Today I sit with Kenneth Weene, a veteran Indie author....
1) First, I would love to welcome you and thank you for taking the time to tell my readers about your current project. Can you begin with a little background? Where are you from, a story about growing up? How you became a writer?
Growing up in New England, Massachusetts and Maine, I spent more time reading than playing. Very early on I knew that I loved books and wanted to become a writer. Of course, I didn’t; I became a psychologist instead. Why? To explain that I’d have to go through the hundreds of house I spend in psychoanalysis. On the other hand, you could read Memoirs From the Asylum and get some idea. While not autobiographical, there is certainly enough truth in it for you to get some perspective.
I was pretty good at helping people solve their life problems, but I took it too seriously. Result: BURNOUT! We, my wife and I, moved to Arizona, where I started casting about to find a good way to use my time, of which I suddenly had lots. I had already started writing poetry and some short essays. I joined the local state poetry association and wrote more.
There were a few short stories hanging around in my computer, nothing too serious. I found them in the directory and worked on them. I was having fun. I thought about getting published, maybe writing those novels I had dreamed of as a kid, but there was something holding me back. I realized it was the internalized parent, what some shrinks call an Imago. I had to get “his” permission. My solution was to put together an anthology of my writing and publish it through a vanity press. Songs For My Father set me free. Since then I’ve been a writing machine, or perhaps a writing fool.
2) And let's talk about your current book. Tell us all about it! (Including where to get it!)
My most recent book is Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. Set in Albuquerque, Dew Drop is a group of interconnected stories about the men and women who hang out at a neighborhood bar. Sometimes funny and sometimes sad, but always very human tales of people desperately trying to hang on to the ladder, this didn’t start out to be a book. The first chapter was written at the request of the editors of a new, local literary magazine. Then a friend asked me for a piece of flash fiction for a site; I figured that I’d recycle the characters and setting. Well, with two chapters under my belt, it was just too easy and too much fun to not keep going. It is available in print from Amazon or by order through almost every bookstore and online book service. Dew Drop is also available in Nook and Kindle; and – this is great – it will soon be available in audio.
Here’s a trailer for the book. http://mediasuite.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=aat76pv9
3) And can you include your favorite line or paragraph from the book?
This is the beginning of Chapter 6 - Picnic
Some days are just too good to have a hangover. This one started with the light that came around the shades and the smell and feel of the air that came through the window. It was a crisp, comfortable air that made me want to breathe. Then there were the sounds—especially the calls of the birds. Strange how on some days all you hear is the caw of angry crows and on others, like this one, there are sweet songs and contented coos. I could even hear the insects, not annoying buzzes and hums, but productive insects scurrying about their day.
Days like that are enough to make a drunk want to puke, or maybe, just maybe, do something out of the ordinary.
4) What genre do you write in and why?
I consider my genre to be literary fiction, which means I give more thought to character, and language than I do to plot. Not that plots aren’t important, they are; but once I have the plot in mind, it’s all about those literary qualities.
5) Share with us a little of your process. Do you write during the day? at night? With background noise? In silence? From an outline? off the cuff? etc...
I try to get some writing time mornings, but the very best time is when I wake with a sudden need, most typically in the middle of the night. Those times I can write for a couple of hours and then wander back to bed. Invariably, the next morning I am delighted with the results.
As for sound: Typically I prefer silence or just background noise. Once in a great while I will listen to music. Usually that’s because I am trying for a particular rhythm in my words and the music helps establish it.
6) Who is your favorite author? Your favorite book?
My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut, but he didn’t write my favorite book. That honor goes to jointly to Vonnegut for Slaughterhouse Five, Tim O’Brien for The Things They Carried, Paul Harding for Tinkers, and Joseph Conrad for The Heart of Darkness.
7) Can you give us one marketing tip that you feel best promoted your book?
Guest blogging is one of my favorites. I don’t have my own blog; although I am in the process of setting up a group blog with a bunch of authors who co-market with me. I prefer bringing my fans to the host page, hopefully helping get word of that blog out; and in the process I get my name and writing out to new potential fans – a win-win.
By the way, that co-marketing is a good idea, too. We post for one another on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else we can. Another win-win idea.
8) Now for a little daydreaming...Hollywood just called and wants to turn your book into a movie!! And you get to cast the lead characters! Who would you pick? and Why?
I don’t. Long ago I was told that was a very bad idea when it came to actually dealing with movie companies. Picking talent is mostly about marketing, not about artistic merit or authorial vision. That said, having seen him in White Lightin’, I would love to see Edward Hogg in Memoirs From the Asylum; he brings a special something to the notion of craziness.
Since I’m lollygagging, why not add Sally Field or Carrie Fisher in the movie version of Widow’s Walk—two women who could truly bring the tormented intensity of Mary Flanagan to the screen.
9) Now I'm going to steal a question from my book "Awake In Hell". If you could ask God himself one question, what would it be??
Funny that you ask this question right after I’ve been talking about Widow’s Walk; it is, after all, a novel of faith and spirituality. In the spirit of Mary’s self-torment, I would ask, “Are we closer to you when we suffer and try or when we enjoy and allow ourselves to love? Which is the path you ask of us?”
10) Are you currently writing full time or do you still have a "day job" ? What are the pros and cons of whichever one you are?
I’m retired, so writing is what I do—not so much for a job as for a way of life. Of course I want those royalties and that recognition, but the best thing of all is to know that I have shared a good story with yet another reader.
11) Are you happier today than you were yesterday? Let us know what makes you happier than anything else in the world!
Every year I make the same New Year’s resolution: to be happier this year than I was last. At least for the last eleven years that I have been retired and writing, I have been able to keep that resolution. Things just keep getting better. Of course I can’t travel as much as I used to and it takes me longer to do many things; but life is good.
As to what my greatest pleasures are, there are so many. Spending time with my wife, talking with my son, getting together with friends, reading a good book, listening to classical music, watching a great play or movie, eating a good meal, and of course writing.
As Patrick Dennis says in Auntie Mame,” another of my favorite books, “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
Don't you just love these answers? I'm sure you'll also love his books! Please go get them!!
Kenneth Weene website is http://www.kennethweene.com
Author’s page on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=books&field-author=Kenneth%20Weene
He's also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for those wishing to connect.
Thank you so much! And please come back for more I'm Tellin Helen!!
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