Kevin Wright studied writing at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell and fully utilized his bachelor’s degree by seeking and attaining employment first as a produce clerk and later as an emergency medical technician and firefighter. His parents were thrilled. For decades now he has studied a variety of martial arts but steadfastly remains not-tough in any way, shape, or form. He just likes to pay money to get beat up, apparently. Kevin continues to write in his spare time and is currently working on a sequel to Lords of Asylum.
1.Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
My hardcore addiction with storytelling, and it is an addiction, began on a Christmas Eve, sometime in the mid-1980’s. Probably 1984 or 85.
That was the night my older brother and I got the Dungeons and Dragons Basic and Expert Sets.
From then on, he and I and some friends started playing. And because no one else wanted to be the Dungeon Master, more often than not, it fell to me.
Creating a character with pen and paper is a great writing exercise. You can describe them, figure out their strengths and weaknesses, fine-tune them however you like. Well, even before I knew it was a great exercise, I loved doing it. I still do.
And while creating a character is a great exercise, creating cities and dungeons and worlds is something else entirely. Building something from nothing? Whole continents and cities? Whole histories and cultures? Then having real people inhabit it? Run through it. Live and die in it in ways you never foresaw? It is awesome.
I guess I just walked my love of fantasy, storytelling, and world-building from fantasy roleplaying games to writing fantasy. It was a short stroll.
Lords of Asylum was on the back burner for me for a few years before I wrote it. I was working on other projects and failing for one excuse or another. After a hiatus that lasted about two years, I set my excuses aside and just started writing it.
2.What is it about your genre that speaks to you?
‘Everything’ is probably not a good answer but it may be the most truthful one.
I’ve always loved everything about fantasy, I don’t know why.
I’ve just always loved stories about knights and dragons and quests. Hobbits and wizards. I love heroism, sacrifice, triumphs. I love scumbag villains, back-stabbing, and treason.
I loved fantasy when it was all ‘Chosen One’ stories. I love high fantasy. Low fantasy. I love comedic fantasy. I loved fantasy when it was a bad Saturday Morning “Dungeons and Dragons’ cartoon.
I said before I had a hardcore addiction to storytelling, well, it’s also an addiction to fantasy. I have an itch and fantasy scratches it. It’s that simple.
3.Without giving any spoilers, what is your favorite thing about this book?
My favorite thing is the dry one-liners that Krait and Karl hurl at one another. The world-weary warrior dynamic between the two is like a cop-buddy movie. They’re two guys that haven’t seen it all but have seen enough. More than enough. And they’re dead set on seeing nothing more than they have to.
4.If I were stuck in a room with your main character, what would we be doing?
You would be stuck in a tavern during a blizzard with Sir Luther Slythe Krait.
You would be drinking. And you would be wincing. You would be wincing because Krait would be noisily and gracelessly hitting on whatever women were unfortunate enough to be present. If you have a shred of dignity you would probably apologize profusely for him to them before moving as far down the bar as possible. When that failed, you would probably buy him more drinks in the dim hopes of him passing out faster.
5.You’re going to go back and visit yourself when you first started writing, at whatever age it was, and you can give yourself one piece of advice. What would it be?
I would say to my younger self, “Younger Self, be sure to keep the forward momentum going. That’s the key. If you’re writing a book or a short story or whatever, you have to do something every day to improve it, whether it be writing, editing, or formatting. Something. Even if it’s reworking a single sentence, because once you’ve paused a project, inertia sets in, and it’s tough to get back on track.”
And also, “Don’t do drugs.”
6.Let’s talk about tools. Do you have a word processor that you would tell us to use? Is there a certain computer that has become your favorite? What do you look for in a keyboard? What would you absolutely have to have if you were to sit down and write your next book?
I started writing Husk, the sequel to Lords of Asylum, about a year and a half ago. I was plugging along and doing well when for a variety of reasons, I was thrown off my game. I had to hack and slash my way to the end of my first draft and when I got there, I took a break from it.
I like to take a break between drafts to give me some perspective on it. Also, the longer the time between drafts, the more likely I am to not give a shit about cutting extraneous material. Which is key.
So, after I got my other projects done, I went back to Husk and had trouble getting back into it and building momentum. I floundered around for a few months wasting time. It was frustrating and I had other projects, so I focused on them.
Then I started hearing about Scrivener. I’d heard about it before but never really looked into it. I was okay with Word. I’d use Excel for character info and a notebook for outlining and everything else.
But, since I was getting nowhere fast, I figured I’d try it out. It’s affordable, forty-five bucks or in that neighborhood.
While I was on vacation, I went through the tutorial and learned the basics. Then I took my first draft and broke it down into Scrivener. And for the past two months, I’ve been more productive than I have been in a year.
The thing about Scrivener is that it doesn’t do anything that you can’t do with Word and Excel and a pen and paper. But it does make it easier. It puts all your notes and info and character stuff a click away.
