Chatting with the Pros: Interview with best selling author Kevin J. AndersonPosted: May 18, 2020
I am so pleased to welcome my author guest this month on “Chatting with the Pros”. He is the most prolific writer I know and he’s written numerous books that have made international bestsellers lists. He’s best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, but he’s done a good amount of writing for hire and lives by the motto of, “I can do that”. I’ve asked him to join me here today as we celebrate superheroes and supervillains, because of one single book that he wrote, Enemies and Allies, which delves into the universe of superheroes, in hopes that he will share with us his unique perspective on this often overlooked genre. Please help me welcome Kevin J. Anderson.
Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Kevin: When I was five, even before I could write. I knew I wanted to tell stories.
Kaye: You’ve been on bestseller lists, won multiple-awards for your writing, had your books made into screenplays, published both short fiction and novel length works, collaborated with some big name authors, and started your own independent press. In your own eyes, what has been your greatest writing accomplishment to date?
Kevin: I think the greatest thing is being able to do what I love and actually make a living at it—not getting one thing published, not winning an award, not seeing a movie option on one of your stories, but by being able to do this not as a hobby, but as the thing by which I pay the bills. I’ve been full time for 25 years now. I’m probably unemployable otherwise.
Kaye: Do you remember the first book you ever read?
Kevin: THE TIME MACHINE by HG Wells
Kaye: In Enemies & Allies, who was the most difficult character to write? Why?
Kevin: Superman/Kal-el/Clark. Sometimes he comes off as a simplistic boy scout, but I really think I got to the core of why he’s a superhero, and why he’s very human at the same time.
Kaye: How does writing a superhero or a super villain differ from writing plain old heroes and villains? What makes super heroes so special?
Kevin: They can do bigger, more epic things, which is great fun as a writer, but you also have to give them greater weaknesses. The things they do MATTER to the future of the world and the human race, not just “Gee, who’s going to ask me to prom?”
Kaye: In Enemies & Allies, which superhero did you favor, Batman or Superman?
Kevin: I found Batman much easier to write and understand, a gritty lost soul, and so I worked a lot harder to get just as deep into Superman, to flesh him out more, and I think I succeeded in finding a very good balance between the two extremes while keeping them both heroes.
Kaye: What is the hardest part to writing a super villain?
Kevin: Supervillains are fun. You can be as twisted as you want and you can dive into their motivations. Why are they the bad guy?
Kaye: Which would you rather write, a superhero or a super villain? Why?
Kevin: Supervillains. But in most of my writing I try to make it a matter of perspective as to who is the villain and who is the hero. Depends on what side you’re on.
Kaye: Do you see superhero/supervillain qualities coming out through the characters in your other stories? Which stories do you see this in most?
Kevin: I still consider them all as characters, with good sides and bad sides, each with powers or skills. I have only done two superhero books out of my 165 titles, so actually approached it the other way around, bringing all my other writing skills to bear in a novel featuring superheroes.
Kaye: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Kevin: Wait, another apocalypse??? Hmmm, if I couldn’t write, I would be a publisher or a public speaker or a teacher…but I’m already doing those things. In these times, you can’t just be ONE thing. If I had to scrap everything related to the industry, I suppose I would be a forest ranger, because I love the outdoors.
Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your writing process?
Kevin: I get a lot of attention because I do all my writing by dictation, talking into a digital recorder while I hike. But I have been doing it for thirty years, so I don’t consider it unusual at all.
Kaye: Which is your favorite type of writing? Short fiction? Novels? Comic Books? Screenplays? Poetry? Graphic Novels? Why?
Kevin: Novels. I like the big scope, a project I can sink my teeth into and spend lots of time developing it.
Kaye: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Kevin: Don’t quit your day job. Keep writing and refining and getting better, and never stop.
Kaye: What do you think is the single most important element in a story?
Kevin: It’s not a single-element thing. It’s like saying which is the most important wheel on your car. You have to get the plot, the characters, the prose, the worldbuilding, the idea, everything.
Kaye: What is the one thing in your writing career that is the most unusual or unique thing you’ve done so far?
Kevin: Probably working with legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart to convert the last Rush album, Clockwork Angels, into a bestselling novel. One of my proudest accomplishments.
I want to thank Kevin for joining me today and sharing his insight into the making of a superhero or supervillain, and his thoughts on writing. Kevin is currently working in the fantasy realm, with his newest thoughts on Gods and Dragons. You can learn more about Kevin and his books at WordFire Press or on his Amazon author page.
Also, Kevin’s convention bookstore is no longer traveling, so there are a lot of signed copies of his books in inventory right now, as well as some obscure and hard to find books. Some sets discounted to half-price or even more, including all six original Dune books for $30. You can check out the selection at http://www.wordfireshop.com.
Join me next month, when we will be delving into speculative fiction, and my “Chatting with the Pros” author guest will be Dave Wolverton.
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