Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview with Kevin Rau


How are your story ideas born?
Well, none are mammals, so mine generally hatch.  Cold-blooded, you know.  In reality, since I've been working on the H.E.R.O. series for a while, some of the ideas are a continuation of plot twists from earlier novels.  (I see the series much like a TV series, with some things crossing from episode to episode, while the core problem(s) are resolved in that one episode.)  For the core plot ideas, I'll do a mix of looking through online news and brainstorming on where my "universe" is going.  A lot of it pertains to various characters, as a big part of my overall storyline for the series has to do with character evolution and handling of various situations.

How many works in progress do you have?
Normally just one.  I'm like a freight train, I build up steam and charge forward on it.  The only times I really multitask are to jot down spot ideas for a different novel or series, and also when my current book is sent off to the editors, and then I move on to cover/art, the "back cover" text, and then to the next story if it takes them long enough.  When I get it back, I then return to the first book.

What is your writing process?
First, brainstorm the "big" plot points.  I also write down a laundry "to-do" list of things that have to happen somewhere in the story (commonly pertaining to character development or issues).  Then, I do chapter overviews for 6-12 chapters.  From there, I generally write by the seat of my pants, or shorts if I'm wearing those instead, because holding pants while writing just to have them there would be downright odd.

What writing mechanic challenges you?
I'm not a fan of editing, although with me being a bit senile, sometimes it's like all new work!  Some people may believe that editing is just re-reading your story, but the parts I'm speaking of are slowly going through each line and paragraph, looking for grammar and spelling issues.  Changing plot elements and such I don't mind as much, except for the ramifications on other parts of the story.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
When I have good music blaring, and I'm really into a character's thoughts, or the action they are involved in, and the writing just flows.

What’s your least favorite part of the writing process?
When I hit a "Y" in the road that can change the fate of my characters or world, and have to choose one or the other.  I sometimes get stuck overthinking the options.

How long did it take to write your latest release?
I'll speak about the last full novel, because I didn't track my short stories, nor the Illustrated Guide I recently released.  For the actual writing, perhaps 5 weeks for the last full novel.  When I'm not being distracted much, I commonly write 3-4k words per day, every day.  After you account for art, cover design, and editing, it takes another month or so.

Do you have a favorite line or scene from your story?
Err ... remember the senile comment from above?  I still do (for a while).  In general, I'll say no.  I tend not to get caught up in individual moments of my own books, nor of movies I watch or books I read.  However, I did just have a scene from a "villain's" standpoint in my current work that I'm loving, because you get into her head and emotions, learn more about her powers than we knew before, and she kicks some backside.

Here's a list of the 6 novels, 2 short stories and the guide from the H.E.R.O. series on their Amazon Kindle pages:

For an overall view on one page, check out http://www.kevinrau.com/books.asp

I also do 3D character designs on many of my characters, and have rendered hundreds of pictures on my website at
http://www.kevinrau.com as well as on my official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/herobooks

Author bio:
Born in 1970, I've been interested in fantasy and science fiction since perhaps the age of 10. I believe my love of medieval knights came about when my father built a wooden shield and sword for me to use in elementary school for some event.

Through my school years I read hundreds (or thousands? - it's hard to recall at this point) of fantasy and science fiction novels. Comic books and super heroes came a bit later, although I recall seeing the Christopher Reeve Superman movies at a very young age (and loving them). Since my later teens I believe I've watched nearly every major fantasy, science fiction, and super-hero movie that has come out.

I still love reading fantasy and science fiction, although I wish there were more novels based on superheroes. This is something that drove me to create my own supers universe and heroes in written form. I love supers, but I've always wanted more character depth than a comic book can provide. (Not to mention the immense length of time it takes for a comic series to do a story is just plain too long to me.)

Writing is a hobby for me, I'm a full-time computer programmer and systems administrator for a small company. Fortunately the skills I've learned allow me to work with 3D programs to render the characters (and covers) for my books. My hope is to put out a novel or two a year, time allowing. At this point I'd like to grow the H.E.R.O. Universe with more novels, as well as start a fantasy series at some point.