I had the pleasure to interview Kevin David Anderson, here is what he had to say
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing in high school, usually taking a bland English class assignment and turning it into something creative. Depending on the teacher I was either scolded or praised. I finish my first manuscript about age 35. I would have to write two more before making that first novel sale.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book? And how you came up with the idea?
My most recent book Night of the ZomBEEs (the Walking Dead in Bee costumes) is a middle grade tween horror comedy and the idea came from a joke I didn’t immediately get. While attending a Zombie Convention after the release of Night of the Living Trekkies, a friend of mine said she was going to attend dressed as a bee, all bloodied, looking dead. Why in the world would you do that? I said. ZomBEE, get it. I didn’t get it but when I went to the convention and saw people dressed as zombified bees, I finally got it. Brilliant I thought, and this could be a story. I mean could BEE a story.
When writing about something you don’t know very much about where does your information come from?
I try to stick to things I know, and know well, I think most writers do, but when I have to venture out beyond my own scope of knowledge, I like the feel of a real library to do my research. Google is fast and efficient and sometimes even correct, but for me a big dusty medical book that hasn’t been opened in a few years on the back shelf in a little used research section of the public library can not only give me the information, but solace and atmosphere. Things I need to write.
What is the easiest and the hardest part to write?
I sometimes think the easiest part to write is the work itself. Beginning, middle, end. What they don’t tell you in writing class is that no one may ever read your work until you master what is called a query letter. These are the notes or one line pitches you sent to editors and agents. Your entire novel, maybe a year of your life, rests on your ability to boil it down to one or two lines that intrigues an agent and stands out amongst the other thousand query letters they get. If new writers truly understood how daunting it is, most would never type the words “chapter one.”
Do you ever experience writers block? If so how do you find best to cure it?
All the time. For me there is only one cure. Read, read, read. When a writer reads he or she is often refilling the tank of inspiration, and once full the block soon fades away.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Always know where your towel is at.
Is anything in your book based on real life events or is it all imagination?
No real life events. I write horror, zombies, surreal fantasy kind of stuff and my life is as dull and un-speculative as it gets.
What inspired you to write your first/last novel?
I had just finished reading a zombie novel by Brian Keene called The Rising, and I really liked how he twisted the genre and did something new. Latter I was watching a documentary called Trekkies which chronicles the detailed, interesting lives of Star Trek fans. And then it hit me, what would happen if there was a zombie outbreak at a Star Trek convention. In an instant I had my first novel idea that a publisher would buy: Night of the Living Trekkies.
What is you biggest accomplishment, writing wise?
Any would-be writer that finishes a novel manuscript, good or bad, should be proud. Any writer that sells that manuscript should be very proud. Any writer that manages to impress their fourteen-year old in this day and age by becoming a published novelist has performed a miracle. That is my biggest accomplishment.
What sort of starbucks/costa coffee would your character order? A simple coffee or the complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Coffee, straight, black, no sweetener, or creamer, no mint flavour whip cream or anything that comes from a candy shop. Coffee isn’t supposed to taste good, or like it’s been filtered through a Snickers bar. It’s suppose to be a mean drink that wakes you the hell up with a bitter dark slap and screams, “Now get in that seat, start writing, and for the love of all creativity be brilliant!”