The Office of Threat Management still watches over the world and the StrikeForce technology gives John an amazing edge, but will it be enough to prevent a man bent on attacking the United States and reducing it to a third-world power?
One of the things I love most is following the author journey, and today Kevin Lee Swain has returned to chat about ‘The Chimera Strain’, his writing journey and what’s been going on in his life. Kevin, thanks so much for coming back to chat about your adventures in writing and beyond. First things first, what’s been a recent highlight of your lift?
My friend is the tour manager for the heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch. I built him a guitar and presented it to him when Five Finger Death Punch played their sold-out show at the Illinois State Fair.
That’s awesome! I hope there were some awesome jams played on that guitar that night. When you’re not building bespoke guitars I’m guessing that you’re out there working on new titles to keep your readers satisfied. How is your author journey progressing with this?
I continue to build my fan base around the world. I’m constantly surprised by the amount of email I receive from my fans in the UK, Europe, and Australia!
It’s so much fun to build an author brand and fan base, but building it internationally must give you that extra buzz! Where did the buzz start while you were working on ‘The Chimera Strain’?
It started with the scene of John Frist attacking a team of mercenaries in the woods.
Now, I’m guessing that unlike John you haven’t been attacking teams of mercenaries, but I do wonder if there were any other parts of the novel that were inspired by events in real life events.
I was lucky enough to get feedback from many active and former service members.
That’s really cool. What kinds of things did you learn from these service members?
I learned a lot about how the SEALs perform their underwater demolitions. I also learned a hell of a lot about permissive action links.
Learning about underwater demolitions sounds like a great day at work! Moving above the water, let’s move our focus to the stars of the novel, the characters. The Chimera Strain is a part of a series, so we’ve already seen these characters in the past.
Yes, each character started with a quick sketch that I fleshed out during the first novel, Project StrikeForce.
After their experiences in Project StrikeForce, what did you want your characters to explore in this book?
I really wanted to play around with the generational themes and the long-term consequences of the older generation’s attempt to change world events.
What did you love most about this project and tackling these generational themes!
I’m just glad to get it done without going crazy!
*Laughs* Well, I think you made it through without becoming crazy this time. But there’s still next time! What’s next on the cards in your author journey?
I’m currently halfway through the next Sam Harlan novel, Deal With The Devil.
Good luck dealing with the devil! I hope that you can get out alive! What is it about writing that keeps you alive and returning to the challenge of authorship?
For the money, for the glory, and for the fun. But, mostly for the money. (That’s a quote from the movie Smokey and The Bandit)
Well, if you’re going to quote something then you should quote right, and I think that’s a great example of a quote done right! Obviously, the money, the glory and the fame are important, but what circles around your head when you’re tapping away?
I try to write each book for my college mentor, David Foster Wallace.
I really love that idea of having your mentor in mind. Once you have your mentor in mind, how do you go about planning your novel will go?
I usually have the ending and middle prepared. Sometimes I’ll have the beginning, and other times I have to figure it out as I go.
How does the process of figuring it out actually look like when you’re in writing mode? What happens when you get in front of that keyboard?
I try and get a minimum of 2000 words a day.
2000 words is a pretty solid daily target. Once your draft is done with your compounding collection of 2000 words per day, how do you go through the editing and refinement process?
I’m lucky to work with a fantastic set of editors and proofreaders!
Has working with this fantastic set of editors and proofreaders helped your author voice?
I continue to try and be the Elmore Leonard of action-adventure novels.
*Laughs* That’s a good target to aim for. When you’re aiming your words what, besides being the Elmore Leonard of action-adventure novels are you targeting for? What mantras drive your words?
Make your word count. Then, revise. Writing IS rewriting!
What’s the best way to make your words count in the first instance to cut down on the rewriting tedium?
You want to learn to plot? It’s as simple as denying the Hero!
*Laughs* I hope the hero is the only one who needs to be denied, as I’m keen to continue our exploration of the Kevin Lee Swaim the author through our quick-fire question round. Let’s see how you think, with our first question, if you’re in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?
You time travel back to the fifties where you must force your mother and father to date to save your own life.
*Laughs* That sounds like it would be a great story to tell, I wonder why it’s never been done before. Since we can’t go back to the future yet, let’s move to Batman. What happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?
Batman becomes a Bat/Man.
Go Bat/Man! We’ve done a little animal creation there, but if you could take it further and breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
I would breed an octopus with a firefly so I would have eight lamps always at the ready.
*Laughs* Very handy! Oh, what an awful pun. Maybe the magic of words can restore the negative balance created by the bad pun. What’s your favourite word?
Oooh, that is a good one, but unlike that word today’s chat is just about fully formed. To round out this formation, can you share your favourite line from ‘The Chimera Strain’ that you feel might tempt readers forth?
“So much for their perfect killing machine.”
A little intrigue and mystery to bring our thoughts together today. I wonder what they will do without their killing machine; best revisit ‘The Chimera Strain’ and find out!
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Chimera Strain ( ASIN: B00RW1V8LK )‘.
Want to find out more about Kevin Lee Swaim? Connect here!