Interview with Derek Stirling Kerr

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
For the most part I grew up in the rural southeast of South Australia, in a town of approximately 2,000 people. Not the smallest town, but no bustling hub either. And beyond that our family moved to the UK three times before I left high school...and back again. I've always been drawn to storytelling, either what I read or what I create myself, that is beyond what I'm familiar with. Whilst a rural life undoubtedly made it easier for me to get creative in some aspects (such an excellent way to escape my immediate environment, despite having many great experiences and fond memories) I was never interested in expressing my geographical experiences in anything I wrote. I've always been driven by questions and interests and ideas that I'm certain at some level predate and supersede any influence of my childhood environment, even as those experiences would have helped reinforce or perhaps muddied for a while those particular focuses.
When did you first start writing?
My very first serious attempt at writing was in primary school. I was probably only nine or ten. The incident and my teacher stand out more clearly for me than my specific age. I had written a very long story of a whole page! My teacher very kindly and supportively suggested that I might want to use less 'ands' and more commas and full stops, the only full stop being at the end of the page. My writing journey has progressed in fits and starts since then.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Hmmm...four stories in one book, all spanning approximately six thousand years. Where to begin?!
Essentially it all revolves around those age old questions of "Why am I here?" "What is my purpose?" "Is this all there is?" and that quest we all have to feel we have a place in this experience, that we are at some level worthy of even existing, that we deserve to be here, as well as the drive to understand if there is something more to who and what we are, beyond the physical. Are we more than what we perceive ourselves to be? Are we part of something greater than our physical self and our physical experiences?
The themes of this book, and those to follow, are very heavily influenced by questions posed through quantum physics, a variety of new age philosophies and particularly the combined volume of A Course In Miracles. Is what we perceive in our experience real? What is reality? Who or what is the creator and who or what is the created?
Each storyline follows a particular set of characters either grappling with these very issues, or learning a particular character's rather unique perspective on them and seeing the results of that learning. Each storyline in turn dovetails through every other storyline in one way or another on the more mundane level.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There is a stubborn part of me that is very anti establishment! And that's a part fairly strongly rooted in situations where I perhaps feel I don't have much leverage. I'm not a fan of being told what to do. With this being my first novel, and my awareness of the format and themes not necessarily fitting neatly into a publishing house notion of a sellable work, going indie seemed like a very nice fit for getting the ball rolling.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's very early days so far. Less than a month at the time of writing this. Stay tuned...
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Those moments where the words write themselves! When a new idea lands out of the blue, that I had not anticipated and yet it's one that fits perfectly, even as it potentially disrupts so many other aspects of what I'd intended. It's those moments when the creative process feels truly creative and not just a case of getting words out for the sake of it.
What do your fans mean to you?
When I have some I'll let you know.
In anticipation, however, if what I write is able to bring some entertainment to people, or perhaps even some insights or inspiration, then I will be truly happy. And any individuals providing me with feedback and encouragement or support (which I guess would then make them a fan?) will most certainly have my thanks and gratitude. Having fans would mean having made a connection of value, be it for just that book or those books yet to come, and a positive connection is most definitely a wonderful thing.
What are you working on next?
Gosh! My next focus in part is on getting my arse into gear and marketing this first novel. Beyond that, the sequel is in process (and there's nine volumes planned for this particular series). I'm aiming to complete that in a year, work constraints permitting. I'm also starting to explore the possibilities of joint work with a graphic artist, as I'd really like to see some visual representations of the world I've created, beyond my own sketches and imaginings.
Who are your favorite authors?
Mary Renault was an early favourite in high school, as I had a bit of a love for ancient Greece when I stumbled upon her work.
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa was the man to set me along the path of spirituality (with his focus on Tibetan Buddhism), as well as UFO's, the paranormal and a whole lot more.
Stephen King has been a consistent fave. JRR Tolkien for such an influential body of work. Likewise Frank Herbert.
My tastes invariably change over the years. I loved reading Marion Zimmer Bradley for a while. Likewise Julian May, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker.
I've just finished rereading Xenocide by Orson Scott Card, am ploughing through Discipline by local author Joel Rheinberger, before I dip my toes back into some Peter F Hamilton.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Each day is another opportunity to unravel the layers of misperception I find myself shrouded in about life, the universe and everything! It's another opportunity to explore the answer to the question of "Who am I?" and to see what the next step of my journey will involve.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time? this point I haven't given up the day job! I'm currently a barista working in two different cafes. That takes up the bulk of six days a week at present. Beyond that time is filled with reading, fermenting vegetables, endeavouring to grow a variety of herbs and vegetables on my balcony, meditating, completing the lessons within A Course In Miracles, and being distracted by the world around me. Oh, and enjoying brunch and a nice coffee in a cafe I don't work in!
Published 2016-12-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Kiyron: Tr Halsien Zjeur - Volume 1 - Awakenings
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 336,680. Language: Australian English. Published: November 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Wars are coming. Dangers terrestrial and celestial, visible and unknown, will threaten everyone and everything during events spanning six millennia, the prophecies of Lieoptay-Noot and the foreseen Kajin Rabiel influencing it all. But on a world where even the metaphysically gifted, the genetically engineered and androids can’t determine all the threats they face, will their efforts be enough?