Thursday, 6 April 2017

Author Interview with Kory Steed!

Today I'm delighted to welcome debut author Kory Steed to the blog! His m/m romance, FROM LIGHTNING TO LOVE, just came out and is already racking up some great reviews, so if you like the sound of it from Kory's interview, be sure to check it out! And without further ado, let's find out more about Kory and the book itself.

Hi, Kory! Tell us a little bit about your newest release.

From Lightning to Love is a 72K word novel and my first publication. It’s the first installment in my Lightning Series. The story begins with an introduction to Jason, a gay, thirty-seven year old former American army medic who served two tours during Operation Desert Storm between 1991 and 1993. In 1994 he received a medical discharged for PTSD.

After leaving the service, Jason worked in a local hospital’s ER for a few years, but he became more and more disillusioned with his life because he had to live it in secrecy. On a whim, he bought a lottery ticket and won. Now a multi-millionaire, he used his winnings to purchase a secluded tract of land in the Bear River Mountains in southeastern Idaho where at the time that the story begins, he has lived for eleven years.

We meet the second main character, twenty-three year old Aaron, the morning after a violent autumn storm when Jason began to check his home and property for damage. He discovered Aaron dangling by a shredded parachute in a tree. We later learned that Aaron was the newly signed, star quarterback for a fictitious American professional football team. Because of the remote location, there was no way for Jason to get help, so he had to care for Aaron alone while he recovered from his injuries.

I intentionally created this scenario because it forced Jason and Aaron to interact only with each other, without any influence from the outside world. Once I had accomplished this, the story unfolded organically. There was no plot or outline during the entire writing of the manuscript.

It sounds like a really intense story. Was there any part you found particularly tough to write? If so, why?

There were several but the most difficult part was the letter that Jason wrote to Aaron. The most difficult scenarios, of which there were quite a few, were the medical scenes because I had to really think about injuries, procedures, protocols, and diagnoses so that I could convey them convincingly in layman’s terms.

It's clear that this novel was a labour of love for you! Is there any part of this story you absolutely love, and why?

There were quite a few of these. I really enjoyed writing the military courtroom scene. I had a blast making the corpsman squirm in the witness chair, and I loved putting the prosecuting attorney in his place. I also had a lot of fun with the Captain while she explained the anatomy of the male reproductive system and the fluids it produces to the court.

Aside from the interaction between Aaron and Jason as the story progresses, my absolute favorite scene was when Jason went out to the barn to talk to the oldest of his two donkeys, Nellie. I relate strongly to that scene because as a child, I often confided in my pets.

Same! Actually, my cat knows all my secrets. So, do you have a favourite genre to write in?

I’ve only had this one novel published, and though I’ve always loved and read hundreds of science fiction and fantasy novels, I think I’ll primarily stick with gay themed genres because I believe in the adage, “write what you know.”

As an extension to that question, are there any genres you haven't tried yet that you really want to?

I am toying with the idea of either science fiction or fantasy, or possibly even both for that matter, sometime down the line, but for now, I’ve planned to include around five novels in my Lightning Series. I’ve all ready written the first drafts of books two and three and right now, I’m working on editing book two.

What attracts me to sci-fi and fantasy is, like with From Lightning to Love, but on a much grander scale, that an author can create the world or worlds the characters will occupy and by doing so, can provide then with environments where they can do things and things can happen, that couldn’t happen in our world.

You mention sci-fi and fantasy. Who or what are your biggest influences – they don't have to just be literary ones!

In the acknowledgments for From Lightning to Love, I wrote:

“To the many, many people and animals I have known over the course of my lifetime who have allowed me to love and care for them, who I have worked with professionally, or whom I have treated during my career, you have each touched my heart, left an indelible mark on my mind, or my soul. I have learned from you how to live my life, just as often as I have learned how not to, for you have inspired me to be a better person, a better friend, or a better healer. I hope this story does you and your memories justice.”

I dearly meant every word.

Another influence on my writing was a man who I briefly pay homage to in the novel, Gordon Merrick. He died in 1988. Though his first book was published in 1947, he wrote the first widely read gay novels in the early 1970’s. They were a trilogy. The first was The Lord Won't Mind which was on the New York Times Best Seller list for sixteen weeks in 1970. It was followed by One for the Gods and Forth into Light in 1971 and 1974 respectively. When I read them I thought to myself, “Wow, he’s writing about gay men as if they’re ordinary people, just like me.”

Shortly after I began writing From Lightning to Love, I remembered Gordon Merrick. I began to focus on what he was able to accomplish, writing a story about gay men who are normal people.

That's fantastic - and definitely something we need more of. Switching it up a bit, if you could have dinner with any three writers, living or dead, who would they be?

Wow, this is a very unfair question, and it really made me think. I’ve settled on, and am listing them in the order in which I read them. Of course, Gordon Merrick, also David Brin and Anne McCaffrey. If I was permitted two more they would be Dean Koontz and J.K. Rowling.
Anne would be a pick for me, too. I still love and re-read her Pern books. Are there any books you can just read over and over again and never get sick of?

The three above noted Gordon Merrick novels, David Brin’s duel novel Earthclan that contains Startide Rising and The Uplift War, Dean Koontz’s Watchers and Strangers and Anne McCaffrey’s The Tower and the Hive series: The Rowan, Damia, Damia's Children, Lyon's Pride, and The Tower and the Hive.

If you could recommend any book (beside your own) to everyone reading this, what would it be?

Because I’m very new to writing, I began in May of 2016, I haven’t read many recently written gay novels, even though that’s where my passion is right now, and I wouldn’t want to offend any of my new author friends. I can tell you that I have literally dozens of their gay novels downloaded in my Kindle that I’m aching to read, but I’m a slow reader when it comes to someone else’s work because I really immerse myself in a book to figuratively suck the marrow out of it.

I’ll have to say, Earthclan by David Brin. It blew my mind!

Now, the hardball question. Tea or coffee?

Oh, coffee, hands down, all day long (milk and a pinch of sugar)! I do drink tea when I’m sick with honey and lemon; with scones, tea biscuits, or Irish Soda Bread (Twining’s English Breakfast with honey and milk), with Chinese food (black), or iced in the summer beginning after noon with sugar and mint.

Boo! Tea should always be the answer (but maybe that's the Brit in me speaking). Apart from writing, what are your great passions in life?

Cooking and baking (and eating), watching movies, observing nature, feeding birds, and listed last, but first in my heart, my partner, Mark.

What else are you working on right now? What's up next from you?

Finishing the second novel manuscript in my Lightning Series edited and submitting to my publisher.

Thanks, Kory - some great answers there! If you want to find out more about Kory and the Lightning Series, you can check out the links below:

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