Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Heading into the Storm with Ken Kerr

Hello dear readers!

The last few weeks have found me using every available moment to write on a couple of my own books and read a few novels for review.  Maybe someday I'll catch up - doubtful.  Oh well!  I'll just enjoy the ride along the way.

Come join me then today as we visit with author Ken Kerr about his recent release The First Madam President.  Welcome, Ken!

DAB:   Was there a point in your life that prompted your desire to write or have you always wanted to be an author?

KJK:    Living in Russia as a Peace Corps volunteer at the age of 58 was a life changing experience in many ways. One of those ways was stimulating a desire to write. While in Russia, I began sending a monthly newsletter to my family and a few friends. The word got around and by the time I left Russia the newsletter was reaching over fifty recipients. My unexpected departure from Russia after my first year as a volunteer sparked the idea for my first book, "Life of a Double Agent". I learned that the writing process gave me unexpected pleasure, which lead me to my second novel, 'The First Madam President (and the dirty bombs)'.

DAB:   What was the catalyst for this novel's premise?

KJK:    My first novel didn't lend itself easily to a second book with the same lead character, but I wanted to continue writing about the CIA. Secondly, I have a strong interest in the political problems facing the United States, and a deep frustration with the political gridlock of our government. I decided to combine those ideas with a new lead character, the first woman President of the United States. If 'The First Madam President (and the dirty bombs)" does well, it could become the first in a series of books about the first Madam President.

DAB:   Do you ever have difficulty writing from the point-of-view of a member of the opposite sex?

KJK:    I don't have difficulty writing from the point-of-view of a woman, but the real test is will my readers relate to my women characters. I have heard within the writing community that men do not write well from a woman's perspective. I am curious to get some feedback from my readers whether or not I effectively wrote from the point-of-view of Carolyn Holliday and Ann Hunt, two of the lead characters in my latest book.

DAB:   Who is your favorite character in your novel, and why?

KJK:    I have two favorite characters, Carolyn Holliday, the President, and Ann Hunt, the young CIA analyst. They are both strong women. Carolyn has reached beyond where no other woman has gone, becoming the first woman President of the United States. Ann is an amazingly talented young lady whose career mostly lies ahead. She impressed the President, and is clearly on her way up. Maybe she will become the first woman it head the CIA or do even more.

DAB:   How long did it take for you to craft this novel?

KJK:    It took me six months to write my first novel, committing to myself to write a minimum of two pages per day, six days a week. It only took me three months to write the first draft of my latest novel, again working six days a week. Once the first draft was done, I spent another three months doing a major re-write, hopefully improving the overall quality with more texture to the characters and scenes.

DAB:   Tell us about a typical day in your writing world.

KJK:    My yellow lab, Etta, gets me up at 7 am. I brush my teeth and then take her for her first walk of the day. When we return, I feed her and have my breakfast while reading the local newspaper. I then spend four to eight hours writing, doing research, editing, outlining & modifying ideas for the different sub-plots in the book. A few days a week, I go to the health club for some exercise, usually late morning or early afternoon. I try to spend time on the computer reading and sending emails and doing things on social media. I will admit I am less active on social media when I am heavy into the writing process. Somehow, I feel the need to find a better balance between my writing process and promoting my books through social media.

DAB:   Other writers have particular composers and music that gets them in the mood for certain scenes and characters. Have you ever written to music?

KJK:    Simple answer, no. I find TV, music, radio talk shows, etc. are distracting to my writing. I do best when I can have silence and no interruptions or distractions. Keeping track of details in a novel can be difficult. I consider many ideas to include as I am writing, and sometimes I can't remember if I included an idea in the manuscript. This is probably less of a problem for "younger" authors.

DAB:   There's the eternal debate whether to outline or not. What is your preference?

KJK:    My preference is to outline, not a lot, but some. My latest novel has three streams in the plot that run concurrently. I keep shifting among the different sub-plots, and it helps me to generally outline where each sub-plot is headed, and how to interweave them.

DAB:   Usually authors are also avid readers - what are you currently reading?

KJK:    I love to read Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, Jonathan Kellerman Clive Cussler, and others. However, I now spend most of my reading time on other indie authors, reading and reviewing their books. I recently joined an online book club, Rave Reviews Book Club, where over 400 indie authors support each other and help each other with book reviews and social media promotional activities. There are a lot of really good, lesser-known authors. Just a few of them are Paul Anthony, Ken Boehs, Roberta Goodman, Dianne Harman, Taylor Fulks, Ceri London, James Bruno, Arthur Crandon, Nicholas Rossis, and many more.

DAB:   Now's your chance - give us the final plug for your novel.

KJK:    "The First Madam President (and the dirty bombs)" is a political suspense novel occurring in the near future. There are three story lines that interweave through the book. First, the President works to build an alliance with the other party to address the many problems facing the country. Secondly, a senior Senator and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court die of apparent heart attacks, leading to an FBI investigation and a possible murder conspiracy including someone in the White House. And finally, the CIA is tracking an Al Qaeda plot to detonate dirty bombs in Washington D.C. Welcome to Washington, Madam President.

            The book is available as an e-book and paperback as follows:
            e-book for Kindle and paperback at
            e-book (all formats) at
            e-book also available at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, iBooks and several other online book stores.
            For a signed paperback copy contact the author at
            Twitter: @kkerr19963

Thank you, Ken, for taking the time to give us a peek into your writing world.  Be sure and check out The First Madam President if it sounds like something that will tickle your fancy.  Bomb plots are always a plus!

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