Dawn of the Shadow, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Dawn of the Shadow?
PETER KELLY: It’s the beginning or origin story of a new hero. The story starts not in present day but in the past. A galactic war between two races which has been going on for years is the start. The leaders of the races at war are Gregorias. A warrior of legendary power who leads the Cromanuts. His powers, unique in nature, lead the Cromanuts to victory. The leader of the antagonistic race, the Sumerians, is Bocchio. A genius of science and war, Bocchio leads the Sumerians in hope of galactic domination. In danger of losing the war he starts a final plan. On the Cromanuts home world Bocchio secretly builds a lab in which he creates a weapon to alter the war forever. His plan was to gain Gregorias’ DNA and try and create several warriors with his powers. However, the home world of the Cromanuts undergoes a drastic change. The lab is buried and Bocchio’s plan stopped. Fast forward to the present and enter Pete Farrell whose life is altered forever. A class clown who spent his entire life in the shadows of his smarter, more popular friends Tim and Mark. However, by accident or fate he finds the lab and inside of it the device which changes everything. The machine turns Pete from the average boy he was to something extraordinary. Little by little Pete exhibits powers that allow him to lead a life he could only dream about. With this new life, however, a darkness is born, brought about from a life of always being in the background, the shadows. This darkness is nurtured by the return of Bocchio. Freed from a frozen prison the day Pete found the lab Bocchio hopes to regain the power he lost by unleashing his incredible technology onto the world. Using the criminal underground, Bocchio begins to regain his power. Wanting Pete as his solider he begins to nurture this aggressive, dark side turning him away from those he loves. Just as Pete is about to turn forever a terrible loss happens that changes his destiny. Bocchio attempts to eliminate Pete and move forward with his plan. Lost between the boy he was and the man he was becoming, Pete is saved through a story from his families past. Realizing who he really is, Pete decides to stop Bocchio and redeem himself. Taking the name Shadow, he takes to the air and begins a final battle. The fight leads to an epic clash of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, and choice vs. destiny. Pete’s life becomes defined through the following words. Darkness rises, The Shadow falls, Light remains.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you create and maintain dramatic tension?
PETER KELLY: Tension in storytelling only works if the situation is believable. I’ve always been someone who had the belief that a person's experiences define how they will react. A normal man or woman who never had an ounce of trouble in the world won't become violent or dangerous without outside factors. For tension to work, especially in a superhero story, the factors that weigh on the character's decisions need to be realistic. Creating Pete Farrell, I needed to imagine a hero before the powers, before the need to save lives. Background for characters in superhero stories factors in as well, but for me a story of a rich orphan or an orphaned alien from another world couldn’t work. I used the idea that this kid was a good person, an average guy who never wanted to hurt anyone. Then I thought what if this guy who wasn’t an athlete or the popular guy on campus was suddenly given the power to be better than all of them? The possibilities seemed endless as it could really push either way. But for me I liked the idea that even a good person can be flawed at their core. Open the door for someone like that to live with godlike powers and the question of how will they react is how you maintain tension. Once that question was answered I expanded it to how will those around him react. How will his friends react, or his family? Life can be so smooth and calm if it stays on the path we create by our choices and decisions. Alter a little here or there things don’t really change. However, by changing someone who's built to be so good like Pete Farrell so profoundly, the ripple effects expand beyond just those around the main character. That is how I create tension in my stories, not just in Dawn. I look at the ripple effect on more then just the surrounding environment. Each choice we make changes things in profound ways. It makes for interesting story telling, at least in my opinion, when you look beyond that first choice.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
PETER KELLY: It's more or less about deciding who I want to be the well rounded characters and who I want to be sticks in the mud. I start with two questions: is the main focus one character or a group. I then move to create a back story in my head for the characters. In Dawn of the Shadow, I spend a long time dipping into the back story for four characters. In the stories I create I look a lot at my own life and how each person has their niche. Whose the funny guy, the smart one, the leader etc. Really all my stories I try and use my own life to try and mold my characters. My best friends become the inspiration for me when I develop the core nit of characters. I base how none are the same how I see them and that transplants on to the page. Tim Davis, a key character in Dawn, was based on a friend who was very much a kind of leader. When creating this story Tim was the guy who led the group. He was for me the guy with all the answers. It felt like a payoff when the truth of everything came to light and we read how this guys entire world is turned upside down. With the other characters I took the same amount of time creating personalities that would differ from one another but ultimately fit together. I also wanted to make sure that when the floor dropped out from all of the characters that it would hit them all, that each character would react differently.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
PETER KELLY: When you write a book about a superhero you already have a set audience in place. Comic book readers look for stories of such grand creation that they get lost in them. Writing a superhero novel instead of a comic I needed to follow the same type of path to keep those readers. But you can’t just rely on comic book readers because in a world of ebooks, Kindles, and Nooks I needed to try and expand. I have tried to target science fiction readers for a variety of reasons. I am a huge fan of sci-fi books, especially from author Timothy Zahn. Those readers, fans of books written to inspire a persons imagination, are the ideal readers I wanted. In my experience I believe the best storytellers come from science fiction. By balancing the wondrous and extraordinary with simple time tested storytelling the mixture can be off sometimes. But the best sci-fi authors can combine them and create tales that live on.
