Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Kevin Scott
Legends of Steragos by KM Scott
Today, Bookin’ It welcomes Kevin Scott, a graphic novel author who currently lives and works in Bundang, South Korea.
Hi, Kevin! So nice to have you here today. You are the first author I’ve interviewed who writes graphic novels. Can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
KS: I loved watching movies and TV when I was a kid, and really enjoyed hearing a good story. One day, when I was 9, my dad dragged me to see Ghostbusters. I was scared at first. Horror movies freaked me out, and anything with ‘ghost’ in the title was sure to scare me. Two hours later, I walked out of the theater a changed kid. The movie absolutely thrilled me (the library ghost was freaky, I’ll admit), and I knew then that I wanted to make movies. I got interested in writing screenplays at that age. Later, I would be inspired to write narratives as well as scripts, and received a lot of encouragement in doing so. While I’ve never given up writing screenplays, writing books and short stories are a heckuva lot easier to produce.
BI: You might be the first person I’ve met who has cited Ghostbusters (a favorite movie of mine, btw) as their original inspiration for the work they do. Were you inspired by any literary authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you?
KS: Unfortunately, I was never a big reader as a kid. I’d read the random book, and got a big kick out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but for the most part, movies, TV, and cartoons were my big inspirations.
My favorite movies – such as Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Star Wars, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and others like them – had an enormous effect on my imagination. They transported me to other places, with amazing visuals (and great jokes). No matter who the characters were, be they parapsychologists with nuclear laser wands battling ghosts, angry billionaires who wanted to fight criminals dressed as a bat, or a scientist outrunning Martians with heat rays, I could always see myself in the shoes of these smart guys saving the world (or, in the case of the latter, themselves). Molding the clay of the unknown has always fascinated me.
BI: There are certainly some classic sci-fi adventures in that list, so I can see how they would inspire and shape your future work. Any other genres you read for pleasure…books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore?
KS: Hrmm … well, to be honest, my interests in books skew towards non-fiction specifically DIYs and pop-culture history. I’ve always wanted to know how things were done, particularly when it came to film and TV. More importantly, I’ve always been interested in the history of inspiration. Why do some writers/authors do the things they do? What were they thinking, what is their mindset when they create?
One of my favorite stories of inspiration is that of the creation of the time machine in Back to the Future. Originally conceived as a refrigerator carried in the bed of a pickup truck, the resulting De Lorean-cum-nuclear power plant became one of the most iconic vehicles of film history. I’m just wowed by how that came to be.
I also dig comic book collections, such as the Marvel Masterworks series. Decades of comic history, all in one place at an affordable price. Sweet!
BI: I had no idea Marty and Doc Brown could have been traveling via a refrigerator! You really do dig into these things. What about the more mundane aspects of your work? Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day?
KS: I tend to write a lot while having dinner in a restaurant, or in a local coffee shop chain called
Tom ‘n’ Tom’s. I like to have noise in the background when I hammer away, as well as music in my earphones.
I will be honest and say that I am, in fact, wildly inconsistent with the time I spend writing. I can fire up my word processor and type on-and-off for three hours, or just let the application sit open and untouched for half of a day. Kinda unproductive when it comes to reaching my deadline, I’ll admit…
BI: Well, it could be problematic when your fan base builds to astronomical proportions, and you have multiple deadlines to meet every day. Do you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write?
KS: Ohmygoodness yes. The series I’m currently writing is set in a sort of alternate-universe earth in the 1920s. I’m constantly rifling through the ‘net, looking for historically accurate references to technology, slang, and sociopolitical situations of the era that make the setting seem more authentic (of course, there is magic and witches and stuff involved, so if I ever get the accuracy wrong, it’s not my fault. There were sorcerers!).
I work with an amazing artist by name of Ewelina Mroczkowska. I have a collection of work that I have commissioned from her that I use to help visualize my stories. She’s a godsend!
I also find that I crave reading or watching certain types of stories when writing my own. The general idea behind my next book is a modern princess adventure tale mixed with a 50s monster movie. As such, I’ve re-watched The Thing from another World and want to get around to seeing THEM! pretty soon.
I’ve found episodes of classic Star Trek to be inspiring, the way the leads and supporting characters interact with each other (the main characters of my story are three very talented princesses in charge of a kingdom, classic Trek featured the trio of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in charge of a powerful spaceship). Watching those dynamics really helped me piece together an idea of how to have characters work together to tell a story.
