Friday, October 11, 2013

Kenneth Weene, Memoirs From the Asylum, #plus giveaway

GIVEAWAY:  One print copy to a United States resident only.  Be sure to leave email contact information so Kenneth can arrange to ship the book if you are the lucky winner

AUTHOR: Kenneth Weene
BOOK TITLE: Memoirs From the Asylum
GENRE: Literary Fiction
PUBLISHER: All Things That Matter Press

Please tell us about yourself.

My typical bio is:

Sometimes Ken Weene writes to exorcise demons. Sometimes he writes because the characters in his head demand to be heard. Sometimes he writes because he thinks what he have to say might amuse or even on occasion inform. Mostly, however, he writes because it is a cheaper addiction than drugs, an easier exercise than going to the gym, and a more sociable outlet than sitting at McDonald's drinking coffee with other old farts: in brief because it keeps him just a bit younger and more alive. 
Ken’s short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications including Sol, Spirits, Palo Verde Pages, Vox Poetica, Clutching at Straws, The Word Place, Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly, Bewildering Stories, A Word With You Press, Mirror Dance, The Aurorean, Stymie, Empirical and ConNotations.
Three of Ken’s novels, Widow’s Walk, Memoirs From the Asylum, and Tales From the Dew Drop Inne, are published by All Things That Matter Press.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

Now that I am retired from being a psychologist I can devote myself to writing, which means that I usually spent an hour or two writing and perhaps another hour a day editing.

When and why did you begin writing?

I had always wanted to write; however I was too busy earning a living. Oh, I’d written some professional stuff and an occasional poem before retiring, but once I was free of the daily grind I turned to my great love of words. Of course, by then I had a computer with spell check, which meant I could read what I wrote, that the spelling would be somewhere near normal, and that I didn’t have to worry so much about punctuation. I’m not sure how long it would have taken for me to have a breakdown if I had written fulltime in the days of my Smith-Corona.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have to say that my first book was not the first published. My first book, Memoirs From the Asylum, was originally a paean to my cousin and best friend who committed suicide when we were young adults. You can find a great deal more about him and how it affected me as you read between the lines of this work of fiction. Suffice it to say, that Herb’s death was a trauma that still haunts me.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?

I have a great wife. She and I spend lots of quality time together. We enjoy culture in almost every form: music, theatre, food, art, dance, etc. I read a lot. I have a busy social life. I co-host an Internet radio program, It Matters Radio, and I try to spend a certain amount of time just helping my wife take care of the minutiae that constantly presents itself in every life. Oh, while I don’t get to see them that much, I do spend lots of time thinking about our son and his family.

You can check out the radio show at

What are your thoughts about promotion?

Promoting one’s books takes a lot of time, and I spend a couple hours a day working at it. Doing guest turns and interviews is one way. Another is having an active presence on the various social media. There’s that radio show, which gets me some great exposure, and I am from time to time on other shows. Perhaps the most unusual thing I do is to build teams of writers who work together to market. For example, I was the catalyst behind The Write Room Blog, which you can visit at

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment? Does criticism or positive feedback change how or what you do in your writing?

Criticism, positive or negative, is part of asking for feedback. It is information that I try to use. That is one reason that I go to writers’ groups. Every now and then I’ve had a piece that just didn’t work. Does that hurt when I have to face it? Of course. Sometimes I have written things that have left people speechless. Does that feel good? Of course. But the goal is still the same, to use the feedback to grow and improve.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

Usually my blocks have come because I am trying to force my characters into my story instead of trying to tell theirs. Then I have to wait for them to tell me how to move forward. If the wait is too long, I will start a new project and wait for the insight. Since my characters are strong, I know they will get through my thick head.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

Each book has taught me how to be a better writer and each book has taught me how to better listen to my characters. Perhaps those are the same lesson. In preparation for writing a book, which includes doing research while writing, I usually learn some neat stuff, but the real learning is at the level of that internal dialog

Any advice for a new writer just starting out?

Read your writing aloud; preferably sharing it with others, but aloud.

Who is your publisher, and how did you connect with them?

My current publisher is All Things That Matter Press. I sent them a query after perusing one of those guides to publishers and agents.

What is your marketing plan?

Since I write literary fiction and about varying topics, the major marketing plan is to get my name known rather than the title of a specific book. That just means time and working at it.

What are your current projects? What do you plan for the future?

I am currently working on a new novel, Red and White. It is historical fiction set in the late nineteenth century. As the name suggests, this is about Native Americans and the White world.  My agent has two other books that are looking for a hoe. As great as All Things That Matter Press have been, they aren’t large enough for my goals and expectations.

Where can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

On Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, just look for Kenneth Weene or Ken Weene. When you have a unique name, it just makes sense to use that name. I don’t have a page on Facebook, only a personal account. I don’t believe in fan pages; just to condescending for my style. If you are going to read my books, then you are a friend not a fan.

Any other news you’d like to share?
I have been negotiating a movie deal for Tales From the Dew Drop Inne and for another book, Time To Try the Soul of Man, which is not yet published. Of course it is easier to negotiate than to actually land a deal.

What is your experience working or being around domestic violence?

First as a shrink I worked with many families in which abuse, physical, sexual, and emotional, was sadly a theme. Second, my own background and that of my relatives was filled with psychological abuse. I guess that was a big part of my becoming a psychologist. I guess I should add that as a child I suffered from Von Munchausen’s by proxy.

Why do you feel qualified to write a book on this theme?

I bring both personal and professional experience to the subject.

What gave you the idea for this particular book?

I wanted to merge different facets of abuse as I knew them, so I needed a setting in which they could all rear their ugly heads. What better place than an asylum.

What is the toughest part about writing about this subject, and how did you get
past it?

Using so much of my family in the story. My other books are much less close to home. I simply held my breath and hoped that nobody would get too upset. Of course, by the time Memoirs From the Asylum was ready for publication my parents and their siblings were gone. I don’t know if I could have told the story thinking they might read it.

What kind of research did you do for this type of book?

As a trained psychologist who had done an internship in a state hospital, the research had been part of my life.

Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life? (Has anyone ever realized it?)

Relatives and some friends have certainly made the connection between some of the story and me. I think they have actually had a more difficult time understanding the fictional parts of the story because they aren’t sure what isn’t based on my life. I always laugh at that.

What about your book makes it special?

I’ve been told that it takes people into the psychiatric hospital in a powerful way. For me, however, the best thing about Memoirs From the Asylum is the narrative voice; actually there are two narrative voices, which is a pretty unique method of writing.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you?  Why or why not?

No. I write what is in the story. If that is sexual or violent, well then it has to be in the writing. It should never be gratuitous, but it should be real.

If you'd like to watch it, there is a great trailer for Memoirs From the Asylum.

By the way, Memoirs is available in print, Kindle, Nook, and now in audio.

What is your favorite:

Food? Cheese, especially Brie.
Time of day to write? Early morning for writing, later afternoon for editing.
Place to write? My desk with a double screened computer array.
Season? Fall. But here in Arizona, where I now live, it doesn’t matter much compared to growing up in New England.
Holiday?  With my last name? Halloween, obviously. Remember to celebrate our family.
Hobby? Besides writing, my big love is good chamber music.
Song? I go back to the folk music days; just about anything by Woody Guthrie or Pete Segeer.
TV show? The Borgias, Dexter (especially the John Lithgow season), MASH.
Movie? Captains Courageous, Shane, Sling Blade, Irena Palm, and White Lightnin’
Book? Slaughterhouse Five, The Things They Carried, Tinkers
Author? Vonnegut
Word?  love
Quote?  “There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us.” (Anonymous)