5Apr12 M.O. Interview with kj (14evin the publisher)

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D Pope
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5Apr12 M.O. Interview with kj (14evin the publisher)

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3 April 2012

“I’ve never wanted to do anything else, not even more than a hundred novels and 30 book tours later!”
Written by MO

Kevin J. Anderson is the author of more than one hundred novels, 47 of
which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists. He has
over 20 million books in print in thirty languages. He has won or been
nominated for numerous prestigious awards, including the Nebula Award,
Bram Stoker Award, the SFX Reader’s Choice Award, the American Physics
Society’s Forum Award, and New York Times Notable Book. By any measure,
he is one of the most popular writers currently working in the science fiction

Both Kevin and his wife are bestselling authors. They have lived in the
Denver/Colorado Springs area for 15 years and have written dozens of novels
there; they run their writing business with publicity, speaking engagements,
outreach, research, and productivity.

WordFire Press publishes ebook editions of works by such luminaries as
Kevin J. Anderson, Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, Neil Peart, Doug Beason,
and Bill Ransom.

MO: How did you know that you wanted to create
fiction when you were just five years old?

Kevin: I fell in love with stories after watching the movie War of the Worlds.
It fired my imagination and I started telling stories about Martians, invasions,
spaceships. I read everything I could, began hunting-and-pecking my first
novel when I was only eight years old…and I’ve never wanted to do anything
else, not even more than a hundred novels and 30 book tours later!

MO: Who were your early writing influences? How has your writing style
changed from when you first started to now being a prolific writer and best
selling international author?

Kevin: I read as much as I could, and as I got into high school I discovered
Frank Herbert’s DUNE, which is still my favorite science fiction novel ever.
I read the Lord of the Rings, and the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, all of
which helped me put together big stories in my imagination. I started writing
big novels in high school. In all the years since, I *hope* I’ve gotten a little
more finessed and skilled, but the exuberance and ideas remain fresh and exciting.

MO: What does your creative process look like and where do you find your
inspiration? Does the core of your approach to writing remain the same for
most books or do your approach and research methods vary greatly with
each new project?

Kevin: I live in Colorado, so every day I am surrounded by such beautiful
scenery, how can my imagination not be recharged regularly? I write my
fiction by dictation—I walk along the trails in the Front Range, digital recorder
in hand, and dictate the chapters in my head. Every day, even in bad weather
(when I bundle up), I trudge out and get my chapters done. But the writing
day involves a lot more than “writing” — I have to do research on other
projects, proofreading, publicity, travel. But to me, the best part is the
creation of new stories.

MO: How have you and your wife managed to take successful writing careers
and turn them into a business?

Kevin: It’s a balancing act. Making up stories is one part of it, but a successful
writing career also involves common sense and financial planning. The writing
income is erratic, depending on when contracts get signed, when books are
published (and those things are out of my control). My wife is a bestselling
writer, too, but she’s got an MBA and is our business manager, so we can
be smart and organized as a *business* rather than just being creative.

MO: What were some of the challenges or obstacles you faced when developing
and launching WordFire Press?

Kevin: Publishing is changing dramatically as traditional printed books and
large brick-and-mortar bookstores go through major turmoil. Two years ago,
the Borders chain was responsible for about 40% of my sales, but they’re
entirely gone now. In my career I’ve had many novels published that eventually
went out of print. Now that I have a much larger fan base, they want to
read those books, which aren’t available anymore. Thanks to the eBook
revolution (with Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and many other reading devices),
all of those titles have a second life now. Rebecca and I have put up dozens
of our old titles, and we’ve found other authors in a similar situation, including
classics by Frank Herbert, Bill Ransom, Brian Herbert, and a story I wrote
with the drummer from the rock band Rush. I’m also doing some original
fiction to direct market to my fanbase. We’re learning as we go and strugglling
to keep ahead of the curve.

MO: You’ve written hugely popular novels for both the Star Trek and Star
Wars series. What was it like to take a hugely popular and beloved series
and write about characters and places that are already familiar to so many
of us? How were you able enter another world, that someone else created
and make it your own?

Kevin: I confess, it was very scary! But since I was a huge admirer of both
Star Wars and Dune, I felt I’d been doing my homework all along, as a fan.
I did my research in those universes, just as I would do research on any
historical period or geographical/cultural place. And I loved it, getting to
play with some of my favorite characters. The fans have enjoyed them
enough that I can make a career out of doing what I enjoy most. I am
allowed to spend the day making things up and playing with my imaginary
friends — in gorgeous Colorado.\

When a brand knew urinal puck showed up in the bathroom of my studio, I knew what I had to do.
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