I have to say that I’ve had a great pleasure working with, and communicating with, author Kevin Glennon. His two books have been great reads and I have loved the detail and depth he has gone into when it comes to characters. He has also been able, in my mind, to bring out the power that the United States Post Office has when it comes to moving around the country. There are many who take the mail carriers for granted but these books may surprise people. I have reviewed both books that are set in the world of Chief Othniel O’Connor.
Kevin was gracious enough to find some time in his busy life to answer my Ten Plus One Questions I ask authors to do. I know it did take some time on his end, but when he informed me of the work he is doing, I totally understand his priorities. Also, as you read through the questions below, he does have a busy home life as well. I hope people will find his responses as interesting, and enlightening as I did. As a note, there was no editing done to the responses below. They are his words as he shared them with me.
The books I have reviewed by Kevin Glennon in this series
Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?
All my life. But I’ve never called myself a writer – I’m a storyteller. Writers are masters of language, and can take you on a journey of words such that you forget why you started walking in the first place. Storytellers tell great stories. Douglas Adams was an amazing writer, but if you look critically at Hitchhikers, it’s a wandering mess of a story that is so terrible at resolution after five books it never resolves.
Question 2: How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?
They never noticed. I’ve always gone off the grid on a daily, weekly, or longer basis. Often I wrote, but just as often I was pursuing something else I wanted to know, try, or do. Whether you disappear into the garage to work on a car, into a craft room to quilt, a cellar to record a song, or whatever creative and inquisitive outlet inspires you, creativity is a calling you should follow, even if only part-time. We’re all creative and curious beings. Turning off that outlet is toxic.
Question 3: What inspired you to write The United States Vampire Service?
My buddy Jack. We were out drinking at the Irish Pub in North Quincy, MA one night bitching about how little girls had usurped the brutal and awesome monster stories of our youth. Late night, I slurred something about how I could write something as brazen as Dick Marcinko, as technically accurate as Tom Clancy, and as supernatural as Mary Shelley. I wrote the first chapter of “Vikings, Vampires, and Mailmen,” and emailed it to Jack. Every couple of weeks he asked me for the next installment, and I would write what usually became the next chapter. Pretty soon I was doing the background research and writing background structure of the characters and universe in which my story took place, and suddenly I had a series, should I choose to type out what I had worked up in my head and on massive sticky notes around my office.
Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?
The story? That came more from my philosophy of what vampires probably would be in our modern age. If vampires were how I imagined them, then how would regular humans defeat them? The characters? I knew that, no matter how hard I tried, I’d project too much of myself into everyone, like most authors do. So I looked for people who were nothing like me. When I found people who thought differently, and reacted in ways I wouldn’t, I based characters around them. Then I changed their names so I didn’t have to pay them royalties.
Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books?
Douglas Adams. Robert Heinlein. “Non-fiction” books about the supernatural (I know, an oxymoron). Every Army Field Manual I could buy at my local Army/Navy store. Every Dungeons & Dragons manual, but the original Unearthed Arcana more than any other.
Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?
It was electric. I had reached a tableau that my writing heroes had also reached. Even if I never sold more than a fistful of copies, that could never be taken away.
Question 7: Will there be additional books within the USVS series?
HELLS yes! I’ve spent WAY too much time on the backstory of Othniel’s father, and the universe they live in. My original sequel to VV&MM was supposed to be “O’Connor,” a story about Othniel’s father from 1946 until his death just before the start of my first book. But I overreached and wrote complete garbage. I ended up deleting almost everything, and focused instead on what came after the first book. A lot of the back story you read there was further developed when I was writing O’Connor.
Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?
I honestly have no idea. Having worked in advertising and marketing for 20 years, I thought I was pretty damned brilliant when I launched VV&MM. I focused all of my efforts on a target demographic of men, ages 22-45, who either served in the military, worked as emergency responders (cops, firefighters, EMTs), or empathized with that demographic. What I learned, shockingly, was that our biggest market was women, ages 50+, who wanted stories of “real men,” tired of the emo, whiny men that were flooding the monster markets. Imagine that?
Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?
HELLS yes! DO IT! Just write! Write, and write, and write! Don’t look back until you’re done. Then edit and rewrite, and publish on your own. It’s so easy and inexpensive to self-publish there’s no reason you shouldn’t for your first book. Don’t get hung up on details like book cover art, websites, social media, or whatever. You can pay like $50 to have an insane artist draw you a book cover on Fiverr.com, and you own it outright!
Question 10: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?
These days? Chasing three kids ages three and under around the house! We had twins, and then a monstah of a kid, so creatively typing has become near impossible. But I’ve got miles of notes, and miles of ideas, and miles to go before I sleep.
The + 1 Question
If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?
Prague. I love Prague. The people are beautiful, the city is beautiful, and the streets cap an unexplored depth that has, perhaps, no bottom. I once ate a feast at an underground hunting lodge in Prague that was three stories underground, and the only way to find it was going down a tiny alley and opening a nondescript door. It was like the best D&D adventure I had ever been on, and it was a random Wednesday night when I was nineteen. Imagine how cool it would be to explore today?