Our next author interview is with Kell Inkston known to WF members as, KellInkston. A possibly-coincidental amalgamation of quasi-dimensional ether mass that formed as a reaction to the existence of the collective subconscious, Kell Inkston is definitely an entity that has existed since mankind has had words and breath. His preferred genres are Fantasy and Sci-Fi, although it is also rumored that it writes Comedy, Horror, and even Romance as well!
Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
First I’d like to thank you for the interview – I’m honored. As I’m one that strives for some form of personal anonymity (but don’t let that fool you- I’m quite friendly,) I can only tell you that I’ve been writing for about six years now, have enjoyed every moment of it- and I love birds, cooking, and in some cases cooking birds- though watching them is fun enough usually.
What was the inspiration behind your latest book, Nocturna League (Episode 1: The Witching Book) (Alternative Fantasy Short Story). What is the book about?
The inspiration behind the Nocturna League came about from a bunch of idea and just a feeling for a general lack in nautical fantasy on the market today. I thought it was a niche I could fill, and so far it’s working pretty well. I tossed together elements of Master and Commander, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the recent slew of Lovecraftian pop culture that’s emerged over the past decade. The thought was to combine elements of all of these to provide adventure, philosophy, and horror in one. It’s been complex, but I’ve been enjoying it.
Please can you share a short excerpt?
There’s a loud blast, and The Captain is knocked out of the illusion. He’s presently looming over Jim, who’s breathing in terror.
“Why, Mr. Masthaven, is everything okay?”
“C-come on, Captain! Don’t kill me! It wasn’t me!”
The Captain nods his head to the side, and then snaps his fingers in realization. “Ahh, so I truly was under an illusion. Pardon me, I didn’t mean any ill will… but you probably did deserve whatever it was I was going to do.”
Jim stares at The Captain as though he’s a lunatic just as the islander that lead them there tears out from the double doors with the witching book, Colette close behind him. “I missed!” she shouts, passing by and in hot pursuit of the islander.
The Captain hums, attempting to regain his thoughts on the situation. “You… missed? What ever could that-” He stops, hearing the crackling fire caused by the rifle’s shot behind him. “Oh, she missed with my rifle… Jim,” The Captain says, picking up the unconscious guard.
“We must abdicate the area.”
“Y-yes sir!” At that, Jim turns and leaves right on The Captain’s trail. The two descend the wicker steps as the entire ziggurat bursts into a hellfire of swampy doom. The local wildlife is disturbed, some of the beasts below the boardwalk thrashing about vigorously in the water. The Captain spots Colette chasing the islander with the book down a secluded boardwalk, leading to elsewhere on the island.
“This way, Mister Masthaven,” The Captain says, pointing forward with authority as he sprints to catch up.
The Captain, an accomplished runner, catches Colette in but a moment’s notice and turns to her mid-stride. “Miss Ketiere.”
“Cap! He’s got the book!”
“And you have my rifle. I must say I’m disappointed in you, Miss Ketiere. You have been training to hit shots for the entire year you’ve been crewing. I expecte-”
“I’ve been on the crew for a month, Captain.”
The two run a moment without a word.
“Oh,” The Captain says, “yes, that’s right. Only a month. Well, you still missed!”
“Yeah, it’s hard to aim when you get punched in the face by a sneak-ass dude running off with the book!”
“Only an additional aiming vector, Miss Ketiere. Here.” The Captain hands her his only spare shot. “Don’t miss this time. You hear me?”
“You want me to… destroy the book? Our target?”
“If it comes to that. I feel this would be too dangerous to bring on board… Anyway, we have more pressing matters to attend to.”
Colette squints in confusion. “Like what?”
The Captain points to the side of the boardwalk, into the water. There’s a wave of shadows following them beneath the decks- jagged, large figures that are just behind them. “I’m guessing they serve Vuuya as well. You’ll need to stay back and protect poor Jim. Remember to save the shot for the book.”
Is this book part of a series? If so, could you tell us more about the series?
