Good morning, David. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about you and your work.
Thank you, Bobby. The pleasure is truly mine.
First of all, I have to ask about the troll…and your pen name. What motivated you to write as “KevaD”? And how comfortable is it under those stairs, anyway?
The troll actually came about when I was searching for an avatar for the critiquing group I belong to, ERAuthors. ERA had quite a selection to choose from – all female – not a toothless beggar in the bunch. The troll and I found each other in an orphanage for abandoned avatars. It was drool at first sight.
“KevaD” is a play on my name – Dave K backwards. Out of the Closet was a journey through the looking glass for me, and it seemed fitting at the time.
The space under the stairs is very comfortable. The floor’s oak and the walls are… were painted until KevaD licked them clean. My wife used to send me there every once in a while when I’d been bad. KevaD tossed a couple animal pelts on the floor and he’s been there ever since. I wish I’d known then the “pelts” weren’t dead yet.
Does your writing as KevaD differ from that as DA Kentner? How so?
Originally, not at all. Now I think KevaD has developed a shadow of a life of his own. He’s become a bit of a muse in his own right and questions what I’m doing, where I’m taking a story or character. Unfortunately, since he’s right most of the time, his ego has grown and is insisting I allow him to write a fantasy erotic trilogy. That’s so far out of my past writing styles I wouldn’t consider it. He scribbled the first few pages in crayon the other night. I had to frustratingly agree the project might have merit, as did one of my critiquing buds I sent it to for an opinion. I need to wrap up the second installment of Out of the Closet and SonRise, a WWII novel about four people destroyed by war and how their lives intertwine, eventually becoming a ragtag family. Then we’ll get serious about the trilogy.
The oddball is DA Kentner. I’ve never been “DA” at anytime in my life. I’m Dave or David. Ironically, there is another David Kentner twenty miles from me – no known relation. When The Readers’ Writers was picked up locally by the (Freeport) Journal Standard I thought there might be some confusion, so I signed the column as “DA”. GateHouse decided to nationally distribute the column, and “DA” was etched in stone.
Needless to say, while DA writes for GateHouse News Service and KevaD gets credit, or blame, for my stories, it’s me, David, getting lost in the shuffle, until the bills are due. But it’s okay. My golden retriever doesn’t care who I am, as long she gets fed on time, and my wife has two men and a troll to keep her company.
The truth is, it’s David behind the curtain.
Let’s chat briefly about Out of the Closet. What inspired you to write this story, and what do you want your readers to take away with them having read this story?
Love. The answer is that simply complicated. Love isn’t chained to sex, race, religion, geography, or perceived gender. It acknowledges no boundaries; yet, we don’t always see it before the chance to know real love strolls out of our lives.
Chaz is like so many of us, blindly stumbling his way through life, completely clueless that what he is searching for has been within his grasp the entire time. Fortunately for Chaz, he is granted a second chance to hold onto love with all his might before it escapes him again.
Why romance? And especially, why gay romantic comedy?
Insert heavy sigh here. I’m a true romantic. I honest to God believe in love. Almost every story I have ever written contains a thread of a love story woven in to it. Can’t help myself. The first piece I received minor accolades for was a love story between an alien man and earth woman.
Gay romantic comedy happened because of Ash Penn, the author of the MM novel Stray. Ash is a member of ERA and was looking for help with a scene. I’d never written MM before, but offered my version of the scene. She didn’t use it, but asked if I’d written MM before. I said no. She said I had. It was Ash who got it across to me that what I write about are the emotional strengths of love. I don’t worry about who (human) or what (non-human) is in love.
I decided to give MM a shot. After all, love is love. Chaz and Mike both have traits borrowed from multiple people I have known. I actually knew a man who scaled telephone poles upside down for six packs of beer. I figured if I had a character who did outrageous, nearly unbelievable acts, it better be a comedy or the readers would never believe somebody like Mike could really exist.
As I wrote, I posted the completed chapters on ERA for critiquing. The feedback and suggestions for improvement led me to foolishly believe they actually were enjoying it. Barb Sheridan, another author friend, said I really needed to get that story published.
Fingernails between teeth, I sent the manuscript to four publishers. Two offered contracts.
So, blame the members of ERAuthors for KevaD’s interest in gay romantic comedy. And you can specifically blame author Evanne Lorraine for the MMF scenes in the upcoming fantasy trilogy.
I know that you write several different genres: romantic comedy and suspense to name two. How much of a challenge is it to switch between them?
Weirdly, not much. I’m a character writer. I let the characters tell me how they’ll react to the circumstances I create for them. It’s not unusual for me to have two works in progress like I do right now. Romanian Infantry Corporal Vezirov Kasmerkhov can guide me through the morning, and Chaz and Mike can take the reins in the evening for another chapter or two of their next adventure. During this same time, I wrote the short story “SonSet” (the prequel to SonRise) for inclusion in Evanne Lorraine’s E-book A Scarlet Past due out on Kindle, Nov 19th. It’s a $.99 promotion for her upcoming series.
