By Keith Brady.
May I extend a very warm welcome from the Two Bald Mages to the talented Author Mr Kevin Wolf.
Firstly Mr Wolf allow me to congratulate you on your fantastic sequel to the equally great Brokeheart, A Town Called Vengeance which is due for release on May 1st 2018(U.S.A) and June 28th 2018 (U.K). These wonderful books offer Historical fiction with a Supernatural twist that are second to none and I can’t recommend them strongly enough.
So without further ado, let’s get on with what we’d all like to know!
T.B.M-Have you always wanted to be a writer? (And was there a particular moment you thought ‘I can do this’)?
K.W- First, thanks for the kind words about my writing and inviting me to share some thoughts on your site.
I always thought I could be a writer. I was the kid in school who didn’t grown when the teacher assigned a writing project. I welcomed the chance. After several false starts, I know the exact minute I decided to get serious. It was after the Nine-Eleven attacks. I travelled for business and was trying to get back to Denver on a Friday afternoon. Those were the days when you never knew if the security lines would take fifteen minutes or three hours. I breezed through security in ten minutes and found myself sitting in the Detroit airport three hours before my flight home.
I had a choice to buy a book or write one. I opened my laptop and plunked out the opening chapter of my first novel. At that time, I thought it would be so easy. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
T.B.M- What inspires you to write the most?
K.W- More than being known as an author, I want to be a story teller. I hope that plot, the setting, the characters and even the words I choose add to the story experience. If the reader is able forget that he is in his favourite chair, or in a seat on airline or reading those last few pages in bed before he turns off the light and instead smells a bit wood smoke and wonders if something quite other-worldly might pay a visit, I’ve done my job.
T.B.M- Well from where I stand you have Kevin.
T.B.M- What are you reading now? And what are some of your favourite books and authors?
K.W- Great question, I was asked to be a judge for the traditional western category for Western Writers of America Spur Award. Between October and February I read almost sixty westerns—the sixguns and saddles kind. I’m a basketball junkie, so March Madness took up my free time last month. I’ll be catching up on my favourites. I’m two books behind in CJ Box’s Joe Picket Series, have two of Anne Hillerman’s on my night stand, James Lee Burke’s latest is trying to move to the top of the must read stack and I really ought to find a used copy of Philipp Meyer’s THE SON. There are other Colorado authors that I really need to open the covers of their books. Check out Barb Nickless and Emily Littlejohn and Shannon Baker.
T.B.M– Wow almost sixty Westerns, that’s impressive! I must say I’ve not heard of these author’s, I’ll be sure to check them out.
T.B.M- Where do you find ideas for your characters? Do they come from real life or do you create them to fit into certain situations as they arise in your books?
K.W- I’m an addicted people watcher. I confess I eavesdrop. My characters are combinations of my observations. Add a dash of imagination here and there. Shake well and see what drops out.
How’s that for a way to dodge the question?
T.B.M- Hahahah as good as any I’ve heard, nice.
T.B.M- A Town Called Vengeance incorporates a wonderful and unique mix of Historical fiction and Supernatural horrors, how did you come to write such a fantastic blend of genres?
K.W- This might sound corny, but it was the story I wanted to tell. BROKEHEART and VENGEANCE are stories of good versus evil and a good, but flawed man, who joins in the battle. I’m a baby boomer. I owned Mattel fanner- fifties toy guns and Roy Rogers comic books. On Saturday evenings the TV was tuned to Have Gun Will Travel and Gunsmoke, so any story I would write had to be a western.
T.B.M- That’s great; it’s certainly a wonderful mix.
T.B.M- In your new book A Town Called Vengeance my favourite character is Landry, which character do you most relate too?, and who do you most like writing scenes for?
K.W-– Landry? She’s still a bit of a mystery to me so I work hard with her. Kepler, the disgraced frontier newspaper reporter is easy. I think I understand him. I really enjoy the supporting characters, both good and bad ones. The Buffalo Soldiers, outlaws and settlers are the most fun. I believe if I can make those characters authentic and real it will draw the reader to the story.
T.B.M– Well your hard work is paying off with Landry! And in regards to all the supporting characters that’s what brings Brokeheart and Vengeange to life, the heart- beat of the books if you will.
T.B.M- Do you have a big say in the amazing artwork of your books?
K.W- I wish I could say the cover art was all my ideas. When North Star shared their first concepts for BROKEHEART’s cover, I was disappointed. I shared my concerns and they went back to work and hit it out of the park. The cover for VENGEANCE is even better. It carries the western theme with the evil presence. I am so pleased.
T.B.W– I’m not surprised there great, they really catch the eye.
T.B.M- Have you got in mind a set number of books to write in this series?
K.W-– BROKEHEART, the first in the series, is set in 1879 in the Colorado mining towns. In A TOWN CALLED VENGEANCE, Kepler follows the evil to the deserts of the Arizona territory. It’s the time of the Earp brothers, Doc Holiday and Apaches on the warpath. The third story, REPROACH, is set in Nebraska where Buffalo Bill is gathering his first Wild West Show. It will bring together a cast of secondary characters from the first two books. If we’re lucky enough to continue, book four will take the main character’s quest to Yellowstone National Park as the first eastern tourists come to see the geysers, wildlife and other natural wonders. Then the Alaska gold rush? Along the border in time of Poncho Villa? In Hollywood with the first silent movies? A lot were westerns, you know.
