Interview with Kevis Hendrickson
I met Kevis online through a goodreads forum. For a limited time, he was offering one of his e-books The Legend of Witchbane for free. I jumped at the chance and thus enjoyed the reading of a fascinating tale. I decided then and there that this was an author whose career was worth following. He has so much potential, and as he grows as a writer, I am certain that his tales will grow as well.
Well, after reading his e-book, it seemed like everywhere I turned, there he was, giving wisdom to new writers, offering reviews, encouraging others. He had such a knack for lifting people up. I thought, "That's what I want to do."
My mind lately has been focused on dreams, pursuing them, living them, encouraging others to find them. So it seemed a natural thing to approach Kevis for an interview.
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Rita: What has motivated you to pursue your writing and to keep at it?
Kevis: I am immensely fond of storytelling and always knew since I was a child that I would spend my life spinning my own tales. For me, there is no greater thrill than to play god of my own universe. But the real magic happens when my characters start to come to life and behave in unexpected ways. I’m always in awe when my characters cease to be words on a page and transform into real people.
Although it took me many years to finally make my work public, I always yearned for the day when I would be able to showcase my writing to the world. Writing is a very introverted occupation. Unfortunately, a writer can never reach his or her full potential if they don’t have an audience for their work. Without readers, a writer can never take that next step which involves the sharing of his inner self. In other words, the writing process is incomplete without people to read the writer’s work.
Beyond the need to share my work with others, I take great pleasure in being able to move someone with my writing. Only a few weeks ago, while feeling a little sour that my book sales weren’t where I wanted them to be, I received an email from a ten year old girl who told me how much she and her little sister loved reading my children’s fantasy book The Legend of Witch Bane. Needless to say, my spirit soared after reading her message. Here was a total stranger who had enjoyed reading my book so much that she had to tell me about it. It is moments like these that keeps me plodding on even through the rough patches of grass that I encounter as both a writer and author.
One often overlooked benefit to being a writer is that I get a chance to create something that will outlast me. Long after I am gone, I would like to know that a part of me still lives in the form of my writing and the stories I tell. To me, this is the closest thing to immortality that any person can achieve.
Rita: Did you ever want to give up? And how did you talk yourself into continuing?
Kevis: Without a doubt, writing is a process that I am still learning. But the most frustrating part of my career is not the writing, but rather learning how to promote my published works on a shoestring budget. Book promotion is an entirely different beast than writing. It is a time-consuming, energy draining, and quite frankly, humbling endeavor that often forces many would-be career authors to give up their pens. I personally do not enjoy being forced to give up my precious writing time to engage in what sometimes feels to me like self-prostitution. In fact, I never once ever felt like giving up my career until I was forced to publically hawk my wares, so to speak, to get people interested in my books.
Like so many other indie authors, my finances do not allow me to promote my book using the traditional venues (paying for advertisements, hiring a PR rep, travel expenses, etc.). Thus, if I want my book to be read, I have to put in several hours a week using unconventional means of self-promotion such as using social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. But I always try to keep in mind that my anything worth having is worth fighting for. And if I want people to read my book, I have to fight for their attention. But nothing is more important in that regard than learning to have patience.
Rita: What has been some of the pitfalls, hurdles, or lessons learned that you have had on your road to becoming a writer?
Kevis: The greatest pitfall that I have had to face as a writer is finding the time to write. Writing is not a simple art form as many people think. Writing is a science which can be exacting to a degree not unlike any other craft. Because most writers have to work for a living or have other personal obligations including school or family, we do not have the luxury of writing for as many hours a day as a professional writer. But without spending quality time developing one’s writing skills, a writer will never achieve the level of ability that is necessary to create high-quality work.
Between the demands on my time brought about by family, friends, and work, I find that most of my writing time is consumed by other pursuits. I had to learn to create a schedule for myself where every day I would write for a certain amount of time no matter what. In my opinion, a writer should write for at least 8 hours a day just like any other full time job. However, since this is not practical for most writers, including myself, I have structured my life to ensure that distractions do not get in the way of me achieving a certain amount of writing every day.
It takes serious discipline to overcome the hurdles created by distractions. But I have learned that if a writer is determined, persistent, and organized, he or she will find the time they need to not only write, but improve their skills which is necessary to having a career as a writer.
Rita: What advice would you give to someone who is pursuing artistic talents (i.e. drawing, painting, poetry, music, or writing)?
Kevis: Take pride in your art and spend as much quality time as you can to master your talent. But you should also allow yourself to fail. Failure is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, it is only through learning from one’s failures that one can achieve their goals. Thomas Edison is famous for having made over 10,000 attempts before successfully creating the light bulb. Every failure brought him closer to his goal because he learned something new every time. True. It takes hard work to turn your failures into a success. But when in doubt, always remember this famous quote by the legendary Sammy Davis, Jr., “If you want to be the best, you have to work harder than all the rest.”