Transporting Husk over was a chore. But it was worth it. And I’m looking forward to writing my next novel in it from the start.
Sorry I rambled so long about word processing. Boring topics speak to me, because I myself, am boring.
7.Describe your workplace.
I have two. Workplace one is on my couch in my living room. I have a large picture window to my back and invariably my pet dog Bogey is napping next to me. He’s here right now. Snoring. Cause he just doesn’t give a damn.
Workplace two is now on my treadmill. I’ve been listening to writing podcasts lately and heard a few authors who write while walking. Also, I’ve been hearing for a few years that sitting around all day is a killer and I figured, why not get a little light exercise while I’m working? Plus, I bought a scuba diving weight belt to up my game and give my legs a bit more of a workout. Because I am a weirdo.
I wasn’t sure how the change would go initially. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate, but I find that as long as I’m walking slowly, it’s a minimal distraction.
I won’t do any hardcore editing on the treadmill, but maybe I won’t die quite as soon. Unless I fall off the stupid thing.
8.Now that you have published your first book, do you have any dreams you have not reached? Goals for new books, series beyond this publication, or anything else that can tantalize the fantasy public?
Lords of Asylum is the first in a series which I’m going to call ‘The Serpent Knight Saga.’ I’m currently working on the sequel entitled Husk.
My vision with the series is to make each novel a standalone but with an overarching storyline that pierces through the core of the whole.
Picture a detective story like Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher Series’ or Robert B. Parker’s ‘Spenser for Hire Novels’ but set during the Hundred Years’ War in Europe.
I plan on writing as many as I can while still enjoying it. And when I stop enjoying it, I’ll kill everyone in the series. Horribly.
9.If we reach beyond the written word into visual media, and you could choose how your story is consumed, would you want a television show, a movie series, or anime to tell the story of the book and the world it takes place in?
Television series, definitely.
While there are some great adaptations from novel to book, ‘The Maltese Falcon,’ ‘The Princess Bride,’ ‘Lord of the Rings,’ for the most part, for me, movies seem to always be lacking when compared to the novel. You just can’t get all the meat of the story into one sitting.
Look at the Harry Potter movies. They’re really well done and I enjoyed all of them, but I didn’t enjoy any of them as much as I did the book.
Nowadays, we have ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Expanse’ and a bunch of other novels turned into series. I’d argue that I usually like the book more, but the gap is thinning.
10.Can we expect an audio book from you, and if you had the ability to choose anyone to narrate it, is there someone in particular you would hire?
Currently, I have one audio book out. ‘The Clarity of Cold Steel’ is a steampunk detective novel set in an apocalyptic city. It’s available at Audible.com and ‘Lords of Asylum’ should be out in about a month or so.
I’m extremely pleased with the narrator of both, Mr. Paul Jenkins, a wonderful British gentleman. It’s awesome listening to your own words come out of someone else’s mouth. It’s also awesome because Mister Jenkins sounds like such a nice, cultured gentleman and I have him saying some truly ignorant and horrific things.
However, if I could somehow get James Earl Jones to narrate my books, that would be the ultimate. That guy could narrate ‘Ulysses’ and I’d listen to it. That’s right, I just bashed James Joyce, what are you going to do about it?
11.What element of this story can we expect in your future work?
Noir. It just seems to creep in no matter what genre I’m writing in. If fantasy is my main course, noir is the side dish and all the spices. I think all of my main characters are a different shade of Sam Spade.
12.You are forced to pick a fist fight with one of the characters in your book. Who would you choose and why?
This is easy.
Being a total wuss, I’d pick Brother Tomas.
Thing is, Brother Tomas is pretty much the only character from my book that I could beat. He’s a Franciscan monk which means he’s spent years sitting around copying texts all day. Not big on cardio.
Also, and this is a big ‘also,’ he recently survived a bout with the Bubonic Plague, so his health and mind are completely shattered. He’s basically one step away from being a shambling corpse.
Now, I’m not saying I’d feel good or proud about beating the crap out of what is basically an end-stage hospice patient, but pretty much anyone else in Lords of Asylum would kill me almost immediately, so there it is.
13.You are going to commit a crime, bank heist, murder, you can choose a co-conspirator from your book. What crime would you commit and who would you choose as your co-conspirator(s)?
Whatever the crime, I would choose Karl, my main protagonist’s side kick.
The thing about Karl is that he has the action hero gene. He doesn’t hesitate. He doesn’t second guess himself. He doesn’t show fear. He sees what’s happening and acts or reacts in the best manner possible. Maybe it’s not always a pretty outcome, but it works.
That’s the kind of guy I’d want by my side because I’m the opposite. I’m the guy that overanalyzes, second guesses, and nearly craps his pants. So I would pick Karl. If you were to ask Karl, however, who he’d pick, he’d probably pick anyone but me.
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