Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Teen Book Scene: Author Interview with R. T. Kaelin

R.T. Kaelin is a loving husband, father of two wonderful children, and a lifelong resident of Ohio, currently in Columbus. After graduating from college, for the first twelve years of his career he has worked as a software engineer. After creatively writing a local gaming group, it was suggested he try his hand at writing something more prodigious. Encouraged, he finally committed to the undertaking, writing the first book of his The Children of the White Lions series, Progeny. When he is not writing, he loves to travel and has a passion for cooking. 

Could you tell readers more about yourself?

I am just a person in my early thirties (with a birthday later this week) who decided to take a crack at writing a novel. I had read a few bad books, said to myself “I could do better than that,” and decided to try. I am married to an awesome wife and have two small children (who are the namesakes and inspiration behind the two main characters in the book). I live in Ohio but would love to be able to move to someplace warm. Phoenix would be nice. Or I could deal with Italy. I’d suffer the cold there if I could live in the Tuscan countryside.

How long did Progeny take to write?

From the moment I decided I was serious about writing the book, about a year in total. First, I spent a few months building the world with its countries, cultures, people, geography, history, etc. That was followed by seven months of writing and editing on my own and a two-month period of working with my copyeditor.

What was the basis of your inspiration for Progeny?

As a sort of an extension of my first answer: good stories and bad books. I love a good story. Love it. I love reading books and finding little nuggets that the author dropped in, hints of what’s to come without giving away the plot. I adore books where I find new things each time through that makes me realize there is a grand scheme behind everything. After reading three books in a row that were nothing like that – predictable from beginning to end and devoid of intricacy – I wanted to come up with my own sweeping tale. Now, the inspiration behind the characters – most started out based on a person in my life. Some evolved away to be their own character, some did not.

Do you have a favorite character - if so, who and why? (I'd find this one hard!)

You are right. This is a tough question. I like them all for different reasons, even the antagonist. How about I change the question to: Who was your favorite character to write? That one’s easy: Nundle Babblebrook, Master Merchant of Deepwell. Hands down. Writing him is so easy and fun – it’s like writing stream-of-consciousness style. He says what he thinks, when he thinks it – I just type the words.

As an author how did you accomplish seamlessly tying so many stories into one? How did you keep track of them all whilst writing?

How did I keep things so seamless? A lot of planning followed by a lot of editing when the story took on a life of its own. I kept a three or four chapter outline ahead of where I was at all times, so I knew for what I was aiming. Sometimes I had to adjust, but the method worked well most of the time. Once or twice, I wrote parts of future chapters before it was ‘their turn’ just so I knew what to expect. You think trying to keep all the details and storylines woven together was hard for Progeny? Try doing it across books.

What are you future plans as an author - how many books will there be in this series?...When is the next one due out?

My plans are to keep promoting Progeny. It is a self-published novel (literary agents were scared away by its length for a debut author) via my own small press. The goal is to get picked up by a large publishing house and get some national exposure for the book. My writing has received comparisons to Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Scott Lynch, and David Eddings which is immensely humbling, but evidence that I am not completely fooling myself into thinking I can do this (I’m only mildly delusional). The Children of the White Lions series was meant to be four books when I sketched out the overarching story. However, I am thinking it will be more like five. I am in the midst of writing number two, and four novels will not contain the story. As for when the second comes out…it all depends on what happens with Progeny.

Are Eliza and Aryn's stories complete - it's hinted at that they may be dead but not confirmed?

The safest way I can answer that question: No comment at this time.

Will there be a definite winner of Sabine's affection in the next book...or do I sense a bit of sibling rivalry to come?!

I am literally smiling as I write this answer. As I said, I am in the midst of writing the second in the series, so I have a very clear idea of what happens with Sabine and the others (intentionally vague). Some things become clearer, then foggier, then a bit clearer, before getting foggier again. Then everyone’s world turns upside down.

Thanks to R.T. Kaelin and Teen Book Scene!