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My career is in architecture and surveying, my hobby is working with wood; I am also a helicopter pilot.
Right now, my priority is my forthcoming book, THE GREATEST GIFT, due for ebook publication later this year. The sequel, DRIFTING SANDS? Well who knows, the first book took five years to write! (I only write when I’m on holiday and my mind is uncluttered).
Trying to fit it all in is the challenge, balance is important.
Hello! What’s your name?
What do you write and why?
I write science fiction, however my editor has said that I transcend genres in that ‘The Greatest Gift’, is more of a science fiction adventure thriller. I write sci-fi, mainly because that’s where my brain takes me and our grey matter and its workings, fascinates me. Time is also a great driver for me; as one gets older, I suppose the reality of our short lives on this planet becomes more obvious. There’s so much to do but time is a real constraint.
Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?
I do, but it’s really difficult sometimes, making the decision to read or not, especially if I know a book covers the same ground as the one I am writing. For instance, time travel. If I know a book is about that, I might avoid it so the ideas of another author do not contaminate my own.
What is the title you are promoting right now?
‘The Greatest Gift’ is my first book. It was released in March 2012.
What is it about?
‘The Greatest Gift’ explores the development of human potential through mental manipulation of DNA using what I call ‘double hypnosis’. It’s a, ‘what if’, that takes the reader thought a really thought provoking journey with many moral dilemmas. However, my main character, Richard Harper, makes the discovery of all of this from a file generated by his grandfather, Professor Stuart Harper, after his death.
What makes this book different from others in your genre?
I believe that I have taken known science and have stretched it to the ultimate possibilities. Someone once said of my writing, that they felt as though they were in ‘safe hands’, that the, ‘incredible was almost believable’.
What’s the story behind the story?
The inspiration came from a number of sources. Primarily, my interest in the workings of the brain is probably where it started but I also successfully underwent hypnotherapy. I had a bird phobia, dead or alive and through hypnosis, that was traced to two incidents that happened when I was about 12 years old. One was where a blackbird flew through a hedge and into my head, knocking me off my bike and the other where we were dissecting a rancid dead bird in science class. Both incidents conspired to form strong neural connections to fear of birds and that stayed with me until its cause was unearthed under hypnosis.
At about the same time, I was learning to fly a helicopter and a couple of dangerous experiences before and after passing the test, caused me to consider my own mortality.
Strangely, in my story, Richard’s grandfather, Professor Stuart Harper has motor neurone disease (MND) and I found out, only two years ago, long after I had written that part of the story that my own grandfather, who died six years before I was born, died from MND. Subliminal memory perhaps?
What is your goal as an author?
I have always been creative and my career in architecture has allowed me to express that. I am also a keen woodworker and have made anything from fine furniture to wardrobes. However, I really enjoy writing, it’s a different way of expressing myself. I would like to think that my stories would keep coming and that I can become an accomplished writer. Ultimately, it would be fantastic to have my book turned into a film, but then, I guess, that wish is not exactly unique.
Are you working on anything new? Give us a preview of what’s to come!
I’m working on a sequel called ‘Shifting Sands’, again to do with time. Here’s an excerpt.
His [Richard’s] future self continued, “The understanding of vu is misconceived. Most people think of it as a recollection of themselves having been somewhere before, but it is not they who have been there before, it is a family member in history who has the memory that is passed on.”
“Passed on, how?” Richard.
“Well, time travel is only possible by using matrilineal routing. Using thought transference, or more correctly, metaphysical telecarnation, and connecting your mind to the physical connection through your mother’s heredity. Using the umbilical cord as a tracer and conduit you can travel back through time to reach any desired point. In doing so you inevitably leave an awareness of your ‘journey’ with the temporary host. What you call ‘déjà vu’is actually a kind of harmless mental debris left behind as you travel back in time.”
“But do men have it too?”
“They will be on the umbilical chord at a point in time when the travellers pass so they too collect the mental debris, hence the occasional ‘déjà vu’ thoughts. Simple, isn’t it?” future self said.
“So, time travel is all controlled by the mind, resulting in an apparition generated by the time traveller.” Richard was sceptical, he looked bemused.
“Precisely, but the vision is more than an apparition, it’s very much a physical being in the past … Oh, just one further thing…
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
Currently, I am enjoying Dan Brown. I’ve just read Deception Point, it was a great read and I couldn’t put it down. However, my favourite book of all time, and one that probably had an influence on my imagination is, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
Where can readers find you and your work?
I have a website at http://www.balneaves.co.uk that gives more information on my books and about me. There are also links from the website to purchase, ‘The Greatest Gift’, in paperback format or as an eBook for Kindle or ePub for Kobo and Mac/iPad.
What’s your view on the self-publishing/traditional publishing thing?
Ideally, which one would you prefer and why? I have gone down the self-publishing route but that was not by choice. My editor advised that I should self-publish, build up sales and then perhaps a traditional publisher might take notice; but when you have a day job, as I do, finding time for promotion and marketing is an issue.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Yes, it’s one of my own and in fact works well with the next question. ‘Sometimes the difference between success and failure is measured only by the tiniest amount of additional effort.’
What is the most important advice you have for aspiring authors?
Together with what I said above, the most important advice is to write and not give up, but also to read. My understanding of English, both usage and grammar, has vastly increased and improved by reading the work of others.
Is there anything else you’d like to say before we finish up?
New writers should also join writing groups. In the main, I find writers to be a gregarious and generous bunch, willing, at no cost, to assist others to write well; such groups are happy to kindle [pun intended] good information and advice. It was through a writing group that this interview opportunity arose for me and I would like to thank you Lisa, for the chance to further stretch the geographical boundaries of those who might enjoy my story.
Awesome, thanks for allowing me to interview you!
Please take a moment to visit Ken at the links below!