Interview with Alan Kessler




  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

       Age 11. My best friend had a typewriter and using two fingers he typed

                       out a story I dictated, signed, stating my age, and submitted for publication.

                       I don’t remember where but I do recall that I thought using my age would

                       be helpful, that someone reading the story would think, “Wow! This was

                       written by an eleven-year-old! Amazing!  Let’s publish him!”

                       In reality, I never heard back. Hard to believe. The story was about the

                       Earth “…opening up in a thousand places that day…” (I still remember

                       the first line) and squirmy creatures, The Leaks, coming out to eat


                       Sounds like a winner, right?

  1. How did you get your book published?

         I received a small advance from an even smaller publisher that

                        found my first novel, A Satan Carol, of interest. That publisher

                        is now defunct. I hope I wasn’t the cause.

                        Then I submitted by next novels to a publisher in Texas

                         who offered no advance but no cost to me. Unfortunately, there was

                         limited editing services.

                         After that I decided to self-publish, hire an editor, promote through

                         Goodreads give-a-ways and, of course, excellent book tours like this one.

  1. Where did you get your information or idea for your book?

With Damnation and Cotton Candy these are statement poems

               the product of thoughts accumulated over the years—thoughts about

               war, climate, illusion, reality, and ghosts. Lots of ghosts.

               My last novel, Ghost Dancer, resulted from a story my sister told me.

               Her friend, a spiritualist, played back a recording she had made in

               a Native American museum at closing time, no one else in a room of

               artifacts. She heard white noise, then whispering, “We are not alone.”

  1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

   I teach the marital arts and coach soccer; jump up when my dog,

                   Brownie, rings the bell to go out. I also throw and fetch the ball

                   for her. She has me well trained.

  1. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

                 Not to be dramatic, but honest and truthful—I never thought about

                                  the future. In the house I lived in, surviving the present left no space

                                  for daydreaming. (See the “family” section of Damnation and

                                  Cotton Candy)  Often that meant escaping by reading and writing,

                                  even if the writing was a child’s story about Leaks, imaginary

                                  monsters easier to avoid than the real ones in the next room.

  1. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?

                     They hurt, no doubt. So I reread the good reviews, seek

                                     affirmation from my wife and dog, and then, emotionally fortified,

                                     analyze the negative critique in order to make my next book

                                     better than the last.

2 Comments on “Interview with Alan Kessler

  1. Pingback: Damnation and Cotton Candy by Alan S. Kessler (Nov. 2022) |

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