1. Please tell us about your epic fantasy Soul Born.
KJB: Well, when I started writing fantasy, back in the late 1990s, I would look up agents to submit to, and back then it felt like 85-90% of the agents had a line in their profile stating, “I don’t read/represent fantasy.”
I didn’t understand why and worse, I felt very singled out. What was going on? In the 1980s, fantasy books were super popular and amazing reads, why in the late 90s were they suddenly frowned upon in the industry?
I wanted to write a fantasy novel I would’ve enjoyed back in the 1980s, and at the same time have some twists and turns that would knock the genre on its side. As I wrote SOUL BORN, my goal was to write a novel that would bridge the gap between fantasy and non-fantasy fans. One for the people out there who loved to play video games more than read, or the people who read comics because they liked being stimulated by all the fun action.
Soul Born is my vision of an entry into a world that is becoming more fantastical with each year within the story that passes. It begins as not much more than medieval Europe with few elements of fantasy like Elves, Fairies and Lizardmen (no not Sleestaks). The existence of magic is where Soul Born begins to really stand out from reality and is one of the tying subjects of the series.
What I felt I did was wrote a story of several people trying to make the best of their bad situations. They will bend rules, manipulate others and situations, just to reach their selfish goals. Who is good? Who is evil? It’s hard to tell in the real world some days, and so it is in the world of Soul Born. Each of my characters have admirable and heinous qualities. It’s the reader’s choice how they wish to judge them.
That being said, in book two, I tell an entirely new chronicle. A much more straightforward story that really begins to feel like a Princess Tale… then I turn it upside down.
2. For many readers, a strong heroine makes the story worth reading. How would you describe Opal?
KJB: She’s one mean mutha…. Oh, wrong interview, sorry.
Paranoid and fearful at times; Opal can also be unstoppable force of nature. True to life, she has her ups and down, but in the end, she is the one person you don’t want to mess with.
Sometimes I think, hey, I could rewrite Soul Born like one of those 1980s “chose your own adventure” books. That might be fun!
3. Soul Born is book one in your trilogy. Any word on when the second book will hit bookstores?
KJB: Book two of the Soul Born Saga, will be out this Fall, 2011. Dark Quest Books, the publisher, is reading it now and Dan Dos Santos and I will be working on the cover in about a month. When the cover is done I will announce the title. I am very excited about book two, and I know readers of Soul Born, can’t wait.
On a side note, I’m writing book three at the moment, and it will be a little longer than the first two.
4. GI Joe once said "Knowing is half the battle". If you could put your younger self in the "Know" what advice would you give yourself when you began this journey in 1998?
KJB: I would’ve prevented myself from making the mistakes I did back in the early 2000s. I was so passionate about my work and wanted it to be out there for people to read and enjoy so bad I would’ve done anything to make it happen. I rushed myself and put out half finished works and made bad decisions. I also allowed myself to be taken advantage of, which was a bad moment I thought would end my career as a writer before it even started.
I’ve written 4 novels now; each one better than the last. Over the years I’ve learned that just because my work is done, doesn’t mean it’s ready. A lot can be learned by moving on to a fifth, sixth or seventh draft.
5. Kevin, not only are you a published author, but you are a staff writer for Fantasy-Fiction. Do you still have time for your other passion~art?
KJB: I’m a perfectionist and drawing really brings out the worst in that trait. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat down and drawn for two-three hours only to rip up and trash my project. I don’t draw much anymore because it’s just too mentally painful. Anyway, writing gives me the creative release that drawing used to back in the good old days. Of course, I would love to take another figure drawing class in the future; those were always the most fun in college.
6. Are you working on any other projects you can share with us?
KJB: Oh yes. Where do I begin? As a writer I feel it’s extremely important to write within your genre/genres daily. My goal for 2011 is to write, and finish, two books. I started one of them, a Viking Sci-Fi book. I also plan on finishing book three in the Soul Born saga, and a YA urban fantasy I started during the 2010 NaNoWriMo.
