Monday, March 10, 2014

Interview with Kevin Bohacz, author of 'Immortality'



I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.

His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.

Visit Kevin’s website at www.kbohacz.com.



Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?



Kevin: I’ve been writing since 1989. Immortality and Ghost of the Gods are my 3rd and 4th novels. The short answer to your question is the ideas come from my muse. The longer answer is that my novels come from daytime dreams as well as nighttime lucid dreams. When I am writing it does not feel like I am creating the material. It feels more like I am watching daydreams which come from somewhere other than me and I am merely typing as fast as I can to capture the daydream that is unfolding before my mind’s eyes.



For all four novels I have written, I first created thousands of pages of meticulously detailed background material. Once I feel the characters have become like friends to me, I sit down and start writing. Invariably in a short time the characters stage a revolt and the story takes on a life of its own veering off in directions that I never planned. In the end I typically use about 1% of the meticulously detailed background material! Thousands of years ago the Greeks and Romans thought that all creative people were merely channels for muses. I truly cannot figure out where my stories come from. Out of a process of elimination I have decided they come from some Jungian collective awareness that we might as well call a muse.  



Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?



Kevin: Writing is something I love. It is my passion. It is my life. I never have writer’s block. To me writing is like breathing—something I cannot imagine doing without. In fact not long ago writing literally saved my life. I was widowed at a young age. My wife, my best friend of 17 years died in my arms while we looked into each other’s eyes. When I was deeply grieving I could hear my wife whispering to me, “Write my love… Write.” So I wrote. I wrote so hard that my arms grew sore and my eyes blurred. I wrote so hard that I gave myself tendonitis and had to seek medical help. My writing saved me from the darkest abyss imaginable. I completed my third novel Ghost of the Gods in an amazingly short period of time while also at the same time working on two new novels. I still often write furiously but now its only because it feels so good.



Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?



Kevin: My first novel, Dream Dancers was conventionally published in 1993 in a deal closed by the agent I had at that time. In 2003 when Immortality was completed I assumed I would be able to get it published since I was already a published author. I soon found myself waist deep in rejection notices from both agents and publishers. All the rejection notices basically said, “We are sure this is a wonderful book but we don’t have the time to read a long manuscript by an obscure author.”



I knew Immortality was a timely, entertaining, and marketable novel. Some extremely successful literary professionals including more than one famous writer had read it and told me they loved it. So here I was a published author unable to open a single door into the major publishing houses. Three years later I had reached the point where I either had to give up or publish it myself. Back in 2006 self-publishing carried the stigma of failure but I had no choice. I knew in my gut Immortality was a fantastic story. So I started a small publishing company, hired an offset-printer, and proceeded to manufacture and sell Immortality.



In 2007 Immortality took off. Shortly after the paperback edition hit bestseller status on Amazon, I released a kindle edition. By the summer of 2008 Immortality was constantly ranking #1 in several of the bestselling genre categories under Amazon Kindle. It also had a consistent overall ranking across all books and genres of better than #500, and many times hit #255 or better for weeks at a time. At the same time, the print edition continued to sell well and was constantly ranked in the top 25 to 100 in several genres.



Using my bestseller success as bait, I was able to sign with an agent who had represented a smattering of NYTime’s bestsellers. My agent proceeded to shop Immortality to all the big publishing houses. My wife, Mazelle and I were deliriously thrilled. This time the responses from publishers were very different from when Immortality was unpublished and I was un-agented. Across the board the feedback was surprisingly similar, “We love the book but who are you?”



What the publishers were really saying was I had no massive following. I did not have a million readers chanting in unison, “We want to buy more books by you…”



Fast forward to 2010, Immortality was still selling very much like it was in 2008, constantly hitting the top 10 of its genre and never falling below the top 50. In fact 2010 and half of 2011 was one of my best grossing periods ever. By now my agent had done all he could and given up six months prior in 2009. He loved Immortality and was very frustrated and baffled by his inability to close a deal. It was then that I was contacted out of nowhere by a veteran NYC agent who was a senior member in a super-agent firm. This agent told me they had read Immortality and loved it! This agent was convinced they could sell the book. Mazelle and I were wildly excited and told the agent to go for it. This new agent got the book read by a different group of more senior editors. This time the responses really threw me. The feedback I got was essentially, “We love the book but why should we buy it when you have already sold the heck out of it?”



At this point I felt like I just could not win. Years ago I didn’t have a big enough following, and now that I had a following, it seemed the publishers wanted something more. They wanted an unpublished book. I explained that 95% of the copies of Immortality had been sold on Amazon and it had never been in any physical store or even B&N online, which is well over half the market. I had tapped only a small percentage of the potential market for a book in this genre. So while it was a bestseller on Amazon, the lion’s share of the meat was still on this bone yet no publisher was interested in the feast. With fractional market penetration I had made a pile of money but there was many times more to be made if a big publisher would get behind the book. Yet it now seemed that with regard to attracting a publisher, success was my worst enemy.



Today, three years later I now have a new amazing NYC agent from a top firm who has closed deals for other indie authors in exactly the same “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” predicament as me. In the last six months I have received glowing critical reviews, including Publisher’s Weekly who has awarded STARRED reviews to both Immortality and Ghost of the Gods. There is interest from Holly Wood in making Immortality into a movie. I have every confidence that this time we’ll succeed in finally getting a solid publishing deal.



Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?



Kevin: I am working on a supernatural thriller titled Dream Signs that will be out sometime before the end of this year. At the same time I am working on another supernatural thriller titled The Bridge that will be out in less than two years. Finally, I am working to get my wife’s memoir and cook book titled Fat Clothes Thin Clothes published. My wife was a famous dessert chef whose amazing creations were served in 50,000 restaurants around the country.



Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?



Kevin: I can be found lurking night and day around my writer’s Facebook page. Any one can strike up a conversation with me there. The page is www.facebook.com/KevinBohaczWriter.



Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

  

Kevin: All my novels have deep philosophical underpinnings or subthemes but since the essence of any novel is to be a thrilling read, the ideas remain an integral part of the mosaic and so do not detract from the entertainment as attested to in the professional reviews of my novels. Example: Publisher’s Weekly STARRED review: “Bohacz provides mind-bending portrayals of factions vying for power and reflections on the essence and fragility of humanity. But philosophical concerns never obtrude on the fast-paced plot…”



In these philosophical subthemes I grapple with the big questions: what are we, where did we come from, and is there a purpose behind existence. I also grapple with the fallout from these themes and the great contradictions such as why society as a whole displays this self-destructive seeming disregard for life, our fragile environment, love, and sprit—while if you ask any individual in the same society they will tell you they regard all these things as important and in fact try to act accordingly in their own lives.



Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?


Kevin: Just thank you and to everyone please take Ghost of the Gods for a test drive! I promise it will be a wild and winding road that will keep you guessing until you reach the very last word on the very last page.