This week I’d like to introduce David Kaine, author of Chimera a thriller winding through the streets of Paris until and ancient secret is uncovered.
The David Kaine Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I think that people who meet me would never guess that I have a Ph.D. Currently I work in digital communications – websites and social media – but in a previous life I studied for and received a doctorate in ancient religion. I had the bad luck of finishing my dissertation right about the time when the academic job market collapsed, so my dreams of getting tenure and spending my life sitting in the library and writing books came to nothing. It all worked out for the best – I enjoy my work in the industry where I ended up – but it’s certainly not what I had in mind when I was applying to grad school.
Are the names of your characters important to you?
When I name my characters I look for names that have the right sound. I have an idea in my mind of who that person is, and I want a name that captures that personality in some way. It’s a very gut-level thing, there’s no science to it, but I’ll play with a few different names until I find the one that feels right.
How did you choose a title for your book?
“Chimera” is a work of suspense and I wanted the title to have some mystery to it. I wanted a title that, of course, had some specific relation to what happens in the book, but I also wanted it to mean one thing the first time you saw it and something different after you’d finished it.
Do you think there is any elitism attached to the different genres of books, both in the fiction and non-fiction worlds?
There’s always elitism. I know that romance authors, for instance, are routinely dismissed by authors of “more serious” fiction – who no doubt very much resent the fact that romance is by far the best-selling genre on Amazon. For me, though, it’s all just a matter of writers connecting with readers. When you write within a genre, you agree to respect certain hallmarks of that genre, because those are the elements that readers enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I believe that there is no genre that cannot be home to excellent, well-crafted writing. So if a romance writer connects with her (or his) readers more effectively than I’m able to, more power to her. I’m just trying to do my best and write the sort of thing that I enjoy reading.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Real-world detail. I didn’t want generic “he walked down the street” descriptions, I wanted to write about how it would actually feel to be there. I made a point of including locations that I had some personal knowledge of, but in some cases the best I could do was research the area in as much detail as I could manage. That was a challenge: taking the time to get the details right when I was in a hurry to write!
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
The three best tips are to write, read, and learn from others like you. Write as much as you can. Every page will be a little bit better than the one that came before it. Read voluminously, particularly within the genre that you’re writing it. And find authors (online or offline) who have struggled with what you’re struggling with and who offer tips on how to overcome those things. My writing technique is a combination of elements I’ve collected over time, from more sources than I can count, and I continue learning to this day.
Are you jealous of other writers?
I’m not immune to envy. I’m particularly envious of authors who have managed – through an irritating combination of talent and perseverance – to connect with their audience. In my case, writing is relatively easy (or, at least, I know how to do it). I don’t have trouble turning out pages or ideas. Marketing is hard, and by “marketing” I mean the many different things that go into connecting with potential readers and convincing them to take a chance on your book. That’s really hard, and it never seems to get easier. I envy the people who appear to have figured it out, because for me it’s a major challenge.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I’m a huge fan of stories, and I consume them compulsively. Movies, television, books, graphic novels: I have a limitless appetite for all of it. Everything I’ve learned, every story I’ve heard, goes into a big, seething pot in my head, and every now and then something sloshes over the top, congeals on the floor, and I’m struck with an idea for a story. Then I jot it down (because usually I’m busy with a project I’m trying to finish) and, if all goes well, I come back around to it later.
The idea for “Chimera” came to me after I’d read a couple of Dan Brown’s novels and was thinking back to what I’d learned in school about religion. Brown likes to write about religion and ancient conspiracies, but he approaches them in a way that’s different from the way I’d do it. How would I write a Dan Brown book, I asked myself, and what would it be about? The answer was “Chimera.”
I have a sequel in mind that combines the hero of my first book, a big science project I was reading about in the news, and some elements of indigenous religion I remembered from grad school. It’s really big, complex, and fun, and I can’t wait to write it down and make it real.
Do you have any favourite resources you would like to share with our readers?
Scrivener changed my life. Formatting my books for various output styles – Kindle, PDF, iBooks, etc. – was an incredible pain in the ass until I discovered Scrivener. It’s not the easiest software to use, but once you get the export settings the way you want them, it saves so much time.
If you could commit the perfect murder where would you hide the body?
The perfect crime supplies the police with an explanation that’s so obvious and reasonable, they won’t think to look any deeper. So I would hide my murder victim in a place where, once the body is found, everyone will assume that they know how the victim died. I think a perfect crime might be to murder your victim with a blunt object, then place the body in a car and drive it into a tree. Everyone will assume that the blunt force trauma was caused by the car crash, and you’d be left scot-free and with no troubles aside from an irresistible urge to tell someone how clever you were!
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT david and his book?
You can find Chimera in Kindle format here:
You can also catch up with David on Twitter @thedavidkaine
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.