Author Interview – KP Kollenborn

Monday, May 20, 2013

Who is your favorite author and why? I discovered John Steinbeck in high school, as many secondary students have before me in English classes.  I’m grateful he was included as part of the curriculum.  Up to that point in my life I had not read that many “goddamns” and “bastards” in YA fiction.  In fact, that was the first time I learned how to spell other swear words not often read in bathroom stalls that rhyme with Nantucket.  And spelled correctly, I might add.  I began counting how many times these “goddamned bastards” appeared in Of Mice and Men.  And yet we weren’t allowed to say them in the classroom if we weren’t reading the texts out loud. 

The reason I bring this particular topic up is to explain how I began to comprehend a coarse, migrant lifestyle from people who came out of the Dust Bowl.  The book opened up another world and I loved it.  Not only did I want to be a part of that world by continuing to read Steinbeck, but I wanted more.  I too wanted to write about the depravity and faith mankind. As a writer, even in fiction, Steinbeck broke boundaries of how to reconcile what is humane.  He mixed literary prose and realism with such grit and fortitude that I’m charmed by his depressing and enriching style.

The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men are still inside my head, and in fact I have made soft suggestions to both books in my WWII novel, Eyes Behind Belligerence.  I named two of my characters Tom and Rose, (although they are married and not brother and sister,) as a quiet dedication to The Grapes of Wrath; and even slid in Of Mice and Men as a favorite book of one of the protagonists in an effort to understand who has the right to take away someone’s life.  It also plays into effect of bonding between two unlikely friends who only share the commonality of their environment.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Most certainly.  Right now I’m working on another novel, How the Water Falls. Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa’s Apartheid, this novel unfolds both personal and political histories of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes.  I also have a YA novella lined out, Poem for Zelda. Zelda Jackson isn’t the typical eleven year old girl, nor is the summer of 1971 a typical summer in the rural South.

Abandoned by her parents, raised by her Granny, Zelda is a dwarf child caught-up in a whirlwind of changes.  I also plan on presenting a couple of pictorial ballads which are not necessarily meant for children’s books, but can correspond along those lines- very much like Grimm’s Fair tales.  The pictures will attach children; however the messages and themes are more sophisticated.

Have you started another book yet? Yes! It’s very important to work on a second book! Set in the backdrop during the last years of South Africa’s apartheid, How the Water Falls unfolds both personal and political histories of the system’s victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes.  I’m hoping to have everything completed by the summer of 2014. But you can get a taste of the beginning here: www.HowTheWaterFalls.com.

Where do you see yourself in five years? My goal is to have five books published by then, with a mixture of historical fiction, thriller, YA fiction, and a couple of pictorial ballads.  By then I hope to acquire more exposure!

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? Yes, two. One is a memoir, My Traitor’s Heart: A South African exile returns to face his country, his tribe, and his conscience, by Rian Malan.  Rian is a liberal Afrikaner who comes from a linage of conservative Calvinist during apartheid.  Another is from an indie author, Camp Sunshine, by Ruth Francisco.  It’s historical fiction based on the true story of Camp Gordon Johnston.

This novel is about young men on the brink of war, and a country on the brink of civil rights, a tale of soldiers and officers, daughters and mothers, death and redemption, and a man unyielding in his integrity, compassion, and struggle for justice.

Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why? I would like to give a shout out to other indie authors: Jim Wills, Marilyn Holdsworth, Robin Levin, and  Lilian Gafni.  They are very competent writers and writers of historical fiction.  I’m impressed by their integrity of story telling and want to draw attention to their talent.  Indie authors need all the support we can get! You can read my reviews of their historical fiction books on my blog:


Do you have any advice for writers? Writing is not an easy means to make money. Be determined, because it is a long road of rejections, dismissals, and criticisms. Seek support from other writers.  In the words of my late writing teacher, Leonard Bishop, who states it best: “I believe that if a writer can return to the world more than what the world has given him, then he has earned his keep, not only as a writer, but also as a human being. I also believe that whatever saves my life must be good. I have lived a God-blessed life, and I want to pass it on.”

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers? Education.  Whether it be college or belonging to a writers group, or both, educate yourself with understanding grammar, appreciate writing techniques, and know how to evaluate constructive criticism.  Read.  Read LOTS OF BOOKS.  Observe how the pros develop their stories in content, prose, and character growth.  Don’t imitate their writing, but be aware how they compose their works.   Write.  Write lots of horrible first drafts in order to obtain your voice.  Practice does make perfect, so keep at it.  I also suggest checking out the advice and humor from my late writing teacher, Leonard Bishop.  He had taught many writers, including Anne Rice. www.LeonardBishop.com.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? Do support indie authors.  The best ways you can is by leaving feedback of our books on GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.  And if you’ve enjoyed our books, please recommend us!  If you didn’t like our works, all is fair in love and reading.

Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us? Yes, I have a book signing at Town Crier Bookstore in Emporia, KS on June 15th from 11am-1pm.  So, if anyone happens to be in that part of the country, swing by! Other indie authors will be there as well!  Spread the love, people!

Where can we find you? Website: http://kpkollenborn.com/

Facbook: http://www.facebook.com/kollenborn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KPKollenborn

Blog: http://kpkollenborn.blogspot.com/

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5386352.K_P_Kollenborn

Pintrest: http://pinterest.com/kpkollenborn/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=46096972&trk=tab_pro

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – R (strong language)

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Connect with KP Kollenborn on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://kpkollenborn.blogspot.com/

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