For the last month, I’ve been doing a series of author interviews that I’ve posted in the place of my usual Recommend It Monday pieces. This is a feature I intend to keep, so I’ve christened it Author Corner and it will move to Tuesdays. Yes, I’m aware that it is, in fact, Wednesday. Sometimes, stuff happens and stuff happened but better late than never. So, let’s welcome Weston Kincade .
E: Weston, it’s great to have you. Just shove that corpse off to the side and have a seat. He’s beyond caring at this point. We’ll just pretend this…unpleasantness never happened, yes?
W: Of course. Thanks for having me. I think I saw him take a breath, but it may have just been the rodents scampering over his body, checking for loose change and cheese.
E: You’re an editor. Can you tell us a little bit about your services?
W: Sure. For the most part I work for fiction authors, but at times nonfiction authors and US agencies like the Department of Energy hire my services at WAKE Editing. They contract me for proofreading presentations. However, novels are much more in-depth projects and what I work on primarily. There are basically three levels: proofreading, copy editing, and line editing. Depending on what your novel needs and your budget, it’s set up to accommodate struggling, first-time authors to hone their projects to fully meet their potential and veteran authors, who may only need a proofread. Either way, I always strive to improve the book and the writer’s skills. I also ghostwrite.
E: You also have several titles listed on Amazon. Can you tell us about the newest release?
W: Sure. My most recent release is the sequel in the A Life of Death collection entitled The Golden Bulls. Like the first book, Alex Drummond has visions and dreams when he touches something a victim was holding when they died traumatically, reliving their death or murder through their eyes, feelings, and thoughts. While the first book was a tale about how it all began, The Golden Bulls takes place later, during what seems to be the culmination of a serial killer’s annual date for ritualistic murder, September 20. Using his hidden talents, Alex tracks the killer to DC and finally back to his small Virginia mountain town, where the consequences for getting too close to uncovering the real killer could be closer to home than he realizes. Along the way, he finds newfound respect from scientists and a side of his ability he never considered, uncovering the truth of Ancient Egyptian murders.
W: You must be referring to the anthology Strange Circumstances, the supernatural short story collection dealing with fate. It was different, both because it was short stories, but also due to trying to match voices and tones within the story, not to mention requiring more patience. We started it off kind of as a writing exercise that soon became the notion for a book. It was one of those round robin writing activities where you write some, pass it to the next guy or gal, and they continue writing some. Then it got passed around to the next person. There were three of us, so most of the stories went around once, while others were more involved and had to make a second pass. It was kind of chaotic though. Instead of just working on one story at a time, we all started a different story simultaneously, passed each one around to the next person, and so on. But when writing a novel entirely myself, I simply brainstorm, outline, and write, making use of all the time I can get. Unfortunately, there are just twenty-four hours in a day—never enough. I’m still waiting to find out what the cure for sleep is.
E: You write across a couple of different genres. Do you have a favorite?
W: The consistent genre for most of my work is fantasy. I love exploring every avenue from the unlikely but plausible to going for the secrets and taking the red pill to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Beyond that, I write the stories that grab and shake me, the ones with claws gripped in my shirt collar that I can’t pry off. Those are the ones that demand it and just won’t get out my head. The story ideas normally branch off from main-stream fantasy and explore the mysterious possibilities in our world, wherever that takes them, be it alternate planes, ghosts, vampires, zombies, or mutants.
E: Are you working on anything right now?
W: Yes, I am. I started writing the sequel to Invisible Dawn over a year ago, but one of those ideas I mentioned took hold for The Golden Bulls, and I had to set my current project aside for some months. Thankfully, I’ve gotten back to Salvation, book two in the Altered Realities series, and things are progressing well. A couple fans of the first book have contacted me asking when it will be out. I was hoping to have Salvation out right now, by the end of April, but writing a book is a time-consuming process, especially when you have a day job. However, it’s getting close. I even have a graphic artist finalizing the cover image Eleanor Bennett entered that won the cover contest some time back.
E: What was the last book you read for pleasure?
W: That’s a difficult question to answer considering my job. I enjoy reading a lot of books that come to me for editing, but for pleasure, the most recent one was one of Jim Butcher’s Dresden File novels. I never can get caught up on them with how quickly he writes and how little time I have, but they’re always a wonderful way to escape this world for a while.
E: Who has influenced your writing style?
W: My writing style . . . hmmm. I honestly don’t know for sure. People have said my writing reminds them of famous authors like Jack London, William Golding, and James Patterson, but I don’t try to model my writing after anyone. I just like good stories with characters you love or love to hate. Those are the ones I can never put down, so I try to write that way, bringing the characters out of my head and doing my best to write them for all to enjoy like long-lost friends coming back in each book. I don’t worry about style so much as just writing the characters as they should be and making everything as realistic, but easy to read, as possible. I’m a firm believer of characters that readers fall in love with or hate and a story that flows well so as not to interrupt the reader’s experience. The importance of this can be seen in any movie you’ve seen (we’ve all sat through one or two of these) where the people weren’t fully developed, so I could care less about them personally. At that point, when the protagonist’s father dies, or whoever, I don’t really bat an eye or even care to watch more—hence, the importance of believable, realistic characters. However, I generally also integrate controversial issues in current events or the personal lives of my characters, like Alex’s rough childhood dealing with his stepfather’s alcoholism and abuse. Think about it—who would want to read a story about characters with no problems whatsoever? I find that the best ones are those people can connect with due to their own personal experiences. In addition, the teacher in me hopes my characters and stories will help adolescents and adults realize they aren’t alone in trying to overcome these issues. Sometimes, we all need a friend, and the characters in books are always there waiting for us.
E: We’ve had a few guests here at Erindipity where they wore more than one hat, but you are the first teacher that’s stopped by. What’s the most rewarding thing, for you, about teaching?
W: LOL, yeah, I guess I wear lots of hats. I particularly like Ivy Caps. So far as jobs though, I am all over the place. Before turning to editing full time, I taught English for seven years, as you know, and the great thing about teaching and learning is that it never stops. I still love teaching and even sub in the local school districts when I have time (I’m actually writing this during my planning period while subbing today), but working as an editor, I get to work one-on-one with authors to help both their book and their writing skills improve. As they get better and their books are picked up by publishers or received well by readers, I know the author feels good and is proud of him or herself. I get to be a part of that. Whether it is a student I taught in high school who just graduated from college and started their career or writers working on their craft, seeing them succeed and strive to reach their potential are some of the most rewarding parts of teaching.
E: One last thing before you go. If you could only give your students one piece of advice, what would it be?
W: Good question! I guess the biggest thing I have heard in the past that really irks me is when people say, “I can’t do that. No sense in trying.” I’ve seen that self-defeating attitude time and again, but it’s the few who don’t accept that as reality who put themselves out there and eventually find success. So, simply put, nothing’s impossible, but that’s exactly what you will achieve if you don’t try: nothing.