BI: This is very interesting, Kevin. I’m thinking of sci-fi in a whole new way, now. And I’m not going to forget the “sorcerers” excuse, either, next time I find errors in my books.
When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing?
KS: More the former than the latter. I found it helps me clear my head when I write the outline for a story first, as opposed to just diving right in. Typing up the story right away has its perks, but those perks tend to dry up pretty quickly around paragraph three for me. It’s a pretty sure bet that anything I dig into right away will be abandoned rather quickly, and won’t be touched again for a shamefully long time.
BI: Ah, a plotter, then. Also interesting. Do you prefer reading eBooks, or print? Why?
KS: eBooks. No need to go to the bookshop or library, and they’re easier to store. In addition, I live in South Korea currently, and getting English language books in print isn’t so simple, particularly if they’re old or rare.
BI: Another first. Often writers are adamant that print books are everything. Me, I see no reason to limit myself to either, and love both. I can see in your situation where eBooks would really be helpful. Tell us about the books have you published, and where we can buy them.
The Legends of Steragos: Damsels of Distress is the premier book in an ongoing series for young adults, featuring the adventures of Princesses Ayomi, Ballista, and Zariah (or just Z) as they defend their beloved country of Steragos from villainous forces wishing to destroy and enslave it.
In this, their debut adventure, they await the arrival of the handsome Prince Darron to their royal ball, celebrating their country’s 600th birthday. But the fiendish Baba Yaga has her own festivities planned, including snatching away Darron the night of the dance. An explosive battle in the foreboding Mangalus Woods awaits the peril-loving princesses as they struggle to rescue the prince.
Packed with dazzling artwork by the inimitable Ewelina Mroczkowska (http://avionetca.tumblr.com), the Full-Color Edition of LoS: Damsels of Distress is available at http://amzn.com/061587472X, and the B&W Edition can be found at http://amzn.com/0615871437.
BI: Sounds like an exciting adventure, all right. And I recognize Baba Yaga from Russian folklore, I think? An evil witch, often described as having iron teeth, if my memory serves me correctly. I like that you’ve used her in a new and different setting. Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available?
KS: Yes, thanks for asking! I’m currently working on the second book in the LoS series. The working title is Jealous Winter, and it involves a freshly-emerged goddess that… Maaah, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll wait until it hits amazon, which I’m hoping will be around August of this year. That will be the anniversary month of the publishing of the first book.
BI: Well, we’ll be watching for that, for sure! Keep us updated on the release info. What is the best thing about being a writer, in your opinion? The worst?
KS: Good question. Hm. I’ll answer them in reverse order, if that’s okay.
The worst thing about being a writer is writing, in my opinion. It’s a relatively simple process that is somehow irksomely difficult to do. Days can go by without any inspiration, and when it finally comes, you sit in front of a blank, unsympathetic screen (or page, pick your poison), writing the same eight word sentence over and over again for an hour.
The best thing about being a writer? The possibility, no matter how remote, that I can earn more with a single book than most people can after a lifetime of work. It’s something to shoot for!
BI: Ha! Under all the sci-fi adventure trappings beats a practical heart, after all! I wasn’t expecting that. But I DO wish you the best as you aim for that goal, and a lot of fun along the way. Thanks so much for visiting with us today, and sharing some of your world. I hope you’ll come talk to us again in the future and update us on your latest work.
KM Scott is an aspiring actor and writer. His lifelong love affair with science-fiction, action, and other assorted whiz-bangery started in a movie theater more than thirty years ago when he first witnessed Star Wars unspool on the silver screen. Since then, he’s been bursting to tell stories about heroes, heroines, and the adventures they face. This has resulted in a number of projects (some of them even finished!) including a college newspaper comic strip, several screenplays, a slew of short stories, and the creation of The Atomic Tomorrow monthly newspaper.
He’s an enthusiastic action figure collector and loves 80s arcade games. There are a number of people he’d like to thank for all their support in the creation of this book, including friends, family, and those whose generous donations to the Legends of Steragos Kickstarter campaign helped bring this book to life. Most especially, he’d like to thank his students at Tessa’s English Land in Bundang, South Korea. Without their inspiration, this book would not have been written.
Check out Kevin’s graphic novel here, or at the links listed above. Looks like FUN to me!