Where I Am
About Kevin Rau
I'm the author of the H.E.R.O. series of novels in the SciFi/Superhero genre. I also do character art (as seen on the rest of the page here).
I've launched the Author Interview pages to promote my fellow authors, and hopefully create some cross-links back to their websites or social networks within the interview.
Interview Date: 3/30/2012
High school AP and IB English teacher. College professor. Hibernophile. Avid reader of fantasy fiction and comic books, especially Wonder Woman. Writer. Poet. Traveler. Student of life. Lover of mythology, mostly Greek. Inspiree of the Muses. Boston born, grew up on Long Island, NY, and living the dream. I love life, and I hope it loves me in return.
When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?
I was a geeky, awkward teenager when I started writing, although I didn’t know much about the craft at that point. Poems and short stories emerged all throughout high school, but one particular class assignment was for us to write a short story in a genre we liked—so I chose sci-fi/fantasy. I had been a comic book fan since I was 10, having fallen in love with characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, so this story was not only easy to write, but so much fun. “The Olympus Corps.,” over 25 years ago, was the seedling from which germinated my first, recently published, novel—Task Force: Gaea.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably "powerful.")
I’m going to borrow from one of my own characters and say the ability to control the four elements—earth, fire, air, and water. Manipulating these things seems like such an extraordinary power, especially knowing that I could always find at least two of these in any given place. And, if I were really angry, I could imagine the earthquakes I could cause. Or maybe a tsunami? Now you have me scheming…
Kev's response: Well ... evil is as evil plots, you know....
Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?
Wonder Woman. When I was around 10, I fell in love with Greek myths, and I was also watching Superfriends on television. One episode jumped out at me when Wonder Woman was called to the planet Caltos where she and the other heroes, Superman, Batman, Aquaman, had to prove themselves to the Greek gods. I thought, “Wait… Greek myths AND Wonder Woman? I’m sold.” I’ve been a comic collector since then, and I have my own shrine to the Amazon princess in my home office (30+ years of collecting).
Kev's response: Love the comics. I haven't been an avid collector for a while (I get sucked in and start collecting more and more series ... at great expense).
Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?
Some inspiration comes from myths, some from every day life. I like to try to find the most original ideas possible, although I know there’s no such thing as an original idea, but I like to push myself to the limits. Nature inspires me, too. Sometimes, I take walks and stare at the night sky, or take in the crisp, cool air or even find a body of water and just watch the ripples. Anything and everything ignites me.
Kev's response: Wow, it sounds like you're a flammable guy. Might I suggest an asbestos suit?
Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?
Hmm. A little bit of both. I have the outlines in my head, swimming around, so when I sit down, I plan in chunks, but I also have moments when I just feel motivated. I lock the office door and just pour out my ideas as they flow. When the ideas come, I don’t try to stop them, so it’s just one drop of inspiration after another.
Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?
I tried the schedule. It didn’t work. Inspiration comes when it wants to, so I try to keep the energy up until I can sit down and write. Summers work out better, since I’m a high school English teacher.
Kev's response: I must admit, I'm a bit jealous of your likely foreknowledge of grammar. I've always been picky about spelling, but I had to actually research grammar to ensure I got "in line" with the rules....
Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?
Fantasy, definitely, for both. I read just about anything put in front of me, but fantasy speaks to a part of me that I can’t describe. I get lost in other people’s worlds, meeting characters I couldn’t experience in real life, and I find the settings to be mind-blowing. As a writer, fantasy allows me the freedom to create my own worlds, people, and ideas, but also use pre-existing areas like Greek mythology to spark my imagination.
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
The freedom I get to do whatever I want. My rules. I can break them, create them, tweak them… whatever I want. Even if I never use an idea, I always keep them saved for the time when I might actually want to use them. As a child, I was quite creative: painting, crafts, sculpture, etc. As an adult, I channel all my creative energy into my writing.
Kev's response: Interesting you mention rules, because with an extended series like my H.E.R.O. novels, I've found I need to create and stay generally within the rules to ensure continuity and that things makes sense.
Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?
Not having enough time to write! The process excites me, even writer’s block. Working through that part of the process empowers me, so I don’t get too caught up in it. Also, ending something. When I have written the last line, I feel this immense sadness that that creative endeavor is over. New ones pop up, but each one is soul-defining for me.
Can you tell me something odd about yourself?
Since you asked… when I was in my early teens or before, I used to do the spin that Wonder Woman did on television. No transformation, but I did get dizzy. When no one was around, I’d do that.
Kev's response: You weren't wearing a suit like hers, were you?!
Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?
One at a time. I’m a monogamous writer :)
Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?
Paper books will always exist. I, for one, love the feel of a book in my hands, and the ability to dog-ear the pages gives me a sense of control. I even annotate my reads with comments or thoughts so I can return to them later and see what I was thinking when I was reading that book. I can’t imagine a world without paper books. Digital e-books have their place in society, for sure, but they seem impersonal to me. It’s like chatting with someone online versus face-to-face: while you can get to know someone through a keyboard, you can’t get to see or smell or feel them in person. Travelers using e-books I understand. Everyday readers, not so much.
What are your current projects?
Currently, the sequel to Task Force: Gaea—Finding Balance. I have an anticipated finish date of December 2012.
Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?
(1) Think about why you want to publish. After 27 years of working on this story, I wanted to see it in print. My goal wasn’t to retire from teaching by being a published author; it was to get my story out there to people who love fantasy and Greek mythology. (2) Be ready to promote your butt off. I published with an on demand company, so I have to get my own name out there. Facebook and Twitter have been inordinately helpful. Plus, getting myself onto blogs of all types helps, too. (3) Find places to get out there for signings and events. Local libraries have author fairs, and some towns have arts festivals that could accommodate writers, too. (4) Get a press release out, and talk to local papers to publish an article about you and your work.
Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?
Yes! I have a blog, http://www.taskforce-gaea.com, where I post about writing in general, novel related info, and promoting other authors. People can find me on Facebook, too (http://www.facebook.com/taskforcegaea) as well as Twitter (@MrDBerger). I’m on Goodreads and Shelfari, too.
My book is available on Amazon as paperback and Kindle, Barnes & Noble (Nook), and Smashwords.
Kev's response: I'd like to thank David for interviewing, and hope his writing goes well on the sequel to Task Force! comments powered by Disqus