Monday, March 24, 2014

Author Interview of Bryan Koepke by Award Winning Thriller Author Keri Beevis

This past weekend a good author friend of mine interviewed me on her website.  Keri Beevis is the award winning author of 2 Thriller novels.  Check out her website and her author interview here on The Writers Cabin.

If you'd like to check out her interview with me it's located here:  Keri Beevis Interview with Bryan Koepke

While you're here take a look at my new author page.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Author Interview with Bryan Koepke

Today's author interview is with Bryan Koepke the author of the debut thriller Vengeance. 

First off tell us here at The Writers Cabin a little about yourself.

I was born in the great state of Oklahoma in a city named Tulsa sometime during the last century.  I spent the first twenty-years of my career working as an electronics engineering technician and during the last decade had the privilege of being on teams that built, tested, and launched spacecraft from both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  Prior to that I worked on F-16 fighter jets, got my FAA Airframe & Powerplant licenses, and later managed to get a private pilot’s license.  These days I work on the financial side of things at an aerospace company.
When I was in my teens I knew I wanted to be a writer and during much of my technical career I gravitated toward documentation and test procedures.   I'm married to a beautiful woman named Ildy, and we have a dog-named Daisy. 

Q: When do you write?  I do the bulk of my writing on weekend mornings from 8:00 a.m. to noon, and a few days a week in the mornings before heading of to work.
Q:  How much do you write a day?  My goal is to get at least 1,000 words down in my manuscript, but on weekends I usually get closer to 2000 – 3000 words a day, and 500 to 1000 is a good amount for mornings before work. There are times on the weekends, when I’m well rested with a head full of ideas, that I’ll sit down and write 10,000 words in one sitting.
Q: How long did it take to write this book, VENGEANCE?  I wrote the first draft in about 5 months.  From there I did multiple revisions and rewrites with the entire process from start to finish taking about two years.
Q: How do you bring characters to life? I start with an excel spreadsheet and build a list of traits, motivations, the physical description, and the character’s history. It seems that all of my characters sort of reveal themselves to me on the page as I write their scenes. They take on a life of their own beyond what I’ve planned for them.
Q: Do you like eBooks?  Do you think they’ll ever completely replace paper books?  I like e-books and have purchased dozens of them myself over the past couple of years. They’re great for trips.  I also like a big heavy hardback book or a paperback.  I hope all types of books endure.  I think when we loose things we as readers and writers limit our freedom. After all freedom is all about choice.
Q: Your current book VENGEANCE is a series. How many more books do you plan to write in the Reece Culver thriller series?  I’m planning on writing a minimum of eight books, but most likely ten to fifteen in this series.
Q: What was your inspiration for the book?  I had written two thrillers before starting this book.  I remember reading a newspaper article about a woman who murdered her husband and made it look like a home invasion. This gave me the initial seed for the story and as I wrote the first draft the story morphed into something completely different with a great deal more depth.  Initially it felt more noir than thriller, but over time it proved itself out as a thriller.

Q: How did you come up with the title VENGEANCE?  Initially the book was titled Not Dead Yet, but after completing it and thinking about the story Vengeance won out as the title.
Q: Are there any themes or topics you plan to include in the series?  My protagonist Reece Culver is a pilot, so there will most likely be flying scenes in many of the books. 
Q: Do you write on the computer or longhand?  I write the bulk of my work on computers, both a laptop and a desktop. I take a ton of notes, and scribble down plot ideas longhand.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?  Ernest Hemingway, CJ Box, the early Stuart Woods books with Stone Barrington, Stephen King, James Salter, Raymond Chandler, and many, many more.
Q: Where do you write?  I do 99% of my writing either in my basement office, or in my favorite chair at a cabin up in the mountains of Colorado. 
Q: What are you working on now?  Books 2 & 3 in the Reece Culver series, and when I have less time a batch of short stories I keep going back to and rewriting. 
Q: Where can we buy VENGEANCE?  It’s available on Amazon Kindle, and in a week or so the 6x9” paperback will be available on Amazon.  The e-book will also become available very shortly on Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Smashwords, Scribd, Sony, Diesel, Library Direct, Oyster, Baker & Taylor and on my website  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hot New Thriller Novel hitting stores soon.

