Interview with Drew Kientz; Author

Tell me a bit about yourself…

Hey there! My name is Drew Kientz, I’m 37, a well-traveled father of 3,

happily married, and now I find myself being interviewed by a fellow

Author from New Zealand. :D


What genre/s do you write in?

A Perfect Order is a genre-bender. Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Suspense, and Supernatural Action & Adventure, with some

Lovecraftian/H.R. Geiger body horror influences peppered here and

there.


How long have you been writing?

I was around 11 years old when I first discovered old school table-top

games. Namely Dungeons & Dragons. Running those games gave me a

chance to write endless stories. When I was a teenager, I’d write short

stories and send them around to my friends on AOL as chain letters. I

spent some years in the video game development industry as well. That

was the first time I got to write as a “professional.” 

I’ve worn many different hats when it comes to working jobs to pay the

bills. The writing was always there in the background, waiting for me to

discover that’s what I should have been doing all along. 


Do you have any published books or articles?  Tell me a bit about these

and what publishing route you took.

My debut book Chrysalis is the first in a new series called A Perfect

Order. I was signed by Kingston Publishing this past December, so

technically my professional career as a full-fledged traditionally

published author has only just begun.


Did you use an editor? If so, who? 

Michelle Edrington-Areaux with Kingston Publishing Company. She’s a

pro and is excellent at what she does. 


Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?

CK Green with Kingston handled the formatting and fontwork for the

cover. I had a very specific concept in my mind for the cover illustration,

so I hired some outside help with that. Nolan Ruiz drew the line work,

and Mary Yu applied the colors and lighting. 


Did you self-publish or get traditionally published?  How did this go for

you?

In my experience, I felt that having the support of a traditional

publishing house was the way to go for what I wanted to do. I had my

share of rejection letters along the way (like all authors do), but I felt

confident that I had a good product on my hands. It was all about

finding like-minded people who appreciate the hard work that goes

into what we do. 


How do you market your work and promote your brand?(Include links)

I’ve been working on rapidly expanding my social media presence to

build on the great launch Chrysalis had. I mostly keep an eye on

Facebook and Instagram. I started a new Twitter account as well, but I

haven’t quite cracked the code with that platform just yet. 


FB: @Drew Kientz 

IG: theonceandfuturedrew

Twitter: @ThatAuthorDrew


What social media and writing platforms would you recommend? 

With social media, it’s all about interaction. I write to be read. You

know? I love hearing from family, friends, and (gasp) readers/fans. I’ve

found FB to have the most intuitive UI (user interface) for finding

interested readers. From that pool, I’m working on growing my IG

presence. 

I’ve been noticing that more than a few other authors use TikTok as

their main gate, as they’ll share their content from there to the other

major sites as well. All these different apps are tools for you to use. If

used well, you can get a bunch of new eyes on your work. 

In regards to a writing platform; I use “good ole” Microsoft Word.

Nothing special there. I know the program fairly well, and it works for

me.


Do you use an agent?

Nah. Hiring one isn’t necessary yet. I had a couple of lawyer friends of

mine look over my first contract. All was well with it.

 

Do you use paid advertising?  If so what?

I haven’t used any paid ad space as of now. Chrysalis had a better-than-

average launch due to combining my networking with my publisher’s,

but for Almagest (Book Two), I’ve already looked into throwing some

money at Facebook and Instagram. Based on info I’ve gathered from

my PA - that’s Beth Ann Miller (she’s the best!) - and other authors, a

little cash goes a very long way with expanding your reach. 


Do you have a blog or website?

Not yet.


What inspires you most to write?

That’s a doozy of a question. Overcoming adversity to get my stories

out there is what drives me on some days. Other days, I think about

building something that I can leave for my kids. A legacy. Hopefully, it’ll

be something they can look at and be inspired by, so they can discover

what their passions are as well. 

The bottom line here is crafting stories that entertain folks. If you pay

me for entertainment, then you’re going to get a show. You’ll be

immersed. It’s like, “Stay awhile and listen! It’s storytime. Now, strap

in.” 

Oh, and trying to impress my wife. She’s easily the most difficult person

to “wow”. (I love you, Ara) 


What do you do to help with writer's block?

That usually means I’m feeling uninspired. I listen to *a lot* of music to

help keep the creative juices a’ flowing. I’ll play games with good

stories. I’ll look to other artists so I can help support their work. Hey, if

your brain sponge is full, then you have to step away and give it a rest.

