Interview with John Kenny

What do you read for pleasure?
My reading tastes are very broad. I don't stick to just one genre. Among my favorites are thrillers, historical fiction, biography, the classics and science fiction.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle. I confess, I'm still getting used to it. I'm of that age where adapting to new technology doesn't come as easily. For me there's still nothing like stretching out on the couch with a good cup of coffee, the cat purring on my lap and a real paper and ink book in my hands.
Describe your desk
A bit like Harry Potter's room. We're a little tight for space and my desk is tucked underneath to open stairs to the second floor. It's also usually quite cluttered.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in Toronto. My father was a professor at the University of Toronto. His specialty was Arabic language and history, so we travelled to the Middle East quite a bit and I spent several years of my childhood there. I set The Spark in Toronto because it's the city I know and love, but I think growing up abroad gives a person a wider perspective on life and an insight into the way people think and behave.
When did you first start writing?
I loved making up stories as a kid, but never wrote them down. Like a lot of us, I started writing bad, love-sick poetry in High School. Fortunately for everyone, I grew out of that. At the University of Toronto I wrote for the "Toike Oike" the Engineering Society's satire paper. It's sort of a Canadian version of the "Harvard Lampoon". It was crude and politically incorrect, but it was also pretty damned funny if you didn't take yourself too seriously. My first real job was writing educational astronomy programs for the McLaughlin Planetarium in Toronto. Then in my 30's I ran away with circus and joined the Fire Department. I'm still not sure why, but I have no regrets. I kept writing for community papers and published a few magazine articles. I wanted to write a novel, but I didn't think I could do it. It took me over 20 years, but I finally got the courage and discipline to do it.
What's the story behind The Spark
It's a thriller/suspense novel that focuses on a firefighter's search for the truth about the fire that killed his best friend. Everyone thinks it's an accident, Donny doesn't believe it. He ends up over his head, facing some very powerful and ruthless people.

The story behind the story is that I wanted to show what life as a firefighter is really like. Hollywood tends to portray us as either over-sexed calendar boys or as cartoon heroes. We're really just ordinary people who sometimes face extraordinary situations. We're privileged to be able to help people in crisis and we're cursed with witnessing the hard edge of human misery. Hopefully the book gives readers an understanding of what it's really like inside and burning building and the extraordinary camaraderie that develops between firefighters.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Lack of patience? I know writers that have been making the rounds of traditional publishers and agents for five or ten years. I tried that route for two years, gave it my best shot, but then decided to move on. I saw the ground was shifting and that most of the growth was with indie publishing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting the words just right: a phrase or a sentence that really captures an image or a feeling. I sometimes call it painting with words. I can't draw and I'm not musical at all, but I have some facility with words. We all have a creative spark within us, something that's wants to be expressed. Writing allows me to do that.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm really glad when people tell me they enjoyed the book. It's particularly gratifying when they say they have a new appreciation for what life as a firefighter is really like. I love meeting and talking or emailing with readers. Like a lot of writers, I write primarily for myself, but it's great to get feedback and even criticism. Good criticism is the writer's best friend.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on the second book of what will hopefully be a trilogy. The working title is "The Committee" but that may change.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a full-time Captain on the Fire Department, so that takes a lot of my time. I'm one of those "jack of all trades and master of none" types. I like to cook and garden at home. I'm also a sailor and I race sprint canoe. I've usually got at least one renovation project going. And when I get a few spare moments I like to read.
Published 2014-06-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Spark
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 99,080. Language: English. Published: January 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Adventure » Action
The Spark is a fast paced, intelligent thriller that offers an insider’s view of the unique and demanding world of firefighting. Written by a veteran firefighter, the book gives a firsthand account of the merciless heat and blinding smoke, the camaraderie and conflict, the moments of grim hilarity, unexpected grace and heartbreaking tragedy that are part of life in the fire service.