At the moment my top priority is finding a literary agent. Call me old fashion, but I feel I need one to help guide me in the future of my writing. I have a lot to offer, and will be writing another 20 or more books in my life, at least, so having an agent would be beneficial.
I’m currently querying my favorite project to date, an Urban Fantasy series I want to start with a book called ONE SMOKING HOT FAIRY TAIL. It’s the story of a foul-mouthed fairy princess after a devastating fall from grace. It’s set in the near future, in the real world. It’s so much fun to write, with characters that are witty, with contemporary problems.
7. A beautiful woman in a long black trench coat approaches yes, whips open her jacket and you see...vials. She is selling magic potions for things such as wealth, power, beauty, just about anything you could imagine. What type of potion would you buy?
KJB: You tricked me into thinking I was gonna get flashed. Nice one, Elie.
To be honest, after much thought, I would take probably take wealth.
It’s a hard decision. Don’t get me wrong. I could get a lot of things done looking like Jason Statham or Christian Bale. I mean that would be great! But I would probably waste all my time looking and feeling cool. Like Bale, in American Psycho, I would get overly focused on my daily skin care and never get my writing done! Darn! Not to mention all those slow motion entries into expensive restaurants and fancy clubs… they take up a lot of time!
So I would probably take the wealth. All my life I have been a giver. When I was younger I would make sure I got both the GI JOES and the TRANSFORMER toys I wanted and my buddy Andy wanted, so he could play with his favorites too. Later, I would buy video games I knew my friends would enjoy, sometimes ones I knew I would hate, but just knowing they would love them was enough reason to make the purchase. I always lent my comics, and games to my friends with wild abandon…
To this day I still feel the need to give to people and with a massive amount of money I could give more to my friends, family and all the cute baristas all over the PAC NW (they need to pay for college, duh). I’m teasing… maybe….
Seriously, I would be able to make larger and more frequent donations to animal charities, and would pay Sarah McLachlan to never ever play her music in sad animal commercials ever again. Oh, that one kills me.
Not having to worry about my own bills would be a major plus too. Those kinds of stressors kill the creativity of beings like me…. You know, warlocks from the ultra-slick dimensions.
8. Your book is filled with many magical beings. Given the choice, which type would you want to be?
KJB: I tend to pick magic using classes in video games, and role-playing games, so I guess I would want to be some cool mega-mage. It’s easier for me to pick a mutant power I think, than pick what fantasy being. Unless I was picking something like a Were-Liger… you know, a man who can change into one of those mythic leopard-tiger hybrids. I mean if I was one of those, then all the ladies would want to take their pictures with me. That sounds cool… at least until someone like Paris Hilton buys me and keeps me chained up in her hotel. That would suck!
9. Lastly, what do you do for fun? Any guilty pleasures?
KJB: I like to fill out registration cards on the products I buy in the name of super heroes. Peter Parker just got a new Canon Elph camera the other day and Clark Kent registered his new PS3. So much fun!!!
I tease, I tease… I play video games. I split my time between current gen stuff on the Xbox 360, and some old school NES and Atari 2600 on emulators I have loaded on my PSP and laptop. I love watching movies, and get caught up in a lot of TV shows. Trust me when I say my TV show picks are all over the board. I loved, with all my heart, that Spartacus Show on STARZ, but was equally addicted to BridalPlasty on E!. I’ve been known to watch Glee and Vampire Diaries too. Don’t hate!
Kevin, thanks for the interview and good luck on your upcoming releases!
For more information you can find Kevin at these hotspots:
Kevin James Breaux's official Website
Kevin's author blog (here you'll find purchase links + link to download a sample chapter)
Kevin graciously donated a SIGNED copy of Soul Born + signed bookmarks for a lucky reader. Plus he sent along some signed bookmarks for 3 other winners!
To enter, please complete the form AND leave some love (questions/comments) for Kevin in the comments section!
- US only please
- One entry per person
- 4 winners (1st-book/swag, 2nd-4th-swag)
- Enter by March 22, 2011
- Winner will be selected using Random.org and notified via email
- Good Luck!