Meet Ethan A. Cooper

Join us in welcoming new crew member Ethan A. Cooper to our fantasy deck. Cooper brings us the last first book in the Misplaced Adventures first year with All Hail the Kin from The Kin series. A hidden religion in a hidden forest kingdom within the Thirteen Kingdoms with two protagonists who are in love but not allowed to be together. It’s gorgeous and I can’t wait until you read it.

Author Bio

Ethan A. Cooper was born and raised in southern California, cutting his teeth on a steady diet of Transformers and Robotech, superhero comic books, sci-fi/horror movies, and scary radio dramas like The War of the Worlds and X Minus One.

These interests progressed, leading him to create comic books on 6×9 lined steno pads with friends, write serial fantasy on pre-Internet bulletin board systems, and collaborate on short horror stories with his brother. Eventually, he wanted to tell longer tales. His first novel, What Happened On My Space Vacation, is a sci-fi adventure for the teenager inside all of us. Other published works include the clown horror compilation Phildlestix/Phidlestixx/Phidlestixxx, the children’s fantasy story Songquest, and Angel Descending, the first of the epic sci-fi Downfall series.

While he plots perilous situations for his characters to endure and creates digital art, he enjoys living in East Texas with his wife and their three children.

Asked and Answered

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Writing was something that came out of my love for the books and comic books I was reading and the movies I was watching. Sometimes, if you’re really into a movie, those feelings of elation, wonder, and surprise you experience are so strong, it awakens this need to pass those along to others through your own stories. For me, it was comic books, and specifically the original Transformers comic. My mom had these 6 x 9 lined steno pads that I, my brother, and my friends all drew our stories on. We taped and stapled the pages together. We had crossovers.

Page 6 from Issue #2 of The Terminators

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I listen to fast, heavy music or soundtracks while writing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

All the important, cool, normal life stuff. Spend time with my wife and kids. Writing is one of those things that mostly gets done when everybody else is asleep. I’ve been training in karate a couple times a week since 2013. I create digital art. I play whatever the current version of Diablo is.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How much work it is. When you’re first starting out, you’re carefree because you don’t know what it takes to write a good story. You know good writing when you see it, and you (or I did at least) might sorta assume somebody just sat down and hammered it out in one go like they were under divine inspiration. The truth is that it’s a fight to get to that good story. And, like any sort of refining process, it hurts along the way.

What do you think makes a good story?

By the end of the story, the main characters shouldn’t be in the same place they were when they started the story. If they go through hell, they should not come out unscathed. This is a possible reason why I find it a challenge to get interested in TV shows like police/medical procedurals, where characters are ultimately the same each episode.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Only because there are much cooler names out there.

What do you hope readers get from your books?

Even if we disagree with each other, we are better together than we are apart. The world is fallen and disgusting, but there is goodness. Good things—the best things—require sacrifice. Happy endings do exist. Good wins in the end.

If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?

Your first draft is not your best work.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

The one who waits, dreaming, in his house at R’lyeh.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

Trying to approach conversations, reactions, and thought processes from a different perspective without leaning too hard on stereotypes.

How do you select the names of your characters?

For stories set in our world, I’ve gone online and looked up things like “soft girl names” or “classic boy names” and then just scroll through the list until I find something I think sounds cool. Last names are more difficult since they often have a heritage to go with them, which I have to go research to make sure it fits.

For sci-fi/fantasy names, I just make them up. For my Misplaced Adventures novel, I’ve been using a trick of taking a “normal” name and dropping a letter or two. So, David, becomes Avid. Instant fantasy name!

Why did you choose Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing?

CDS has a strong vision for the future. They are generous and supportive of their authors. Behind their excitement for entertaining and interesting genre works, they’ve demonstrated strong, honest character, which is an all-too-rare quality.

What was your hardest scene to write?

In general, any scene that involves multiple people in the same area. It becomes a logistical nightmare, and I always feel like I’m doing too much stage directing and that I’m going to lose the reader’s interest.

As far as actual content, in my sci-fi novel Angel Descending, I had to write a scene where the main character is betrayed by her only friend. Those scenes are emotionally draining. It can hurt to get into the head of somebody in that situation and attempting to convey the range of emotions they’re feeling.

Do you Google yourself?

I just did for the first time, and it mostly came up with people that weren’t me, so that’s a relief! Not today, Google.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

For the Misplaced Adventures books, it was locking onto a story I was excited to tell. You can approach writing like it’s a job and you’re just delivering a product, or you can approach it like it’s your passion that you can’t wait to do. It’s okay to start out like the former, but I need to get to the latter. Even after I had the basic idea down, it took a couple of months of story and character development before I began to really get excited about the story.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

Yes. I bounce ideas off them, and they encourage me.

A Glimpse at All Hail the Kin

Why did you agree to write in Kevin Pettway’s Misplaced Adventures universe?

There’s nothing like challenging yourself. On one hand, it’s a challenge because you’re learning the rules of somebody else’s world, but it’s also a comfort because I don’t have to come up with all the world lore, since much of it is already there and waiting to be explored.

And honestly, the chance to work with such a professional and skilled group of writers was too good to pass up. I’ve worked in collaborative worlds several times before, and each time it’s been a good experience. Kevin is extremely gracious and open to expanding his original world into whatever it’s in the process of becoming as we explore previously undiscovered nooks and crannies.

Your Misplaced Adventures story centers around members of a reclusive cult called the Kin. What’s their deal, and why did you want to tell their story?

I wanted to dig into truth, as it is a fragile, delicate thing all too often broken. One of the ways to do that is to focus on lies and deceit. I was fascinated with the world Kevin created. Specifically, with the gods and their followers. The Kin live deep in the forest, separated from other civilizations, worshiping twin gods that the rest of the world has forgotten about. Getting them out of their comfort zone and into the vast world that Kevin created, starts a sequence of events that tears at the core of their society. Because of the history of the Kin and their beliefs, I get to explore worship, faith, and ultimately, the truth.

You’ve written sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Where does your Misplaced Adventures story fall?

The world of Misplaced Adventures is a rich, robust fantasy world, so my story of the Kin is a fantasy. That said, my love for horror knows few bounds, and I don’t think you can explore cults without delving into the horrific and grotesque. Because it’s Misplaced Adventures, there’s a good amount of humor throughout, and that’s a useful tool for providing contrast and highlight to the darker elements of the world of the Kin.

Tell us about your main characters.

Leila is a high-ranking priestess of the Kin. She’s a true believer, and she’s dedicated her life to the Kin. She’s an herbalist and a potion maker. Since the Kin don’t have any magic, science is her weapon of choice. Leila is adventurous and looking to experience new things.

Tyrac is the chief combat instructor for the city guard of the hidden city where the Kin live. He’s skilled in close-quarters martial arts. He’s a quiet, loyal man who has dedicated his life to protecting Leila no matter the personal cost.

Leila and Tyrac are in a situation where they love each other but can’t be with each other due to their ranks within the Kin. Being in close proximity with the target of your unrequited love all the time is a persistent source of tension between them.

Do you know the ending to the Kin series?

Nobody likes those multi-year TV shows that get canceled before they complete their story. Endings are natural. Endings are good. No story should go on forever. I write what I like to read, and I like stories with clear endings. Yes, I have an ending planned, and I want to make sure that the ending justifies the story. It will be epic. You will feel all the feels.

Welcome, Ethan!

If you want to follow Ethan and his adventures, make sure to check out his website. The first in the The Kin series releases in May. We’ll see you then!