Welcome to Part Two of Confessions of a Reviewers interview with Kit Power.
In tonight’s section, Kit starts by answering some specific questions on his new book GodBomb!, continues to talk about his writing and life in general and tackles The Ten Confessions.
It’s Wednesday so grab yourself something tasty snacks and a beer or two to cheer yourself up, sit back and relax, but, most of all………enjoy!
COAR - Moving on to GodBomb! Where did this one come from? What did you want your readers to get out of it?
KP - I had the idea for this when I was nineteen. I even wrote the first chapter, but back then I almost never went back to anything that took longer than a single session to write, so it never went anywhere. Still, it lodged deep down, burrowing away…
Cut to a couple of years ago. I'd written a couple of novella length tales, including Lifeline and The Loving Husband, and a bunch of short stories, and it started to pall for me a bit. After thinking about it for a little while, I realised it was because I was consciously writing “to length”, even coming up with ideas that I knew would fit two to four thousand words, and it felt a bit constraining. I remembered how much fun Lifeline had been because I just had no idea how long it would be or what was going to happen, and I thought “okay, time to jump off a cliff again”.
I mean, my plan had been to write short stories for two or three years, try and rack up four or five pro market sales to prove I could actually write at a professional standard, THEN start a novel. But the muse had other ideas, and the muse is the boss.
As to what I want my readers to get out of it, the same thing I always want: to feel entertained for the length of time it takes them to read the story. Honestly, that's my job, I think, as a writer – to captivate you for the length of the book – to make you FEEL. If I also make you think, that's fine, but if I don't, that's fine too.
COAR - This story asks a lot of questions of God and religion in general I think. In this day and age, with certain amounts of religious extremism popping up all over the place, did you worry about this as a subject theme? Did you have to be conscious of a certain line not to cross?
KP - Not for a second. It wasn't until one of my critical readers said “you do know this is going to piss people off, right?” that it even occurred to me. But, you know, for it to cause that kind of a fuss, people will first have to read it, so it'd be a nice problem to have, really.
The only line I didn't want to cross was the integrity of the characters. It mattered to me a great deal that they were honest and as real as I could make them, and I wanted them all to feel sincere in their positions. It won't shock you to learn that I have my own fairly strong views about religion, but it was really important to me that those views stayed in my head, and didn't come out through making sure “my” view was the “correct” one in the story. Because that's not what the book is about, and would have made for a pretty shitty novel, I suspect.
COAR - Each person in this book has so many different traits to their characters. How do you switch your way of thinking to write each person’s scenes giving they are so different?
KP - I know them, that's all. I think it comes from the acting background. It's been a million years since I stood on a stage to act, but I still remember the way I'd use a script to tell me who the person I was playing was on the inside. Writing isn't any different in that regard, at least not for me. It's easier, because I don't have to put on two stone, or cut my hair or have gender reassignment surgery, I can do it all in my head, on the page. But it's all about knowing the characters. Once you know them, writing them is easy.
COAR - The horror in this book is very much psychological as well as horrific in the respect of how evil the main protagonist is. Is this your preferred type of horror to both write and read?
KP - Aww man, I like it all. I love the splatterpunk tradition, I love pulp horror, I love literary horror, I love non-supernatural/psychological horror, and I love thrillers and crime capers and hardboiled noir, and all of it. If the story grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go, I'm there.
COAR - One scene in this book completely and utterly blew my socks off. A scene where someone is dying. I have never read anything that grabbed me and shook me so much. How do you craft something in your mind such as someone dying when no one really knows what it’s like?
KP - If this is the chapter I'm thinking of, that's the single piece of writing I'm the most proud of in my career so far, so I guess that's the first thing to say – that's me on my best day. Some of it is research, boringly – obviously you can't talk to somebody who died (well, according to some you can, but I personally find the evidence so far uncompelling) but you can read accounts of near-death experiences and so forth. So the physiological effects are real, and then it's just a case of plugging them into the character you've created and the situation they're in and rolling the mental cameras, really.
Though in that specific scene, in my first draft, I tried starting it from the other character's point of view, believe it or not. And I got six or eight pages into it and it just didn't feel right, and it took me a couple of days to realise why – because, as interesting as that point of view was, it wasn't where the REAL drama was in the scene. Once I clocked that, I went back and re-wrote it and it flowed as smooth as anything. Taught me a hugely valuable lesson, too, if I'm ever dumb enough to write a book with this many main characters in it again – where you have a choice of point of view, always go where the most drama is. I re-wrote a lot of the last quarter of the book with this maxim in mind, and it made a huge improvement.