Nocturna League is aimed to be a series of indefinite length. I’ve written free a 10,000 word short to get people into it, and the rest are 20,000-30,000 word novellas that go for $2.99 each. I think the reader will find it a considerable value for their weekly or monthly fill of seacreatures and gunpowder.
You’ve now written seven books – which is your favorite and why?
It’s worth saying I’ve written many more than seven, but these seven are the ones I feel at good enough to be published by this point. If I had a favorite, however, it’d be Kingdom Through The Swamp, my newest fantasy novel. It was a labor of love I crafted during ’13’s nanowrimo, and I really enjoyed crafting the story, the characters, and everything.
What genre are your books?
Generally fantasy and sci-fi, but I also adore horror. I tend to bleed over into other genres at times, though, so it would fair to call me literary as well (or the attempt of such at least).
Did you follow the traditional publishing route or did you self-publish?
I’ve tried, and am trying at both- Trad pub’s a pretty big upward hike, you really need to win those contests and get those stories in before you’ll be really considered. Self-pub is a bit more instant in the gratification, but it’s all in your hands, and I understand some people hate that.
Do you think cover design plays an important part in the buying process? If so why?
Absolutely. It’s easily one of the most important aspects to selling books in general, I’d say. People judge books by their covers all the time, and before a person even lays eyes on the craft of your words, they’re considering whether or not your book is even worth opening. Book covers, titles, and descriptions are vital parts of the selling process to new readers. One cannot just look at an expensive and professionally-done cover as some necessary cost; it’s an investment, and will aid you well in the long run.
If self-published what problems did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
I didn’t quite have the mindset down. At first, I asked myself “How can I get people to buy my book?” And years later, the questions changed to “How can I make a reading experience so valuable, that the reader cannot help but read the rest.” Half of the writing struggle is the mindset, so I’d recommend any new writers to look introspectively into him or herself, and ask “am I looking to get value, or to make it?” I’ve found it’s helped me quite a bit.
What importance do you place on authors using social media to market their books?
A fair amount of importance. I don’t want to be some annoying spammer, so for truly social networks, I’ll be social. I won’t blast my books every day on twitter or facebook, I’d just use them to socialize, and if people like what I have to say, they’ll search out my books.
Which social media platforms do you use?
What are you working on now?
A short story for nanowrimo
What book/s are you reading at present?
Neil Gaiman’s and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens. It’s positively hilarious so far.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I self edit regularly, but I also get some extra eyes on to spot those hidden errors.
What advice can you offer to aspiring writers?
Keep doing it, experiment all the time, never quit.
Regarding the first page, how do you go about crafting an opening that will ensure the reader continues to page two?
I start with action and emotion. No matter how beautiful that forest is, the reader will have trouble caring. I’ll have two people fighting in the forest over a small cat, and that will get them interested. Cats first, trees second.
If you could have dinner with five authors/poets, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
In no particular order:
1. J.R.R. Tolkien- he’s the grandfather of the fantasy genre (Along with George MacDonald as well). He looked like an enjoyable sort of man that took his craft very seriously. Perhaps we could discuss hobbit things.
2.Stephen King- the grandmaster of horror as it stands. Has a bit many gross outs for my tastes, but he’s generally top notch the rest of the time. He seems fun to talk to- straight forward at least.
3.Neil Gaiman- A charming man who writes charming stories. Possibly my favorite author presently alive. How about that accent, too?
4.C.S. Lewis- Narnia was such a massive piece of reading for me as a child. He seems like the most enjoyable of the list to spend time with, I’d bet.
5.John Steinbeck- An awesome man and I adore his writing. An easy choice.
Where and in which formats are your books available?
All are on amazon for the ipad, kindle, and other ereading devices. You can also look up my things on smashwords.com and find them in other formats. Thank you so much for the interview.
If you’re interested in some of my short stories, I have them linked here:
You can sign up to this entity’s spam-free mailing list and receive updates as well as free fictional goodies – humans love those, right? Sign up here: here
It’s also rumored bellowing “Inkston” from a rooftop may grant you a reply were you in need of council or aid, but should that fail try going to kellinkston.com/.