writing community as a mystery and YA fantasy writer. Your writing has been published in notable publications and genre magazines. Do you ever feel pressure or insecure, or are you able to separate all that from your own creative process?
NK Oh, sure, all the time. I never really think anything's that great, and so it's a pleasant surprise when people like a book or story. I mean, I have moments where I'm sure something I'm writing is the best thing I've ever done, but it never lasts.
E.I. What would you tell those authors considering applying to an M.F.A. program? In your opinion how important is it for a writer to have a writing degree?
NK Hmmm...I don't have one. I don't know how valuable they are. I think the process can be dangerous, actually, if you're not in a really good program. Same thing for writer's groups--if the people around you aren't that good, and don't give good advice, it can hurt you.
E.I. Mr. Kenyon, Thank you for contributing to my blog. It has been a pleasure for me to get to know your work a little better. Would you like to end your interview with a writing tip or advice for young aspiring writers?
NK Thanks, this was fun. Advice? Write every day. If you really want it, never give up. People and the process are going to try to bring you down, but you have to separate the business from the personal--rejections come to everyone, and it doesn't mean you are a failure. See your projects as separate from you, products for sale, and go to it.
To learn more about Nate Kenyon please visit his WEBSITE
To purchase his books please visit AMAZON and Barnes & Noble
Posted by E. I. Johnson at 12:28 PM