Tell us about your genre. How did you come to choose it? Why does it appeal to you?
I write science fiction and most of work within the genre is military science fiction which really is no surprise to those who know me. I just retired from the U.S. Army after more than twenty-three years of service, so telling stories with a military bent comes naturally. But as I wrote Sleeper Protocol (and most of my other shorter works), I kept finding myself drawn into very human situations of love and trust. Mixing the two was something that took time, practice, and great characters. Thankfully, I was able to conjure them and let their humanity add levels of intrigue and context to the story.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
For me, it’s a matter of working through the various ideas in my head and not spending copious amounts of time researching before writing. Writing for me is easier when I can just write and let the details I need get filled in during draft two. Technical details drive me crazy, so I’ll even be working in the manuscript and do something like: (FILL IN MORE INFORMATION ON SLAMMER MAG TANKS HERE). Once I can get the story out of my head, I can give it the critical eye, a heap of additional details, and polish it up for my beta readers to read and critique.
When and where do you do your writing?
The bulk of my actual writing time takes place after our children are in bed. I’ve written drafts of four different novels, and all of them I had the primary goal of 2,000 words a day. When those words do come after bedtime, there can be some late nights. For the most part, I can get 2,000 words down on paper in less than two hours. I wish I could type faster or dictate it, but I need to have my time at the typewriter. Cue up some good music and I’ll dive into the manuscript as far as I need to.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
That it never ends, but the promotion is a marathon and not a sprint. The other thing is that every one we meet is a potential reader. I’ve taken to carrying my writing business cards with me all the time and I’m also carrying bookmarks that I can pass out to someone who is interested. The best part about meeting people and talking with them is that I can develop a rapport with them that could lead them to not only read my book but tell a few of their friends, too. Recently I was at a local science fiction convention and really used the first afternoon to delve into this model. I walked into the hotel lobby on Saturday morning to find a gentleman reading a copy of my book that he’d purchased the night before. That was worth everything!
What are you most proud of as a writer?
I lost my Mom to cancer four years ago. From the time of her diagnosis to her death was less than nine months. During that time, she got to experience seeing my words in print from my first short story sale. I remember her telling me that it was good, and I should keep writing. I started writing professional (with the intent to publish) in 2009. In that time, I’ve written four novels and fifty short stories. I like to think she’s proud of them all.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Arthur C. Clarke. As a young science fiction reader, I gravitated to his work over the works of Asimov, Heinlein, and others. I think we both look at complex human issues and where Clarke approached them from the science, I approach them from external conflicts and warfare. Having read some of his military science fiction, I believe we’d have a tremendous conversation. Not too long ago, I made a new friend who’d had the chance to meet Clarke before his death. My friend said he and I would have gotten along well. I think I’ll take that answer.
Kevin Ikenberry’s head has been in the clouds since he was old enough to read. Ask him, and he’ll tell you that he still wants to be an astronaut. Kevin has a diverse background in space and space science education. A former manager of the world-renowned U.S. Space Camp program in Huntsville, Alabama, and a former executive of two Challenger Learning Centers, Kevin continues to work with space every day. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters. His home is seldom a boring place.
Kevin’s short fiction has appeared internationally through Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, AntipodeanSF, Mindflights, Twisted Dreams Magazine, and most recently in the anthology Extreme Planets, available from Chaosium.
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/WpavZ
On Red Adept: http://bit.ly/RAPSleeper
On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nVfiGw