Friday, January 21, 2011

Interview with children's author Michael Kinch

Today, my guest is children's author, Michael Kinch.

1.     Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer. I’ve been writing seriously since I retired and had a chance to grapple with all the pieces necessary to write a decent book. I write because I’ve always had a head full of stories and I want to share them with young adults.

2.     Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?  I’ve become full time since the publication of my first book in Oct. 2010, and then was offered a contract to complete the trilogy—an unexpected but wonderful opportunity. I write when I can, often in spurts and sputters. Procrastination is my enemy.

3.     What influences your writing?  My trilogy is a dystopia because I care about the future of my kids and I have enough of a science background to know the future is going to be rough in many aspects.  But I want kids to know there is always hope, regardless of what happens .

4.     Is this your first published work?    This is my first novel.  What other types of writing have you done?  Scholarly articles when I was a university science librarian, then articles for art magazines for fun.

5.     Why did you choose to write a children's story?  I’ve always like good YA fiction and decent science fiction.  I wanted to write something without vampires or dragons and cardboard characters.

6.     What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?  I helped teach a workshop in Malawi, Africa several years ago. I was blown away by the country and the people. Especially the people. They are so resilient, confident, and amazingly resourceful.  The final book came to me years later.  The first versions were lame, but got better with suggestions from writers’ groups and hard work.

7.     What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?  Getting publishes is soooo hard, that I don’t blame anyone for taking the self-publishing route

8.     What is your marketing strategy?  Luckily I have a good publicist at Flux Books. She tells me to put up a website and take advantage of local opportunities.  She has covered most of the bases with advance reader’s copies to the right places.

9.     What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?  I wouldn’t have been published without an agent.  If an author has a good relationship with his/her editor, that’s great.  An agent, however, seeks as many opportunities as possible—audio books, overseas sales, etc.

10.  Where can people find out more about you and your writing?  My website:

11.  Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?  Know your genre.  Read in your chosen genre.  Write something kids haven’t read in a dozen other iterations.

Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it will be available.  

Author: Kinch, Michael
A well-realized, harsh dystopia provides the setting for this exciting debut. Sometime in the late 21st century, three 17-year-olds face a future dictated by their corrupt global government. All might be sent to work on the “canal,” a death sentence, so they take measures to get any other job possible. The three wind up in Africa, where they are supposed to marry local people and produce offspring—the entire population of the continent has been sterilized by an intense solar flare. One finds herself captured by the “gades” (presumably short for “renegades”), bandits who raid the back country and keep captured women as sex slaves. After some hair-raising adventures, the other two boys find themselves battling the “gades” as well. Kinch invents a plethora of abbreviated jargon that heightens the credibility of his awful future world. His three main characters will easily convince readers that they’re real, distinct people. Full of action, this is a compelling, realistic and exciting thriller for more mature young readers. (Science fiction. 14 & up)