Meet the Author: Kent Wayne
This is your book fanatic Jonny, and I’m super happy to revive my segment ‘Meet the Author.’
Since last August, I’ve been adjusting to grad school, but I’ve finally worked some things out time management wise and I want to continue this segment to share the spotlight on talented authors. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Today I’m interviewing Kent Wayne, scifi and fantasy author.
I grew up as a nerd in the nineties, devouring comics, science fiction, fantasy, and playing D&D before any of those were cool. This was when Borders Books was still around. I used to lounge around in their cafes, reading oodles of graphic novels. Sad to say, but my nerdiness overwhelmed my respect for the law; I would surreptitiously peel off the protective plastic on their comics so I could peruse their insides with my greedy nerd eyes.
But I was no ordinary nerd—I was an ANGRY nerd. So I ended up joining the military, and directed my nerdiness into metabolic training, fasting, ketosis, and a bunch of super-nerd fitness stuff.
Don’t thank me for my service; the military set me up with great opportunities. After I got out, I went to school, started writing, and found I had a bit of talent (enough to finish a book and entertain people, at least). My nerdiness continued blossoming, pushing into psychedelics and jiu jitsu. While this was happening, I gradually mellowed out. You can see this in my writing where I started with ultraviolent scifi, progressed to subversive comedy, then to fun YA fantasy, which is where I’m at right now.
Hi Kent, thanks so much for doing this with me. To keep things interesting, I like to ask my interviewees a random question to get the blood flowing. Here’s yours!
A spaceship comes crashing out of the sky into your backyard. As a last act of kindness, the alien is willing to bestow upon you any power you choose. What is your decision?
Like many people, I’ve thought about my superpower of choice for quite some time. I wanted something useful and consistently fun, which for me, automatically nixes out flight, telepathy, super strength, super healing (flight would get boring after awhile, telepathy would drive me insane knowing peoples’ secrets, super strength would also get boring, super healing would lead to some really gruesome scenarios…) I’ve gone down the list, carefully weighing pros and cons for tons of abilities. After years of consideration, I’ve finally whittled my preferences down to a singular power:
Making people poop at my whim.
I could win any fight, I wouldn’t have to hurt anyone, and I could exact my vengeance in one of the most devastating (and amusing ways) known to man. No use arguing with me, because with a quick flex of my deviant mind, I could conjure an “enemy at the gates” situation, only in someone’s soon-to-be-dilated anus. If I was feeling charitable, I’d make ’em pass a minimal-wipe log, but if they were pissing me off, then it’d be time for them to pee out their butthole. You know that sensation where you’re running to the bathroom, fighting to keep from pooping yourself with every iota of your entire being? Channeling that power would make me a king among men. Fecalkinesis is the best damn superpower you could ever wish for.
Oh my gosh, you’re making my sides hurt over here!
That’s got to be the most original answer I’ve seen to this question so far, and man, it’s a good one! You’d always have the advantage because when nature calls, your opponent has to stop and attend to their business.
I agree with you that flight could get a bit bland and telepathy is a little invasive. I don’t wanna know what people are constantly thinking about. I’d probably end up walking up to people and just saying
I think today I’m feeling shapeshifter power. Anytime I don’t wanna deal with people or life, BAM! I turn into my black cat Ajax and just relax on the bed. Don’t mind these two oddly identical black cats, nothing to see here.
Kent and the Writing Process
As a writer, what kind of goals do you set for yourself? How do you achieve them?
As a writer, the most important goal I set for myself is a daily word count. If time is tight, then I set aside time instead of word count, because depending on how the muse is feeling, my word count could be more or less. If I have stuff to do, I might not be able to hit a specific count, but I can definitely get the time in. Even if it’s fifteen minutes (which, if the words are flowing, can amount to 250 words), I put in the time.
I feel this is the most important aspect of writing—to flex my writing muscles on a daily basis. It’s incredibly important to write badly, because you can clean things up in the editing process.
