A Bookish Conversation with Kevin V. Symmons, author of Solo

Kevin Symmons has a BS and an MBA. He has attended the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music and studied in France. After a successful career in business management and consulting, he returned to his first love: writing. His first novel, a spell-binding paranormal romance titled "Rite of Passage" is set in the chaotic period after World War II. It's received dozens of great reviews and was a RomCon Reader's Crown Finalist for 2013. His second effort is a contemporary romantic thriller set near his Cape Cod home, titled "Out of the Storm." Like his first novel, it is an Amazon Best-Seller and received many 5-star reviews. "Solo", an intense and ambitious women's fiction work, has been released from The Wild Rose Press, his award-winning publisher. It explores the devastating effects of privation and domestic violence on the beautiful and extraordinarily talented young heroine. 

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About the Book:

Title: Solo
Author: Kevin V. Symmons
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 353
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Jessica Long has the voice of an angel. But Jesse's cold beauty masks a brutal past filled with privation and cruelty. As the talented soprano approaches her final year at New England Conservatory, she is faced with a choice: stay with her striking young lover or accept the offer of a successful Broadway producer. She chooses the latter only to discover that fame can exact a cruel price. After years of yearning, the lovers meet again - at Jesse's ragged homestead on the Maine Coast.

Matt will reveal the benefactor who's followed and protected Jesse as the lovers face a confrontation with the jealous pursuer who's tried to destroy her. One final choice awaits that may cost Jesse both Matt and her life. The Broadway impresario, a mysterious crime lord, and Matt's stunning literary agent head a cast of absorbing secondary characters. Filled with unexpected plot twists, Solo is a classic, leading the reader over a bittersweet tapestry spanning fifteen years.

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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?

Certainly. Solo is a complex novel that deals with classical musical training, musical theater and publishing. All areas that I find both fascinating and alluring. I have written other commercial fiction novels but this is one of those that I simply had to write. Talent and temptation… take the quick easy route or tough it out and stay the course? The real essence of Solo is its exploration of how the difficult choices we make can affect our lives. The tag line (borrowed from Oscar Wilde) says it best: “When the gods want to punish us, they let our dreams come true…” and Jesse Long, my striking, talented heroine will discover the truth of this in an exquisitely painful way! The reason I chose these areas: While I have an MBA I also spent time studying at New England Conservatory and have an undergrad minor in music. So when my heroine is a student at NEC I speak from experience. They were also courteous enough to allow me to do live research there. And of course as a published author who’s been around this business for double digit years I can speak to that as well.

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?

Writing Solo was a long, often difficult process. As I said in my first answer this novel was very personal since it dealt with areas close to my heart and experience. I had written several other novels for my publisher while working on Solo. It took almost seven years from inception to fruition. Perhaps the most difficult issue in finishing it was deciding on an ending that did the plot justice… but I can’t expand on that without giving away a spoiler! As to advice, write what you love, what’s close to your heart. Yes, as writers who do this for a livelihood we must write things necessary to pay the bills but while we’re doing that never forget what brought you to the table. And I hope it’s a love for storytelling. If not, you may want to find a new job (LOL!).

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

My publisher is The Wild Rose Press in New York. They have been voted best publisher six straight years by P & E. They also won the NYC Golden Apple publisher’s award. I found them by continually submitting work to agents, editors and publishers. Which I would say to aspiring authors… never give up if you want to be traditionally published. Submit, submit and then submit! If your work is good enough you’ll find the special editor out there who loves your work and buys it! I love TWRP. They are author friendly and you can talk to anyone there including the Publisher (with a capital P).

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Yes, the amount of work that goes on around the book that has nothing to do with actually writing e.g. endless time and effort in promoting, selling and social media. I knew little about FB, Twitter, Good Reads, Amazon Author Pages, etc. Thanks to the magnificent Marketing Director at my publisher I can now say that I am very well versed… for example I have more than 1600 FB fans and friends!

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

I have just signed a new contract with my publisher for a YA romantic thriller with a working title of Chrysalis (though the marketing dept. has the option of changing that to maximize SEO). The novel takes place during the summer and fall of 2001 (9-11). We begin edits on 2-1-15 so I hope it will be available by late spring/early summer.

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

My Facebook Author Page and the feed. No question. As you have probably gathered I don’t do well when limited to Twitter’s 140 characters and have the honor and good fortune to have acquired a loyal and fun fan base on FB so we have fun and frankly get off on all sorts of things like today’s Patriots playoff game! Have tried some chats and find them confusing and not that engaging!

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

Believe in yourself and your talent! Often times the most difficult road… the road less traveled to use my favorite poets (Robert Frost’s) words is the one you must choose to truly achieve your goal. Always beware of the quick easy “deal!” Stay the course! Remember that all you aspiring authors.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

No, just a big thanks for this opportunity to tell the story of Solo and my writing experience. I’d love to do it again… anytime!

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