Bryan Koepke's Debut Thriller novel, VENGEANCE, will be hitting stores in the coming weeks.  

This book is the first in the Reece Culver Thriller Series and will be available in both a 6x9 paperback version and as an eBook.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Self Published Books

So you've made the decision to Self Publish.  Now what?

Question # 1:   Is your book done?   

"Of course it's done", you say.

Question # 2:   How many drafts have you written and how long has it been since you began this project?

"I wrote a first draft.  Had my spouse read it.  Printed it out.  Rewrote it once. Had a friend do what he called, "editing", and then incorporated his comments.  Next I had another friend read through it and point out mistakes," you say.

I say - This isn't good enough.  With the freedom to self publish anything and the free will of industrial giants like Amazon, writers feel an anxiousness to get there work out there.  This is great. You are giving the public lots of great stuff to read.


In my opinion an author does themselves a great disservice when their work is not adequately prepared prior to being self published.   It should be written and revised a minimum of five times, and in my own work the number is closer to twenty times, particularly if this is the author's self publishing debut.

In an interview with The Paris Review back in 1958 Ernest Hemingway told the journalist that the final words of "A Farewell to Arms," were rewritten "39 times before I was satisfied."

Writing novels does not entail a linear learning curve.  I've heard it said that the learning is on an upward slope, then levels off, then upward again, then levels off, etc.  All great authors continually strive to excel at their craft. Unfortunately great authors are not born with the skills to churn out masterpieces.  If you disagree with this pick up a debut book from any of your favorite bestselling authors.  Read it cover to cover.  Pick up their latest book, written ten plus years after their debut, and read it cover to cover.  I'd venture to say the 10th book will be far better than the first.  

It is because of this that all authors owe the reader the best that they can produce. It seems that once an author is in the publishing game speed is of the essence. Whether self published or traditionally published the pressure to produce increases greatly after the first work.  With self published authors the more books readers have to choose from, the greater the author's notoriety becomes.

There have been a great many Blog articles and interviews that have shown the connection between quantity of books published and author notoriety.  One example of this is indie author Russell Blake who wrote over 25 novels in just 30 months.  While doing this Russell squired away a great deal of money, and gained the attention of none other than Clive Cussler.

A sad fact about editing is that most folks who have not visited the library or searched the Internet for articles about the different types think editing is the same as proofreading.  In the hands of a professional editor a good piece of literature becomes great.  The tough fact is that most great professional editors are swamped.  The line for their services is long and once your work is in their cue the use of their time is competitive.

So what am I trying to say?  

Step # 1:
Get your work to a state where it is as good as it can be.

Step # 2:
Take Stephen Kings advice.  "Put it in a drawer in your desk."  My own words - Let it age a month or more like a find bottle of wine.  This, I believe, is great advise, but the problem lies with ones ability to leave their precious work alone.  Time is what allows us writers to free our minds from the words.  Take this break and begin the next book, write a short story, or work on your author platform.  We all need a website, especially if we intend to self publish.

Step # 3:
Once the manuscript has been allowed to age print it out.  Take a red pen and as you read mark words, sentences, and paragraphs that don't make sense, don't flow, or don't belong.  At this point you are reading as an editor.

Step # 4:
Repeat step # 3 a minimum of five times.  If you are doing step # 3 well each of these passes will yield less that needs to be fixed.  If you are working a day job, taking care of a family, or doing other things that compete with your time to spend writing you will distance yourself from your work.  Each time you revisit it you will see plot holes and come up with new plot ideas.  You will see your characters as they are on the page and you'll feel a need to make your characterisation better.

Time, my friend, is an author's friend not his enemy.

Now go get to work on that novel.