WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?
Short conversations throughout November with the stellar talent behind the revolutionary short-story anthology THE KINDLE ALL-STARS PRESENT: RESISTANCE FRONT
FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?
Victor: Well, I read Bernard Schaffer’s eBook “Women and Other Monsters” and really loved it, so I started following his tweets to stay up to date on his work. As fate would have it, he came up with the idea for the KAS project just a couple of days later and mentioned it on Twitter. There was no question that I wanted in.
FS: What’s your contribution called?
Victor: It’s a shorty story titled “Psych Evaluation”
FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?
Victor: It’s about a rather tense conversation between a mental patient and his psychiatrist. Noah, the patient, has done some pretty horrifying things. Doctor Sherman wants to help him deal with that. The question is if Noah will let him.
FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?
Victor: I was just fascinated with the idea of these two people sitting across from each other in a locked room; – both 100% convinced they are right in their assumptions, both desperately trying to make the other see things their way. It’s a kind of mental warfare, really.
FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?
Victor: I wrote the story a couple of weeks earlier for my writers’ group. The version you will see in the Kindle All-Stars book has been given a new ending though, which I think makes it clearer and scarier at the same time.
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?
Victor: Well, obviously I would like to look back on the Kindle All-Stars project one day and point to it as the thing that got the ball rolling. That would be the dream. I hope I can help show people that independent authors can be just as good as traditionally published ones. As far as my own contribution goes, I simply hope people will enjoy it enough to want more.
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?
Victor: I’m a high-concept-kind of guy. Most of my stories start with a core idea. The rest begins to spawn from there, growing wildly in all directions and commonly achieving epic scale in a matter of weeks. That’s when I start looking for themes and connections, switching things around and plotting the story itself. While I’m doing that, my characters usually start to come into their own as well. As the world around them becomes clearer, so do their roles in it. Once I feel that I have the story, I start writing.
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?
Victor: It was a new experience for me to have my writing “judged” by a stranger, but I decided on day one to accept whatever suggestions Bernard might have, – no explaining, no arguing, no grumbling. The fact that I liked his writing so much actually made that rather easy. Besides, I was really looking forward to some neutral, direct feedback, which I certainly got. Like you, I feel that my story became better as a result.
FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?
Victor: Being in the same book with Alan Dean Foster and Harlan Ellison is a big deal, obviously. Who wouldn’t geek out at that?
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.
Victor: Grant Morrison; – he mostly writes comics these days (which are mindbendingly awesome, by the way), but to be in print alongside him would truly be a personal dream come true. He’s the best there is for my money.
FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?
Victor: I’m an early childhood educator, currently working with kids between the ages 5 and thirteen at a Berlin elementary school. Afternoons and weekends belong to my alter ego Victor Redman, of course. 😉
FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?
Victor: Indeed! I’m currently hard at work on my first full-length novel. It’s an alternate history fantasy, tentatively titled “Sacred Duty”. If things go smoothly, it should be out in the first quarter of 2012. If things don’t go smoothly, I’m going to be curled up in fetal position under the sink. Either way, it’s gonna be interesting.
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?
Victor: If you, dear reader, are in fact reading this months after “Resistance Front” has landed and now want to learn more about me, I have just three words for you: You are awesome! Actually, here’s three more: Twitter, Facebook, website. Hope that helps. 🙂
FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll have the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!