To Whom Shall You Enquire?
Sometimes you just come across someone who you find interesting. It might be their name, an image, just anything. My guest today was interesting to me for all those reasons and once we communicated about a possible interview I wanted to know more. Then came his answers to my questions. We have a few things in common. Meet . . .
RW: Where are you from?
KW: I was born in Montrose, Colorado and spent my youth
betweenin Anchorage, Alaska, Ogden, and Pleasantview (Utah), and Sacramento, Davis, and Courtland (California) before finally settling down (for now) in Orangevale, California. Oh! I also spent some time in New Jersey, but the less said about that the better!
RW: Who are your favorite authors?
KW: I used to manage a small chain bookstore, so I had access to a myriad of books and authors from all genres, so it’s hard to nail down just a few. If you were to ask which authors have inspired me, Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Diana Rowland, and Kevin J. Anderson come to mind. King has a mind that I love to play in from time to time. I love his character development as much as the plots. Both are important factors in any writing. You have to have both for a story to mesh and he is a master! Jim Butcher’s style of Urban fantasy/horror in his “Dresden Files” books match my style very well and I adore each and every one of his characters (even the villains!). As for Ms. Rowland and Mr. Anderson, I enjoy their tongue-in-cheek approach to their stories. The quirkier, the better!
RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?
KW: I’m a soda nut. It’s not good for me, I know. I try and stay away from the caffeinated drinks though, and limit myself mostly to a root beer when I’m out dining. I’m not a drinker, but on special occasions, I have been known to down a wine cooler or two. What can I say, I’m a wild man!
RW: What is your escape from writing when you are at that about to explode point?
KW: I have been heavily into the arts ever since I was a kid and I currently create graphic art in the form of T-shirt designs. Much of my current work can be seen at my freelance webpage (freelanced.com/kentwhittington) and some of my work is currently available at Redbubble (redbubble.com/people/foxfeather). When I get to the exploding point for this, I usually watch some television or catch a movie, maybe even read a book.
RW: What is your favorite word?
KW: Defenestrate. Have you ever wanted to defenestrate something before? It can be very satisfying!
RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?
KW: The funny thing is, I hated writing when I was a kid. All I ever wanted to do was draw. It wasn’t until my teens that I even thought about writing. Back then I was doing both when I created my own graphic novel. The writing was horrible, but I did discover that it could be fun to put words to my comics and characters. This lead to attempts at fantasy fiction novels and plays. I even tried my hand at poetry (for the ladies, y’know?) and did pretty well. Once I discovered RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, the floodgates opened and I was writing all of the time. I had discovered my muse and his name was Gygax! I wrote scenarios for games that were epic in nature. The next thing I knew I was writing for the sheer enjoyment of writing!
RW: What is the title of your story and why did you choose that name?
KW: My story, “To Whom Shall You Enquire?” was my first attempt at steampunk fiction. Of course, I love the supernatural and steampunk is one of that genre’s natural playgrounds so the incorporation was easy. The characters in the story are basically Victorian ghostbusters so the title is a play on the phrase, “Who you gonna call?”.
RW: What genre does your story fall into?
KW: Steampunk and supernatural with a little urban fantasy thrown in for good measure.
RW: Why do you write in the genre that you do?
KW: I love the supernatural, always have! Urban horror puts it in the here and now and allows the “what if?” to shine through. For me, a story isn’t complete unless you throw a monster into the mix.
RW: Tell us a little about your story.
KW: “To Whom Shall You Enquire?” tells the story of a young doctor in Victorian London who finds himself under attack by a supernatural force. While he doesn’t believe in the supernatural, the events leave him no choice but to take a friend’s advice and call upon the assistance of a pair of spiritual eviction experts (a.k.a. ghostbusters).
RW: What inspired the story?
KW: It was borrowed from a novel I am working on. The organization the characters belong to is the same as in the novel, just set back for Victorian times and given a steampunk flavor.
RW: Tell us about your main character(s) and what you think will connect them to readers.
KW: Tough question. The main characters are two “spectral exterminators” named Johannes Abraham and Isabella Stanton. They are both expatriates from their home countries who have come together over the mutual loss of their spouses. Both joined the organization they work for in an effort to contact their loved ones in the afterlife and have become companions to one another due to their shared loss. Johannes is an inventor who creates devices for their work, while Isabella is a sensitive who can see spirits. Think of them as Victorian ghostbusters.
I think that their bond through their mutual loss makes them very relatable characters and, while they both share a fondness for one another, it is that loss that prevents them from having more than simply a working relationship. The loss is still very fresh for both of them, yet they are their own small support group.
RW: Who would play your main character(s) in a movie?
KW: Ashley Green from the Twilight Saga would make a wonderful Isabella, while my choice for Joannes would be Sleepy Hollow’s Tom Mison.
RW: What message do you think your story delivers to the reader?
KW: I’m not certain. I’m sure that there is probably a message there, likely that there are bonds beyond death and loss, but I like to think that I wrote the story purely for enjoyment’s sake.
RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this story?
KW: I realized through the completion of the story that I really am a writer, and have what it takes to weave a good tale. I am gratified that others get to learn this about me as well.
RW: Describe your story in one word.
KW: Entertaining. That’s all anyone really wants their books to be, right?
RW: Where can we get your story now?
KW: My story is available in an anthology called “Of Hexes and Hauntings: Tales From the Other Side” through Witty Bard Publishing. It can be found on Amazon.com currently in eBook format.
RW: What other work do you have to share with us and can you tell us a little about them?
KW: This is my second published work. The first is a little story called “The Huntress” which is about a vampire who works as an assassin for the Vatican. She has been redeemed by the church and now hunts the evil denizens in our supernatural world. In the story, she is in Paris hunting an undead creature haunting the Paris Underground. This is also a free publication available at www.sendyourscript.com/novels-short-stories/c1219 in PDF format. I invite all of your readers to enjoy it.
RW: How do people connect with you through all forms of social media?
KW: I can be found at the following links:
RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.
KW: No, I don’t have an agent yet. I would probably want a friendly, motivational person who is an editing monster and who wants my success for me as much as themselves. I would seek out an agent who meshes with my personality; a fellow geek.
I would bring friendship and a commitment to writing that would benefit us both. After all, we both want to get paid.
RW: What are you working on right now?
KW: I have two novels in the works right now. The first is called “Crimson Cove,” about a small town in Northern California besieged by evil and the one man who can stop it. Then there is “The Beastly Arms” about a young woman who moves into a condo and finds the tenants are creatures from legend and myth in disguise.
RW: What book are you reading at this time?
KW: Nothing yet, but I’m going to pick up a copy of Jim Butcher’s “Skin Game” in the morning.
RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?
KW: Write, and write often. Do whatever you can to get published, be it free publications, contests, submissions to publishers or even self publishing. Get others to discover your work.
RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?
KW: Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series because his stories so closely resemble my own.
What do Kent and I have in common? We both love Jim Butcher. I’m not certain if he would be jealous to discover I had a long conversation with Jim at Dragoncon in Atlanta one time, or got him to sign one of his books for me. Probably not. This was during the first round of Dresden books. If Kent can capture that early Dresden Files magic, we will be hearing about him for a long time. Check on the free work he mentioned and buy this book as well.
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