I want those readers who recognize that kind of talent.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
PETER KELLY: My journey actually started when I was in my teens. I had been writing short stories since my days in grade school. One day, however, I had this idea for a story about this hero. I didn’t have any illusions about it at the time but the story was there. I had been working late nights at a movie theater so I spent most of time writing it then. The story grew to such a level that I was dreaming about what I was seeing on paper. After a time I finished it and started the editing process. While doing this I started the long journey of finding a publisher. Any first time author, any author in fact, will tell this is the hardest part. I spent years sending out my manuscript to both the big publishing houses and small ones. It became heart breaking getting form letters back saying your work isn’t right for us at this time. All the effort and time spent on writing my first book and I hit the roof. A little over a year ago I had just about given up. Figured that maybe my work wasn’t for everyone. Then I came across a new publishing house called Dreambooks LLC. I didn’t know much about them but I took the chance. Well after a promising first conversation they wanted to help clean up the book some more. Eventually after a few months they sent me a contract. It was a years long journey but Feb 2 the book was released onto Amazon.com. It was worth all the heartbreak and anxiety just to see my name on the cover of the book.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
PETER KELLY: It's been called both a blessing and curse but my process is more or less to just write. Brainstorming ideas, and prewriting never worked for me. It all comes down to an idea. Some form of inspiration that starts the chain. I start the project by writing what I see in my head. Usually if the idea is fully formed I can go weeks writing out the story. However, the curse of this process is once I hit wall it stops me cold. It slows down everything to the point where it becomes like a car engine back firing. Each time I tried starting again it just didn’t take. But just like the beginning of the project, something happens that sparks and the story starts again. Usually I can go weeks but there are times when it stops and writers block takes hold. When I am finished I go back and try and edit the work. This is where I find the real problems. Moving forward to the point where I just keep writing I make many mistakes. The blessings come in the form of such a clear image of the tale I am writing, while the curses come afterwards.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
PETER KELLY: As I mentioned, Timothy Zahn for one. Tolkien is another for a variety of reasons but for me the scope of his stories. Take the most popular story of all time, The Lord of the Rings. The characters and the scale of the stories take such a talent to create. Zahn has the same ability to expand a story to such a grand scale that you get lost in it. Zahn’s storytelling is one of the biggest reasons I became such a fan of sci-fi adventures. His method transcends the normal science fiction storytelling making them accessible to normal audiences.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
PETER KELLY: I don’t know really how to answer this question. I would love to say I wrote half a dozen books I’ve read just because they are so good. The one book I would have love to been associated with is The Lord of the Rings. I don’t think I could have done it better though just to say you’ve written something as beloved as these books it. I think though if I had written them I would have condensed them to maybe expand the series. Each had so much information that sometimes it felt like they were a book not a series. That’s why I loved them so much. But if I were to write them then that would be my change. It would allow for a book primarily on the horse lords, or even Faramir and his fight. But in the end Tolkien wrote a masterpiece that I still can’t find fault with.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
PETER KELLY: In the age wireless Internet connections on phones and computers, I’ve done everything I can to make a name for myself. Because I am still so new at marketing my work, everything I have done has been about getting my name out. It may sound funny but I constantly Google my name just to see what comes up. I go constantly on websites and forums trying to get people asking questions about the book. I’ve done interviews on blog sites both local and foreign. My entire plan has been to make the name Peter Kelly something people have heard before. My hope was once they knew who I am that they would give my work a chance. I have been fortunate to gain some success. On the following sites I’ve found interesting authors who have given me help and advice and good reviews.
Each site opened me up to a newer audience, which just increased the knowledge people had of me.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
PETER KELLY: The world of publishing has changed so much. Ebooks, Kindles, and Nooks are all making the normal paperback, hardback book a thing of the past. Getting your book on the Kindle will reach a much larger audience than ever before. I admit to having my own fears about the Kindle as I just don’t know enough about it. However the book does allow a chance to reach a new breed of readers. In a bookstore everyone mostly goes for the popular book or the one with the popular author. But having a Kindle book allows reader to find their less known book and have a chance against an author will the backing market their book with money.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
PETER E. KELLY: Honestly the best advice I can think of is don’t be afraid of failure. The best authors all went through a period when someone said no. As good as your work may be and as long as you may have worked on your work, someone will always have a differing opinion. Keep moving forward, don’t let anything stop you from achieving your goal. In the end you’ll get where your going it just takes time. The best tool a new author has is patience. It will protect them from the noes, and will keep them sane while finishing their work.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dawn of The Shadow. My name is Peter Kelly; born May 10, 1983 in Philadelphia PA. I am the son of Frank and Joan Kelly, with three brothers (I’m the youngest) and 4 sisters. Writing for me always split into two different fields; science fiction and sports. Throughout high school I spent much of my time writing short stories and such but never did anything to get them published. I went to the Community College of Philadelphia where I decided to attain my associates degree in Communications. My end goal was to move on to Temple University to get my bachelors degree in Journalism. My career aspirations was to be a sports writer and cover Philadelphia sports. During this time I had a part time job working in a movie theater. I had such unusual hours that I started writing Shadow by hand in copy books. Again I didn’t at first think of getting it published as my first concern was being a journalist. I graduated CCP and moved on to Temple. By this time Shadow was finished and I started shopping it around to see if it would be possible to get it published. I graduated Temple University getting my bachelors degree but my efforts to be a sports writer didn’t happen. However, at this point I had been in contact with my future publisher Dream books. They showed an interest in Dawn of the Shadow. After three months and some redoing of the work to clean it up, Dream books signed me. While not technically signed for another book the agreement was for the start of a new series. The second of which I am nearly finished which I titled Shadow of The Night. I also intend to release a third book which I titled Its Just a Family Thing. This book takes me away from the science fiction genre and into conspiracy. The future looks bright as with each finished book I feel my writing has grown and improved. Where this will take me I don’t know I hope success is around the corner."
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