Author Kevin Klehr and I met on Twitter sometime ago. It’s taken a while for me to have him on my blog, but I’m thrilled he’s finally here.
He recently released his books, so it’s the perfect time to learn more about Kevin.
Please give him a warm welcome all the way from Australia!
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Welcome Kevin, let’s start off by telling my readers about your greatest extravagance.
Motion Pictures and chocolate. I guess I can add ice-cream into the mix, especially pistachio flavoured gelato.
I was a movie fan before I fell in love with writing, which is probably why my writing is very visual. I’m not a genre specific movie goer. As long as the film is well made and well-acted, whether horror or period drama, I will like it.
I love the film medium as well. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
It’s advice I give other people, yet it’s so hard to follow your own wisdom. I’d like to be less paranoid, especially when life is being good to me. It’s something my partner harps on when I look for possible doom when things are going right.
What are some of your favorite curse words?
I love the first syllable of ‘country’, mainly because we hear it all the time, but somehow it’s not considered swearing when we hear ‘tree’ attached to it.
You know, Kevin, that took me a second … how cunning of you ;). Do you have a motto you live by?
Happiness is not a destination. It’s a mode of travel.
Nice. Let’s talk a bit about you as the writer. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Life and drunken get togethers. My books use life as a thin spine, both mine and the people around me. And then the fantasy takes over, twisting the plots to make them unrecognisable to the people featured.
Plus I have a Dictaphone where ideas and dialogue are captured when I’m out with friends philosophising with wine.
Ha! Wine always helps when philosophizing. What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?
Never submit your manuscript just after you’ve finished a draft. Let it sit for three months.
Now print it in a font you’ve never used and read it from start to finish with a red marker in hand. You’ll be amazed of the spelling and grammatical errors, as well as dialogue and paragraphs that you can phrase much better.
Very good advice, indeed. Name a few of your favorite authors and books, and why you like them.
There’s an Australian author named Craig Silvey who has written a book called ‘Jasper Jones’ which is everything a good novel should be. It’s a page turner in first person from a kid’s point of view. There’s mystery and the eventual realisation of the truth lying beneath the surface of a 1960’s country town.
Jonathan Tropper is a favourite American author of mine because he mixes comedy and drama so beautifully in his novels. I urge you to start with ‘How To Talk To A Widower’ and then move onto his other works.
Equally brilliant is Joe Keenan, another American, who like Tropper, writes for television as well. Keenan has a trilogy of comic farces that are complex and hilarious.
All three of these novelists I try to learn from for my writing.
They sound fascinating, and I will definitely add them to my list. As for your own writing, how do you market yourself?
Mostly through social media, especially Twitter. But you can find me on all the regular channels.
I also took the big step and spoke briefly at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans last May. I met other writers and industry professionals, making some wonderful friends in the process.
Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?
Years ago when I started writing, I just wrote. The first draft was crap. I overcame my fear of structure and wrote a chapter by chapter breakdown of the novel. Since then I’ve never looked back.
Although the book may stray from its original blueprint, the story spine is clearly in place, allowing the freedom to cut scenes or add new ones as the story progresses.
I like how you break down the process of “plotting.” It makes it sound less onerous. Are you working on another book now? Tell us a bit about it.
At the moment I’m working on the third Drama Queens book, titled ‘Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes’. I’ve finished the first draft but it will need more exploration of some of the characters and themes.
In the third book, we go in search of Guy’s parents. Guy is my angel character who has become a favourite with readers. In the first novel we found out he never met his Mom and Dad. We also meet a devilish character named Preston who wears a top hat with black pearls, and is the leader of the Underworld.
What is the genre of your books?
A lot of people have tried to pigeon hole ‘Drama Queens with Love Scenes’ into some genre, but to me it’s a Farcical Fantasy with Romance.
There are pages of Amazon reviews where the genre is either debated, or critics realise that it may not matter. It’s a book, after all. Does it need to fit into a certain genre?
I’m sure the same confusion will happen with ‘Drama Queens and Adult Themes’.
Here is the cover along with a blurb for Drama Queens with Love Scenes.
Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They’re not crazy about the idea so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.
They are soon drawn into the world of theatre – Afterlife style, with all the bitchiness, back-stabbing and ego usually associated with the mortal world.
Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.
Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.
Tell us why should people read your books?
It’s magical, whimsical, and something to help you escape your world when you need to. Plus, judging from the critiques, it’s original.
How long did it take for you to write your books?
Too long. I began ‘Drama Queens with Love Scenes’ about ten years ago. At first it was handwritten and unfinished. My partner snuck it out to a friend who read what I wrote so far and demanded that I finish it.
Then it was assessed and totally revamped on the advice of the assessor. It went through two other assessments for the next two drafts, and then when I was ready to publish it, the rejection letters came thick and fast.
Originally I self-published for three months before it was taken by Charles River Press in Boston. Another three months of rewrites for their editor. Even though I was asked to add three sex scenes to a novel that had none, I’m very happy with the final result. She taught me a lot.
I wrote a blog on the process - Feel free to visit and read the whole story.
One other spooky element I’ll add to this story is that my editor at Charles River Press has since passed away. Before the book was published I received a LinkedIn invitation from her account, and months later I received an email from her (containing spam) as I was about to start reworking the second novel for my new publisher, Wilde City Press. Recently I got another spam email from her account just before my new editor sent me notes on both books.
Wow … that is spooky, and my condolences on your editor’s passing. What has the reception been to your books?
Generally I’ve had good feedback, thankfully. For the first book, the lowest critique has been three stars, and even then, reading what had been said, I thought I’d score less. Mostly I have four and five stars, but I can tell you, waiting for the first reviews to come out was nerve wracking!
Readers have commented favourably about the world building. Its set in a flamboyant version of the Afterlife where the world is not always what it seems. And as I said before, they love Guy, the angel who can’t fly.
I’m curious about what will be said about my second book.
Speaking of your second book … here is the cover for Drama Queens and Adult Themes, along with a blurb.
Adam can’t stop fantasizing about Mannix, the young nude model in his art class. But Adam has been with his husband, Wade, for nearly two decades.
Watching their drama unfold is Fabien, a warlock in the Afterlife who has wickedly cast the spell of lust on Adam and Mannix.
But Adam’s guardian angel, Guy, is also watching, clueless to what is causing this mid-life crisis!
As Guy tries to find ways of saving Adam’s relationship, Fabien and his mystical friends cause more havoc on the three unsuspecting mortals.
And to conclude our interview, let’s have a quick lightning round!
Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? Absolutely love Barcelona, New York and Paris. All are such fun cities and everyone has to do them once in their lives. I’ve always wanted to go to India and one day I will. This year I travelled to New Orleans (for the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival), Vienna, Budapest and Tokyo.
Salty or sweet? I confess your honour, it’s sweet. I love making desserts and my specialty is a Baked Pumpkin and Grand Marnier Cheesecake. Plus the ice-cream aisle in the supermarket is always a temptation.
Favorite style of music? Like my movies, I like anything that’s good. At the moment I’ve fallen for Spencer Day, Jamie Woon, Lior, Lianne La Havas, Janelle Monae, Kylie Auldist and the list goes on. My partner and I present a community radio show which we’ve done for ten years; so our passion for music is shared with a wider audience.
At home I like to stream Disco Diva Radio, thebocx.com and BBC6
Favorite season. Summer as people are forced to just chill out and take it easy.
Name something you cannot go a day without. My partner of twenty-three years, Warren.
Lovely, and thanks so much for coming by Eden’s Exchange, Kevin. I wish you continued success in your upcoming books.
Readers, please visit Kevin at all his virtual homes and connect to him. Hit the links and be taken to Youtube for the terrific book trailers.
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BUY LINKS for Kevin’s books
Wilde City Press | Amazon US | UK | AU | CA
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Connect to Kevin
Facebook for Drama Queens with Love Scenes
Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.
From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again. The result was Drama Queens with Love Scenes, the first in a series of Afterlife tales.
Kevin is looking forward to thumping the keys on his laptop and churning out stories until it’s time for him to gain firsthand experience of the hereafter.