That’s a great goal, whether you measure it by time or word count. The whole ‘use it or lose it’ mentality really does apply with writing in my opinion. If we don’t use our creativity, we can get a bit rusty and then you spend too much time readjusting to the way you did things before.
It’s tough to accept that first draft with all its flaws, but hey, that’s how novels get written. I think over time we get a lot better with accepting that. After all, that why we go through numerous drafts for each project. It gets refined with time, and nothing’s perfect on the first try.
What is your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is when I’m surprised by my characters. After I’ve established their personalities, and once I craft the general situation I envisioned in the beginning, they’ll say unexpected stuff or do something wild. Sometimes, they create an entirely new subplot which I have to weave into the main story. Writing is a beautiful mix between utter control (since you, as a writer, are essentially a god) and exhilarating surrender.
I couldn’t agree more! I’m more of a plotter by nature, so I plan things out. However, the characters grow as you write and can definitely surprise you from time to time by saying something you didn’t expect or opening up a new direction you hadn’t considered before. Writing really is quite the tug-of-war between those two elements.
If you could give advice to new writers, what would you say?
If I could give advice to new writers, I would tell them to pay attention to rhythm and cadence. Writing is a lot like music or dance, in that the words and sentences have a tempo. You want repetition (like in an eight-count for dancing) but not too much, or your story won’t pop. A practical example would be connecting phrases through the word “and,” which flattens the rhythm. (Kent ate food and he wondered about the weather and tapped his foot and…). A comma between those phrases creates a rolling effect. (Kent ate food, wondering about the weather as he tapped his foot). Sometimes you want a flat rhythm (good for creating a serial killer-like thought pattern) and sometimes not. But you want to be aware of the rhythm between words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. How many times have you read a book where something awesome was happening, then the author cuts away to a scene where the tempo is completely different and you have to read an entire chapter before you get back to the excitement? Maybe it’s just me, but I get annoyed whenever I see that herky-jerky rhythm.
That’s some great advice. Thanks for sharing that. I personally call it flow, but it’s essentially the same thing. Writing has to read a certain way to grip the reader and keep them engaged. Sentence structure plays a huge part of that. I tend to read out loud when double checking my editing to make sure it rolls off the tongue easily and doesn’t sound clunky. My cat looks at me funny, but hey, do what works for you to refine that writing!
Fun Facts About Kent
Could you tell us a couple fun facts about you?
I went through most of my life as an insecure meathead. Nevertheless, I harbor a variety of non-meathead interests. I was a nerd as a kid, so I know how to play AD&D 2nd Edition (that’s Dungeons and Dragons, for the uninitiated), I teach myself dancing through YouTube, and I love jiu-jitsu, even though I can only go twice a week due to injuries.
I used to read comics when I was younger, years before they were considered cool, so it’s nice to see people flocking to the characters in the last two decades. When I read the original Infinity Gauntlet run in elementary school, I never, EVER thought I’d see Thanos on the big screen in a blockbuster movie. Nice to see that nerds are taking over.
Great factoids! We have a lot in common. Though I never really considered myself an official member of the D&D squad, I have participated and had a lot of fun. It’s just too much of a time suck with authorship and everything else.
I was also a little nerdy kid who read comic books all the time! My mom would take me on weekends to the comic book store and I would get my grubby little mitts on as many X-Men comics as humanly possible. I still have a nice little collection in my closet, though I never have time to read them.
What kind of music touches your soul?
The kind of music that touches my soul completely defies my meathead exterior. When I’m lifting at the gym, no one would guess I’m listening to Taylor Swift, BTS, or various forms of cheerful girly pop. I’ve listened to this music while writing about giant cyborgs that are torturing kids and pulling their sacrum out through their belly (Apex in Echo 4), so I hope that doesn’t mean I’m secretly nuts.
