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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Interview Amber Gifts by Kevin B. Henry

What inspired you to become an author?

I have always been a storyteller. I think my family has a wealth of stories about the things I said and the stories I told when I was small. Luckily I remember very few of them. I was also a voracious reader. During school I was always reading, both for class and for pleasure. I read all summer when I wasn’t in school. I would ride my bike to a park or church, sit under a tree and spend the day reading Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, almost anything I could find that was science fiction. In elementary school I remember reading the Mushroom Planet books by Cameron. Not a book of significantly social meaning but a lot of fun for me. I tried to read each of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan books as a child too. I think I missed a few. Eventually I felt I wanted to write, but I wanted to be the writers I read, and wasn’t myself. What I did write was usually unfinished and very poor. When I had the idea for Amber Gifts I was ready to be myself, to write in my own voice.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

The title of my first book, Amber Gifts, just appeared in my brain as I began writing the very beginning chapter. The, as-yet-unreleased books in the series have been more challenging. My current work in progress is still called Amber Whatever in my head. I’m sure a name will present itself to me prior to submission.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

Yes. Actually the title comes in the midst of the writing process, sometimes sooner, sometimes at the very last minute. My current work in progress has had three failed titles before I even began writing it. Now I’m just writing and we will see if a title presents itself.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I write for entertainment. I don’t have any specific cause or agenda that I feel I need to include in my writing. I enjoy history and trivia. That finds its way into my stories. Otherwise I just want to tell a story that I hope people enjoy.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true-life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

I think everyone writes themselves into their stories at some point. I’m not Mitchell, nor am I Crystin, but parts of them exist in me. I can say the same for my villains as well.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

As I mentioned, I read a lot of Science Fiction as a youth. Cameron, Heinlein, Clarke, Piers Anthony all influenced my Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I took a course on Mystery writers in college and read Dashiell Hammet and J.D. James. I discovered John D. MacDonald and his character Travis McGee through a Jimmy Buffett song and read all 21 of those novels. All of this mix of genre helps me when I want to tell my stories. I’m currently waiting for the next, possibly last Odd Thomas book by Dean Koontz and of course I will get the next Dresden Files book by Jim Butcher as soon as the man writes it. Those last two inspire me to write better every time I read their works.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would be too ‘gobsmacked’ on meeting any of the authors I’ve mentioned to be very comfortable in a social setting. I’ve met some famous people and I just don’t talk. It’s that thing that Mr. Twain said about opening your moth and proving yourself a fool. They can mentor me through their works, thank you very much.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

As I mentioned, I have one untitled Amber story I’m currently writing. I have two additional stories be released in 2015. Champagne Books will release Amber Prelude in June and they will release Amber Legacy in November. It’s going to be a very exciting year for me.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I work very hard at continuity. Amber Gifts, while it is the first story is actually Mitchell’s second time travel adventure. I worked hard to make sure in Amber Prelude, the first time he travels that I didn’t step on any of my own self imposed actions or events.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

If I learned anything in my journey from aspiring writer to published author it’s, Be Yourself. Write your own stories. Don’t try to be the next Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or John D. MacDonald. Be who you are and write who and what you are. It’s easier and I’m willing to bet it’s a heck of a lot better story.

Amber Gifts
Book One
Kevin B. Henry

Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Time Travel

Publisher: Champagne Books

Date of Publication: February 2013

ISBN:          9781771550048

Number of pages:  99 pages
Word Count: 25,000 words

Cover Artist: Ellie Smith

Book Description:

After a decades long downward spiral, Mitchell is at the bottom of life’s rungs. A stranger hands him a simple, amber vial and tells him to drink it. With that one act, he is now a time traveler and when asked to help some new acquaintances, he gladly agrees. A simple request to find some items left scattered throughout time. How hard could it be?

But someone wants to stop Mitchell’s efforts and it will take more than luck for Mitchell to find all the items and survive long enough to complete his mission.

Champagne Books           Amazon       Barnes and Noble

Smashwords            Kobo
I spun in the chair. My flight instincts kicked in and I dove for the floor behind the desk. My hand grasped the vial before I escaped the target that was once a comfortable chair. I felt the second shot miss my head by inches. I gathered the package to me on my way to the floor.
“Wait. Stop!” I stammered on the way to the floor. I didn’t believe for a second that he would.
I uncapped the vial with a flip of my thumb while securing the package in my inner coat pocket. I recovered the rubber stopper in midair. My dexterity surprised me. What circus had I escaped from where I learned these tricks? I raised the vial to my waiting mouth. As I sipped, I took a quick look at my assailant. I wanted to be able to describe him to the Wilsons when next I saw them. He had bon vivant written all over him. He sparkled for the entire world like a fourth of July firework. I needed to ask about the meaning of that if I lived long enough. He dressed in a burgundy velvet smoking jacket, white tombstone shirt with a brown medallion ascot.
His face appeared cold and insensitive, if that’s possible. His blond, short-trimmed hair seemed not to move, despite his trying violently to get through the door and in a better location for the kill shot. When his mouth opened I would have sworn I saw his teeth gleam like one of those Crest toothpaste commercials. A scowl of bewilderment appeared on his face as he rushed through the threshold. Perhaps he felt as amazed at my continued existence as I. He must have taken his first shot from across the hall and through the office entryway. I didn’t understand how he managed to miss the second shot.
“Sorry, mate,” he said with an Australian accent.
He had a gun in his hand, aimed straight at my head. It appeared to be a Remington Model 95Derringer. I tend to notice deadly items pointed at me with such professional accuracy. I wasn’t going to trust my life that it was only an authentic double shot model. He had the look of someone intent on firing again very soon. How fast could he pull the trigger? How fast could I dissolve? I hate life or death experiments.
“1643,” I spoke softly. Instantly, I lay on an empty, white, sand beach.

About the Author:

From an early age, Kevin B. Henry was a voracious reader. His collection of science fiction, fantasy and mystery books bring tears of envy to the eyes of many small community libraries.

Kevin has worked as an educator, technology specialist and day laborer most of his adult life. During all that time he lived the life of a frustrated author. That it took 30 years for him to piece together Amber Gifts is a testament that the best meals need slow cooking to bring out the flavor. He feels the best stories revolve around time travel and the problems that such ability could produce. It’s no surprise that his first published work revolves around that theme. All the classics have touched on the subject; Star Trek, Doctor Who, Babylon 5, The Big Bang Theory. He hopes Amber Gifts can be added to that list.

Kevin is a natural storyteller, so it’s logical that he lectures occasionally. Topics range from the implementation of cutting edge technology hardware to the creation, modification and use of e-books within education. He constantly pursues research to expand his range of possible topics. His most recent research revolved around the aerodynamic properties of reindeer. He’s been known to include little known facts and trivia into his presentations. Did you know just 146 years ago today the Union Army marched into Atlanta? It took longer than anticipated. They were delayed by a traffic jam on I-75 and the tollbooth on Ga. 400

During other times, he travels if he can, both in time and space, but mostly to any available amusement park. He is not as fond of roller coaster type rides as he used to be. He still loves a good parade.

He lives in the mid-west without human or domesticated mammal companionship.

Twitter:        @Kevin_Henry

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Kevin B. Henry said...

Thank you very much for hosting this portion of my tour. I greatly appreciate it. I really enjoyed answering your interview questions. I've been working on improving my answers based on Bull Durham. I regret not being able to use, "Some days you win, some days you lose, some days it rains." :-)

Hywela Lyn said...

Very enlightening interview - it's always interesting to hear about fellow authors and their work. I enjoyed 'Amber Gifts' and look forward to reading the rest in the series.