As much as I love the paranormal, I am a die hard haf of SciFi! From Fringe, to Haven, to Sanctuary, the SciFi Author must not only come up with new other worldly ideas, because the same olde E.T's just don't work anymore; they must keep creating, but entertaining at the same time. Well I have just the answer for you...
SciFi Authors from All over the World...
This Weeks Spotlight...
Kevin Gerald Rau...
So Kev, tell us a little bit about yourself?
A long-time comic book reader, wargamer, computer game player, and software developer. I've loved the fantasy and sci-fi genres since a very young age. Tired of having the stories on my favorite characters end after a novel (or few), as well as the great delay and lack of depth in most comic books, so I decided to write my own.
My contemporary sci-fi series, H.E.R.O., is based on that premise, and is currently (2012) the most extensive superhero novel series of the last decade. (Kudos to George R.R. Martin before that, I'm chasing the long tail of his Wild Cards series at this point.) My near-term second project is a fantasy series in the same vein.
I like lol. I'm a comic book freak myself. So what inspired you to write?
I began in January of 2009, after reading nearly 30 books in the month before it, and becoming torn up about all the stories ending on me. I enjoy getting into the heads of characters, and hitting the end of single novels, trilogies, and some long series bugged me enough to get my backside moving on my own series. That was the birth of H.E.R.O.
That's awesome. Do you use a pen name, and if so how did you choose it?
No pen name for me. On the contrary, I noticed how many others were on the web with the name “Kevin Rau,” and used “Kevin Gerald Rau” on my work to ensure they wouldn’t be mistaken for the work of others. I’m backing off that lately, however. The shorter name fits better on books, and my picture is floating around enough with my name that I believe they are linked.
And what genre do you write in specifically?
Contemporary Sci-Fi (or Fantasy, depending on your viewpoint), specifically novels about superheroes. Soon(ish), I’ll be starting the writing on my first fantasy novel, but I have at least one or two more in H.E.R.O. before I go to interleaving books between the two series.
What lead you to writing in this genre?
I love superheroes in novels, comic books, movies, television. It’s something that I’m knowledgeable in, and knew I could make a cohesive universe out of.
How long have you been writing exactly?
Since January of 2009, for novel writing. I’ve been designing superheroes for decades.
So Kev, tell us about you book?
It might work best to describe the series in general. The first novel (H.E.R.O. – Metamorphosis) is focused on three people as they gain their superpowers. They go through the trials and challenges of learning about how powers aren’t the great things the three thought they would be. In the midst of this, they are dealing with crimes and crisis in Metrocity. The series grows over time, introduces many more heroes, villains, aliens, and involves their interrelationships with each other, problems they face (both personal and external), as well as crimes and disasters.
Sounds cool. So what authors influence Kevin the writer lol?
I’ll give the greatest kudos to Laurel K. Hamilton. I love her two ongoing series, and those were key in my decision to use the same concept with my own series.
I love her too. She was the one who inspired me to write my first book Teaching between Midnight and Dawn. So, how long have you been published or trying to get published?
January 2009. I wrote the first novel, and part of the second in early 2009, but didn’t release them to the public until August 2011. The greatest problem was cover creation – until I finally sat down, learned some graphics art programs, and created my characters in digital 3D.
What is your favorite Quote? Why is it your favorite?
Oh, wow. I’m a person of few, or no, favorites … of anything. I love broad spectrum things, such as a genre of books, or a “universe” books and movies are set in, but I can’t pin down one thing that stands out. Okay, here’s one I do love: “Hulk Smash!”
Hahahaha! Me too, not to mention that one scene in Marvel's Avengers. But back to you Kev, how long did it take you to publish your first book, once you started really looking for an agent or publisher?
My 6 novels, 1 illustrated guide, and 2 short stories are self-published.
What's the strangest way you've sold a book/story (either to a reader or to a publisher/agent)?
Probably when the secretary at my “day job” asked to buy some paperback versions of some of my books. I believe she was most interested in having something physical from someone she knew in person.
And what do you think of e-books Kevin? And if un-published, would you sell to an e-book publisher?
I strongly believe e-books are coming like a tidal wave. Tablets andare really just taking off now, and every person I know that has moved to reading on them prefers the format over paper books (even though they swore they would only love paper versions prior to that). Those who are fearful of technology won’t jump on the bandwagon, but over time, it’s where we are moving. (Think about this, some small companies can operate without a computer, but do you know of any who have stopped using computers and gone back to paper? I don’t.)
How long does it take you to write a book?
When I’m “in the groove,” I can write a full novel in about a month. That doesn’t include art for the cover, editing, proofreading, etc.
Do you write one book/story at a time or multiples?
I write a single book at a time. If I get ideas, I’ll put them in spreadsheets or text documents for future books, but all of my actual writing goes into a single work at a time. (Until I hand it off to the editors, and then I jump into cover design, and possibly the next book, depending on how long it takes them.)
Are there any genres you'd like to try your hand at but haven't?
Are there any genres you'd never consider writing in?
I write “light reading” style of books. I doubt I’ll ever try writing literary fiction. For certain, I won’t touch religious, a true children’s book, and most likely won’t ever write a thriller.
What's your writing process?
