Thursday, 12 April 2012

Weston Kincade Interview & "A Life of Death" Free this Weekend

Author, Weston Kincade has kindly offered up his novel, A Life of Death for free on Amazon this weekend (14th - 15th April 2012). I loved this book with I read it which I hope comes across in my review that you can find my review here.

Anyway, I am always willing to try and promote any books that I loved so when I found out about this I quickly asked Weston if he would take part in an intereview as part of this promotion and luckily for me, he agreed. The intereview can be found below and if after reading it, any of you are interested in learning more about him then you should go and visit his blog.

Hi Weston, please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.

I’ve always loved books and writing, so I eventually became an English teacher. Then, with small steps, I moved from writing poetry and short stories to character introductions. Eventually a story began playing out, some of the characters I’d created interweaving themselves into the story, and eventually the plot for Altered Realities evolved. By that point I couldn’t let the story go. It had to be told.

After writing book one, Invisible Dawn, I stumbled across the idea of a boy developing paranormal abilities; not to see the future, but to relive past murders when he touches things. Again, the plot and characters spiraled out from there; the boy became Alex Drummond, and I had to tell his story.

Now that the hurdle of writing something as lengthy and demanding as a book is out of the way (it was something I never thought I could do), I can’t stop. I’ve co-written an anthology of short stories titled Strange Circumstances since then and continue to write.

Some of my readers may not have read the review I did on "A Life of Death" so why don't you tell them a little bit about it?

A Life of Death is the story of Detective Alex Drummond, a man with paranormal abilities. However, the story begins much earlier with him answering his son Jamie’s question for a school project. Then, a tale of abuse, alcoholism, and dealing with the consequences of having an absent military father unravels. It’s troubling and many readers have said they were brought to tears by it (or close to tears in the case of a few more masculine readers), but Alex’s youth grows even more interesting as he learns to cope because of a developing paranormal ability: the gift of reliving the deaths of murder victims. Alex struggles with mysterious murders from years past, strives to speak for the ghosts that need his help, and also discovers that not all victims are dead. After juggling the question of whether he is cursed or blessed, he finds salvation and courage in knowing the truth. He is soon striving to help those in need, create his own happiness in a blossoming romance, and fighting the unjust curve balls that life throws in his makeshift family’s path. Yet there are still more lessons to learn. Can a boy become a man without sacrifice? What will be the cost for Alex?

Where did the inspiration for the plot, characters and setting come from?

One night I was watching “Ghost Hunters” and “Medium” and the question came to mind about what it would be like to have such an ability evolve within you. Then the idea extended to more than just visions of the murder, but what if the person began getting the ability to relive the murder through the victim’s eyes, hearing, seeing, and feeling everything they felt. The idea stuck with me for a while as I was editing Invisible Dawn and shopping it to publishers and agents. Over that week, the concept nestled itself into a corner of my mind, tickling my thoughts every now and again. Scenes such as the main character encountering his father’s scrapped car after the murderous wreck played out in my mind. It was soon followed by the idea of what would happen to the boy if he stepped into a Civil War battlefield museum. At that point I was hooked and had to write the story. I couldn’t even continue with the sequel in the Altered Realities series at that point. I had to write Alex’s story.

I’m not sure where I came up with the character, but I could relate to a boy, so ran with it. Paige, his long time friend and newfound flame, evolved too, but I’m not sure from where. Some of their characteristics came from students’ stories, things they told me in confidence as they tried to overcome their own obstacles. Alex is not any one student, but is a symbolic example of how a teenager might find his or her way out of such a difficult home situation and discover his or her place in the world.

The setting for A Life of Death is actually based on the picturesque Virginia town I worked in for about four years: Abingdon. It’s a little town in the Appalachian Mountains near Bristol, Tennessee. There are a few changes, like the addition of the battlefield museum, but most of the town’s atmosphere, buildings, and fences are pulled from it and the local area.

The writing process differs from author to author. What’s YOUR writing process?

Right now I can’t write full time. It doesn’t pay the bills, so I write a few times a week and much of my weekends. I’d like to do it more, but with teaching full time and running an editing business, WAKE Editing, I find time to write periodically throughout the week. Doing all that I do takes a lot of time and sacrifice. The thing I think I’ve had to give up most, though, is sleep.

There are lots of people out there who dream of being a writer, what do you think is the most important piece of advice you could give?

You have to have an overwhelming drive to just write. It’s said that most people have a book in them, but to be a writer you have to write continuously, whether the audience likes or dislikes your books, and maintain your dedication and persistence to the craft. Writing is time consuming and you can’t procrastinate, leaving it for another day. As soon as that begins, you will stop writing. I would love to expand on my book projects every day, but that doesn’t always happen because of two fulltime jobs. However, I do consistently find the time to write for a large portion of the week, even if that means I only sleep five or six hours each night. A dedicated writer will find the time.

What’s next? What projects are you currently working on and what do we all have to look forward to?

Well, I released the co-written anthology of short stories dealing with fate and destiny entitled Strange Circumstances in late February of 2012 and am currently back to writing the sequel to Invisible Dawn. The working title for it is Salvation, but that may change. After this I plan to write the sequel to A Life of Death, but I also have other ideas planned too, even a series of nonfiction books telling the true story of No Child Left Behind, the manipulation and number games played to pass at the cost of quality education, and the overall state of U.S. Public Education. It will be a kind of tell-all, but with education changing so much right now, No Child Left Behind might become a thing of the past, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens there. I hope to have more time to write each day in the near future, especially with the summer coming. My current plan is to have Salvation finished and released later this year. Beyond that, I don’t know when to expect the release of A Life of Death’s sequel, but I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, what books have had the greatest influence on you?

I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series and The Hobbit were a huge influence, but as I began writing in my youth Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series kept my interest for years. The stories that unfolded within the pages of those books helped my imagination blossom. In high school, exposure to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales enlightened me on the lighthearted sarcasm and irony of humor. I also learned this from Shakespeare and now his work has a special place in my heart. As an adult, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men truly showed me the importance of realistic, believably flawed characters. Without characters that a reader can truly understand, so much so that they can slip into their shoes, the book is just a stranger’s story told by emotionless words on a page.

Thank you so much Weston for your time and good luck with this promotion and your future novels.

As I said previously if you are interested in learning more about Weston and his novels then give his blog a visit. Other than that, my advice would be to make sure you go and pick up a copy of "A Life of Death" this weekend from Amazon whilst this great novel is free.


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