Just make sure you don’t spend too much time at “rest.” There will be

times you’ll have to knock down the writer’s block wall with a

sledgehammer. It won’t be pretty, and you probably won’t keep what 

you wrote, but it’ll help get your mind back in that “mode.” 


How do you plan your writing and start?

The answer is ever-evolving (hah). My “method” goes a little something’

like this:

I see the story in my mind’s eye cinematically, so I’ll have particular

scenes that I want to get to first. I’ll use those chapters as mile markers.

Once they’re written, I think about subplots (a.k.a. “side quests”). These

transitional pieces can be built around an idea, an action set piece, lore

building, or even one good quote. I like to have multiple parts of the

tale that are considered “ye olde rising action.” Meaning, I try my best

to have every chapter end on a note that will make the reader want to

turn the page. Always be building suspense and conflict, but you have

to be sure to include resolution here and there as well, because that’s

what the audience is seeking out. You can’t just be all retch and no

vomit. 

Keep the story moving. By having a “mile marker” to be writing

towards, that keeps the flow of the story nice and steady Eddie.

Anyways, I keep hitting those markers until there’s nothing left to tell

(for now). Type “THE END.” 

The thing is, you can’t do a damn thing with your story until your

characters are inserted and have a chance to do their jobs. The more

fully realized your character is, the easier it’ll be for them to work. 


Is writing your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?

Now it is.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

The second entry to A Perfect Order! It’s called Almagest. Named after

a work by Claudius Ptolemy. Ptolemy’s Almagest. 


What is your target audience?

One of the best compliments you can get as an author is when

someone says something along the lines of, “I don’t normally read this

sort of thing, but I couldn’t put it down.” 

Is there a target audience? Maybe? If you like stories about people with

extraordinary powers discovering ancient forbidden knowledge, while

hunting supernatural creatures that prey on mankind, then yeah. This is

for you. Did I mention it’s all told through the lens of a drug-addicted

musician from Arkansas?


How long does it take you to write a book?

Chrysalis was written in 4+ years over a period of great change in my

life. Two countries, two states, the end of one relationship and the

beginning of another (which led to my marriage). Also, I got clean from

booze & drugs. I’ve been “sober” for nearly two years now. 

TLDR: I had to get my shit together. 

AND

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” - Heath Ledger’s

Joker from The Dark Knight. 

I started working on Almagest in earnest soon after Chrysalis was

published back on March 28th. Once I saw that my first baby could fly

out of the nest, I got right back to it. Now that I’m signed and being

compensated for my effort, I’m writing at a much, much faster pace. 

I’ve knocked out 61 pages over the last 3 days alone.

 

What does your writing schedule look like?

At first, it was difficult to find a time frame that worked, considering my

life is quite different from the time the first book was written. I’m a

family man again, and as everyone knows, parenting is easily a full-time

job in itself. Well, trying to be a good parent is, anyways. 

I do *try* my best to write every day.  You’ve got to take advantage of

when the muse decides to hit you with inspiration. Fatigue will set in,

which is frustrating, but that’s when you have to rest, or your work will

suffer. 


What does your family think about you writing?

They’re all about it. Very proud and supportive. 


What do you do when you are not writing?

Oh, raising these kids with my wife through a global plague. Playing the

“vidja” games late at night when I need to let my brain decompress.

Staying in contact with my people across the country and the globe.

Chasing my 3 kittens and 3 doggos around. Keeping my head above

water. That sort of thing.

 

Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?

Whew boy. Another doozy. The Council of Me (the voices in my head)

has drawn inspiration from reading, listening to, watching, and making

as much material as I can throughout my life. 

I’m always analyzing things for what works and what doesn’t. I’ve

looked at what works, what works but shouldn’t, what doesn’t work,

what doesn’t work but should, and so on. I have a very critical and

analytical mind. 

You have to help Lady Luck out by working hard, so you can be in a

position to capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves. 


What do you think makes a good story?

Believable characters that people can relate to on some level. Listen,

the human species is damn good at making horrible situations seem

tolerable because of our sense of humor. Finding the good in the bad is

one of the most primal things our monkey brains have come up with. A

story loses credibility with me when a character stops being a human

being and turns into another color-by-numbers trope that the creator is

trying to force down your throat. 

I love dry humor and unpredictable dialogue. Speaking of being

predictable; if I can predict the outcome of a story/show/etc after 10-

20 minutes, then I get disappointed. 

I appreciate unpredictability because I know how hard it is to write it

well.



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