Monday, June 17, 2013

Kevin J. Howard Author Interview

Photo Content from Kevin J. Howard 

Kevin J. Howard was born in Mission Viejo, California, moved to Seattle at the age of twenty-one, and now lives in Puyallup. He hand wrote his first novel in the fifth grade and has been writing ever since. His first published novel, Faithful Shadow, is a return to the classic horror novel. Since writing Faithful Shadow he has completed four additional horror novels that will soon be published. In 2012, he won an award in the Las Vegas International Film Festival for his screenplay, Identical Opposites. Kevin's latest novel, Precipice: The Beginning, is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The sequel, Precipice: The Retrieval, should be released in the summer of 2013.


Print Length: 483 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc. (November 26, 2013)
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I was in fifth grade and I was reading Stephen King’s Salems’ Lot for a book report. I’d never read a book like that before, and it made me feel like anything was possible, that I could create something so interesting and dark. My friends and I began writing a short story magazine that we handed out to all the kids in the class, and eventually all classes in fifth grade. I’ve been writing ever since.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
You never know what a great story will do for someone. A fun tale could give someone a better outlook on the day or open up feelings they thought to be long forgotten. What could be more enjoyable than changing someone’s outlook, to offer them a new way to look at the world, or to at least know you gave them a moment of joy.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My all-time favorite book is Stephen King’s The Stand. It’s an incredibly long novel, but the journey is so worth it. I actually find myself wishing there was more. Aside from the amazing characters, the journey from outbreak to rebuilding society is one worth taking. As far as for a favorite book outside my genre, that’s a lot harder to find. I personally don’t feel that I am bound to one specific genre. But I would have to say that I really enjoy Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Aside from being well written and an excellent read, it’s also about comfort. It’s a novel I remember reading in my early childhood, and it sparked so many little creative fires inside my young mind.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Don’t give up. It’s the same advice I would give to anyone today. I will never forget being at the Los Angeles Festival of Books in the early 90s. My father and I went every year to meet all the authors and see what new novels were available to the world. We were speaking with author David Brin of The Postman, and I had mentioned to him that I had just started writing a book. He told me it’s a tough world and it will feel, at times, that I’m getting nowhere and that no one seems interested, but to never give up. Even at the age of ten, I can recognize great advice.

In your book; Precipice: The Beginning, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
I could copy and paste the blurb from the back of the book, give an overall description of Precipice: The Beginning from beginning to end, but that doesn’t truly tell you what the novel is about. Essentially, Precipice: The Beginning is about the bond between family, friends, and the importance of the big picture. Precipice: The Beginning follows a select group of survivors through the end of humanity, taking us through their hardships and trials as their world crumbles about them. What lengths will a protective mother, Annie Daniels, go to protect her young son? How will Travis travel across such a vast distance to protect his family? I think the slow mental breakdown, such as the one Andrews and the other security officer’s experience, is something we can all relate to in a way. How would we react with the news that we were suddenly stranded so far from home and the ones we love? This novel is less about the total destruction of the planet and more about the amazing strength of the human spirit.

For those who are unfamiliar with Travis, how would you introduce him?
A hard man to read, he is instantly disliked from the faulty information that led to his imprisonment. At first you would see a quiet man, walking about with his head slightly lowered, but you would quickly come to realize that he is a kind, loving man. A soldier’s training keeps him and his unit of select officers alive, but hope keeps him going. At his core, Travis is a father longing to be with his wife and son. Travis sets his heavy depression aside each day to keep his soldiers in good spirits, keeping a smile on his lips when he feels far from joy. He is the kind of man that would take the long road to do what’s right, versus the easy path with less risk. A tough exterior encasing a warm heart.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Precipice: The Retrieval, Book Two, the second book in the series, is in the process of being published and should be released shortly. In the following months I will publish a novel titled Closed Cell, a religious horror novel set in Downtown Seattle. The sequel to Closed Cell, The Right Hand of Solomon, will follow in the following year. Both novels are completed and going through editing. I will also be publishing a sci-fi novel titled Whirlwind, based in Seattle many years from now, which is also completed and pending editing. I am currently working on three novels at the moment, one of which is the sequel to my first novel, Faithful Shadow.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Dasher, from Precipice: The Beginning, to Joe Rand from my first novel Faithful Shadow. Both men are plagued with terrible vises and tragedy that hold them down, keeping their amazing potential at bay. I feel they are both capable of so much kindness, but past discouragement has kept them from breaking free of such negative patterns. What’s comforting is that both Dasher and Joe find the push they need to break them of their bad habits. Of course, in Faithful Shadow it’s a horrible creature, and in Precipice: The Beginning it’s the destruction of humanity, but better late than never.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
This question is incredibly hard for me to answer. Anyone in my family could tell you that I don’t lie very often, mostly because I feel so guilty that I always come clean in a matter of seconds. I would have to say whenever you run into someone you know and they ask you ‘oh how are you’ or ‘what’s new’; I almost always answer with a scripted response of ‘great’ or ‘not much’. I just find most people don’t really want to hear more than that. This may not technically be a lie, but it’s my standard answer regardless.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My wife, Melissa. Aside from being the most supportive person in my life, she is also my editor. She can always put a smile on my face, even during the darkest of times. We met eleven years ago on Valentine’s Day after finding each other online. I had just moved to Seattle and didn’t know anyone, so I began chatting with people from the area. We instantly clicked and were married two years later.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I worked in Yellowstone National Park during the summer season as part of a family tradition. My experiences there led me to write my first novel, Faithful Shadow. I worked with people from all around the world, all of them so nice and friendly. Every morning I would wake up to birds singing, bright sunny mornings with a view like no other. I would hike to the falls on my lunch break and write short stories. If you read Faithful Shadow you will hopefully see the park through my eyes. The employee slang, the destinations, and more importantly, the grandeur of the park.

