Interview with John Kilkelly

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Jack Kerouac "On The Road" which I first read at 14 and again almost every year until now. I had no visions of America beyond TV, no sense of the jazz or even girls. It also took me years to understand the sadness of it.
How do you approach cover design?
Begin with a technical drawing that is then rendered more whimsically with a retro feel.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Jack Kerouac "Lonesome Traveler".

Stephen King "The Stand".

Salman Rushdie "Shalimar The Clown"
What do you read for pleasure?
Anthologies of short fiction: esp. Sci-fi
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Android tablet
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Search by genre
Describe your desk
Antique wooden desk, kept mainly clutter-free
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
In the UK and In Ireland: huge influence
When did you first start writing?
when I was 17. But not 'seriously' until I was 50.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"The Phoedrus Elevator" combines viable near-future technology and the optimism of Space with the fecklessness and fearfulness of Humankind, shot-through with treachery, love, and a rollicking adventure.

Tom Kelly is one of the top salespeople at the Dexter Corporation, selling equipment to build the infrastructure of space. But he has an ugly secret, carried through the years, that haunts his life.
As a bookish teen on a windswept farm in the west of Ireland, his family was shattered by the departure of his mother and by the tyranny of his father. The only thing that had held it together was Matty, his gregarious but often manic-depressive older brother.
Then one winter night Matty slaughtered their father in a fit of blind rage. And because Tom adored his brother, and was young enough to escape adult prison, they agreed he would take the blame.
But once locked up in a brutal reform school, Tom begins to regret his actions. Matty runs off to America to join the Marines. The family believes Tom to be the killer, and telling them otherwise just makes him a liar as well as a murderer. Nobody believes him. He is forsaken by all.
He escapes reform school by joining the Army, and there his luck begins to change. He has an aptitude for engineering and when his platoon in the Irish Army is seconded to the United Nations Space Agency, (UNSA) he finds himself lashed to a rocket, bound for the stars.
UNSA trains him as a rigger on one of the low-Earth orbit stations, and then as a tug pilot. But Deep Space is where he wants to go. When his time is up he chooses not to return to Earth, but instead ships out for Decca, a distant mining planet where crime has taken deep hold and where violence revisits his life. He also finds love, of a kind, for the first time.
Dismayed by the corruption and violence he finds on Decca, Tom becomes a one-man vigilante group. An UNSA investigator discovers this and forces Tom to help bring the corrupt station administrator, to justice. After a near-fatal beating and, in danger of his life, Tom returns to Earth.
As he struggles to re-acclimatize after years away, he once again tries to engage his brother, his family. Matty promises to make the truth known to them. It has been long enough, he agrees. But events conspire, the truth does not become known. Tom’s family once again refuses to believe.
And so, through the years, Tom claws his way to success in the corporate world. Once again, he returns to Space, this time to close a massive deal, the first Space Elevator, on the planet of Phoedrus. On the long journey out he finds a way to make the truth about his father’s murder known, amid a massive space disaster and a looming confrontation with a new species.
Tom is at best a rootless wanderer, at worst a violent drunk. But his search for redemption is endless and, ultimately, bears fruit.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The tools are there to make it possible, and getting the attention of publishers and agents is time-consuming and not effective.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
By giving me the tools and guidelines to format my book so that it looks coherent and credible
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Carving and editing and stumbling across new, unexpected ideas.
What do your fans mean to you?
Validation. Support. Joy.
What are you working on next?
The next story: taking a vignette from the first book and expanding upon it.
Who are your favorite authors?
Kerouac, Peter Hamilton, John Scalzi, William Gibson, Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Fear
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With family and/or friends. Drinking and Sailing.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Search and suggestion
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes
What is your writing process?
Whenever I am bored, I write: especially on airplanes and in hotels while I'm travelling for business, and also at home in the evening. I write perhaps two pages, then go back and edit. I spend more time on the edit than on the original work.
What is lacking in Science Fiction today?
Real-world situations in near-future scenarios.
Published 2015-12-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Phoedrus Elevator
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 125,560. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Tom Kelly is going back up into Space on a half-built luxury ship to sell the very first Space Elevator to the planet of Phoedrus. He drags with him a secret: he has served time for a murder he did not commit. The story takes him from Western Ireland to Inner Space on a journey of redemption. However, a sabotaged spaceship and an alien species have different ideas for him.