1. Please, tell us about your latest book.
[Gordon Kessler] Jezebel is actually a revision of my very first thriller novel. I wrote the first version back in 1991, got a publishing contract on it a couple of months later, then waited three years for it to be published. On the same week that 10,000 copies were to roll off the press, I got word that the publishing house had gone bankrupt. It took years for me to get the story back, revise it (it nearly doubled in size), and publish it again. Now, it’s out in eBook, besides the more conventional trade paperback and hardcover.
I wrote Jezebel while going through a divorce—that’s the excuse I use to friends and family for seeming to have such a twisted mind! Still, even though it was my first novel, I think it might be my best-written thriller. Women seem to really enjoy it, and many have told me that they couldn’t put it down until they read the last line during the wee hours of the morning. The characters have emotional depth and are everyday Jill and Joes. That is until Jezebel goes on the loose, terrorizing the city. At that point, the characters find themselves in a pressure cooker—pushed beyond their limits.
Jezebel isn’t a mad or ferocious dog, ordinarily. The gentle, loving giant has been manipulated and is on a mission that the reader won’t understand until the end. But the reader should be able to guess who the antagonist is early on—the mystery is more “why,” “what will happen next” and “how will the killings be stopped.” So Jezebel is neither a conventional “whodunit” mystery nor is it one of those stories that you’ll want to read the last few pages first. They won’t make much sense, unless you’ve read the entire book. I think it makes a great Halloween season, spooky thriller, and would be a wonderful Christmas present for the suspense reader in the family/friend circle—especially since it and my other thrillers are on sale for only $.99 (limited time only).
[Gordon Kessler] My favorite minor characters would have to be Doc and Patsy White Cloud. They’re an elderly Native American couple who own a veterinary clinic. They’re also like parents to the protagonist Tony Parker. I think most readers will love them. Will they show up in another book? Well, let me just say that depends—you might understand better when you read the book.
3. What is your favorite thing about writing?
[Gordon Kessler] I think one of my favorite things is the solitude, the opening up of my imagination and watching a story unfold without really knowing what will happen next. When I know I’m on to a good story is when it seems to be writing itself on autopilot, and the surprises that come up are just as unexpected to me as they will be to the reader—I love that. I also love the companionship—the fellowship with other writers who love the same thing I do. I’m president of the Kansas Writers Association, again this year: an organization I helped found fifteen years ago and was their first president, as well. Then, there’s the readers—probably the most pleasurable thing about writing for me is when a reader I’ve never met tells me how much she loved my story, and that she can’t wait to read the next one.
4. How did you get started in writing?
[Gordon Kessler] When I took my first college class—English Comp—my instructor encouraged me to become a writer. She gave me straight “A’s” and always read my papers aloud to the class. Years later, I caught the novel-writing bug when I was going through some hard times, and it was great therapy. I’ve loved it ever since.
5. What does your family think about your writing?
[Gordon Kessler] My kids and friends love my writing and are very supportive. I’ve used my son and daughter’s names for characters, as well as a few of my friends. I think it’s fun for them to see their names in print.
6. Do you have any writing rituals?
[Gordon Kessler] I like to listen to percussions (especially Taiko drums) when writing action scenes. It really pumps me up and gets my heart rate and mind racing.
7. What are you working on now?
[Gordon Kessler] I’m working on a sequel to my sci-fi thriller Brainstorm called The Master Plan. It’s a blast, and full of scientific theory, theological possibilities and action. I think my readers will love it! After that, I plan to write a sequel to Jezebel—that’s going to be great fun, as well.
8. Do you have any hobbies?
[Gordon Kessler] I’ve done some sailing, skydiving, SCUBA and snow skiing, and I enjoy all of it. The problem is finding the time and the place to do any of these things.
9. What are three of your favorite movies?
[Gordon Kessler] Crazy as it may sound: The African Queen, Quigley Down Under and any of the Bourne trilogy. Beat that eclectic combo!
10. What writers have inspired you the most?
[Gordon Kessler] My mentors, sci-fi writer Mike McQuay and mainstream writer Leonard Bishop—they taught me everything I do correctly. May they rest in peace. The writers I most enjoy reading are Douglas Preston, James Rollins, James Patterson (Cross novels), Clive Cussler and Dean Koontz.
11. When did you realize that you were a story teller?
[Gordon Kessler] In third grade I wrote a sci-fi thriller called Zerk from Zenus. Zerk saved the Earth by using his laser lasso to pull our dear planet back from certain obliteration when it fell out of orbit with the Sun.
12. What is the biggest mistake that new writers make?
[Gordon Kessler] Many beginners rush their stories. They don’t understand how to build suspense and realism by drawing out the drama. It takes time and millions of words on paper for writers to really learn their craft, comprehend the tools available to them, find their own style and to understand how to best entertain their readers.
13. What is something that always makes you happy?
[Gordon Kessler] My Golden Retriever puppy wagging her tail. Please, give me your comments; what makes a good scare for you, my dear bloggers?
By the way: Please check out my book trailers on YouTube: Jezebel at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zHD9pmHOzk&feature=related; and Brainstorm at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eDjWJFbRdI. My blog: www.WMxBlog.com and my websites: www.GordonKessler.com and www.ReadersMatrix.com. I have other blogs and websites for writers. And you can always find my books at any online bookstore, including Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Nook, etc. All three of my thrillers are currently on sale in eBook formats for only $.99—trying to get those sales numbers soaring! Of course, you can find them in traditional paperback and hardcover at reasonable prices, as well.
Thanks again for hosting me on your blog! Happy reading!