Interview with Bryan Koepke, author of Vengeance

 

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It is my pleasure to introduce to you fellow author, Bryan Koepke, who has recently released his first novel, Vengeance.

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Bryan has been very supportive of my writing career and I am delighted to be able to return the favour. Below he talks about his novel and the journey to getting published. I hope you enjoy and please do check out Vengeance.

Tell us a little about yourself, Bryan.

I grew up drawing pictures of cars and airplanes and running through the fields and woods of Michigan and Oklahoma.  At a young age I got into motorcycles and enjoyed ridding dirt bikes.  Early in my career I had jobs that ranged from paperboy to sous chef.  I spent twenty-years working as an electronics-engineering technician and during this past decade had the privilege of being on teams that built, tested, and launched spacecraft from both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  Prior to that I worked on F-16 fighter jets, I got my FAA Airframe & Powerplant licenses, and later managed to get a private pilot’s license.  These days I work on the financial side of things at an aerospace company, and write a Blog called The Writers Cabin.

When I was in my teens I knew I wanted to be a writer and during much of my technical career I gravitated toward documentation and test procedures.   I’m married to a beautiful woman named Ildy, and we have a dog-named Daisy.

What made you decide you wanted to become an author?

When I was a teenager I wanted to become an author, but over time more urgent matters such as figuring out a way to earn a living replaced that pursuit.   A few years back at a time when I was reading tons of mystery and thriller novels I decided to write one of my own.  I spent the next two years writing two thrillers that are currently sitting in the bottom drawer of my desk aging like fine bottles of wine.  Book three became Vengeance.

Each author has a different writing process. Can you tell us about yours?

I do the bulk of my writing early in the morning before my day job and on weekends.  When I begin a novel I write scenes and chapters sequentially.  At some point in the process I’ll begin an outline mainly to use in the revision process.  Recently I’ve started aiming for a goal of 1000 words each time I sit down to write.  On weekends when I’m well rested I can crank out 3,000 or more words in one sitting.

Vengeance is your first novel. Tell us about your journey to getting it published. 

I began sending out query letters in the fall of 2013.  It was sometime after a visit to see my 80 something year old parents that I decided to start my own small publishing company, Writers Cabin Press, Ltd. and publish my own work.  I think the biggest reason I made this decision was that I knew that the traditional process of gaining the attention of an agent, going through additional revisions with them, and ultimately publishing the work could take two or more years.  I wanted to put a book into my mom’s hands sooner than later.

Can you tell us a little about the story?

Vengeance is the story of Reece Culver a former aerospace engineer tortured by unanswered questions revolving around the mystery of his father’s cold-case murder. When a seemingly desperate and seductive woman hires him in an effort to find her missing mother he ends up on a deadly collision course with the very person responsible for killing his father.

What was your inspiration for the book?

In September of 2011 I read an article about a woman who dreamed up a home invasion story to murder her husband and almost got away with it.  From there my story morphed into something completely different.

If Vengeance was turned into a movie, who would be your dream cast?

I would have someone young and outgoing like Bradley Cooper play the part of Reece Culver.  Scarlett Johansson would play Crystal Thomas, someone like Bruce Willis might play Sam Shanks, and I’d cast Anthony Hopkins as Vinton Blackwell.  I’d also cast Denzel Washington as Reece’s mentor Haisley Averton.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on books 2 and 3 in the Reece Culver Thriller Series.  This next book is shaping up and will contain some interesting aerospace technology.

What are your views on social media and how it can help/hinder authors?

Social Media is a great tool.  It provides a great means of interaction and information between authors and their readers.

Tell us about what you like to do to relax when you’re not writing.

My favorite things to do when not writing are hiking, skiing, ridding my ATV, and fishing in the mountains of Colorado.  I also enjoy reading and traveling.

And can you tell us who the authors are who inspire you?

Stephen King, Raymond Chandler, CJ Box, Ernest Hemingway, and James Salter.

What date will Vengeance be released and where will readers be able to buy a copy?