I’m a hardcore techie. My “day job” is that of a software designer/programmer/database developer/network administrator/web developer. I only write in a word processor. I use spreadsheets for notes. I use self-developed programs to come up with character ideas, superpowers, and “events” that can happen in a city. I’ll normally write a chunk of the book, and then go back and edit it. If I’m “in the zone,” in the writing phase, I’ll stick to writing for a longer time. I commonly have 4-6 passes on a book.
What genres do you think are up and coming or waning?
Fantasy is growing. Thrillers appear to be extremely popular right now. Science Fiction appears to be decreasing. (Perhaps real life is getting “sciency” enough to overwhelm people as it is.)
What do you think the next big thing in the industry is?
E-books. I’m wondering how long it will take before one of the “Big 6” publishers collapses under its “old-school” way of doing things.
What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
An editor. Another is one or more people who can read your work, and tell you that something doesn’t make sense (within the context of the novel). A desire to bang one’s head against the wall (for marketing, promotion, and to handle the criticism we get).
The #1 holiday or birthday gift to purchase for an author is...
I’m attempting to avoid being naughty-minded here. I AM a guy, after all. I’m not sure it would be something related to one’s writing. It seems to me, that the best gifts are those that give a lasting memory. Here’s one that I’ll remember for a looong time: Some friends at work printed a picture of my first book cover, brought it to a cake shop, and had them “print” a cake layer of it. They gave it to me for my birthday cake. Now that was pretty awesome, and memorable.
Awe! c'mon Kevin, the ladies here would have loved to hear that naughty answer Lol. But anyway, what is the funniest or strangest editor/crit request/comment you've encountered?
It’s strange to me when a person buys your book, thinking it was something completely different (such as a comic book), and then gripes about it and marks your book down in “stars.”
If you could have a book signing anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
GenCon in Indianapolis. Comic-Con would be pretty awesome at this point as well.
I would love to too Kev. So, what's the strangest/worst job (outside of publishing) you've held?
I’m not sure I could classify any of my jobs as horrible. Those where interpersonal situations are problematic are the least enjoyable. Okay, here’s one, I did some phone system wiring with my dad a few times (e.g. we ran wires though the walls and ceiling for phones and networks). That’s about as alien to writing as you can get.
Yeah that's totally different. And have you ever included a real experience of your own in a book? Did anyone who knows you notice it?
Hmm, a single experience? I can’t say as I have. However, I use my experience with weight lifting and apply it to some of the characters.
Have you ever included someone who irritated you in the book? As what, and what comeuppance did he/she get?
No, I avoid using real people for character concepts like the plague.
Okay, so where do you get your character names?
Their super-names I come up with based off the powers they have, and for some just by getting ideas by driving around and looking at signs. For real names, I’ve got a massive database of first names and last names, and randomly generate combinations until I see one that catches my eye.
And where do you get your inspiration for a book? How do you get your ideas?
Because my novels are an ongoing series, at least part of what happens are a continuation of interpersonal relationship (problems or events) from earlier books. For disasters and crimes, I sometimes use the news, other times use software I’ve developed to give me random ideas until I find something that fits well.
What is the best reader or reviewer comment you've ever received?
There are two that stand out to me (I’ll copy-paste them):
“So far this is the coolest thing ever to me at least. I have not only emailed and facebooked this author but he has multiple times answered me back I'm surprised that he has done this It is interesting and inspiring thank you “
On that last one, I replaced the name of the other series the person mentioned, I don’t want to bash any other author’s work. However, that one is often the best seller in my category, so it was high praise from a reader.
What's your favorite part of being a writer?
Knowing that I’ve built one of the most extensive superhero novel universes in literature today.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Do it. Rewrite it numerous times. Hire a professional editor. Be prepared to put in far, far, far more time and energy than you ever expected.
What book, if you have written several books, is your favorite and why?
My first still holds a dear place in my heart. However, H.E.R.O. – Dark Research is probably where my writing style “matured,” and has a slightly different feel to me, so it places high up there.
Which of your own characters would you like to meet in real life, and what would you do?
To simply meet one for a day, Rayna might top the list, especially if she were to create a new life form during our meeting. The telepaths I would avoid. Spartan would be great to meet due to his enthusiasm, heroic attitude, and to hear him describe events he’s been a part of. (Not to mention seeing a 6’8” massive superhero.)
Do you prefer to think of yourself as a hero/heroine or villain/villainess and why?
I joke about having an evil plot in my author interviews with other authors. However, innately I’d prefer to help others. So it would be a hero.
If you could have one magical power, what would it be and why?
Super-invention. With that power, you could build items that emulate all other powers.
Tell us about releases you expect within the next year...
H.E.R.O. – Gene Front will be out around July or early August. I expect to put out a novel about every 3 months. Faster, if I can stay focused.
Give us a small blur about your current release...
My last release was H.E.R.O. Shorts – Silverlash. It’s a short story, following one of the “side” superheroines in Metrocity for most of a day. Rather than a set major crime or villain, it’s more of a “what does a superhero go through in a day.” The two short stories I just put out also give readers a view from two superheroes, that the other novels didn’t focus strongly upon.
And lastly, who designs your cover art Kevin?
I do all of my own art. I make my superheroes and villains in 3D on a computer. It allows me to pose them and render them in different lighting. I’ve been able to render hundreds of pictures of them for my website (http://www.kevinrau.com and my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/herobooks ). It provides a nice visual to compliment the novels.
Thanks so much for hanging out with us Kevin.