Let Me Introduce You To…well, me

To be honest, I had another author lined up this week. A pretty big author. But things come up. The author gets busy. And he wasn’t able to get his interview back to me in time. So, I thought I’d take this time to do something I rarely ever do [at least on my blog anyway]…I thought I’d introduce you all to yours truly. To my knowledge, I don’t think I’ve ever used this forum to discuss my book(s). I’ve done so on purpose. This is a place for you to learn about different authors. Many of you are already familiar with me as it is. But some of you may have never really known much about what Primal Thirst is all about or why I always seem so compulsive about my adoration of the TV show Destination Truth. So, I thought this week, would be the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Um, Kent? You’re probably asking. How the heck are you going to interview yourself? Isn’t that just a tad bit schizophrenic? Well to that, I have two responses. 1) It’s not schizophrenic. It’s multiple personality disorder. They’re two entirely different illnesses. And 2) have no fear! I’m going to use an interview I did for another recent blog (Kindle Authors). So that way, at least, I won’t be talking to myself (and worse…answering!).
First, a little about my first novel Primal Thirst. You’ll learn more about where the idea came from in the interview section, so I’ll bypass all that. For now, let me share the customary product info, links, and book trailer. Then we’ll move on.
Wisecracking cryptozoologist Dr. Obadiah “Jack” Jackson has hunted plenty of dangerous creatures over the years. But he finds a lot more than he bargained for when he travels to Malaysia to save a beautiful missionary and her village from being ravaged by ghoulish, blood-feeding monsters straight from local legend known as the jenglot.
The jenglot are very dangerous, elusive, and intelligent. But that’s the least of Jack’s troubles. Others besides the blood-crazed cryptids want Jack dead as well…a local witchdoctor threatened by the missionary’s message of hope and a mysterious guerilla leader who seems to have a dark and secret agenda. Jack and his team must keep their wits about them to escape the jenglot and discover the answers to the deep mysteries surrounding their existence.
Praise for Primal Thirst:
“An old fashioned jungle romp, liberally spiced with bloodsucking monsters.  What’s not to love?  Primal Thirst will leave you hungry for more.” — Sean Ellis, author of The Shroud of Heaven.
“A heart-pumping adventure sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!” — Nikki Jones, author of The Quest: The Time of Darkness.
A fantasic book-read the whole thing on iphone and kept running the battery down because I simply didn’t want to stop reading! Full of action, adventure, cyrptids, hints of religion, and lots of humor. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Cussler, Dan Brown, or Dallas Tanner or even Ted Dekker. Already eyeing the store for the next book in the series! Can’t wait!” — My most recent reader review on Amazon by “hoos fan”.  
Here’s a trailer for your enjoyment:
And here’s the link to Amazon where you can purchase it:
Now, Primal Thirst has been out for a while. It’s undergone two different versions…so a lot of people have been wondering: Where’s the sequel? Well, have no fear!! Book Two of The ENIGMA Directive series, entitled Sirens’ Song, will be released in ebook format on December 20. Then, it will be released in print in the Spring of 2011! This time, Jack and the team may be in way over their head as they travel to the Grecian Cyclades Islands in search of man-eating mermaids (this isn’t your Disney’s Ariel, let me tell you!)!
The conspiracy Jack first encounters in Primal Thirst is revved up a notch or two in this fast-paced thriller on the high seas…and our hero has real trouble figuring out just whose side he really needs to be on.
Here’s the book trailer for Sirens’ Song [I’m really proud of this one!]:
Oh! And before I forget…I’m well on my way to writing the third installment entitled “Devil’s Child” featuring the Jersey Devil (in the Big Apple no less!)! You guys are going to love it. But you’ll have to wait just a little while on this one as I’ve just started writing my first urban (well, more like a rural) fantasy set in the Appalachian mountains! I’ll share that with you guys a bit later.
Anyway, that’s just about enough marketing for one blog post. Now, let’s get to the interview!:
1) What can you tell us about Primal Thirst?
Primal Thirst is the first in a series of books called The ENIGMA Directive. Basically, it’s a humorous, action-adventure story featuring a wisecracking cryptozoologist and his team that go around the world tracking down mysterious creatures (or cryptids) that have yet to be catalogued.
In Primal Thirst, Jack (the main character) travels to Malaysia when a Senator recruits him to investigate a series of bizarre killings in some of the local villages…killings that are said to have been committed by a creature of legend known as the jenglot. However, this senator is more concerned with the rescue of his daughter, who is currently serving the in the Malaysian jungles as a missionary.
That’s pretty much the premise of the story. There’s lots of action. But I think it’s loaded with some great humor as well. When it’s all said and done, think Indiana Jones meets X-Files with a little Army of Darkness thrown in for good measure.
2) What was the genesis of this novel?
Primal Thirst came about by simply watching my favorite television show on the air today…Destination Truth on SyFy Channel. If you’re not familiar with this show, it’s about a group of researchers who travel the world looking into some of the world’s most unexplained mysteries. The major portion of the show deals a lot with cryptids and cryptozoology. If you’ve never watched it, you should…it’s a wild ride!