I love the irony of what you write compared to what you listen to, and if you’re nuts, then I’m definitely nuts too! I’m very eclectic but almost exclusively live in ambient musicland inside and outside of writing. I don’t know, there’s something transcendent about soundscapes that I can’t seem to break from, and I’m always hunting down more. Whatever inspires you with music towards writing, embrace it!
Who is your favorite writer?
My favorite writer is Stephen King, specifically the Drawing of Three. I love the scenes where Roland interacts with Earthling culture, especially the part where he eats a tuna fish sandwich and has his first drink of Pepsi.
Oh, I’ve actually read that one! It’s been a minute, but I remember loving it. I’m just bad continuing on with longer series, so I never finished The Dark Tower. I’m going to just throw out some indie names here of some of my favorite writers: Iseult Murphy (horror), Priscilla Bettis (horror), Teri Polen (scifi/fantasy/horror), and Tammie Painter (all genres).
Kent and His Works
Tell us about your upcoming book!
My upcoming book is Weapons of Old, the second volume in a series titled The Unbound Realm. The first book, A Door into Evermoor, set up a lot of the long-term conflict.
Jon (my main character) is a college kid who is facing many of the dilemmas that I was facing as a younger man: he feels that the path before him is devoid of meaning, and that college is kind of the beginning of the end. Then he gets sucked into a fantasy-world portal, where he finds out his dog is secretly a Wolven King, he meets thieves and Duelists, and crushes on a half-Elf princess.
With Weapons of Old, I want to flesh out the fantasy side of things. Thus far, my characters have encountered buildings that move and shift so they can accommodate magical plants that need certain kinds of sunlight (dusk, dawn, etc.), an Ogre trapped in a tower who has lost most of his intelligence because a sword is buried in his head (it’s still there, visibly sticking out), and the fantasy version of the Golden Age of Piracy.
Well first off, congrats on continuing your new series! It sounds like you’re really putting your heart and soul into it, and I can’t wait to get started on reading some of your work.
Wow, buildings that move and shift? That very original and paints quite the picture in my head. I bet the sword in the Ogre’s head definitely slows him down a bit mentally. It can’t be good for the brain cells, haha!
Best of luck with this new endeavor!
What inspired you to write this series?
I was inspired to write these books because of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I wanted an Earthling view into something fantastic. Even as a kid, before I started facing those dreaded questions of “What do you want to do when you grow up?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I remember looking around and thinking This can’t be it. So these YA fantasies are a tribute to that younger Kent, the guy who’s firmly convinced that “There are other worlds than these.” To be honest, I still believe that.
You are preaching to the choir! I’ve always been a huge fan of books revolving around fantasy worlds, portals, and parallel dimensions. There’s an allure to the escapism of it all that draws certain readers in, and I just know you’ll do it justice. If there are other worlds to explore, I want to go!
Alright, Kent. Looks like our time is almost up. Before we go, do you have a favorite character in your upcoming book? Why are they your favorite?
My favorite character in my book is my main character. When I was Jon’s age, I was a sullen dick because I was too afraid of being publicly embarrassed. Jon, however, knows he’s a doof and he isn’t afraid to show it. It kind of goes along with his low-key audacity; he’s willing to enter a parallel dimension in order to escape the white-picket life. Making a fool of himself isn’t really a big deal, when you think about his willingness to leave Earth.
I can definitely see why he’s your favorite, and I like that he’s a part of you. I think as authors we tend to spread little shards of ourselves in our work. It’s interesting to see how that manifests.
Also, I don’t blame Jon at all. If I had the choice to go to a parallel dimension (that wasn’t overrun with zombies or some insane horror pocket dimension), I’d be way too curious to pass it up, although I’d definitely bring something sharp with me just in case.
Thanks again for joining me Kent, and best of luck with your current and future writing projects!
That’s a Wrap!
All righty bookworms, that wraps up my interview with Kent Wayne. I had a great time chatting it up with him, and I hope you enjoyed the experience too!
If you’d like to learn more about Kent and his work, he can be reached at the social media links provided below.
Thank you for stopping by, and have a great day!
Social Media Links