T.B.M- That’s fantastic news Kevin, I’m sure they’ll all come to fruition for you. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop now, so excited!
And it’s nice how your books follow in the time-lines of some of the most famous people in Western history, it really adds to the atmosphere of the books.
T.B.M- On average how long does it take you to come up with a first draft copy of a book? And from the first draft how long until you get to the finished publication?
K.W- That’s hard for me to answer. I worked on BROKEHEART for three years. In 2009 the manuscript won several writers’ contests, I was able to sign with an agent. It took almost five years for my agent to convince a publisher to give it the blend of genres a chance.
I started work on VENGEANCE right after I was done with BROKEHEART, laid it aside, wrote other things and came back to complete it later.
Special shout out to Gina Panettieri, president of Talcott Notch Literary for believing in me and my writing.
T.B.M- I can’t believe it took that long for a publisher to realise it’s a fantastic mix of genres. Some people can’t see a good thing when it’s staring them in the face. Still all’s well that ends well!
T.B.M- The Buffalo Soldiers in A Town Called Vengeance appear in some of my favourite senses, do you do much research before you write your novels?
K.W- The Concordia Cemetery in El Paso Texas is interesting place. The gunfighter, John Wesley Hardin, is buried there. There are graves of two or three Texas Rangers. One portion of the graveyard is set aside as memorial for the Buffalo Soldiers, I wandered through the cemetery while I was writing VENGEANCE and knew that I had to include those men in the story. In BROKEHEART, Kepler championed the cause of immigrant miners and their families. I thought it made sense that he would stand up for the black soldiers. For about two months, I read all could find about the Buffalo Soldiers.
T.B.M- That does sound like an interesting place I’d love to visit as would my mother-in-law as she loves the old Westerns.
T.B.M- I have been asked by a couple of new authors recently what brings me back time and again to a particular Authors work, and my answer is Authors that make me feel a part of their worlds (setting the scene). And I have directed them to two Authors works in particular: Mr Adrian Tchaikovsky and the other is your good self Mr Kevin Wolf both of whom transport me into their worlds.
So what do you think is the most important thing that brings you back to a particular Author?
K.W- I’m flattered to be placed in such good company. I think it comes down to trust. You know when you pick up the next Tchaikovsky novel that you will be entertained. He brings the elements—setting, characters, voice– that you expect.
I know CJ Box—in his Joe Picket series—is going to take me to the mountains of Wyoming, introduce to a cast of cowboys, game wardens, crooks, and lawmen and take me on a darn good adventure.
Think of that. A reader has expectations and he’s taking a chance the first time he reads your work. He comes back because he found what entertains him. If that reader does not find that entertainment, he has so many other options.
Trust is a precious thing. It’s hard to earn.
T.B.M– How do you structure your writing on a day to day basis? i.e do you set yourself time limits to write? And where do you write?
K.W– Just recently I retired from a career in professional sales. I was doing most of my writing in the evening and weekends. I travelled a good part of the time and did a lot writing in motel rooms. I’m looking forward to finding a set routine. I think I’m most creative in the afternoons. My plan is to use morning for the business of writing and devote the afternoon to the real writing time. My wife and I have plans to move from the city to the mountains. I’m looking forward to all the inspiration that the mountains can bring.
T.B.M– Well a very happy retirement to you Kevin and I’m sure a move to the mountains will be not only amazing, but like you said incredibly inspirational and an great asset to your writing.
I’m not jealous in anyway shape or form lol.
T.B.M- What advice could you give to any aspiring Authors out there that are finding it difficult to get started?
K.W-. I had visions of sitting at a desk pounding out these wonderful stories all by myself. Early on, I was fortunate to discover Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. They taught me the craft and the business of writing. But more important, I found a community of other writers struggling with the same challenges. I would tell aspiring writers to look for a local writer’s organization and plug in.
T.B.M– That’s very sound advice Kevin thank you, I’m sure there will be lots of people out there that will take note of this.
T.B.M- What is your proudest moment as a writer so far?
K.W- No hesitation here. My first novel, THE HOMEPLACE, was the 2015 winner of the Tony Hillerman Award. To have my name associated with one of my favourite authors in that way is beyond anything I could hope for or even imagine. The award is given for the best debut mysteries set in the Southwest.
T.B.M- That’s a great achievement Kevin, please accept my belated CONGRATULATIONS.
T.B.M- One last question Kevin, if you could only take three books with you onto a desert Island what would they be? And why? Excluding you own.
K.W- Hmm. Just three? There’s a book called LITTLE BRITCHES first published in 1950 and still in print. It’s a story, set not too far from where I live, of boy learning to be a cowboy. I should read that again. Robert Ruark was called the poor man’s Hemmingway. I discovered his novel SOMETHING OF VALUE in junior high. I re-read it every few years. And a guy on a desert island should have a Bible, for inspiration and hope.
T.B.M- Those sound like good choices Kevin and would certainly while away a few hours on an Island.
This was fun. Thanks so much for the invitation.
T.B.M-It’s my pleasure to have you hear and a wonderful honour to have this opportunity to speak to an author I have the upmost respect for.
T.B.M– I would like to thank you for taking time out to take part in this Interview Kevin and I wish you all the best for what the future holds. And a heartfelt congratulations again on a wonderful novel, and the best of luck for the forthcoming release of A Town Called Vengeance.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Shelley from Jolly fish press without whom this Interview would not have been possible, so thank you again Shelley.
A Town called Vengeance.
Thank you all for reading.