Meet Kevin Pettway
I met Kevin Pettway at Superstars Writing Seminar. By pure happenstance or destiny or whatever, I sat beside him in the front row. When Kevin read a sample from one of his books, I instantly adored his voice. Like his written voice, not his speaking one, though he speaks fine as well.
Anyway, when I found out he was looking for a publisher, I gave him my card and tried to be cool, though inside I was giddy with excitement. You see, I’d worked with other writers at my previous job, but as the Editorial Director of a new company, I hadn’t put myself out there yet.
During the four days or so of Superstars, we had lunch together and spoke a lot about what working with me would be like. I learned more about him and he agreed to submit his manuscript. After I read the draft of A Good Running Away, I knew I had to bring this story and these characters to readers. The combination of snark and heart was so unique I knew readers of this genre would become true fans.
As book two of the Misplaced Mercenaries series, Blow Out the Candle When You Leave, approaches its launch on Tuesday, June 7th at 7pm CST on Twitch (see how I did that), I thought you might want to get a look into Kevin’s psyche. Fair warning: there’s no going back.
Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
A: I learned that I could write a book. I mean, really. Who would have thought that?
Q: What do you hope readers get from your books?
A: You know, just a little entertainment. Something light and fun that makes you feel better at the end for having read it. Something you’d remember fondly. Something you’d want to see on the big screen in a lavish, half-billion-dollar spectacle, where the writer walked off with wheelbarrows-full of cash. Something like that.
Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A: A crow, because they’re smart, they’re survivors, and they really love each other.
Q: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
A: So, there are tons of things about the day-to-day experiences of being a person that are immediately recognizable by people in-the-know, but no one talks about. I know a lot of the male things because penis. Men park in the closest spot, women in the best-lit. That sort of thing, except that it can cut a lot deeper.
In essence you try to put yourself in that other person’s head as best you can, then let real people with similar experiences take a look. It’s wonderful when even if they don’t have any issues, they might inadvertently reference something in their own lives that sends you off on a fantastic character-building tangent.
Because I steal people’s lives.
Q: What was your hardest scene to write?
A: It was the death scene for a character I genuinely liked. In the first pass on the book I skipped it and did it off-camera, not because I didn’t want the readers to see it, but because I didn’t want to see it. Then my stupid editor made me write it and it was amazing and cathartic and she was right because she’s so stupid.
Q: If you could spend a day with Keane and Sarah, your main point of view characters, what would you do?
A: After making certain my pockets were already empty, I think it’d be REALLY funny to take Sarah and Keane to the DMV. For all his prowess at provoking responses from people, Keane would be a milk cake thrown into the path of a speeding motorcycle against the most typical DMV employee.
Really, I only see it ending when Sarah finally gets mad enough to draw and start murdering folks.
Okay, you caught me. The Misplaced Mercenaries universe is really just a slashfic of me getting even with the DMV.
Q: The creative cursing in this series garners a lot of attention. Why do you think that is?
A: I’d guess it’s because ninety percent of the cursing is very setting-specific, so it isn’t just funny, it is also immersive. It pulls you into the world a little deeper each time you read it.
Alternate theories follow:
1) Every time Keane mentions Oldam’s penis, an angel gets its wings.
2) Most people are extremely curious about sheep/Viking relationships.
3) In addition to the humor and adventure, the books also serve as a primer on how to get fired at the office Christmas party for quoting Keane to your boss’s wife.
4) None of us are as grown up as we think we are.
5) Every time Keane mentions Oldam’s anus, a demon gets a bucket of fried chicken, a 32 oz. soda, and a cherry pie.
Q: Andos is an incredibly vivid and fully realized world with a storied history and unique magic system. How long did it take you to develop this level of depth? What did you use as inspiration?
A: I took several months working on the setting before I started the books. A lot of history, mythology, and geography. But the truth is, I never stopped. As I write and peek over the next hill that never needed anything behind it before, I go back to my world bible and create that as I go. The world never stops getting built.
Everything is inspiration. Totally cliché, but true. Theme parks to gambling videos, fantasy novels to coming-of-age stories set in Catholic girls’ schools, (lots and lots of those) everything I see and everyone I talk to is grist for the mill.
So, if you and I have conversed in the last decade or so and there was anything even vaguely interesting about you, I might have murdered you in one of my books. Yay!
Until June 23, 2020, A Good Running Away is on sale for 99¢. Get your copy now and experience the magic with the rest of us.
And don’t miss out on the launch of Blow Out the Candle When You Leave on July 7th at 7pm CST on our Twitch channel. You’ll get to see Kevin live and ask him questions about his work and methods as well as earn a chance to win a signed copy of his new novel.
Until next time. I’m off to summon a demon, compete at a unicorn dressage show, and invent a new, efficient energy system for my ship.