Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview with Kenneth Janssen

Briefly describe your journey in writing your book.
I write because I feel there is a story that needs to be told. I keep a file of newspaper and magazine articles about topics that interest me and they often become the source material for my novels. To this is added an exhausting amount of research to assure accuracy. I truly believe that my storytelling is unique and interesting enough to grab the reader and not let go until the unique ending. The characters are varied and have all the qualities that the reader would expect, including a range of emotions that includes love, hate, fear and horror. The dialogue is relaxed and believable.

Over the years I have written poems and short stories, several of which have been published by Nights and Weekends, Writing Raw and Long Story Short. A small volume by a Norwegian, Jostein Gaarder called Sophie’s World inspired me to write my first novel. My favorite authors are Stuart Woods, John Sanford, Stephen Frye and Stephen King.

Writing is my destiny.

What genre are your books?
Mostly Thrillers and Suspense.  

Do you write in more than one genre?
Yes, one of my novels is Paranormal and one is Inspirational.

If you write in more than one genre, do you use a pen name?
I did for the Inspirational novel, Everyman, Revisited, written by Michael St. James.

Did you query agents and traditional publishers?
I did both. In the process I received some excellent formatting and character advice. I made several improvements because of the kind advice of several agents and publishers. Of course many did not reply or just sent e-mails telling me that the market dictated a shift in the number and genres that they were interested in.

Did you receive an offer of representation or a book contract?
I received offers from several publishers, but I couldn’t agree with their contract terms.

What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
Jay Hartman sent an e-mail telling me how much he liked the book. Their contract offered the flexibility I was looking for. I checked them out online and was impressed with the growth they were experiencing and what some of their authors had to say about their dealings with Untreed. On that basis, I accept Jay’s offer. I have never regretted my decision. Working with K. D. Sullivan on the details of the contract and subsequent editing and proofing was a joy.

How involved were you during the creative process for your book’s cover design?
I made some suggestions and was very pleased with Dara England’s final design. It is an eye catching cover.

Do you plan to self-publish any other books or will you stay with Untreed Reads?
I am finishing the second Mark Matthews Mystery (Fatal Dose). If things work out, I would be very happy to continue with Untreed Reads. I have two other novels that are completed. The first, Mysterious Forces will probably be an e-book. The second Everyman, Revisited, I hope will find a hardcover or paperback publisher.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
At the moment, only Facebook.

How do you feel about the world of digital publishing?  Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
There is no doubt that e-books will continue to grow as the cost of Kindle type readers continues to plummet. I see a continuing market for those who need the feel, smell and cozyness of a printed book, but sometime in the future they will be in the minority. Authors will have to deal with both in the interim.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your journey as an author?
I learned a lot about the publishing business, but mostly I learned that writing gave me the opportunity to share with the world my thoughts, beliefs and dreams.  When a reader chooses your book, generally it’s because of the cover, book jacket blurb, a book review or description by the seller. They are taking a leap of faith that you will satisfy some need they are harboring. If you deliver on this, you have a fan. If you deliver to enough readers, you’re a bestselling author. What an exciting opportunity.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep reading and keep writing. You must read the latest books in your genre in order to know, not only what is selling, but the style of successful writers. There is room for descriptive and dialogist styles and for a mix of both.

What’s next for you?
I will continue to write daily, although the hunt for publishers for my completed works takes up a lot of my time. I am still looking for an agent so that I can spend the majority of my time on writing.

I’m beginning to formulate the third Mark Matthews Mystery and sequels to both Mysterious Forces and Everyman, Revisited.

Author bio:

Ken’s debut novel centers on the exploits of Mark Matthews, a private investigator turned FBI agent. In Blood Money Mark helps topple an association funneling money to terrorist organizations. Blood Money was published as an e-book in November, 2011.
Fatal Dose, the second Mark Matthews Mystery exposes a drug mafia distributing counterfeit prescription drugs. Mark tangles with Marco Vennuti who is responsible for the death of an FBI agent and his family and finds himself protecting his lover from the threat of the psychopathic killer.
Hampton Manor is a multi-genre work about three generations of the Hampton family and their interactions with five townspeople in the peaceful community of Old Brooking, Connecticut. One of the five hires an assassin to kill Adam Hampton and his father and to burn Hampton Manor to the ground. The resulting sequence of events leaves the town reeling. Hampton Manor is an emotional rollercoaster that doesn’t stop until the last word is read.
Everyman, Revisited, Ken’s latest novel takes narrative license from a fifteenth century allegorical morality play and Philip Roth’s modern day adaptation, both simply called Everyman. In Everyman, Revisited, the protagonist is portrayed by Reverend Aaron Masters, minister of the New Thought Metaphysical Center. The novel is not about “new thought” per se; rather about new ways of thinking. Everyman, Revisited is as provocative as it is inspirational.
Ken has epublished several short stories at Nights and Weekends, Writing Raw and Long Story Short.
Ken lives in Ohio, with his wife Jeannette. Contact: