MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KENNETH KOHL!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Kenneth Kohl. The Remover series was intended to be horror fiction but I think that when all was said and done, it ended up falling into the category of an occult or paranormal thriller.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I set out writing a historical fiction novel. That is still in the works, but as a side project I just started jotting down some “junk” thoughts. Before I realized it, I had five chapters of a book written and the ideas just kept coming.
Like a lot of readers, I am a fan of the vampire novels, but I don’t like the new fad of “sparkly” vampires. In fact, I had to look up that reference after a fan mentioned it. I have never read or seen any of the Twilight series; but I have always thought that the concept of vampires should be based in reality. I have trouble believing the whole “magical” element, and if I cannot believe it myself then I could not find myself writing it.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I enjoy the classics (Stoker included) but occasionally I will treat myself to what I think of as trash reading – books that I am a little embarrassed to admit to reading – such as King and Koontz. They are page-turners and do not require a lot of thought. Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and enjoy a book that doesn’t require me to scrutinize every paragraph. I wanted to be able to write that type of horror novel… something to quickly satisfy the reader and make them not want to set the book down until the end.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
No research, really, at least not for The Remover. In my formative years, I associated with friends who were… let’s just say “not average.” Much of The Remover and its characters are based upon that culture.
I did find myself doing quite a bit of research for the second movel in the series, though. Most of the story in Mamzer takes place in 17th century Romania and involves the Romanichal people. I knew nothing about any of those topics, so I did a lot of reading and interviewing people of that culture.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The books are a series of stories about vampires; although not the mythical, magical creatures that they are usually portrayed as, but vampires as a very real species that have grown up alongside humans. The first book in the series is a first person account of a vampire named Christian and a dilemma that he has fallen into. The second book describes the origins of another of the protagonists, who seemed to be a fan favorite.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I’m definitely partial to The Remover – the first in the series – because that is where the myth of vampires is put to rest and their origins are first explained in detail.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
As I said, The Remover was based on a culture I already knew, and the same goes for all of its setting and locations. Fans thought it odd and even refreshing that vampires could existing right there in the midwest; but why not? If they are real, just like humans, then they don’t all live in New York and Los Angeles.
Many of the exotic locations that the protagonists visit: caves, old cemeteries, churches, etc. are all located in Ohio and I strongly recommend visiting them. Once you have read the book and done a little research, they can be found fairly easily.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Absolutely not. In fact, it was not even meant to become a novel. The story took on a life of its own and at some points, I could barely type fast enough to keep up with the ideas. It was only after it was complete and published that I began receiving fan mail – yes, actual fan mail – demanding more. More about my version of vampires and particularly about one of the likeable protagonists who appeared in The Remover.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Writing is not a job for me. It is more of a hobby. I never intended to make any sort of income from it. In fact, I threw away my first few small royalty checks, thinking that they were a fluke. It was only when they started coming in monthly and for significant amount that I began to take writing (for others) seriously.
I have no daily writing goal. If I did, it would not be enjoyable for me anymore. At this point, it is a guilty pleasure that I treat myself to when the mood strikes me. I suppose that is why Mamzer, the second in the series, took me nearly two years to crank out.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
The book that I am working on now is another in the series, also based on one of the protagonists, albeit a mysterious one. It is tentatively titled The Pale Girl, but that is subject to change. I find that it’s best to wait until a novel is complete – or nearly complete – before I can name it appropriately.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
In The Remover, the only names that I really paid much attention to are a couple of the recurring characters – not the protagonists themselves – whose names appeared on tombstones.
In Mamzer (I gather you are grasping the idea that a lot more work went into it) the character names have meaning, and by looking into their traditional origins it becomes obvious why I chose them. In some cases, I explain the meanings throughout the story.
Where do your ideas come from?