I find, for me (I don’t recommend it), having two diverse stories going at the same time allows me greater freedom to explore the varied characters.
As an example: I was working on Sunday Awakening, the romantic suspense novel Noble Romance Publishing is releasing Dec 6th (cheap, self-serving plug here), when Chaz and Mike knocked on the door right smack dab in the middle of it. Cheryl and Taylor were driving to New Mexico from Iowa anyway, and they said they wouldn’t mind if I spent some time with the new guys. The end result is a novella and a full-length novel being released three months apart.
But, I couldn’t do any of it if it weren’t for ERAuthors and their invaluable input. That’s a fact.
Tell me a little bit about your column “The Readers Writers” that you write for the Freeport Journal Standard as well as your involvement with SeeFreeNews.com.
The Readers’ Writers started as a way to thank two authors, Barbara Sheridan and mystery writer Sam Reaves, who were mentoring me when I was on the verge of giving up – throwing in the literary towel. A case of Charmin doesn’t contain as many sheets of paper as my rejection pile. Barb and Sam agreed to be interviewed believing the interviews were only for my new blog I didn’t know what to do with.
I sent the interviews to 63 newspapers as a surprise. I was the one surprised – only my local paper, the Journal Standard was interested. I still suspect the interest was only because of my name–in another life I was the Freeport Chief of Police—and I didn’t want to be paid. Not being paid undoubtedly had a lot to do with it. To all our amazement the readers’ response was tremendous. The JS wanted more. I was only too glad to oblige. We agreed on two interviews a month.
Next thing I knew GateHouse News Service, the parent of the JS, wanted a weekly for national distribution to all their affiliates. We test ran author Poppet’s interview as she is so unique and her personal story is so riveting. Over half the affiliates ran that interview. Now, all of the affiliates run the weekly interviews. That’s over 500 dailies and periodicals with over a hundred of them posting the column to their web sites in addition to the printed run – coast-to-coast.
For the record, I still receive the same pay – nix, nein, nada. I do it to spread the word about the authors gracious enough to allow me an interview. GateHouse does give me a line now at the bottom of the column to advertise my blog and books.
GateHouse runs the interviews edited to meet space limitations – I post the unedited interviews on my blog. So far it’s working out for all involved. But, you never know.
Seefreenews.com is a local Internet news service – a one-man operation – that received some national interest from a story he ran. Keith Bardell (owner/publisher) asked me if I would be willing to do something—anything—to add some content to his news pages. The downside was a 250-word limitation. That excluded the idea of author interviews.
Instead, I suggested we offer authors the 250-words of space to tell about themselves and their latest project. All I do is edit what they submit. Keith does all the work. Surprisingly – this business is full of surprises – we have trouble getting authors willing to invest the time it takes to write their own 250-word blurb. Keith also posts links, pics and trailers if the authors have them to submit. Anybody interested? If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. I mean, it’s free advertising. Why not? We might even consider a book review site’s blurb… such as, oh… say… BookWenches?
Oh, twist my arm already! (heh) Limiting to 250 words will be tough, but I’m sure we’re up to the challenge.
Tell me a little bit about your writing habits. Are you pretty regimented in terms of when and where and for how long you write, or do you tend write when the muse attacks?
I would love to be regimented. Unfortunately, that’s not life in our house. I write when there’s enough silence around me to drift into my characters’ minds. Sometimes that’s 8 a.m. Sometimes it’s 2 a.m. My computer’s a pc located in the living room. My wife believes the TV was made to run 24-7. Why God created the Soap Channel and the Game Network, I’ll never understand. So, I have to wait until she’s either not home, or asleep. But when my muse attacks with a new story concept, I sit down and hammer out the characters and plot before the damn muse giggles and runs away.
If I ever have the money, it’s a laptop and a room upstairs for me.
Will you share with us the story of your first “sale” for professional publication? How long had you been writing before you pursued publication?
I’d been writing for several months after a thirty-eight year hiatus. Initially I thought I was destined to be an English teacher. Life disagreed. I ended up in the Army. Part of my job was assisting the Secret Service and State Department in the personal protection of the President, Vice President and Secretary of State. When I eventually decided to return to civilian life, law enforcement seemed the natural route to follow.
This is a long way to answer your question, but it’s part of that first published piece.
I wasn’t getting anywhere as far as being published. Then I read a book review that I actually had to haul out a dictionary and French translation program to decipher. I thought it the most ridiculous article of self-absorption I’d ever wasted my time on. Cue the muse.
The muse whispered I should combine several of my experiences with that book review. In hindsight, the short story wasn’t very well written. But Daniel Sawyer and Faraway Journal loved it and published it. I’ll always be grateful to Daniel for that first opportunity.
