WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?
A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.
Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.
Here we are! A chat with William Vitka! Enjoy!
FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?
Vitka: Miles Cressman, another author accepted into the project, told me about it. I thought the idea was fantastic. Having Harlan Ellison and Alan Dean Foster involved didn’t hurt either. And I was floored when I received an acceptance email from El Presidente.
FS: What’s your contribution called?
Vitka: In A Mind
FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?
Vitka: A young boy and salvation in imagination amidst a crumbling home life.
FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?
Vitka: The majority of my writing is concerned with a dark, brutal view of the world, people’s behavior and our place is the universe. That’s what I’m attracted to. That’s the writing I’m comfortable with.
I decided I wanted to write something outside my comfort zone. Not something ‘light,’ per se, but something warm. Something pulled from personal experience. In this case a broken home. I wanted to write an honest story about a crumbling homelife, without the saccharine bullshit, while maintaining some feeling of hope.
FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?
Vitka: I wrote it before learning about KAS. Not too much before, though.
FS: Obviously the primary goal behind this anthology is to make some money for disadvantaged and abused children. But secondary to that, it is to promote fresh, new writing talent – the punk rock of literature – and show that Indie writers are out there, dedicated and working hard to produce Class-A work.
If people take notice of what you’ve written for this anthology, what do you hope the outcome is of that attention?
Vitka: That they want to read more! I would love to write full-time without the need of a day job.
FS: How do you write? Are you a plotter? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? When do you write, and where? I write at night, at the dining table, when the kids are in bed and the place is finally peaceful and quiet. And I work everything out on paper before I sit down to write. What have you found works best for you?
Vitka: I just write. Flying by the smoke of my Nat Shermans and the hops of my beer. I get an idea in my head, and I start hammering the piece out. The only goal I have is, when I’m engaged in a story, to get 1-2,000 words down a night.
I also write when everyone else seems to be asleep. I crank up the music in my headphones, put on a cheerful horror movie like Return Of The Living Dead, and let the characters do what they need to do. They’re alive, after all. I never plot. I do go back the day after to edit and read what I wrote previously. Then I start punching words again.
FS: How did you find the editing process with Bernard? I found it to be like a smack in the mouth and a pat on the head at the same time, saying “I like this” at one point, to a specific sentence, and then “You need to stay in Active Voice!” the next. I learned a lot, and I think I have a much stronger piece of writing now than I did when I submitted it. What was your personal experience?
Vitka: Bernard didn’t ask me to edit anything. Which is kind of horrifying. I ran the story through several personal edits as well as having my brother Sean and a few others check it. I never trust myself alone for editing, but my brother knows how to slap the dumb from my prose, and, if this story is any indication, he’s done a great job.
FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?
Vitka: Harlan Ellison and Alan Dean Foster were both big parts of my childhood. Harlan, in fact, is a major reason I started writing. I’m also honored to be among friends Miles Cressman, James Martin, Laurie Laliberte and Bernard Schaffer.
FS: We know that there will be a KAS 2 at some point. Plans are already afoot. Is there a dream name you’d like to see involved in it the next time around? Me personally, getting published in a book that includes a story by Alan Dean Foster is one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if one day…” things that I can now tick off of the list.
Vitka: Hah! I feel the same way about KAS 1. One author I’d be particularly honored to have my name near is Richard Matheson. I love the man.
FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?
Vitka: I’m a journalist, so writing and deadlines are pretty well ingrained in my life in every aspect. I also work for my brother’s charity, Blue Redefined (http://www.blueredefined.org/), which aims to create social and entertainment opportunities for individuals who are disabled, hospitalized, or in an assisted living environment. And, of course, I try to spend as much time as possible with my wife, who helps keep me sane.
FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?
Vitka: I started self-publishing some stories on Amazon, which has been great (http://www.amazon.com/William-Vitka/e/B004S7MH9S/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0). And most recently I was the cover story for wonderful The Red Penny Papers’ Fall issue (http://redpennypapers.com/fiction/quarterly/vol-ii-issue-1-fall-2011/) and I have a story coming in On Spec Magazine (http://www.onspec.ca/) . Graveside Tales (http://gravesidetales.com/) will be publishing my first novel, Infected in June 2012. And I’ll be working something special for Curiosity Quills (http://curiosityquills.com/) in the near future. I also just completed my second novel and I’ll be looking for a home for it soon. It’s been a hell of a year.
I also try to maintain a good web presence. I’m on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/william.vitka), Twitter (<a href="<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/vitka), Tumblr (http://vitka.tumblr.com/”>https://twitter.com/#!/vitka), Tumblr (http://vitka.tumblr.com/) and Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4721461.William_Vitka).
FS: And to your readers – both potential and existing – is there anything you would like to say? They might be reading this months after Resistance Front has landed, wanting to know more about you. What would you like to say to them?
Vitka: Keep reading. Never stop. And thank you.
FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!