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Vengeance is currently available on www.Amazon.com as both an eBook and as a 6”x9” Paperback.  It is also available on www.smashwords.com, and will be available shortly on Nook, and from many other distributors.  For more information about the book and links to amazon go to my website http://www.bryankoepke.com Stay tuned to the website for some exciting events that will take place next summer.

 

 

 

And I’m done, done, on to the next one

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Dead Write is on sale.

Months of writing, panicking the story wasn’t coming together, that my characters might come across as vacuous or unlikeable, that the twists wouldn’t be as clever as those in Dead Letter Day, editing, choosing covers, writing blurb for the cover (always more difficult, in my opinion, to do this than write the book) and now the anxious wait to see how it sells and find out if my readers enjoy it.

Early feedback seems to be positive from the few who have already finished the book, but there are still plenty more to go, and refreshing the Amazon page hoping to see that new reviews have appeared is like having skated in the Olympics and waiting for the judges scores. I quite like that analogy given my complete lack of poise, grace, rhythm, coordination and actual skating ability.

Now is the time for promotion. Trying to make people aware of Dead Write’s existence, and to give my novel a try, without forcing it down their throats and annoying them by relentlessly saying ‘buy my book, buy my book’. And all the while my mind is thinking ahead to the next story.

The most exciting part for me of writing a book is getting the words down on the page and feeling the novel start to take shape. Preceding this is usually several weeks of developing and plotting, hanging out with old characters and deciding what paths they are going to take, while meeting new ones and learning all about them.  And this is where I am at now.

Most of my days are spent with my characters and they are nearly in place. My dilemma now is building a story for them that will live up to the first two books.  I have so many ideas and have explored several different plotlines. None of them are quite right yet, but the story will come, and if you see me wandering around with a completely vacant look on my face, in a world of my own, I’m not ignoring you, I’m just very busy figuring things out.

Followers of my Facebook page, be prepared for many questions over the next few weeks as my dark and devious mind goes into overdrive.

 

The Shining – Stephen King

Over the coming weeks I plan to introduce you to some of my all-time favourite novels, giving a brief overview of each one and explaining why I love the stories, and how they have influenced me as a writer.

A few titles are instantly recognisable, but others are lesser known gems and I hope you guys will check them out and enjoy reading them too.

My first book is a classic. The Shining by Stephen King.

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I was fourteen and on holiday in Cyprus when I first read The Shining, and even though I was sitting around a busy pool in broad daylight, there were still parts of the story that were so damn scary I had to momentarily put the book down and reassure myself what I was reading wasn’t real.

In the television show, Friends, Joey keeps his copy of The Shining in the refrigerator, because that’s where scary books have to go. I’m not sure I have room in my fridge, but if I did, The Shining would be the first book I would want to put in there.

Most of you will be familiar with the story, but to summarize, Jack Torrance is a writer and, for additional income and a chance to work on his novel, he takes a job as caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. The hotel is in Colorado and due to heavy snowfall is closed during winter months. Jack and his family, wife Wendy and son Danny, are the only occupants until it reopens in the spring.

Add to this, Danny’s ‘gift’ of being about to see things before they happen – shining – and the fact the Overlook has an unsettling history, and you have all the ingredients for a classic horror tale, as, trapped in the hotel, Jack starts to lose his grip on reality. Is it down to cabin fever or is there something more sinister hidden within the walls?

Stephen King is a master storyteller and one who know how to crank up the tension through suggestion; something I have tried to do in my own novels, as I fully believe what you are left to imagine is far scarier than having the words spelt out for you. It was after reading Misery, some years later, that I decided I wanted to take my hobby of short story writing and try and complete a novel, but The Shining will always be the Stephen King book that sticks with me the most.

I finished The Shining on holiday and we were then delayed by airport strikes and moved to a luxury hotel in Limassol for the night. Our room was about three doors down from 237 and if you’ve read the book, you’ll understand why this scared the bejesus out of me.

In fact, I don’t think I got a wink of sleep all night.

Coming next on my recommended list – Valentine by Tom Savage

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