What is your goal as a writer? Have you reached it yet?
Thank the Lord I haven’t reached my goal, which is to write until I can’t write any more.
What do you think makes for a great work of fiction? How do you instill that into your work?
For me it’s characterization. Give me a character, good or evil, I believe in, and I’m your willing captive to the very end. I need to take that ride with them, win or lose. That’s what I strive for in everything I write. If you really want to wound me, tell me my characters suck.
In SonRise I wrote a character I wanted to be as evil as I could possibly create. ERAuthor member Debbie Vaughan emailed me that character “…needs to die. He needs to die very soon.”
Will you give us a peek at what you’re working on right now? What can your readers expect from you in the not-too-distant future?
I touched on these earlier. Chaz and Mike’s next adventure is nearing completion. If it’s published, and “if” readers enjoy it, a third installment is already plotted out for them.
SonRise is my biggest challenge to date. The novel is actually completed and I’m in revisions and rewrites before I try to find it a home. But it’s literary fiction, not romance, though the two love stories in it are front and center and critical to the story. I’m more than a little nervous about finding a publisher for it.
As writers, I believe we all put a piece of our hearts into our prose. SonRise contains a piece of my soul.
When those two are polished off, I’ll start the erotic fantasy trilogy and pull a romance novel back out of the virtual drawer I stuck it in. It’s another completed novel in need of rewrites and revisions that would be a nice working counter-balance to the trilogy. I have eight such completed novels in “drawers”.
Tell me a little bit about DA Kentner the person. What do you do when you’re not shackled to the keyboard? Do you have a profession outside of writing? Do you have kids, hobbies, man-eating cats?
I have a business. I buy junk and sell antiques. But the economy has pretty much tanked sales, so I don’t spend near the time with it I used to. It’s hard to get excited about dealing with people who offer me half of the tagged price when my mark-up was only 30% to start with. No, I don’t tend to smile at offers of a 20% loss.
My two sons are grown and gone. It’s just my wife and I, our Golden Retriever who’s allergic to wood, and our tripod cat. Yup. Out of the Closet’s The Cat personified. He has a habit of gently touching a person when he wants their attention. If they ignore him, he’s all fur and claws on his way through their clothing to their skin. He has two levels of attitude; chill and kill.
My love of writing is also my passion. When I’m lost in my characters or interviewing an author, I’m happier than I could ever be with a hobby.
What do you think the future has in store for the world of publishing? Do you think electronic publishing will ever supplant print? Do you believe that small indie publishers are a fad, or do you think that they are here to stay?
Small Indie Press is definitely here to stay, and we should all be grateful for it. Writers and readers alike stand to gain from small Indie press – quality at affordable prices. I did an interview with author/publisher Nelson Ottenhausen where I touch on that.
Do I believe electronic will supplant print? Yes, but not in my lifetime.
The saddest loss of printed books will be the child or grandchild on your lap, sharing that book and the memory of it with you, reveling in the excitement of the pictures, turning the pages.
Many claim print will never disappear. I’d like to join that chorus, but I don’t think it’s reality.
We as a civilization are currently fostering the first generation introduced to non-print schoolbooks. Their textbooks are on Kindles. This concept will expand to all school systems. Consider the logic involved here. If you are raised without printed books, you carry dozens of books in a device no larger than a notebook and can interchange them at will, at the touch of your finger on the screen, how attractive is a ten-pound stack of books you need to buy bookshelves for? Fact: The majority of people don’t buy maps and atlases anymore – we have a GPS and MapQuest.
Originally stone tablets were the “books” of the time. Leather replaced stone. Rice and fiber paper replaced leather. Pulp replaced rice and fiber. I’m sure somewhere in there were folks claiming none of those could ever be replaced.
Hand carving was replaced by hand-written ink. Hand-written was replaced by the hand-operated printing press, replaced by the electric and gas-powered printing presses, replaced by digital press that put lots of people out of work. Newspapers are folding left and right due to the Internet. The newspapers still printed utilize computers to create and print them from electronically produced printing sheets – no typesetting.
Evolution is inevitable. Books, and the means producing them, have evolved right along with everything else. To see the future, we need only look at the past.
Please let us know how we can find out more about you and your writing – websites, blogspots, etc. How can we go about purchasing your work?
Visit dakentner.blogspot.com for author interviews, kevad-author.blogspot.com for the more personal updates of what KevaD’s up to.
Check out BookWenches for more author interviews and book reviews.
Both those sites have links to Noble Romance Publishing and Amazon.com for my published novels and novellas. Okay. For Out of the Closet. Sunday Awakening isn’t available until December 6th.
Finally, what have I forgotten to ask? Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
You have been so kind and gracious to me, all I can say is thank you so much for allowing me this time.
This interview is posted with the BookWenches’ permission. The original interview may be read here