Wednesday, September 14, 2011

❤author: Greg Kiser Interview and Giveaway!

❤ Today, as part of a NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™ blog tour, I will be hosting author, Greg Kiser with an interview and giveaway. Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, Greg! Will you please share a short bio with us?

Happily married to a wonderful and inspirational wife, Serena, with two beautiful children – Miller and Grace.

Graduated from Southern Polytechnic University in Atlanta with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Then earned an MBA from the University of South Florida.

Currently Client Service Director at Cisco, a fortune fifty high-tech multinational corporation.

Written extensively for fortune fifty high-tech firms in describing next generation networks and painting pictures of the true evolution of technology for the consumer.

My short story, Did They Tell You, was selected for the 2010 San Francisco Writer’s Conference Anthology, and is currently available on scribd.com, no charge.


❤ Tell us about debut release, inSyte.

It’s set in Tampa Bay, Florida and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch “Double” Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics.

If knowledge is power, Mitch just became the strongest man in the world.

But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.

At the center of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL. And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self-destruction.


❤ What inspired you to write it and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

I listened to Rudy Giuliani speak a year after 9/11. This was in August of 2002, just under a year since 9/11. Rudy spoke to a crowd of about 5,000 folks. He described the events of that day and it was very emotional, everyone loved the guy, he was held in such admiration.

He told the crowd that every great leader will possess spirituality. And when you have millions of people that you’re serving, there’s a natural temptation to believe that God put you there, there must be a divine intervention. Then the tendency is to think that any gut feeling you have, gut decision, must be God’s decision.

So Rudy talked about how you have to avoid falling into that trap, you have to remain objective and realize you’re only human and they are your decisions.

I found that fascinating because I had never heard a politician talk like that. I think there are a number of politicians in the US and abroad, recently and not, where pragmatism was nowhere to be found. I wanted to explore that in a novel. Come on, there’s all kinds of room for conflict.

As for publishing, I self-published on Amazon. The only way to go these days ;) Really pretty simple. Of course, the average book that self-publishes on Amazon sells 100 copies to, you guessed it, friends and business associates and the like. So the trick is – how do you market the book further; drive sales?

At the end of the day, it’s all about word of mouth. So you have to get your book out there and it has to be good and then you need for word of mouth to help.

So – be sure it’s ready for prime time before you decide to self-publish. I waited 3 years after my first draft because I wanted my novel to be as good as it could possibly be. Along the way I had some serious people read it and provide candid feedback. Enough good feedback to know I was onto something, enough bad feedback to keep me busy writing and rewriting and, yes, deleting!


❤ How much of your actual life would you say gets written into your fictional stories?

The best parts, because they're what gives my writing color, richness. There’s one scene in my book where my protagonist and his love interest meet at his apartment. She’s looking at photographs on a bookshelf and she sees one of him as a child with his family. The thoughts she has are directly related to thoughts I had looking at a picture of my young niece many years ago with her family.

It’s the little moments in life that must be woven into your book to make it real.

❤ I so contend to that! If inSyte were made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?

What a great question! I’ve actually thought about that. Why not? It’s fun. Here goes:

Mitch: Ryan Gosling
Kate: Kristen Stewart
Cheslov: Daniel Craig
Woody: Sean William Scott
Mayor: Alec Baldwin
Phelps: Željko Ivanek

❤ What are your biggest motivations for writing?

To get all this stuff that is swimming around in my head out. If I didn’t write, I’d probably explode. I’ve always had a really dark mind and I think that writing about scary things helps me stay sane.

❤ How would you describe your writing style and tone?

Real. Direct. I spent many, many hours searching and deleting ‘had’. I rewrote to put as much as I could into present tense. I read through sentences and deleted words that were unnecessary. I read all the dialogue aloud to ensure I had contractions and cuss words but not too much of either because I wanted it to be real.

Real.

❤ I notice myself doing that too, when I write. Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Don’t let ANYBODY read that initial draft. It will suck.

Also, be ready for criticism. You may think it’s the best novel, potentially, ever written. It’s not. You need direction from others to make your book be all that it can possibly be.
Finish your first draft and then refine, rewrite, make it real. Until you love it. I’d say a year or more. For me, it took three years after the initial draft to get it where I wanted it to be. And at least one year before it was ready for anyone else to read.

Because before that, it sucked. To be clear, I never thought it sucked when I finished writing sections. Only when I re-read them months later.

You see, here’s another bit of advice. Don’t spend too much time on the polishing when you first get the words down. You’re just building the foundation. The polishing and finishing comes later.

❤ What's something about you that might surprise your readers?

I was on a Nuclear Cruiser in the Navy. That might surprise some people.

❤ Who are some books or authors your idolize?

Stephen King and Thomas Harris. Gods.

❤ If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?

Wow. That’s a really interesting question. Certainly not Ned Beatty’s character in Deliverance.

I’d say Clint Eastwood’s character in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Why? Because he was just so damn cool.

❤ 
What's the most interesting comment you've received about inSyte so far?


I loved the description of Cheslov from the Kirkus Review:
Woven throughout a story with many finely crafted twists, turns and revelations is the charismatic, mysterious, murderous Cheslov Kirill. As a classic merciless political operator, Kirill is unforgettable and chillingly, complexly rendered, especially for a man who uses a school of sharks off the Florida coast for corpse disposal.

❤ What lovely feedback! What's next for you?

Thinking about a sequel. Just thinking. Letting my mind sort through it subconsciously.

I look forward to reading it! Where can you be found on the web?

At my website: www.gkiser.com.


❤ Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

How many pages do you give a book to ‘grab’ you? Honestly? If you say it has to grab you off the bat, well, OK – everyone says that. But plenty of books will grab you in the first chapter, the first paragraph, even the first line. But the subsequent chapters have to follow it up. How many of those will you read before you decide you’re into it, or not?

What’s the criteria to grab you? Can you define it? Plot? Characters? Action? Drama? Conflict?

❤ Thank you for being here today, Greg! It was a pleasure getting to know you and inSyte better :)

Giveaway!
 Thanks to Greg's tour publicist, NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™, one lucky reader will win their very own print copy of inSyte. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this interview with an answer to Greg's question.

Giveaway runs through September 28th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time) and is open to US, Canada, and UK residents only.
Please include your email address in your comment! If I don't know who to contact once you are chosen as the winner, your prize will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Good luck!