Saturday, May 7, 2016

Author Interview: Jeffrey L. Kohanek

How long have you known that you wanted to be an author?
On some level, I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a kid. I used to create my own comic books just for fun. As I grew older, it seemed like one of those unattainable dreams, so I just went about my life without giving it serious consideration until two years ago. I finally decided to dive in and give it a shot. Now that I’ve written a few books, I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.

How did you get the idea for your book?
I had a few ideas bouncing around in my head for a few years. Two key core concepts formed the plotline: It would revolve around a theocracy-run society where citizens are branded with runes at birth, defining their vocation and social status. The other goal was to construct a story where the thrill of discovery is a continuing theme, including the discovery of an unknown magic. The magic system had to be well-conceived and logical because the reader would be involved in the process that the protagonist undergoes as he learns to harness it. It couldn’t be just some unexplained wave of a magic wand.

If you could meet with any author, alive or dead, and have a conversation with them who would you meet and what would you ask them?
Wow. That’s difficult because there are so many authors that I admire. To choose a living one today, I guess I would pick Brandon Sanderson. I would love to pick his brain about The Stormlight Archive to get a better understanding of the history and magic system used in the fantasy series.

Who would you cast to play your main character Brock in a movie and why?
Josh Hutcherson from Hunger Games would be a great fit. His on-screen persona and physical makeup are a good match for Brock.

Could you talk a bit about your publication process?
Publication feels like a series of painful stretches of waiting for the next step until it hits you, and then it’s a flurry of activity with tight deadlines. Overall, the thrill of seeing your 1,000s of hours of work come to fruition keeps you invested.

What is the hardest part about being an author?
Definitely editing and managing word count. The first draft of The Buried Symbol had over 132K words, which was far more than what I needed. The final version is around 100K words, making it faster paced while retaining the character depth and vibrant world that I desired.

What is the most rewarding part about being an author?
It is difficult to choose just one part. I love sharing my stories with others and love to interact with readers, so those are high on the list. If I had to choose just one thing, it’s bringing characters to life. I have fallen in love with the characters in my series, finding that I have become empathetic to their emotions. Though I have read my books dozens of times, tears still track down my face at their tragedies and my heart soars with their victories.

About the Author:
Jeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota where comic books sparked his young imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer's imagination.

Now residing in southern California, Jeff uses that imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire young adults and the child within us all.

About the Book:
Discover a lost magic, long buried and forgotten...
Without a rune marking his role in society, Brock is doomed to a life below the lowest rung of the social ladder. Unwilling to accept his fate, the teen risks his life to obtain a fake rune that marks him as a member of the Empire's ruling class. He then embarks on a quest to join an institution where the Empire's future leaders are trained.
As a student of the Academy, he soon uncovers a chain of secrets kept hidden for centuries, secrets that expose cracks in the foundation of Empire society. Among his discoveries is a powerful magic, long buried and forgotten.
Brock's compassion and sense of justice are seeds that sprout tight friendships and a blossoming romance. An unwillingness to be bullied earns him a dangerous enemy, growing into a feud that escalates to a climactic showdown.

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.

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