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Interview with Kevin E. Buckley

Kevin E. Buckley

Born in the UK but happily dwelling "across the pond", Kevin E. Buckley has traveled far and wide seeking new experiences and delving into interesting cultures. His travels ultimately led him to Canada, where he lives in rugged, beautiful Ontario - the perfect setting for him to freely express his creativity amidst the wonders of the natural world.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I wanted to be a rock star. Still do, in fact!

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
Yes. I’m working on the follow-up to The Secret Sign of the Lizard People (TSSOTLP), which has a working title of The Lost Song of the Zombie Shapeshifters (TLSOTZS).

It features some of the main characters of the first book, with some new villains, and is written in much the same flavor as the first book so as to offer some continuity, but with a completely different plotline and general theme.

Q.3 What inspired you to write The Secret Sign of the Lizard People?
For me, three simultaneous - yet seemingly unrelated - occurrences converged to inspire me to create this book.

Firstly, the global resurgence of populism to a level not seen since before the Second World War. (There is a conspiracy here, folks, but it’s definitely not a theory.)

Secondly, the immense power and wealth wielded by the giant corporations and their cynical denial of the ongoing industrial-scale destruction of our planet’s flora and fauna despite an overabundance of scientific evidence to the contrary.

And lastly, but by no means least, the huge popularity of the UFO counter-culture and the resultant conspiracy theories that now resonate throughout our literature and social media.

The absolute evil of the first two and the arguably harmless absurdity of the last proved such an irresistibly interesting combination, that I had no choice but to tie these themes together and The Secret Sign of the Lizard People came into being.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Well, the word ‘opposite’ is definitely key to that question. The experts say to only write about what you know about and I know about being a male. Writing about females is pure guesswork. It is comparable to trying to write about an animal character or a god-like character: I am neither, so it can be quite difficult.

Q.5 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
Absolutely no formula! I strive for originality and formulas are the antithesis of such an approach. I am sometimes a ‘pantser’ and simply wing it, and sometimes I’m a ‘planner’ and map out the course of the story. Neither method takes precedence nor is it carved in stone. I have developed with my WIP a method of taking notes and jotting down ideas for times when I can give my full attention to the writing of the book. These notes are presently contained in a document of about 28,000 words (almost a novelette unto itself) and this method might prove to be a little cumbersome and time-consuming.

Q.6 What’s your writing schedule look like when you’re working?
I am a binge writer. If I’m into it, I can spend 6-8 hours writing, editing, or researching. Sometimes I don’t write for a few weeks.

Q.7 What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The publishing, editorial & promotional aspects, hands down. The writing is the pleasurable part and I had a lot of fun writing TSSOTLP. Answering questions like this, although apparently necessary, can be fairly difficult for me. The English tend to frown upon blatant self-promotion and ‘blowing one’s own horn is not really my forte!'

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
It’s hard to imagine that particular scenario. If there was not a single pencil, nor sheet of scrap paper to be found and my hands and arms and brain had ceased to function, then I’m not sure that I’d be doing much of anything.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
I honestly haven’t got a clue. Boring answer. Sorry!

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I believe that it is vital to get your product out to the people who actually want it. I have run social media posts and ads, dealt with promotional entities of greater or lesser effectiveness & taken part in newspaper interviews. Marketing takes a lot of time and requires a thick skin and an opportunist mindset.

Q.11 What are the three things a reader can expect from your book?
Fun. Truth. Warning.

Q.12 How do your family and friends feel about your writing venture in general?
There have been mixed reactions on that front. They are generally supportive, but any artistic venture is subjective and the subject matter & style of TSSOTLP is not for everyone. Frankly, I have had much more feedback from complete strangers.

Q.13 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
When it comes to supporting one’s self, don’t do anything else with your life but write.

Q.14 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
I believe in writer’s block, but I have rarely if ever, suffered from that malady. Even if I don’t realize it, I’ve usually got something to say as soon as I sit down at the keyboard or pick up a notepad.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select him/her?
My publisher came up with a few ideas based upon my preferences and to a certain extent, the cover was a collaborative effort.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
That is a tough, tough question! I’m thinking about it right now as I sit here in front of my computer. The characters are the lifeblood of the story, but where they come from and how they came to be is something of a mystical process. The characters spontaneously come into existence, just like real people, and are perhaps an amalgam of different individuals that one has known. The actual naming is a trial and error process, but one that is very important to the whole flavor of the work.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I generally pour myself a liberal shot of some form of alcoholic beverage, grit my teeth, and open up the review file. It’s tough reading reviews. Especially those from reputable, mainstream sources. TSSOTLP has fared quite well in the review process with several extremely positive testimonials and only one that was gratuitously negative. One reads them, tries to apply any lessons contained within them, and then moves on to something else. I’m probably just like every other writer in that they want their book to be liked by everyone, impossible though that may be!

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. Julius Caesar
, because he was an immensely important historical figure who influenced the whole world. Mark Twain, because his wit is supreme. Mahatma Gandhi, because it would be magnificent to meet a truly, no-messing-about good person. Diana Ross, because I just love her singing.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
I’ve got lots of favorite books, but for a compelling and spellbinding read, I would have to say The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Castaneda, definitely fits the bill.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
I think it all comes down to what one regards as a successful outcome. If becoming a best-selling author is the primary goal, then while that is a most laudable ambition, it is by no means an easy thing to do. 

Just like the ‘Yes’ song, I tend to aim high and shoot low. It is the act of creativity that is my own personal goal, striving for some form of original style or thought, so that, at the end of the day, I am content that I have put everything possible into the work and I am happy with the end result.

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