Interview with K. J. Ester

When did you first start writing?
I had started a new job in the automotive engineering field, and was finding myself bored at lunchtimes. I didn't want to play games on my computer every day, so I decided to write a book. I had always wanted to write a Western, but unfortunately I have never found a good map of the west from the 1800's, so if I tried to name towns or hills or whatever, it would be obvious to many readers I didnt know the land. So I decided to write a Fantasy novel. This way I could let my imagination run completely wild and nobody can tell me I was wrong.

As I started writing, I came to a realization. I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Since I was 38 years old, I had a lot of learning to do in a very short time.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Failure. Plain and simple. I believed I had it in me to be successful. After writing Hell in a Storm, I believed I had a good story and it just needed a chance, but I could not get even one agent to give the book a reading. I understand why agents go through the query letter process and so on. They would spend too much time reading books from bad writers if they didn't screen them somehow, But in my case, I believe it plays against me.

I have no past of writing. I didn't take any classes and have not won any awards or contests. I have not had any books or short stories printed anywhere. Many agents will not give someone like me as serious a look as they would someone who actually has some credentials, even if I am the better writer.

Another problem I had with query letters and synopsis are that I have a hard time figuring out how to take a hatchet to my story and explain it well in such a short telling. I don't write about one main character. So far my books have three, or more main characters and their stories come together later in the books. I find it very difficult to break that down into a short telling and still make them all sound interesting. Plain and simple, I suck at condensing.

So after failing over and over to get an agent interested, I met another indie author at work who told me about self publishing. When I looked into it on-line, I found some articles about it and I was hooked. If I ever start making enough to quit my real job and write full time, I would not even consider letting an agent take me on, so if there are any agents out there who want my books, they better find me before I get successful on my own.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It frees my imagination. I can write about anything I want and let my imagination run free.
What do your fans mean to you?
Is this a trick question? Doesn't this imply I actually have fans?

Seriously, my fans (however few I have now or many I have in the future) mean everything to me. Right now I work 50+ hours a week in automotive engineering. I work on a computer all day. When I get home, I am often burned out mentally from thinking all day. I have known others who have worked both engineering jobs and physical labor in their lives and they have agreed with me. One often goes home more exhausted after wracking their brains all day than they do after working with muscle all day. This makes it very hard for me to spend much time doing what I love most. Writing! My only hope to leave the engineering world behind and write full time (my dream), is in the hands of my fans. It will be through them buying my books. Through the fan spreading word about my books to their friends so they will buy my books. Without them, I will never get out of the engineering field.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Usually the bathroom. Honestly, right now there isnt much. I am not loving my career and I feel it is a dead end one at that. In ten years of marriage, we have seen way too many terribly tough times and so few good moments. The last three years have been one bad thing after another. Far, far more than what the normal person goes through. The only reason I get up and go to work every day is because I have responsibilities. I have bills to pay and a wife to supply for.... well, at least try to supply for.

I know this is not the answer people want to hear, but life is not always what we want. This is the truth. I get up in the morning for no other reason than responsibilities. I have to! So I hold onto the dream of making it successful as an author and that helps me get through the days after I get up. I figure that as much bad as I have faced in my life, if things are gonna even out, I have a whole lot of success coming my way! :o)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work. I come home and listen to my wife talk while I eat my re-heated dinner. I let the dog out and stand there watching it to make sure it doesn't try to eat its own poop, then I sit down and watch one or two hours of TV with my wife. She goes to bed and I return to my books if I have the mental capacity to do it that night. I go to bed and get about 5 hours of sleep each night and start it all over again the next day.

