Tuesday, June 14, 2011

with Keven Newsome

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Keven!
What started you on your writing journey?

A video game. Specifically, the original Dragon Warrior RPG for the NES. I was in fifth grade. I took a notebook and began to write “fan fic” based off the video game…complete with King James English, because that’s how they talked in the game.
On a broader scale, writing for me began as an extension of art. I used to be quite the sketch artist. In fact, the interior scroll-work inside the book was done by me. It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words…or more. And every picture I drew had a story. Those stories demanded to be written. That’s how art turned into writing for me.
I piddled around with fan fic based off my favorite video games and cartoon shows for a few years, all the while drawing pictures to go with my stories. But in junior high the germ of a novel took root. It grew and developed, and in high school I began writing my first novel…a medieval fantasy full of anachronistic dialogue and teen angst. I never finished it. But after college, I wrote the prequel to that story…and that’s the book I call my “practice book.”
After that came Winter.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Though I do have distraction, I wouldn’t say those few things are what prevents me from writing. It is school and family. Being a full-time grad student is hard enough, but add to that full-time husband and full-time dad, I barely have enough time to do anything else. And I refuse to let my family get short-ended because of my own selfish desires. Writing happens in the cracks…when I have down time or have a slow day at work. And if I have neither of those things, then writing doesn’t happen. My kids are young, and I intend to enjoy them as much as possible. They’ll be grown soon and I can give writing more time. Or perhaps Winter will shoot-the-moon and I’ll be blessed enough to be able to write as a full-time professional. Only God knows. But my family is more important than this “hobby.” That’s really all it is right…that’s all I can allow it to be…a hobby.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
As odd as this may sound and as picky as I am, my favorite books are usually medieval fantasy types. I enjoy occasional thrillers and sci-fi, but my heart is with swords and horses. I haven’t been able to write anything fantasy worth a flip yet…but I’ll keep trying, that’s for sure! As for some book recommendations…well, here’s my top ten list (and I’ll even put the genre in parenthesis.)
10. Alpha Redemption, by PA Baines (sci-fi)
9. Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling (fantasy)
8. The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien (fantasy)
7. Red, by Ted Dekker (fantasy)
6. This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti (supernatural thriller)
5. Thr3e, by Ted Dekker (thriller)
4. Perelandra, by CS Lewis (fantasy/sci-fi)
3. The Visitation, by Frank Peretti (supernatural thriller)
2. Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by CS Lewis (fantasy)
1. The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley (fantasy).

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Why, the title character of course—Winter. The book is really all about her. It’s about her fall and redemption. It’s about how God can take the most broken and unusable person and transform them into something beautiful. Besides, she’s really a rockin’ character.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
HA! Did you know my bachelor’s degree is in music education? How in the world am I supposed to choose a style of music to be! I will tell what I listen to the most, though. My two favorite genres are Christian rock and film scores. Quite the opposite you say? Well, consider this…bands like Red, Skillet, Fireflight, Wavorly, Superchick, and even the Trans-Siberian Orchestra are mixing the two styles with great success. You should also know that the notable film composers Trevor Rabin, Hans Zimmer, and Danny Elfman all began their careers as rock musicians.

What is your strangest habit?
I have this OCD thing for symmetry. If it’s supposed to be symmetrical, but isn’t…then I have to fix the problem. And if they’re things that can’t be fixed, then it drives me a little nuts. For example, a church I used to attend there were matching outlets on the choir banister on either side behind the pulpit. The problem was, the one on the right was about twelve inches offset from the one on the left. It was just a contractor’s measurement mistake. But they were supposed to be symmetrical. But they weren’t. And I couldn’t fix it. And every Sunday I would look at them and grind my teeth. While we’re on the subject of churches, how hard is it to center choir loft chairs? Come on! Take the extra thirty seconds and center them. If you don’t…I will.
Now, let me give you a little reassurance that I’m not totally crazy. If it’s obviously not supposed to be symmetrical, then I’m not bothered in the least. It just things that are supposed to be and aren’t, that drive me nuts.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Answering this question would be one. But mostly it’s this. I’m an introvert that pretends to be an extrovert when I have to. Those are things I dread the most…interacting with people I don’t know, because it’s expected of me.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Homemade biscuits and chocolate gravy! I won’t tell you how to make homemade biscuits, because that’s really an art form. But you really have to have a big ole’ cat-head biscuit to go with chocolate gravy. There’s a decent biscuit recipe right there on the Martha White package. Or just google for one. But under no circumstances should you settle for frozen biscuits here. It just won’t do.

Chocolate Gravy

1c sugar
3 tbsp cocoa
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 stick margarine
2 c evaporated milk

Combine sugar, cocoa, and flour. Mix well. Add the 2 cups milk gradually. Cook slowly until it thickens, stirring constantly. (That's very important) Just before it is finished, add the margarine and vanilla. Stir until margarine melts. Served over hot buttered biscuits.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
Part of my study at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is in the area of Supernatural Theology. So naturally, I try to employ these themes in my writing. Though I may take artistic liberties at times, I strive to portray the supernatural as Biblically accurate as possible.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
”Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall, I will rise. Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.” Micah 7:8 (NAS)
This verse prefaces my book. It is special to me because it sums up Winter’s character so perfectly. She’s a person who has been beaten down by the enemy and has spent a good bit of her life in very dark places. But the Lord doesn’t give up on her. He is her light. And through Him, she becomes something amazing.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Well, nothing is set in stone. Winter is just the first book of a four book series. My publisher has penciled in the second book for release in the fall of 2012. But that’s a year and a half away, and a lot can happen between now and then.
However, you will be able catch me in the upcoming short story anthology Aquasynthesis, which showcases all of the Splashdown Books authors.

Purchase Winter at Amazon.

Keven is giving away a copy of Winter. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Anonymous said...

Good interview!
I'd like to win this book.

ann said...

Enter me to win your book . Thanks

Amy said...

Please enter me. Thanks. Sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Margaret Metz said...

Chocolate gravy! That's a recipe I can get behind. :o) Please enter me.

Robynn Tolbert said...

Another great interview, Iguana.
I've already got the book (fabulous!). I'm just here for emotional support and a chocolate gravy recipe.

Tracy Smith said...

Chocolate gravy, now that sounds like something I need!! lol

Thank you for having this giveaway.

Have a super Saturday!
countrysunset40 (at) aol dot com

Teresa M said...

Thanks for the interview Keven, can't wait to try the Chocolate Gravy...yum yum! Hope to win this wonderful book! THANKS AGAIN! tsmathews61@gmail.com

Meredith said...

Great interview! The book sounds interesting!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

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