Who was your first girlfriend?
Sara was my first ever girlfriend back in seventh grade. We only dated for a few months, and it was mostly little kid date stuff. We went on bowling dates with my friends, or hung out together at school, or in band class. She and I are still friends today.

Tell me about your first kiss
This was rather an embarrassing moment, but it’s how it went down. I was at the Teen Club Dance, a monthly event held at the local rec center, dancing in a group with all my friends. When I say dancing, I mean looking about the room to see if any more of my friends were there while barely moving my shoulders. Then the moment came when Sara and I were alone. Boyz to Men were playing, the lights were just right, so I leaned in and gave her eye a kiss. We all had a good laugh at how terrible my aim was, but in my defense, our eyes were closed.

When was the last time you cried?
Anyone that knows me would tell you that my children always come first, so it’s completely understandable that any tears shed are always over them. I cried for sure at the birth of both of my children, but that was more than five years ago for my youngest. I would say the last time I cried was two years ago when my daughter, Kylie, disappeared from school. School had just ended and my wife went to pick her up. It was the first day of first grade, but Kylie was nowhere to be found. Long story short, she had gotten confused on where to meet my wife and decided to walk home…only she didn’t know where we lived exactly. Luckily, one of our neighbors drove by and saw her. When I came home, I was so angry at her for putting us through this, but as any parent knows, the anger is squashed by the joy of seeing her face alive and well. So naturally the tears flowed and probably freaked her out a bit.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
This is a very hard question to ask, especially since I had a rather enjoyable time as a teenager during the 90s. I think I’ve always wanted to see what all the fuss was about and see what the 60s were like. Then again, I think it would be very interesting to be a teenager in today’s world, with so much technology. Only in today’s world can a teenager be sent to their room, isolated from the world, and still talk to people all around the globe at the touch of a button.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Pizza! I have probably spent enough money on pizza throughout the years to buy a luxury car. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s the only food that comes to me, or if it’s the fact that I can practically build it from scratch, but I do love the taste. My favorite kind of pizza is a tossup (no pizza pun intended) between the Hawaiian and a pepperoni with extra cheese.

Where can readers find you?
My readers are always welcome to stalk me. I’ll be including an attachment with my gate code and pin numbers…no, maybe not that far. I do love hearing from everyone, so many different viewpoints, directions I could have gone, or maybe something they have in common with a character. I’ll list some links for people to find me. I hope everyone enjoys my answers and I am so thankful for this wonderful opportunity.

The End is only the Beginning….
It wasn’t the first time Lieutenant Travis Daniels had been far from his wife and son. Leading an elite team on countless missions, dodging death at every turn-it was what he was trained to do. And returning to his family was always his driving force… but this time might be different.

Imprisoned for an unsanctioned intrusion into a hot zone, Travis and his elite team took a deal to assist in the colonization of Mars to evade the death penalty. While stationed there, Travis’ only source of sanity were the brief video conversations he was allowed with his family. When the last transmission received showed choppy images of the city in darkness and blurs of humanoid creatures running through the streets, Travis and his team must decide to either stay on Mars or find a way back to his family-unknowing of the hell that Earth has become.

When Lieutenant Travis Daniels and his elite team were imprisoned for an unofficial intrusion, they were able to dodge the death penalty by helping in the colonization of Mars. Stationed a planet away from his wife and son, he enjoyed every second he was given to video chat with his family. When the last video transmission came in distorted and showed images of alien-like creatures, he and his team decide to a way back to Earth. Kevin J. Howard’s first book in the Precipice Series, The Beginning, is an amazingly written story that looks into an Earth that is literally falling apart.

The horrors that are tearing Earth apart were really scary. The fact that readers are given such great details in every scene, it was easy to imagine a world in ruins. Author Kevin is an amazing storyteller as he can easily transport readers into his world. The details set forth about Mars made it feel like I was actually in that foreign planet.

Another great aspect of the book is the development of characters. It takes great writing to build perhaps one or two memorable characters, but Kevin manages to put life and a beating heart into each one. Although we were introduced to a great cast of characters, I never felt like it was overkill. Kevin made the extra attempt to ensure that readers will enjoy each of them by giving them real voice.

The hellish Earth that Travis and Annie had to face was filled with nonstop action. The chaos that was consuming planet Earth felt real through Kevin’s words. From start to finish, it delivered an outstanding story about the destruction of Earth, monsters, men on mars and of course, a love story. The first book in this series certainly started out with a bang. I am totally engrossed into its gripping story and the amazing cliffhanger only fed my need to get my hands on the second book. Precipice: The Beginning is an action-packed story filled with memorable characters pitted in dangerous situations. It will nab your attention and manages to keep it throughout.

You can purchase Precipice: The Beginning at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KEVIN J. HOWARD for making this giveaway possible.
4 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of Precipice: The Beginning by Kevin J. Howard.
1 Winner will receive a Poster and Bookmark of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.
7 Winners will receive One bookmark of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.
JUNE 18th TUESDAY A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW
JUNE 22nd SATURDAY Rose’s Book Corner REVIEW
JUNE 22nd SUNDAY Curling Up with a Good Book INTERVIEW

JUNE 24th MONDAY Tsk Tsk What to Read EXCERPT
JUNE 25th TUESDAY As You Wish Reviews EXCERPT
JUNE 26th WEDNESDAY Chapter by Chapter REVIEW
JUNE 27th THURSDAY Beneath the Cover REVIEW
JUNE 30th SUNDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW & DREAM CAST
JULY 1st MONDAY James Vallesteros ARTWORK

1 comment:

  1. What a great giveaway and opportunity to learn more about your work.