Most of my writing usually happens for an hour during my lunch every day.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, and it was pretty bad too. But I did like the character enough to revive him and use him in my trilogy. Originally his name was Joshua Stramos, but my wife pointed out it sounded like John Stamos, the actor from Full house (I think it was). As time went on, I could not get that out of my mind, so I finally changed it to Joshua Strayland. Often referred to as Stray.
What is your writing process?
I am not like many writers who build a guideline to write from. I don't create my characters ahead of time or even the plot much less all of the intricacies of the story. Usually I sit down at the computer, think of some vague and simple idea for a plot, then just start writing. When I need to give a character a name, I stop writing and sit there and think of one, then I return to writing. My stories grow as I write them. Often I will see it going one way and as I write I will suddenly have an idea and the story will go a direction I never intended. Other times I will not like the direction a story is headed and so I will go back to the last point I was liking it and delete everything after that and go a different direction. Quite often, I find myself looking forward to what is going to happen next as if I was reading the story and not writing it. That's just how my imagination works.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I remember reading was Amityville Horror. It was the first novel I ever started and finished. To be honest, I liked it a lot, but it didn't effect me. Several years later, I picked up a book my real father had laying around. A western by Louis L'Amour, called Lonesome Gods. It was a very thick book and I picked it up and started reading and finished it inside of two days. Considering I am a very slow reader, that is very quick. After that, I was hooked. I think I read every full length novel by Louis L'Amour after that.

If I had not been hooked by Louis L'Amour, I might never have needed a new book to read and borrowed the Wheel of Time book-1 from my brother. Without that, I would never have tried to write a Fantasy. Consequentially, I would never have figured out what I want to be when i grow up.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Right now, I would have to say none of them. The one thing I find I am worse at then condensing my novels is marketing.
Describe your desk
I cant afford a desk. I have my laptop on the kitchen table. Our Desk Top computer is too old and out of date for me to bother with it.
What do you read for pleasure?
Every day I go to Mlive.com and read Detroit Lions articles. When I turn in for bed at night, if its not too late, I read fantasy novels.
Who are your favorite authors?
Right now its probably Brandon Sanderson and Rothfuss at the top of the list.
What is your definition of success?
When my wife can finally relax, knowing the bills will be paid and we dont have to wear the same clothes until they are threadbare before replacing them. Then I have been successful. As an author, I do not have dreams of having a huge house on the water and traveling a lot. I'm not so grand as that. I simply want to work from home, writing my books, and know I am making enough to live comfortably in a comfortable house.
Published 2014-09-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Rise of the Seven
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 103,260. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Fantasy » General
BOOK-3 of the Demon Siege Trilogy The city of Valayas has fallen and the Uguchi are a threat to the Land of the Three Kings that few have ever imagined. Heroes of the land, young and old, must rise to face them. Armies must unite with their enemy to fight the greater danger. Great warriors will die and new heroes will be born as the darkness threatens to destroy the land.
Maroz
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 89,370. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
A shadow rises in the east, swallowing the land in darkness. Inside the shadow is Death, followed by his demons and draining the humans of their souls. Steel cannot touch Death. Even the elementals can't stand against him. If those with the powers of the elements can't stop Death, what can? A young man finds the answer and doesn't even know what it is. In his hands rests the fate of the world.
Michigan Spiders
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 13,110. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Life Sciences / Zoology / Entomology, Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Nature
(5.00 from 1 review)
A guide to the more common spiders that are around us in Michigan. With dozens of different spiders listed and pictures of them as well as information about their descriptions, size, webs and bites. Did you know there is only one truly dangerous spider in Michigan? Do you think you know what it is? You just might be surprised to learn the truth.
The Descent of Darkness
Series: Demon Siege Trilogy, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,190. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
Book-2 of the Demon Siege Trilogy The demon Arkaix, and his brothers from hell, return with the entire Uguchi nation under their control. The heroes of Mazwar return to help the angels defend the human race in a battle that sees new heroes made… and some heroes die.
LMAO Joke Book
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,150. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
150 Clean jokes that are truly worth laughing at. Not just another joke book filled with stupid humor that makes you roll your eyes, but really truly funny jokes. You will laugh your ass off when you read "LMAO Joke Book". The best part is that these jokes are all Clean Jokes that I would not be ashamed to tell my own Mother! So kick back and be ready to giggle, chuckle and laugh.
The Steakhouse Cowboys
Price: Free! Words: 2,340. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Brett and Harry are cowboys in the truest sense of the word. They are hard, tough, and serious men who take their jobs and steaks serious.
Hell in a Storm
Series: Demon Siege Trilogy, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 76,750. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
The King of Mazwar is possessed by the High Demon, Shirakhul, and has initiated a curse that threatens the human race. Their only hope is in the disappearance of the king’s youngest daughter. The angels turn to a few battled hardened men to find the young woman before Shirakhul does. Finding the girl will be dangerous. Keeping her safe is another matter all together. (re-edited 1/27/14)