Friday, February 24, 2012

inSyte: Interview with Greg Kiser

I am so pleased to have with us today, Greg Kiser, author of the multifaceted book, inSyte. Is it chilling? Supernatural? Romantic? Why don't we let Greg tell us a bit about it!

MK:  Paranormal-thriller, politicians, wolves, love, Ex-Navy Seal…the book seems to have a lot to it. How did this combination of ideas come together?

GK: LOL – that’s a great observation.  And the answer is… it sort of evolved.  I had the high concept – the ability to tap into the internet with your mind.  So you can surf the net the way you peruse your own memory today. Then I needed conflict to make things interesting.  Can’t have a novel without conflict.  So out of the blue I created a moral dilemma between the protagonist, the ‘monster’ Cheslov, and a local politician who thinks he has a direct connect with God. 
The initial draft took 3 months to write.  Then finishing the novel took another 3 years.  I read every book I could find on writing, improving the story. Avoid the word “had”.  Avoid the word “suddenly”.  Pay attention to points of view (POV). Within a few sentences in every chapter, the reader should know who’s head they’re in. Who’s POV.  And don’t switch around within a chapter without a white space separating paragraphs.  Unless, maybe, the action is intense.
After 3 years of polishing, I had my novel.

MK:  What is your favorite scene in the book?

GK: Interesting question.  I always had this notion, even as a young child.  What would I do if I were in a fight with someone (hey, I’m not a fighter, but as a little kid I thought of these things and just never let this particular one go) and they were wearing some kind of a mask, say a Halloween mask or whatever. I was beating them, had them beat and then the mask fell off.  And I realized I was actually fighting a werewolf. Would I freeze? Knowing I was stronger and I had won, would fear get the better of me?  Sort of a silly thought, but that stuck with me and I knew I wanted to put it into my novel.  That actually comes out in one of the crucial conflicts, a fight scene between an ex-Navy SEAL and my antagonist who is part wolf, mostly man, named Cheslov.
So that’s my favorite scene.  Yeah, that fight scene.

MK: What is your favorite line in the book?
 
GK: There are a few lines I really enjoy reading, even though I’ve read them so many times.  But here goes.  My favorite line(s)…

“It’s time for you to die,” Mitch said.
Mirth sparkled deep in Cheslov’s black eyes.
“I can’t.”
To Mitch it sounded like a plea.

MK: Without giving it all away, please tell us a little something about how Mitch is going to get through his biggest challenges (because they don’t sound easy)?

GK:  He’s going to learn some things about himself.  He’s going to evolve.  That’s what makes a story interesting, right?  Besides the conflict?  A character has to develop and progress.  So Mitch is going to learn some hard lessons and he’s going to get through it. The reader is also going to learn some things about Mitch’s past that help the reader understand who they’re really dealing with.  The fact that Mitch is able to triumph will be completely believable.

MK: What was your greatest challenge in writing this story?

GK: Getting started.  My initial draft took 3 months to write.  Then finishing the novel took another 3 years. Oh – and don’t let ANYBODY read that initial draft.  It will suck, indeed. I finished the first draft and put it down and thought – hey, this has got to be one of the best books EVER.  The agents will be beating down my door when they get so much as a whiff of this manuscript!  So I set it aside and took a little break.  Felt like I was on top of the world. A month later I opened the manuscript and started printing and reading (you must print and read to get the full effect.  Not good enough to read a word doc directly from the computer.  Better yet, print and read out loud to understand how the dialogue really sounds – helps avoid unrealistic speech.  Example:  “What is up with that” quickly becomes “What’s up with that” when you’re reading aloud).
Anyway, I started reading and was horrified at how bad it was.  Thus started the 3 year polishing cycle.

Creating the initial draft is the hardest. The initial overall idea of what your book is going to be about.  Who are the characters, what’s the high concept, where will the conflict come from. Once you get past that and start writing, it gets easier. And once you get that initial draft completed – then it’s fun.  Truly.  From that point forward, you only need to polish.  Just pick you’re your gem every few days and polish for a few minutes.  Hear someone say something funny at the mall, consider a tree limb in a park and how you might describe it, smell a familiar smell and let your mind run – all of these ‘experiences’ … feel them and bring them back into your novel as you polish and make it shine and breathe life into it.  That’s the best part.  Oh, it’s so hard to get that gem established at first.  But once you do, it’s your gem.  And it may never sell, it may never make millions of dollars – but it’s your gem and you can publish it and you can get it in print and you can show your friends and one day your children and one day, many years from now, you’ll read that work as a different person, as an older person.  You’ll wonder who wrote that?  You’ll be amazed all over again.

MK: Was writing the book a ‘chilling’ experience (much like some of the lines in your story), or did you enjoy the process? Were there any surprises from the characters you weren’t expecting?

GK: Sometimes I gave myself goose bumps. Gleeful goose bumps. I probably relate to Mitch the most since I was in the Navy and I had similar discussions with my mother.  My Mom always pushed me hard to get an education. But I am most entertained by Cheslov.  And most surprised by him.  And most chilled by who he is. I have no idea where the hell he came from.

MK:  Do you have any quirks when it comes to your writing process?

GK: I hate to be boring. Especially to me! I’ll write a chapter and walk away. When I read it a month later I’m appalled.  I find my mind wandering even while I’m reading my own words.  Pretty bad, right? So I rewrite.  Spice up the action, change the verbs, more show – less tell, more realistic dialogue. Sure, I do all that.
But the most important thing I do (ie, my quirk) is to delete. Words, sentences, paragraphs –anything that does not directly advance the story comes out.  It’s like polishing to bring out the inner beauty.  As Apple used to say, Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.

MK: It sounds like a fascinating read Greg. Tell us, what do you have in store next for your readers?

GK: Don’t know yet.  Thinking about a sequel.  Always thinking about things.  Trying to consider thoughts that I have that everyone else has but no one talks about. Occasionally I’ll think of something worth writing down.  So I’m collecting things and one day, when the inspiration strikes, I’ll get in front of the keyboard and start writing and 50 pages later, I may realize I’m on my way to another novel.


The Author

Greg Kiser is happily married to a wonderful and inspirational wife, Serena, and has two beautiful children – Miller and Grace.

Greg graduated from Southern Polytechnic University in Atlanta with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Greg also earned his MBA from the University of South Florida. He is currently a Director at Cisco, a high tech fortune 50 multinational corporation.


Greg has written extensively for fortune 50 high tech firms in describing next generation networks and painting pictures of the true evolution of technology for the consumer.

Book Title – inSyte
Genre – Paranormal Thriller
Format – Print & E-book
Released – May 13, 2011


Email – gkiser@cisco.com

Purchase Links:



2 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great read with the right amount of intrigue. Love the cover. The best of luck to Greg. Thanks for the heads up on this book.

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  2. I agree Kathi - it does sound intriguing. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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