Here’s what Spotlight is about; it’s an interview that promotes you! It will feature questions that are formatted to your needs. Questions will be focused on your work, upcoming work and some personal [but not intrusive] questions for your fans to get to know you more!
Today features Kevin Saito
Tell us about yourself – Well, I was born and raised in Southern California. I moved around a lot as a kid but we moved to Long Beach shortly before my junior year of high school and it’s a place I still call home. I graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in History and had planned on a long, fulfilling career in teaching. Unfortunately, given the fact the economy tanked, education took a massive hit and teachers in my field are having an incredibly tough time finding jobs, that career path isn’t really working out for me right now. Hopefully, sometime before I die, I’ll have my own classroom. But that unfortunate turn of events has really helped lead me back to my ultimate passion in life… writing. Which has been a big blessing but I do one day hope to also get to teach. I currently live with my wonderful, amazing girlfriend, Kristen Duvall, her demon cat and the sweetest puppy dog in the world, her Great Dane, Annabelle.
Share with us some of your interests – I love to travel and would one day love to live in Europe. I love reading and writing, sports, music, movies and I love to cook. I also love skiing, hiking and spending time at the beach. Luckily, I live in California and can do all of those things!
What makes you the person you are? – My past. My present. The amazing people I have in my life from my sister, to my girlfriend to the absolutely wonderful people I call my friends. Growing up as I did, I’ve learned that family isn’t all about blood. It’s about the people you choose to fill your world and the people who love you unconditionally. I’ve learned that the past is a useful teacher but that it doesn’t have to define you, that you can break free from it and choose to live a better, happier life.
About your writing;
When did you start writing? – I wrote my first story when I was about 13 I think? It was a horrid sci-fi piece that I shake my head at whenever I see it but I remember loving the process of writing.
What inspires you to write? – What inspires me to write is my love of books. I love that they can transport me to a different world, introduce me to different people and take me on adventures. I love that books can make me think and truly make me feel. To be able to share that with other people, to make them think and feel with nothing more than words… It’s just an amazing feeling and it really helps fuel my writing.
How has writing change you as a person? – I definitely see the world and people differently. A lot of times, I see stuff in what some folks might think is mundane that makes me say, “hey, that would be great fodder for a story.” It’s definitely changed how I see and relate to things.
Adding some fun;
If you spend the rest of your life in a novel or novel series, what novel would it be and why? – I think it would have to be in Middle Earth. There’s something I love so much about the world Tolkien created and I’d love to spend my days in the Shire, I think. It’s peaceful, serene, you get second breakfasts and every once in a while, you get to go have an adventure!
Share a couple of your favorite things and or things you like? – I love the beach, hiking in the mountains, cooking and trying out new recipes, music, movies, travel, sports, reading and writing.
What couldn’t you live without? – Hmmmm… well, books, of course. The ability to write. Music. Sushi. Diet Cherry Pepsi. My girlfriend. And animals.
In the literacy world who do you think is a misunderstood character and why? – Harry Bosch from the Michael Conelly series. He comes across as a real hardass and at times, highly unlikeable. But Harry is a good guy who does the right thing (or tries to) and doesn’t suffer fools well. He doesn’t play politics which often gets him into trouble and he’s not a real great team guy according to some. Harry is a strong and very loyal guy who is haunted by his past and uses is as fuel to do his job and live his life. He’s a very complicated character and one who I *always* enjoy reading.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about writing? – I think Stephen King’s “On Writing” has really helped shift the way I think about writing. It’s made it a more accessible process to me because instead of trying to adhere to a set of rigid rules and structures, it empowered me to create my own processes and structures… to do what works for me instead of trying to work in a fashion that works for others. We’re all different as people so it makes sense that we’d be different as writers as well.
Is there a character that annoys you in the literacy world? Or even one of your own? – Holden Caulfield is the most annoying character to me, hands down. There is nothing about him I like and his petulant attitude does nothing but irritate me. Immediately after finishing Catcher in the Rye, I dropped the book and wanted to slap him silly.
What do you look for in a publishing company as they will end up representing your work? – Freedom, to be honest. I don’t like being penned into any one thing. I like to have the freedom to explore my work and my characters and carry my project through to completion just as I’d envisioned it in my head. I don’t want to ever be put in a position where I have to conform to what’s “hot” and what’s “now” just to have somebody’s stamp of approval. And honestly, I’ve been really fortunate to have that freedom with Fey Publishing. It’s been a real pleasure putting together both of the books that are being published through Fey.
