Sunday, January 31, 2016

Exclusive Interview with Kenny Soward! II

Hey folks,

We've got an extra-special treat for you guys with a return from GnomeSaga author Kenny Soward to talk about his new gritty urban fantasy novel Galefire.

Galefire follows the adventures of amnesiac drug-addicted gang member Lonnie as he works for a gang of supernaturals working out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Lonnie believes he's their slave but the truth is more complicated than that and he is struggling to remember who he was. Unfortunately, that requires him to live long enough to do it.

You can read our previous interview with Kenny Soward here and read our review of Galefire here.

1. So, could you tell us what separates Galefire from other urban fantasy series?

The first thing readers will probably notice is that it isn’t just “vampires in the city” or whatever. It isn’t a parade of your typical monsters disguised as sexy characters. No, the main characters in Galefire are pretty dark and diluted in the first place and what they become is both terrifying and wonderful beyond that. I would equate Galefire a little bit to Clive Barker’s Nightbreed in that sense. These beasties are weird enough to be interesting without overplaying the typical monster types.

2. What can you tell us about the plot? 

In Galefire, a ragtag group of otherworldly beings escapes imprisonment on their home world through a sort of limbo called The Fade to find refuge on Earth. Unfortunately, they aren’t as powerful on Earth because Earth has a way of muting magic just by its position in the Universe. The only way the gang can manifest their powers is by getting high on drugs. Of course, there are other ways to work magic on Earth but drugs seem to be the quickest and easiest way for them.

They set up shop in the Westside of Cincinnati, OH and call themselves the Eighth Street Gang, where they fight other rival gangs for territory and “business.” We find our main character, Lonnie, in a state of continual forgetfulness. He thinks he is just a simple runner for the gang but as their past catches up with them, the Eighth Street Gang are forced to fight the supernatural forces that hunt them while at the same dealing with Lonnie as he starts to come out of his mental stupor and realize the truth.

3. Can you describe Lonnie for readers? 

Lonnie is a 30-ish guy who has seen a measure of success in his life but has lost everything due to his drug addiction. If only that were the worst of his problems! When the story starts out he’s pretty down on his luck although he tries to handle life with a sort of naked pessimism which (to me) makes him fun. He cares about things even if his jaded past keeps him from showing it. Lonnie is quickly challenged by new information about old things…and he’s got to figure out what to do with all that while at the same time keeping himself alive.

It’s a bit of a mind fuck, for sure. Ultimately, Lonnie’s a quiet, sordid hero, but when things go up in flames he’s determined to still be standing.

4. What about Selix? 

Selix is a tall, willowy 20-ish gal with an ash blond mohawk. She’s a quiet, talented young lady who is first seen as the mysterious leader of the Eighth Street Gang. A heavy drug user herself, she sings and dances (if a bit awkwardly) to cast her magic. An unwilling leader, she struggles to keep a grip on Lonnie’s memories even as her gang starts to come under heavy fire from rival gangs. An emotionally complex individual, Selix struggles to be ‘hard’ when she knows she’s not necessarily cut out for it. It’s just that she’s never had a choice in the matter…but when she’s pushed too far, she has no problems flexing her wings.

5. How would you describe Lonnie's gang? 

A group of loosely organized misfits, creatures of ill repute, outcasts of two worlds who have pretty much come down to an “us or them” mentality. They are fiercely loyal to one another (even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes), they play by their own rules, and have been fairly successful at it so far. There are various elements in the gang who fill various positions. Crash, the muscle of the gang. The Brit who handles strategy and business acumen. Selix, the spiritual leader. Elsa and Ingrid, the Drear Sisters, dealing death to the gang’s enemies. All-in-all, a pretty fearful bunch.

6. What inspired you to do a gritty drug-addled urban fantasy crime novel? 

This type of story is closer to what I was publishing in the 90’s. Back then, the genre was called goth noir or gothic horror, I believe. I published in Carpe Noctem, Gothic.Net, and a few other publications. So, gritty is nothing new to me. I just hadn’t realized how ready the world was for darker stuff because I hadn’t tried to publish anything seriously from 2000 – 2010 and missed the entire Kindle/Amazon explosion. Now that I’ve got my bearings, I happy to know the grittier stuff is acceptable these days, and it’s what I love to write. Look for more of it from me.

7. Galefire has a gunfight which lasts a quarter of the novel. What kind of effort goes into making that kind of action scene? 

The hardest part about creating a long fight scene is that the story must progress through the action (and characters must develop) without breaking the flow of the action. In other words, people aren’t going to stop and have a conversation right in the middle of the fight unless it is good and quick or there is a lull in the action. It takes a lot of painstaking work to ensure there is plenty of detail and movement while at the same time offering up some new and interesting information for the reader. In this particular case, the gunfight served a few purposes. It explained Lonnie’s exact standing in the gang, his relationship to the other characters, and information for the reader that there was something much deeper happening here. At the same time projecting what I hope is some pretty cool imagery. I had to painstakingly read through those scenes over and over to get the timing right.

8. Who is your favorite character in the gang? 

While I really like Lonnie and Selix, Elsa is probably the most fun to write. Elsa has very striking, Fairuza Balk-like features. She exudes decadence. She’s the strange but beautiful girl at the party you just can’t take your eyes off of. She could do anything at any time, and usually does. And while she seems to serve only one purpose, being a completely lethal bitch, she’s actually very complex. I can’t wait to reveal some of her back story to the readers. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

9. How dark is too dark? How sexy is too sexy in your opinion? 

I don’t think there is a golden rule for what is too dark or too sexy (sexual). I market Galefire as dark, gritty urban fantasy, and I expect folks understand there will probably be some degree of violence, sex, and very adult situations happening within its pages. I think the danger of “too much” can come when you over or underwrite what your book was intended for. In other words, writing a romantic epic fantasy novel with excessive, raw sex might be a little off-putting to your average romantic reader. It can be the difference between, “His hand moved lower, caressing the back of her thigh, her skin smooth and supple beneath his fingers” and “His hand moved lower, clutching her ass, fingers wrapping around and between her legs as he pulled her roughly against him.” Continued re-iterations of the latter sentence might leave romantic readers feeling a little ‘battered.’

So, I think it depends on what tone you’re trying to achieve as well as your skill level in delivering what the reader expects. Ultimately, you want the reader to have a good time in your world and get exactly what they paid for.

10. What can we expect from you in the future? 

I’m thankful to be extremely busy at the moment. I’m revising Galefire #2: Fade Rippers right now for self-publication. I’m working on Dead West #3: Devils in Reno with Joe Martin for Ragnarok Publications, and Joe and I have another side thing we’re working on. Those three things as well as developing what I’ve written for the continuation of the Gnomesaga series, namely a series called Autonika which follows the continuing story of Penny the auton from Gnomesaga.

All-in-all, readers should probably expect my future works to be fairly dark. I’m not particularly interested in going “easy” on my readers at this point J I do, however, want them to have fun. Also, I’m dedicated to becoming a better writer in-general, so they should expect continual improvement from me.

Thanks so much for the interview. Much appreciated!

Check out his website at:

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