Today we have a teacher in the hot seat! Please welcome Kevin Saito! 🙂
Born and raised all over Southern California, Kevin finally landed in Long Beach. After graduating from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in History and preparing for a career in teaching, Kevin found that the state of education in California wasn’t quite prepared for him. The lack of jobs in his field eventually led him back to his first love and passion… writing
When did you start writing and why?
I wrote my first story back when I was about 13 or so. A really terrible piece of sci-fi drek but I enjoyed the process a lot. I loved creating a world and these characters to fill it. I started writing because I wanted to be able to do what those writers I admired were able to do… really touch people. They made me think and they made me feel. To me, being able to do that, to really impact people with words was an amazing feeling. It was powerful and I wanted to be able to do that as well. I want to be able to help people escape the day-to-day stuff life throws at them and really engage them, transport them to another time and/or place and let them just enjoy some time away from their life for a while.
If you are a parent how does being a parent affect your writing and writing habits? Or does it?
Well, I’m not a parent so I don’t have children to impact my writing or my writing habits. The dog and cat though, they’re pretty tough critics.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Now that’s just not a fair question. If I had kids, it would be like forcing me to choose my favorite. Honestly, there are so many on my “favorite” list that I can’t pick just one. I love Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, Michael Connelly, John Irving, Edgar Allan Poe… I really could go on. I love them because they all really engage me. They make me “feel”… whether it’s fear, disgust or paranoia, they engage my brain and my emotions. That’s why I love them all and why I can’t pick just one!
What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
Ultimately, I want to be able to be self-sustaining as a writer. I would love nothing more than to be able to earn a living doing something I’m so passionate about and love so much. I love the feedback I get from my readers, I love that they seem engaged and enjoy my work and that just makes me want to be able to do that full-time. Forever. I love being able to make people feel *something* when they read my work. It reminds me of how other writers have made me feel and what books have done for me in my life. I would love nothing more than to be able to (hopefully) do that for others as well.
Traditional or Self publishing? Why?
Self publishing for the most part. My first book “From the Edge of Darkness” and my upcoming book “Shattered Honor” have both gone through a small Indie house called “Fey Publishing”. It’s been a really great experience and I will never hesitate to work through Fey again. But I do tend to be a bit Type-A about things and I think for me, the biggest motivating factor for going the Indie route comes down to control of my own work. How it’s done, when it’s done and why it’s done. I want to be in control of my project from start to finish and be able to do with it as I please. Fey has given me that sort of control over my own work which is why I have nothing but good things to say about them and why I’ll absolutely work with them again in the future. But right now, I’m going to start cranking out some novellas and collections of short stories because I love working in a shorter medium and I think that is sort of more conducive to a self-publishing route.
Talk about your journey into the wide world of publishing.
Well, to be honest, at the moment I only have the one book, “From the Edge of Darkness” in print. It’s a collection of 13 short horror stories. I had a blast creating it and getting it out last November was an awesome feeling for me. The forthcoming book, “Shattered Honor” is a full-length novel and to me, seems more like a huge departure from the first book. This is more psychological thriller than horror but it’s been a project that I have loved working on. I’m relieved that my part is mostly done but still a little sad to see it go. It will be put out by Fey Publishing within the next month or two and I’m really excited (and a little nervous) to see how it goes over with people who see and like my usual gory, scary work. I haven’t yet put anything out on my own but I have things in the works.
Tell us about your book (s)
As I mentioned, “From the Edge of Darkness” is a collection of 13 short stories. They range from serial killer pieces to ghost stories to creature features. I was pretty much allowed to run amok and just have fun with it. What I like most is that each story is different. There really aren’t two in the collection that are alike and I like to think that there’s a little something for everybody!
The forthcoming book, “Shattered Honor” is a whole different animal entirely. It deals with a man who comes home from the war in Afghanistan to a life and a perception of himself that is completely different. He sees this darkness inside of himself and has real trouble letting go of certain events in Afghanistan. They haunt him. Without giving away too much, I will say that they literally haunt him. He feels himself unraveling and his relationship with his girlfriend Shannon beginning to crumble as terrible, dark things appear in his mind. Ultimately, Danny has to either self-destruct or confront his past and travel a darker path in order to break free from his past and rebuild his life.
What inspired you to write these books (or in this genre)?
It was actually based on a short story I wrote for a competition a couple of years ago. I wrote it to fit a prompt and it went over well with the people in the competition. It was my girlfriend though, who saw a bigger potential to it and more or less browbeat me into expanding it into a novel.
Tell us why we should love or hate your main character?
Speaking for “Shattered Honor,” I think that Danny is a character that should be loved AND hated. He has both good and bad inside of him. I like to think that a lot of people can relate to him on some levels but unless we’ve been through what he has, we may never fully understand him. I like to think that in most ways, he’s just like us. He just wants to live a normal and happy life. But he’s got this big, dark cloud hovering over him and he has to contemplate monstrous things in order to reclaim his life and build that normality he so desperately wants. He has had to endure brutal hardships but at the heart of him, he’s a good guy. I hope that people, as they read this book, will really think about what they might do in the situations he found himself in and perhaps, not judge him too harshly for his decisions.
Do(es) your book(s) have a soundtrack?
Not an official one, no. But I’ve talked to a few people about creating a “book trailer” as a fun little way to introduce the book and the song that immediately came to mind and to me, is just about perfectly fitting is Metallica’s “One.”