Anyway, one night while watching the show, I thought to myself how cool it would be if someone would write a novel similar to the exploits of Team Truth. I started scouring the bookstores, as well as Internet book retailers and just couldn’t find anything like it (yes, there are books out there where men are hunting monsters…but not with the same sense of humor and wit that DT has). So, when I realized that I could find the book I wanted to read, I would just have to write it myself.
3) How do you balance the scares and the humor?
This was actually rather intuitive for me. First of all, the story is written in the first person perspective…through the voice of Jack. He already has such a wit about him that even the scariest of situations often have humorous undertones, just in the way he describes what is happening.
However, I am also very mindful of rhythm when I write. In order to keep the book flowing in a brisk manner, I tend to fluctuate darker, more tense scenes with lesser, more light-hearted ones. Like I said, I’m very deliberate about this. And if a scene is getting to be too intense, I try to lighten it up with some wisecrack by one of the members of the team. I’ve discovered that Jack deals with these situations best with humor. Take the humor away, and he’d be shaking in his boots in many of these situations. The humor acts as a sort of protective wall for Jack and the horrible situation he is in.
4) How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
Character development for Primal Thirst, in a large degree was rather intuitive as well. Of course, in any novel, you have necessary characters that are almost archetypes. They are essential to drive the story. Hero. Villain. Love interest. Sidekick. But to populate these characters, I used a mixture of different techniques (and people for inspiration).
For instance, the hero Jack…well, the original concept for the entire story came from Destination Truth. Therefore, it only made sense for Jack to be very similar in tone and looks to Josh Gates, the host of the show. But I didn’t want just a carbon copy of Josh. I needed him to be a different sort of hero. I wanted him to be good at his job, intelligent, and to some degree, tough. But I also didn’t want him to be the “perfect” hero either. So, I added two more people into the mixture that would create Jack. First, I threw in a little Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead fame. His sarcasm, as well as a slightly bumbling demeanor, was added into the hero’s character profile. Campbell’s character from Evil Dead, Ash, was a bit of a blowhard and a coward…but when the chips were down, he was as cool and as tough as nails (with a whole encyclopedia of awesome insults to hurl at the bad guys). I wanted Jack to be a little like that. But to make him even more human…more flawed…I just looked in a mirror. I considered all my faults and short comings and threw them into Jack’s character as well. That’s where he gets his act before you think mentality…not to mention his bull-headed stubbornness.
The other characters are just mixtures of actual people I know amplified to different degrees. In order to keep them real, I wanted to use real people. Well, except for Sashe Krenkin’s character…I’ll keep the inspiration for him a secret for a little while longer.
5) Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
Well, to be honest, I wrote this book because I wanted to read it. So, I guess the ideal reader would be me. However, I’d also say any fan of Destination Truth, Indiana Jones, X-Files, or Army of Darkness would love this book. There are some Christian elements to the story, but I don’t consider it a Christian novel. But there’s no cussing. So, the book is very family friendly…ahem…well, except for the blood sucking monsters that keep trying to use Jack as a Capri Sun packet. But even the violence is underscored. It’s not graphic at all.
So really, anyone between the ages of 15 and 115 who love great adventure stories with a healthy dose of humor should really enjoy it.
6) What authors most inspire you?
Recently, on my own blog (right here! Check the archives!), I featured perhaps one author that has had the biggest impact on my life. To be honest, I haven’t read that many of his books. Just two of them actually. But the first book of his that I read had a profound affect on me as far as writing goes. The author was Steve Perry and in 1987, on a trip to Mexico, I read his book “The Man Who Never Missed.” It was such a great story with such a rich, deeply detailed world. It was after reading his book that I knew that one day, I really wanted to be a writer.
Currently, however, I would say that my greatest literary influences (those that I seem to emulate most in my own voice as a writer) would be Jim Butcher of the Dresden Files series and Jeremy Robinson. Butcher’s Harry Dresden is the narrator of the series and much of his sense of humor and observations can be seen in Jack. As for Robinson, well, he writes a whole lot about monsters and the men who hunt them. So, naturally, he’s going to be a big influence.
7) How did you create your cover?
The cover was so much fun to create. And seeing as how I have absolutely no graphic design experience or training, I am very proud of it. First of all, I found a really cool royalty free jungle image and used it as a backdrop after doing some magic with it on Photoshop. Same is true with the shadow figure holding the gun in the center of the image. The jenglot heads hovering up near the top of the image was a little trickier, but so much fun.
I started with two main pictures. A human skull and the head of a black dragon fish. I used the top portion of the skull and the jaw portion of the dragon fish and put them together…blending them with some creative little tricks I picked up while learning to use Photoshop. That’s pretty much how I designed the cover in a nutshell.
Okay, well, thanks, Kent, for taking the time to let me interview you today. No, thank you, Kent, for having me…I truly appreciate it. And I really must say, you are one handsome dude! Why, thank you, Kent…I feel the same about you. And there you have it…my not-so-schizophrenic blog post. Hope you enjoyed it and will share with all your friends. Oh, and of course, buy my book! And thank you, guys, for putting up with me!

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