Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Interview with paranormal thriller novelist Greg Kiser
Greg Kiser is here today as part of his inSyte virtual book tour with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe.
Greg Kiser is happily married to a wonderful and inspirational wife, Serena, and has two beautiful children – Miller and Grace.
Greg graduated from Southern Polytechnic University in Atlanta with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Greg also earned his MBA from the University of South Florida. He is currently a Director at Cisco, a high tech fortune 50 multinational corporation.
Greg has written extensively for fortune 50 high tech firms in describing next generation networks and painting pictures of the true evolution of technology for the consumer.
Welcome, Greg. Please tell us about your current release, inSyte.
It’s Tampa Bay, Florida and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch “Double” Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics.
If knowledge is power, Mitch just became the strongest man in the world.
But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.
At the center of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL. And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self destruction.
What inspired you to write this book?
I listened to Rudy Giuliani speak a year after 9/11. This was in August of 2002, just under a year since 9/11. Rudy spoke to a crowd of about 5,000 folks. He described the events of that day and it was very emotional, everyone loved the guy, he was held in such admiration.
He told the crowd that every great leader will possess spirituality. And when you have millions of people that you’re serving, there’s a natural temptation to believe that God put you there, there must be a divine intervention. Then the tendency is to think that any gut feeling you have, must be God’s decision.
So Rudy talked about how you have to avoid falling into that trap, you have to remain objective and realize you’re only human and they are your decisions.
I found that fascinating because I had never heard a politician talk like that. I think there are a number of politicians in the US and abroad, recently and not, where pragmatism was nowhere to be found. I wanted to explore that in a novel. Come on, there’s all kinds of room for conflict.
As for publishing, I self published on Amazon. The only way to go these days ;). Really pretty simple. Of course, the average book that self publishes on Amazon sells 100 copies to, you guessed it, friends and business associates and the like. So the trick is – how do you market the book further, drive sales.
At the end of the day, it’s all about word of mouth. So you have to get your book out there and it has to be good and then you need for word of mouth to help.
So – be sure it’s ready for prime time before you decide to self publish. I waited 3 years after my 1st draft because I wanted my novel to be as good as it could possibly be. Along the way I had some serious people read it and provide candid feedback. Enough good feedback to know I was onto something, enough bad feedback to keep me busy writing and rewriting and (yes) deleting!
What exciting story are you working on next?
Thinking about a sequel. Just thinking. Letting my mind sort through it subconsciously. Nothing exciting just yet.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t actually consider myself a writer. If someone at a party asks me what I do, I’ll say, “I’m a sales director at Cisco”. They’ll usually say, “Sysco, the food company?”. And I’ll reply, “No, Cisco, the high tech internet company” and that’s when their eyes usually glaze.
That would be so wonderful to one day be able to write full time and when people ask me what I do, I could say, “I’m a writer”. And they would know what that means.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have never written full time. My entire novel was written between 4:00am and 7:00am, before work. I am most definitely a morning person. Seems I’m able to tap into my subconscious somehow if I do so before I really wake up, before the rest of the world wakes up.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I hate to be boring. Especially to me! I’ll write a chapter and walk away. When I read it a month later I’m appalled. I find my mind wandering even while I’m reading my own words. Pretty bad, right?
So I rewrite. Spice up the action, change the verbs, more show – less tell, more realistic dialogue.
Sure, I do all that.
But the most important thing I do (ie, my quirk) is to delete. Words, sentences, paragraphs –anything that does not directly advance the story comes out. It’s like polishing to bring out the inner beauty. As Apple used to say, Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
That’s a damn good question. That was also a long time ago. What did I want to be? You know what, I think I wanted to be a writer. I had forgotten that. Thanks for reminding me. I started writing stories in about 3rd grade. Silly stories that were funny and made the class laugh. Stories about my dog, ridiculous stuff I made up.
I wrote a serious story about my brother who died in 2006. That was the first real story I wrote as an adult. It’s available for free at the following URL:
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
People will like the characters, they have heart. They come alive. And people will like the action, the way the conflict ratchets up toward the end when all of the characters come together.
And for all you aspiring writers out there… Don’t let ANYBODY read that initial draft. It will suck.
Oh – and don’t let ANYBODY read that initial draft. It will suck, indeed.
Hee hee, Greg, do you mean we shouldn't let anyone read our first drafts? Thanks for being here!