If you have any idea, let me know. Ha ha. Most pop into my head. I am a vivid dreamer and sometimes I have a recurrent dream that sticks with me. I usually develop a story based on those. I often have long commutes to and from my “real” job, so it gives me time to think and build on those ideas.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Historical fiction, particulary mystery. That is the genre that my first unfinished novel falls into. The ideas were not coming through as easily, as the fantasy fiction that The Remover series entails. I suppose that is why it got shelved. I do intend to dust it off and continue one day, though.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Writer’s block. Sometimes I reach a point in a novel that has a wonderful buildup, and I have great ideas for where I want to end up at the end of the chapter, end of the book, etc. But I cannot think of a way to get “from here to there.” I don’t want to write something that would diminish the magnitude of the idea just because I was being lazy.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
Nossir! Can’t do it. My style of writing is to begin and let the story go where it wants to. I rarely do anything more than a bare-bones outline so I do not really know what the story will end up being about until it’s done. Just like normal conversation with me, you will find that my stories diverge from the central theme quite often.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My sons; but if you are asking about writing then it would be Mamzer. A lot of thought and research went into it. I actually impressed myself!
What’s the best thing about being an author?
As I said, I don’t write for a living. I don’t even write for acclaim and praise from others (although it is nice to get an atta’ boy every now and then). I suppose that I write for ME. It’s almost as much fun as reading.
Have you always liked to write?
For as long as I can remember. I first started writing “properly” in high school composition, and Warriner’s was my best friend in college.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t listen to your mother. You are not that special. Hard as that may be to swallow, you are just not, so be prepared for some really rough criticism. You need to have a tough skin and forge on in your writing. Don’t get discouraged when you get such vague comments as “This was horrible,” with no concstructive criticism to go along with it. Fact is that most readers are not very kind.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I don’t really know if I am that good at writing books. That doesn’t mean I am going to stop, though. Fortunately it’s not my day job, which I love and intend to do until I retire.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
As I said before, readers can and will be cruel. Just take it with a grain of salt. I used to read every review and felt the urge to reply to all of them. I stopped replying – good or bad – and now rarely have the time or desire to look up book reviews. I do, however, attempt to reply to any fan considerate enough to reach out and contact me personally via me web page or (some) social media.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Editing. It’s the first in a long line of criticisms and disappointments. Unfortunately, you do need to address those comments.
What are you working on now?
The next book in The Remover series, tentatively named The Pale Girl.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
The story is still in the very early formative stages of development, so I don’t have much to relate at this point. It tells the story of another protagonist from The Remover: the Pale Girl of Ash Cave. In The Remover, she is a ghost, or really only the vestiges of a ghost; but she has an intriguing reason for being where she is and how it relates to the original story.
Where did your love of books come from?
Most likely my mother. She seemed to always have a book in her hands.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Well, since I do enjoy the classics, I have always held Fyodor Dostoevsky dear. His tales explain the most basic qualities of humanity, but in a detailed and beautiful way. My favorite modern day author is hands-down Umberto Eco, although Iain Pears comes in a close second.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Christian from The Remover. I can closely relate to a lot about him. I suppose that is why I wrote the novel from a first person perspective.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both – at the same time, if you can imagine. When writer’s block hits, I just give up and set down my pen (or laptop) for a while until an idea hits me. It always does eventually. Once that happens, I start out fast and furious before the mood slips away, but find myself unable to stop until I have thoroughly expressed my thoughts. At times, I have written ten thousand words in one sitting.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Candy Crush. Yes, the first step is admitting that you have a problem. When writer’s block hits, it’s so easy to open up the game and then before you know it, it’s midnight.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I certainly hope that they are both the same thing. If not, then there is no reason for me to be writing. The only time that an author should not strive to be original is when writing non-fiction. (In my humble opinion.)
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Early on, I connected with a group of six young, aspiring authors. We all seemed to enhance each others’ skills through criticism and the exchange of ideas. One particular author has been Ruth Paradis, who has been of enormous help on my recent projects, and whom I hope to continue working with in the future. I suggest looking her up. You can find a link to her information on the contact page of my website.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Actually, I already have begun writing an autobiography entitled All In. The reason for the title will become obvious after you have started reading it. I do not know when I will complete it, though. Could be quite some time.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
It would definitely by “What do you get when you multiply six by nine?” My answer would be forty-two.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kohlkenneth
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/palegirlpress
Visit my website: https://kennethkohl.yolasite.com
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️