An Interview with Kevin Gubernatis

What do you read for pleasure?

I often read science fiction and fantasy novels. I also really love to read books that read like Wikipedia articles, like some of the complete guides to Star Wars.

When did you first start writing?

I’ve been making up and creating stories and the worlds they are set in since I was like 12. I first truly put pen to paper with my first novel, The White Wolf and The Darkness debuting in December 2013. I’ve always been pretty secretive about the stories and people I create, as I’ve always thought they were something that only I found interesting or cool. I’m excited to share this world and these people.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in two places, really. First in a small, quiet town called Arbutus, where I spent most of my childhood. Then, not unlike a certain Fresh Prince, my life got flip-turned upside down and I had to move to Baltimore City. I got beat up a lot for about four years until I learned to start spinning that shit around and get people to leave me alone. The move influenced me heavily — both the beatings and Batman the Animated Series instilled in me a fierce sense of justice. More than injustices against myself, I hate to see others being treated unfairly. This is often reflected in what I write.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I think the first story I ever wrote was a thing I made up with my friend James when I was a kid called Fireball and Skull. It centered around two superheroes. One had mastery over COSMIC fire (because cosmic was somehow better then regular fire for some reason), the other was a half-living ghoul with power over life and death. Their adventures involved a lot of lame villains like “Electro-beast” and “Mr. Big” It was silly and fun and I loved it.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

The White Wolf and The Darkness is an adult science fiction/fantasy/horror, set a thousand years into the future, when magic fuels all technology and humankind has spread out amongst the stars. The Covenant of Earth Nations has lost contact with Dark Star Station, a deep space research facility orbiting a primordial black hole and has sent Asala, a magician and warrior along with a team of COEN Corps commandos to the station to find out what’s wrong. It bears passing similarities to other space epics like Star Wars, in that the supernatural and the scientific live together in harmony and that the heart of the story is full of action and characters are full of thoughtful creativity. The Soul Star Galaxy is a class of its own, combining supernatural and occult themes with a dark atmospheric setting, along with a hopeful and confident look at the future, crafting a vast and inspiring universe of adventure and wonder.

Describe your desk

Messy as hell, with soda cans and candy wrappers all over. Receipts with entry codes for free this or that from different places. There are a bunch of green and white post – it notes with coordinates from Minecraft showing the locations of some of my constructs on my friend’s server. A gargoyle that was a gift from another friend from her last trip to France. Beside Havershem (the gargoyle’s name is Havershem) is a crystal, a figurine of the green knight and a polished steel dagger. In the center of my desk is my keyboard…’s pretty gross, with dust and food and all kinds of wonderful artifacts from times past. Also, there is a cool looking diary-sized notebook that has almost nothing in it, because I hate handwriting anything, but love the idea of handwritten books. Oh, and there is a little silver (real silver) urn with a pencil, a glue stick and a portable titanium spork keychain inside it. You’re welcome.

What is your writing process?

I have kind of a bad process. I wrote my first novel from beginning to end and didn’t use any writing aids at all. I think it’s called psychotic bastard style.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

Inspiring people. I really want to inspire with my work. I want my readers to come away from the stories I write with a restored faith in humanity, or in themselves, or anything really. I want to move people, the way that others have moved me. I’d like to be responsible for those kinds of big feels and good feelings.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I really love just hanging out with my wife, watching good TV. We’ll go through a season of something in like a day or two if the conditions are right. Also, I game a lot. Whether it’s console or computer, I enjoy the narratives and interesting gameplay of a range of games that can completely absorb my attention.

What motivated you to become an indie author?

My wife, mostly. She believed in me and genuinely thought my work was good and my stories worth telling. I would not have written anything if it were not for her.

What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?

Facebook is invaluable in getting word out about your work. It is able to reach so many people at once and people you already know can help you reach even more relatively simply.

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