Monday, February 13, 2012

On Writing Author Interview: Kender MacGowan

To avoid pre-conceived notions which can sometimes be connected with certain genres, the number of books published and/or an author's appearance, none of that information will be revealed until the bottom of the interview.   So pour a cup of coffee, have a seat, and check out this interview - see how much, or how little, you have in common with this published author.

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  My favorite part? Touching someone with something I have written is my “favorite” part, although I do like just being able to SAY “I’m a writer” when asked what I do.  Words are harmless collections of letters in a dictionary, but in the hands of someone who knows how to wield them they become potent weapons and can bring emotions welling, build hope, tear down anger and bridge or widen the gulf between us all.  That’s what I like most about writing, having that power at my command.

What is your least favorite part?  My least favorite part of writing is the paperwork.  Seriously my least favorite thing is rereading and rewriting what I have read and written.  Someone once said (I believe it was Michener) “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m a great rewriter” and going back over something and having to tweak it is something I hate while I am doing it.  I love when it’s done though, except all the second guessing I end up going through.

Name one obstacle you’ve had to overcome.  Taking myself seriously as a writer.  My family didn’t look on a self published, free lance writer as a “job” at first.  That changed after I got a royalty check.

Is there a specific part of your writing you’re working on to improve?  I tend to over use comma’s, but in my defense it’s only because they’re cheap and I bought a truckload on eBay, so, as you can imagine, I am learning to use them less but, between you and I, I don’t think it’s working.

What part of your writing makes you particularly proud?  I’ve had people tear up with what I have written. I am very proud of my words when they touch someone on a level that causes such an emotional response.

What does your favorite main character have in common with you? I don’t really have a favorite main character.  Who I most identify with depends on my mood, really.

Do you do a lot of research for your projects or do you only write about what you already know?  When I write what I know it just flows.  Most everything I read would be considered research for me since I usually use that knowledge in my writing.  When I don’t know the subject I am writing about I do research as I am writing.  Finding out things like Texas cattle driving routes in the late 1860’s is not something I would have researched before hand, because I had no idea I was writing about it until I started.

How do you use the internet for your writing?  I use the net for research and for music.  I sometimes write to music and having the worlds musical library pretty much at my fingertips makes finding music for the mood easy, fast and cheap, three words which have been used to describe me too.

If you’ve won any awards for your writing, what impact do you think that has had?  I’ve won no awards for my writing, and I’m not sure that will ever happen.

What one marketing tool have you had good success with? Word of mouth is the best tool so far for me, followed by internet radio.  I’ve never taken out an ad and I am horrid at self promoting, so perhaps if I tried one of those avenues I would have more success.

What good writing habits have you developed that you think would be helpful to someone starting out? I have no good writing habits.  I write when the muse strikes me (usually at 4 A.M.), I am loathe to have my work edited, I start projects and let them sit for months sometimes.  The only good habit I have when writing is I save, a lot....losing an hours worth of work because something crashes hurts, so save your work, a lot.  Better yet write in as an email draft in saves automatically every so often....I’ve written a lot of my stuff as email drafts.

Do you have any bad writing habits that you’d advise writers to avoid?  The aforementioned comma. That’s my worst writing habit.  I sometimes write as I speak, with tangents, so the comma becomes an enemy to clear writing as opposed to a very helpful tool. Although I have noticed some writers I admire very much who also use comma’s to create paragraphs composed of one sentence, so perhaps I needlessly beat myself up for it, either way that’s what editors are for so find a great one and use them.

Do you have any strange writing habits? I don’t have any real habits when it comes to writing, a habit being defined as a regular tendency or practice, but I have been known to pull over to the side of the road and pull out a notebook and write when inspiration strikes me.

When you’re not writing, do you read, and if so, what?  I read a lot of news and opinion sites. I occasionally will read for pleasure these days but it’s rare. Most of what I read would be considered research.

What are you trying to accomplish with/through your writing?  It depends on what I am writing about. If I am writing for fun I want to entertain.  If I am writing to make a point I am trying to sway people to see, and agree with, my view of things.

What words of wisdom do you have for young writers?  Punctuation, grammar and spelling are your friends.  Learn them. Specifically idioms of language, such as phrases you may hear a lot, should be spelled out in your head and question what that saying means.  An example is “seize the day” as opposed to “cease the day”, the first one is correct, the second is not, and the difference in the words and their meaning is light years apart.  When you hear words spell them in your head. As people speak to you visualize the words. When you do this long enough it becomes second nature.  As a secondary note on this subject, synonyms and antonyms are exceedingly important.  In the end I would say get a dictionary and a thesaurus and read them both, several times all the way through.  A good writer loves words.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get published?  You have to decide what’s more important to you. The alleged credibility that comes with being traditionally published or the freewheeling world of self publishing.  I have found many traditionally published authors to be elitist, smug and condescending to the self published crowd, and sometimes with good reason.  There are many books that suffer from bad (or no) editing, horrid grammar, mangled punctuation and sometimes just a missing storyline.  Those books reflect badly on those of us who work hard to put out a quality product that people want to read.  If you can suffer the slings and arrows of the traditional publishing industry (whose funeral we will be attending in a few short years) go with self publishing. If you can’t submit your manuscript to everyone you can find, just be prepared to wall paper your house with rejection letters.

Any thoughts on what this author writes?  How many books published?  Here's a little more information about the author...
How many published books are to your credit?  3

Do you have an agent? Nope

Are you self-published? Proudly

How many different companies have you published with?  3?

How long have you been writing? Professionally? About 5 years.

Do you write full-time? If not, what is your other job? And how do you balance work/writing? I have several “jobs”, almost all of them depend on me to find the work, negotiate the contract and then make it happen.  I do storytelling at renaissance faires, mostly, and balancing work/writing is easy for me.

So, any thoughts?  Here's the full scoop:
In “The Wordsmith, Kender MacGowan’s” own words:  Born in SoCal, spent a couple of decades training race horses after dropping out of school, became a street actor and storyteller then a writer.  I spend most of my days working on curmudgeonly skills by being anti-social and yelling at people to stay off my lawn.

Kender’s poetry titles include:  Shattered Ashen Heart;  The Hunter and the Elf Queen; Watering the Tree, Thoughts on Liberty and Tyranny-poetry

All of Kender’s books (and where to buy them) can be found here:

What are you working on now?  I have several stories in the process of being written, 3 books sitting in the editing folder and there’s always articles to write and sell. I’ve been spending time putting together next years stage show for my acting troupe, The Bawdy so that kind of takes away from a couple of minutes worth of sitting online and trolling facebook.

Anything else about being a writer that you’d like to share?  I started writing when I saw a quote about being a writer because it’s easier than honest labor.  It’s not. If you’re going to write for public consumption you need an exceedingly thick skin, you need to be certain that what you’re writing is technically correct and, if you’re writing about factual things, such as current events and issues, that your facts are correct and you need to be prepared for the fact that you’re not going to reach everyone, you most likely won’t get rich and there’s always going to be someone who speaks badly of you and what you write.  Take their criticism with a grain of salt and an eye toward improving your writing.  And for the sake of all that may be holy learn your punctuation, spelling and grammar.  This cannot be stressed enough.

Where can people learn more about you?  I’m not sure I want people learning more about me beyond “This guy writes amazing poetry, you should buy his book.”

Is there anything else you'd like to know about this author, or any questions you'd like added to future interviews?  Let us know...drop us a comment below.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, those commas, the bane of my existence, too.
    And, um, great hat. :-)