How do you stay confident in yourself especially by putting yourself out there in the internet world? – I have my moments of “OHMYGODSICOMPLETELYSUCKKILLMENOW” but for the most part, I just throw it out there and try to not stress or obsess about things too much. Some people are going to like what I put out and some won’t. It’s the nature of the beast. The key is to simply be happy with what you produce… being satisfied with your own work and unafraid to put it out there is what really matters.
How do you handle rejection? What advice can you offer to moving past it? – I think I handle rejection pretty well. It’s all a part of the game and it’s not a personal thing, it’s just business, as they say. Rejection comes with the territory. The only advice I have to offer to move past it is to just not take things personally, let it roll off your back and keep in mind that you will never, no matter how hard you try, please everybody all of the time. Learn from criticisms, grow from them. But don’t internalize them. Don’t let them tear you down. And most of all, don’t let them make you doubt yourself.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? – Nothing incredibly profound unfortunately. All I can say is to NEVER give up, ALWAYS keep writing and get your stories out and don’t let ANYBODY come between you and your dream.
Featuring your work and or upcoming work;
Tell us about your book [s] – “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!
My 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 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.
Who is your favorite character and why? [If you can share without spoiling your work] – Tough question… In “From the Edge of Darkness” I have to go with either Edgar… a really sick and sadistic serial killer who is a little more complex than he seems… or Shadow, the feline hero from one of the stories. Because come on, who doesn’t love cats?
In “Shattered Honor” it’s Danny, of course. He’s a very complicated character and one who, in a lot of ways, I can relate to on the deeper levels.
What character do you hope readers understand? – I hope they understand both Edgar and Danny. Edgar does some really horrid things but there are a lot of underlying issues that he’s had to deal with in his life that have shaped him into who and what he is.
Ditto that with Danny. He’s definitely not necessarily the white-hatted, choir-boy of a hero but I hope that people will understand his motivations and the reasons why he does what he does.
Choosing a character or even yourself, can you give us a sample playlist of music that would follow said person? – I tend to think that Danny from “Shattered Honor” would have a lot of Metallica and Disturbed in heavy rotation… “One”, “Enter Sandman”, “Battery”, “Down with the Sickness”, “The Animal”, “Indestructable”… all songs that are definitely on his iPod.
Have you had trouble writing about any of your characters? – I’ve had trouble with some of my shorter pieces, honestly. Especially with somebody like Edgar from the story “Legacy.” It’s really hard to write about some of the really awful things he does.
What would you like readers to get from your book (s) ? – To be perfectly honest, and I hope this doesn’t sound corny or trite, but a nice little vacation from their own lives. I want to people to be entertained and I want them to feel. I want to tell them a story that they will enjoy and will allow them to just escape for a little while.
In your book (s) what had been the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far? – Honestly, the hardest challenge I have is avoiding distractions and staying on task. The internets has about a billion different shiny things that are fun to play with and it’s hard to be slogging through something and not get sucked into the lastest Facebook drama or Twitter flame war.
How is this world a better place because of your books? – I hope that it’s a little bit better of a place. I hope that people enjoy reading my work and that it brings them some form of enjoyment and pleasure. If people are enjoying being told a good story that takes them away from the mundane, even if only for a little while, then I’d say yes, the world might be a little bit better of a place.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would (they / it) be? – Honestly, I don’t know that I’d want to meet any of them for fear of winding up dead myself. There seems to be lots of… instability and volatility that runs through a lot of my characters. If I had to pick one, it would be Shadow the cat from a short piece called “Sentinel.”
If you had to write a scene for a character of your choice that would put them in an awkward situation how would it go? – I think the most awkward position I could put Edgar (from “Legacy”) in is a family reunion and forcing him to hang out with his parents again.
What do you to for marketing? – Trying to figure it out as I go for the most part! Of course, I have the Facebook page and the Twitter page so at the moment, I’m relying on a lot of word of mouth. I’m hoping that as I continue on down this path, I’ll learn some more sophisticated marketing techniques as well.
Promote your books in a sentence or less 🙂
- “From the Edge of Darkness” is an intense, fun, rollicking roller coaster of scares that range from the paranormal to creatures of myth to serial killers and will, hopefully, freak you out just a little bit.
- “Shattered Honor” follows Danny Perkins as he returns home from Afghanistan to a life he barely recognizes where he is forced to choose between being consumed by the darkness inside of him or to walk a darker path with the potential for a brighter future ahead.
(If more than one work, a sentence for EACH work, you’re not limited to one sentence for more than one piece of work.)
What are you working on now? – Right now, I’m working on some shorts and some novellas in a variety of genres that I’ll be self-pubbing.
Kevin Saito’s Links;
Links that readers can contact and or connect with you at
@Kevin_Saito on Twitter
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