Kev Heritage is a bestselling UK author of fast-paced sci-fi mysteries and epic fantasy. Born in the UK in the previous century; originally from Derbyshire, Kev now lives in the seaside town of Brighton. He is a tea drinker, Twitter aficionado (@KevHeritage) and part-time stand-up comedian.
Contacted Mr. Heritage and asked if he would respond to 5 quick questions, plus a bonus question. Special thanks to him for granting me this interview and permission to publish selected material at my blog.
(1) What is the best thing about being a published author?
KH: This is an interesting question. I pretty much thought that the best thing about being an author (by at least a trillion miles) would be getting a book published. And don’t misunderstand me, it is pretty fantastic to finish a novel and to get it out there. Wonderful, in fact. But I think perhaps the question should be asking…
‘What is the best thing about being a writer?’
…because if that was the case, the answer would be a simple one: Eureka moments.
I’m a pantster—meaning that I write by the seat of my pants. I start out having no clue where the novel or story is going. I have no plot and no real idea of what I’m trying to do. I might have some places I want to get to, or a scene that I’m keen on writing, but mostly, I let the story and characters guide me and not the other way around.
This can lead to a lot of confusion. But from the mess of my first draft—which is more of an evolving set of scenes, characters and ideas than anything definite—I have to try and find out what is going on:
The what I call: the annoying whys and therefores.
When writing, I’m in the same place as my protagonist—lost amongst a series of seemingly unconnected events and wondering ‘What’s going on?’
As a result, my first draft is nothing more than a rambling tangle of such problems. My eureka moments come when trying to unravel this mess—in attempting to find order in the chaos. But when I get that one sweet, wonderful idea that makes sense of absolutely everything? I can’t beat it. It’s the best feeling in the world. No matter how obvious it sometimes might be in hindsight!
A published novel is a lovely, special thing, but it cannot compete with what I jokingly call my process.
(2) Why did you pick mystery sci-fi as your preferred genre?
KH: Science fiction is the most imaginative genre and I have a very active imagination. But having said that, I like rational futures or rational fantasy. Stories based on science or its application rather than something as vague as ‘magic’. That’s because I always need to know the answer to the very important question… why?
I’m a mystery writer because my technique is …finding out what happens. Why is a character acting like this? Why did they do that? Who is behind that event? What’s their motive? How could that possibly be true? Etc.
As a result, mystery just sort of merged with sci-fi without me realising—every time I put fingers to plastic.
And that’s what I do. I write sci-fi and fantasy adventure mysteries, with the emphasis on fast-pace, great characters and to never, ever cheat the reader.
(3) What is more fun, writing for stand-up or writing stories
KH: Yes, I do have a stand-up routine! As to how funny it is… that depends, heh.
Writing comedy is a slow, painful process. It can take many years to get your first great hour of material. It has to be tried and tested and needs constant tweaking to get it just right. Comedy is hard. Very hard. And in that sense, it’s no less difficult than writing mysteries, other than I get to publically humiliate myself from time to time!
Writing comedy or fiction relies on finding ideas. More eureka moments. To be honest, in recent years, my emphasis has swung towards novels, it’s what I want to write. These days, if I get the comedic urge, I tend to splurge it on a few silly tweets.
(4) If a reader had never heard of you, which of your books
would you suggest they read as a starter?
KH: That depends, but if they like a rollicking good story with plenty of twists and turns then they could do no better than taking a look at Blue Into The Rip (http://amzn.to/1U6oTme) ~ A Young Adult, Science Fiction, Climate Change, Time-Travel Adventure.
BLUE DIDN’T WANT TO BE IN THE FUTURE…
|OR if they fancied a gritty, nourish sci-fi mystery I’d recommend Vatic (http://amzn.to/27LelDm)
♦ ♦ (5) Do you have any advice for other writers?
KH: I’m a committed indie author, although I’d certainly consider an agent or a traditional publishing contract if the circumstances were right. But then again, I prefer the freedom that independent publishing gives me as an author.
But whether you want to go the traditional route or not, I believe every committed, professionally-minded author should self-publish their work. Why?
The answer is simple… why not?
The slogan for UK LOTTO is ‘You have to be in it, to win it’ and although the chances of becoming a successful author are slim, having a book out there is surely better than sitting on your computer drive or in a forgotten folder, isn’t it?
Self-publishing not only lets you publish your novel, it gives you the opportunity to chase your dreams. Sure, the saying ‘don’t write to get rich’ is pretty much on the mark and most writers never make anywhere close to minimum wage on their books, but self-publishing gives you more than a cash-reward. You can publish a travel guide, a fiction novel, faction, photographs—anything you want and engage with other people who share your interest and enjoy your work. And you never, ever know—you might just get lucky and release that best-seller. That’s a million miles from posting your unsolicited manuscript to an agent or publishing house and waiting for the almost inevitable rejection.
If you do publish yourself you must make sure you have a robust and professional editing process—this is essential.
If you want a traditional publishing contract or an agent, having a book out there that people are buying is better than having it stuck on your hard drive. Why wait to get noticed?
This next bit seems like a plug, but it’s not. I’m very serious about this.
|Buy my book:
The Complete INDIE Editor – 55 Essential Copy-edits for the Professional Independent Author (http://amzn.to/1NDU4sA) ~ It’s an essential guide to help you spot many writing mistakes with a practical step-by-step process to get your novel ready for agents or publication.I use this for everything I write. I suggest you do to.
|I’d also pop over to Autocrit: (https://members.autocrit.com/editing-wizard/)
It’s a great little online program that I find very useful to spot frequently used words and phrases. It cuts my editing time down by at least a month.
BONUS Interview Question: What is your favorite tea?
KH: That’s easy – PG Tips with plenty of goat’s milk.
Kev Heritage Links:
- Amazon Author Page: http://smarturl.it/amznkev
- Website: http://kevheritage.com
- Twitter: @KevHeritage: http://www.twitter.com/KevHeritage
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KevheritageAuthor/
- LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/kevheritage
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KevHeritage
- A Game of Interviews with Kev Heritage(thegameofnerds.com)
- Marta’s Bookshelf interviews Kev Heritage! (martasbookshelf.blogspot.com)
- Kev Heritage – Blue Into The Rip & Author Interview(news.drwho-online.co.uk)