COAR - How do you think your writing will develop from GodBomb!? Do you think you will always write in the same vain or could we see monster and slasher horror coming from you?
KP - My next book, which should be out in October, is a dystopian science fiction story that also contains a short story collection. After that, I'm writing an apocalypse story, a science fiction story, and a splatterpunk story. In that order. Again, we're back to that freedom thing. There's so many stories I want to tell, so many different genres and styles I want to try out. I'm already impatient to take the next thing on. The only thing I hope you can expect to be consistent is intensity, strong characters, and an emotionally powerful ride. Other than that, all bets are off.
COAR - Without giving away anything of the story, is there a chance we will see a continuation of the Godbomb! theme?
KP - It's not impossible, in that some of the themes of GodBomb! are just themes of life in general. But I have so many new ideas that I want to work on next.
COAR - What would your ultimate wish be with your writing? Would you like it to hit the big screen?
KP - I'd like enough people to buy it that I could write whatever I wanted full time. Anything else would be gravy. That's the dream.
COAR - What’s coming in the future from Kit Power?
KP - A WARNING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE ENSLAVEMENT THAT YOU WILL DISMISS AS A WORK OF SHORT FICTION. In October. :)
THE TEN CONFESSIONS
1 Who would you view as your main competitor in the writing world?
I will take a swing at this, but with the caveat that I genuinely don't consider writing to work like that – it takes too damn long to write a book, and it's too damn quick to read one, so readers are always looking for quality work.
But I look at Adam Cesare and Bracken McCloud and think “when I grow up, I want to write that good”. Though lately Duncan Ralston's also been on my mind in that regard. He's got game.
2 What book or author have you read that you think should never have been published?
Revival. I fucking love King, but someone should have cut that puppy down after the first 200 pages of nothing happening at all, IMO.
3 Are any of the things your characters have experienced in your books been based on something that has actually happened to you? What was it?
I was once threatened by a man I believe to have been sociopathic outside a pub in London for about thirty minutes, and I'm pretty sure the only reason he didn't hospitalise me is because my cab showed up. That man later became the model for the antagonist in Lifeline.
4 Have you ever blatantly stolen an idea or scene and adapted it for one of your own books? If so, care to share?
There's a novel called Zeitgeist by Todd Wiggins. In it, an event happens “off-camera” which is very similar to the opening premise of GodBomb! Now, I'm okay with it because it happens off-camera and the main antagonist, setting, and everything else is entirely mine, but yeah. That happened. I remember reading it and thinking “holy shit, you could do so much with that! What if…?” and the idea grew and grew.
Creativity is hiding your sources.
Though in fairness, I think you could have read that novel and you probably wouldn't have made the connection until I said it – it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the book. Still, credit where credit's due - it’s a superb book that almost nobody read. So go check it out.
5 Have you ever anonymously left a bad review for someone else’s book? If so, care to share?
No. All my reviews have my name on, and I don't write negative reviews – if I don't like a book, I don't review it. Sorry.
6 What’s the one thing you are least proud of doing in your life and why?
Oh man, there's a lot I'm not proud of. Taking so long to start writing seriously has to be up there though.
7 What’s the one thing you are MOST proud of doing in your life and why?
My wife saying “yes”. The birth of my daughter. As a family man, you'll appreciate that I can't pick between the two.
8 What’s your biggest fault?
Anger. I find the world, and more specifically the behaviour of most of the people in it, almost perpetually frustrating, and that makes me grumpy a lot. It's good creativity fuel, but it means I'm not always easy to be around. Oh, also, I'm almost always right, but that's not a fault, is it? :)
9 What is your biggest fear?
10 If you had to go to confession now, what would be the one thing you would need to get off your chest?
That even though I don't believe in God, I'm still angry with Him.
Well that, unfortunately, is the end of the interview. You should, by now, know nearly all you need to know about Kit Power.
If you want to know more then come back tomorrow night when I will be posting my review of GodBomb! and will provide you with all the links to buy it and all the links you need in case you want to get in touch with Kit or just follow what he’s doing.
I want to say a personal thanks to Kit for giving up his precious time to take part in this interview and put up with me harassing him for answers. I know this has been a busy and stressful time getting prepared for the debut novel coming out and it just confirms what a great guy he is to take part in this.
Thanks again for visiting Confessions of a Reviewer!