Everyone has a past they’d like to forget. Inspector Thomas Sullivan has a past that is about to catch up with him.
Today best selling novelist Kevin Sivils has joined me today to explore his own past, and the past of Thomas Sullivan from his tale ‘The Predator and The Prey’. Kevin, thanks for allowing me to spend a little time with you today to enquire on these explorations of past and present. The first thing that I would like to ask you about is where and how did this novel come into existence?
The idea came from watching an episode of Firefly, The Maltese Falcon and Dirty Harry all back-to-back. I wanted to tell a story in the noir style of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but set it in the future like an episode of Firefly. Dirty Harry is one of my favorite movie/cop characters. And so, Inspector Thomas Sullivan was created.
*Laughs* That is awesome research right there! Was there much additional research required for this novel?
Yes. Not so much into the science fiction concepts, but rather the elements of what made a story a classic crime noir story.
What was the most rewarding aspect of writing this novel with classic crime noir elements?
Creating the characters. It’s a positive experience to see them come to life as you create them. You learn to see things through their eyes, predict how they will respond, what they like and don’t like, what their problems are. It’s just plain fun.
As this book was borne from the screen, you must have actors that you’d like to fill each of these roles. Who are your top actor picks?
Inspector Sullivan – a young Clint Eastwood
Father Nathan – Tom Selleck
Sarah – Summer Glau
Markeson – Gene Hackman
The Cowboy – John Malcovich
Josephson – a young Tom Hanks
Ooooh, fantastic cast selection. You just don’t see enough of Tom Selleck these days, and I’m always partial to Summer Glau. Would you have a cast party with the characters in your book if they could come to life?
Sure. If you could get them all in one place long enough for a party.
*Laughs* I’ll get my hammer and nails and we’ll nail a few of them to the floor to make sure the party goes well. Aside from the fun of writing, what was the most important message that you want the reader to take away from ‘The Predator and The Prey’?
Every living soul is in need of redemption and forgiveness for the mistakes, sins, past bad acts they have committed in life. Sometimes, the failure to recognize this fact, combined with an individual’s refusal to forgive themselves is crushing.
Redemption and forgiveness sometimes feel like lost concepts in today’s modern world, and I imagine that working through them in detail must have been challenging. And now that this novel has been completed that challenge has been completed. Have you started working on your next literary project?
I am currently working on the third installment of the Inspector Thomas Sullivan series, Murder on Persephone.
Congratulations on the third installment! What keeps you coming back to write?
I’m a storyteller.
It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. Do you find that the process of writing is also simple? And do you know where you’re going to end the tale when you start writing?
I have a beginning and an ending in mind. In between, the story tells itself and I simply record it. Prior to starting the story, I do any necessary research. Each of my stories deals with the theme of the need for redemption and the issue of dealing with personnel guilt.
How does the day-to-day process look like when you are working through the themes of redemption and guilt?
Once I start a book, I have written both non-fiction and fiction, I write every day until the rough draft is complete. I set as a goal for each day a minimum of 1800 words. I have a set workspace where I write. This allows me to leave my notes, post it ideas, photos and research lying about. I can walk away and return later and slip back into the mental state of mind I was in when last writing.
Do you use any music to get help you get into that mental state? And who writes the best music to work by?
The Rolling Stones.
Great selection. Do you find that you still encounter writer’s block with your music and set workspace? And if so, how do you handle it?
I grind through. I write every day when working on a project and I force myself to write a minimum of 1800 words. It doesn’t have to be good and it can certainly be tossed aside later. I find once I get started, the story finds a way for it to be told.
Once the bones of the story have been told, how does editing unfold?
I do a large amount of the story editing. Having said that, I have multiple people, largely English teachers, read for errors of any kind. They also help with inconsistencies, unclear sentence structure, etc.
Soliciting the advice of English teachers is an awesome tip. Other than making friends with new and old English teachers, do you have any other tips for those wanting to start writing their own stories?
Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Hang in there, the story needs to be told.
And doe you have any tips to help authors get their self-published story into the hands of readers once it’s been told?
Plan for the marketing and business aspects of the business as thoroughly as you do for your writing. You can never do enough work in advance to build your audience, author platform and reach for potential readers.
Very true, brand building is important for authors and something to start thinking about once the pen first hits the paper. Kevin, we’ve had a wonderful chat so far about writing but now I’d like to make a little turn and go down a little lane of quick fire questions where random questions are used to divine your personality. I’ll start with one of my favourites, what is your favourite quote?
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke
Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
Marvelous! I’m always looking for new quiz members! What is your favourite ocean?
Gulf of Mexico/Atlantic
Are you introvert or extrovert?
Have you ever danced in the rain?
No, but I like walking in the rain.
Walking in the rain is a wonderful past time. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write the national anthem?
What is your occupation?
I am a teacher/coach. I deal with all kinds of people. Sadly, I see some horrible examples of what humans are capable off. Fortunately, I also see the best in people at times.
The light and the dark. Having all of the challenges right in front of you must ensure that you never run out of things to write. Are you left or right handed?
Do you have a ‘do not use’ or ‘most hated words’ list when you are writing?
Profanity. I just don’t see the need, not even for shock value.
I agree, there’s enough shock value tactics out there in the world now, writers don’t need to contribute to it any further. Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Show kindness to others, be humble and live to serve. I wish I could say I lived that idea out as it should be, but I don’t. I do the best I can on a daily basis, knowing I will fall short of the ideal. Yet, if I don’t strive for it, I can never attain it.
What color socks are you wearing?
Navy is the most underrated of all colours. Except perhaps for hot pink. What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?
Yum! Kevin, I appreciate the time that you’ve taken today to lead us through the tales of the past behind ‘The Predator and The Prey’ and I recommend that readers take this opportunity to delve deeper into this world of guilt and redemption.
Want to find out more about Kevin Sivils? Connect here!Kevin Sivils