Friday, February 8, 2013

{Author Interview} Kris Kramer

Hi Kris, it's wonderful to have you with us on Literary R&R today. We hope you enjoy your time here. Let's begin with a little background:

Where are you from?

I'm from the Dallas, TX area, although I lived in Houston until I was 12.

When and why did you begin writing?

I had an overactive imagination growing up, and because of that, I always had stories rolling around in my head that I wanted to tell. But I never thought of myself as a good writer. Or even an average one. I really wanted to share these stories, though, and any future ones I came up with, too. So one day, I guess I just decided to tackle it, and figure it out. Having ZERO training or experience in writing at all, I went to my software development roots and took some existing books and of reverse-engineered them to figure out how they were written. And that process actually kind of worked for me.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Having a kid and getting laid off from my job. Those were two moments that made me think about what I wanted my life to be going forward, and being a writer, despite how tough it can be, was what I wanted.

What books have influenced your life the most?

I'm not sure which ones influenced my life, but I can tell you which ones have influenced my writing. I read a bunch of James Clavell novels when I was younger, starting with Shogun. Those books introduced me to the sprawling, detailed epic that I really enjoyed. Some other books and series that also had an effect were the Death Gate cycle, some early Tom Clancy books, and the Foundation series. More recently, I've really enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's Saxon and King Arthur books, and I recently got into Ender's Game and the sequels along with Old Man's War.

Now that we're acquainted, can you tell us about your current project(s)?

I'm working on two main series at the moment. The first is Dominion, for which I've already published the first book, Sanctuary. Dominion is a fantasy series set in 9th century Britain that dives into the mythology of that tumultuous time period. For those of you who don't know the history of the late 9th century, Britain was invaded and nearly overrun by Vikings.

Their Norse beliefs, combined with the growing power of Christianity and the fading followers of the old Celtic gods, created what I like to think of as a little bit of a holy war. So I took that concept, and made the mythology of the three belief systems (Christianity, Norse, Celtic) real. The first book, Sanctuary, is about a priest named Daniel, who begins to see the first hints of something greater at work, and we see things from the Christian PoV. The second book, Vengeance, features a Viking main character, while the third will star an Irishwoman who is also a Banshee. After the third, the characters will all be brought together to deal with the long-term plot lines of the series.

My other main project is called Olympia. I'm trying to finish up the first book now, and hopefully it will be out by the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014. Olympia is a science-fiction novel that takes place about 500 years in the future. After humanity spends most of the 21st century devolving into an endless cycle of war, famine, and economic collapse, the Greek gods return to Earth and remake human society into a new pseudo-utopia called Olympia. The first book takes place about 500 years after that event, in the new nation of Athens, where an army soldier named Anthony begins to move up the ranks, and learns that the utopia he's been born in isn't what it seems.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

All of it. =)

Who designed the cover(s)?

I have a few different artists I work with for cover design and promo artwork, but two of the big ones are Bill Harkins and Jordan Grimmer.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Hopefully I learned how to become a better writer. And hopefully, writing my next book will do the same. I consider myself a student of this art form, and hopefully I will continue to be so for a long time.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Other than a customary plea to buy my books, I'd like to say that writing is an art form, and like all artists, writers crave feedback. So tell us how we're doing. Tell us what you like and what you don't. We don't write in a bubble, ignoring criticisms and trying not to worry about what people think. Our entire profession is designed to draw readers/consumers in, and our efforts are only enhanced by your participation in that process.

Can you please tell our followers what The 4th Realm is?

The 4th Realm is essentially a brand. I started the site with a few writer friends of mine, basically as an attempt to foster collaborative writing projects, of which our Rise of Cithria series is a prime example. But as it grew, it evolved into something else. We only do digital distribution - ebooks - and looking at the existing ebook market, and the ease of publishing it provides, we're noticing that even though just about everyone can get their books to market pretty quickly, the quality isn't always what it should be. So at, we try very hard to hash out our ideas amongst other writers and editors. We pass our manuscripts back and forth for critiques and editing. We share feedback, and provide artist contacts, all in an effort to provide better quality books. I like to think of as a tiny little Pixar wannabe, where we work with each other very hard to provide quality books and stories that will make people want to come back, not only to see additional books in that series, or by that author, but from other authors at the site as well.

What are the long-term goals for The 4th Realm?

My dream is that readers come to knowing that they'll find great books, great stories, wonderful characters and authors who know how to give them that. The ebook industry right now is a little bit of a wild west. We're looking to tame that, or at least to provide an oasis in that desert.

Is there any additional information related to the site that you'd like our followers to know?

Yes. We not only publish books, we also have an online writer's group in our Forums. If you're a writer looking for some feedback, or other authors to chat with or to share ideas, drop on by. Also, we dabble in screenplays, film and comic books as well.

Well, Kris, this has been very interesting and informative. What would you say about us letting loose for the final questions?

Lets do it.

These next questions are just for fun, so we hope you have fun answering them ...

Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning or do you not see the point?

Don't see the point. Although, having said that, I tend to keep my bed simple, so I can just throw the sheets/comforter back up and have it look presentable. I don't get the whole 'lets have eighteen pillows on the bed because its decorative' thing.

Do you get road rage? What pisses you off the most about other drivers?

I DO get road rage, usually in traffic, or when another driver fails to show proper driving etiquette. =)

What's your favorite line from any movie?

I'm a comic book geek, so I got a little pleasure from the following line in The Avengers:

Captain America: Hulk ... smash.

You have multiple personalities. Describe some of them.

I'm a little bit obsessive or a control freak about things that are important to me.

I love goofy kid shows and cartoons.

I'm a bit of a romantic.

I'm incredibly absent-minded.

I'm into sports and I'm a serious gamer, with a crazy competitive streak, but I haven't had any time to play anything at all for the last couple years ... which is kinda depressing.

Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.

Instead of drinking coffee in the morning, I drink orange juice ... and I feel 'off' in the mornings if I don't have it.

And finally, if you dare, tell us one thing nobody else knows about you.

When I play Viva Pinata with my daughter, I secretly enjoy it.

Thank you so much for participating in this interview, Kris. We've enjoyed having you here today. We wish you all the best in your writing career.

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