Interview with Niles Kovach

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love to discover new traits in my characters. For example, I had written countless stories and three Charlemagne novels before I realized that Louis is 'careful' with money. I was writing the fourth novel when another character pointed it out in a scene, and I realized there were clues to this trait in all my other work.
What are you working on next?
The only copy I have of Lion Tamer is a paper draft. It is actually the third in time, but I set it aside long ago because it is rather emotional. I plan to begin keyboarding and simultaneously rewriting it this week.
Who are your favorite authors?
Austen, Bronte, Richardson, Radcliffe, Burney, Oliphant, Dickens, Doyle, Stout, Christie, Tolstoy, Proust, Waugh, Chesterton, Tolkien, Vonnegut, Asimov, Heinlein, O'Brien, Lovecraft, Golding, Conrad, Kipling, Stevenson, Le Carré, Ludlum, Donaldson, Herbert, Grisham, Steinbeck, Skvorocky, Chekov, Chaucer, Cooper. Others. Shakespeare, of course, but I don't know much of it. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books are good fun and her very competent writing does not get in the way of a good time. Ditto JK Rowling. I read the first Twilight book because my kids made me. Nuff said. Still, that author probably has a beautiful new house, while my sales are paltry. Success is its own critic.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, listening to music, walking my dogs.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have an iPad mini with several EBook apps and accounts at all of them. For nonfiction, I search a topic in each app and look at what is on offer. For fiction, I read reviews or simply browse. When I read the first book of an author and like it, I devour everything that person has written, and spend several days depressed when I finish the last title. Then, I begin my search for a new obsession.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was terrible. The first one I somewhat liked became Trinity Icon.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I was in second or third grade. I lived in a very urban setting in Chicago, and though rag and knife peddlers drove their horse-drawn carts down my street occasionally, the book expanded my world exponentially.
How do you approach cover design?
I have an excellent cover designer. Besides paying him, I give credit in the front matter of my books. I think all artists should have credit for their work. Also, I always look for the cover designer of the books I read.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Pride and Prejudice, because it's perfect. Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien, because it combines erudition on a wide range of subjects with superb character development and a ripping good yarn. I wanted to cheat and name the whole series as one book, but I'll save that trick for my third choice, The Lord of the Rings. I read it seven times in high school alone (and many times since). I wore a gray cloak during my first year in college. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carré. I enjoy Cold War stories and this is probably the best. The Engineer of Human Souls, by Josef Skvorecky. The title comes from a comment by Stalin about writers.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My iPad mini. It has several Ebook apps. I use them all. I do shop for price.
Describe your desk
I sit in an antique easy chair in my living room and work on a Macbook.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Chicago. In fact, I lived near Alex's neighborhood in Trinity Icon. I also lived just down the street on Edbrooke from the main scene of action in Cetus Wedge. Though I do not name it in the book, Alex was attending IIT in Chicago. I went to several frat parties there and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I think what I remember most about Chicago was the weather, which features especially in Cetus Wedge.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote an awful lot of term papers from a young age but did not begin dabbling in fiction until my late twenties. I did not find any kind of voice until my mid thirties. I worked as a journalist for a while, which loosened things up a bit.
What is your writing process?
I wish I knew so that I could repeat it at will.
What do you read for pleasure?
I am currently reading Swann's Way by Proust, The Magazine by Michael Hastings, and City of Blaze by H.O. Charles (available at Smashwords.) It depends on my mood.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I felt very satisfied with myself just for getting my books published. I plan to tackle marketing after State of Nature is launched, as a break from the rewrite of Lion Tamer.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Cetus Wedge is the latest one published. It is a Cold War story. The central theme is Loyalty.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I would like to have readers. I'm not interested in dozens of rejections by people who want my books to fit in a defined genre. I would prefer hearing an occasional comment like one I heard the other day, "I couldn't put it down." That is the sweetest music ever composed.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been good to me. Instructions are very clear, and my mistakes have been correctable. I intend to take advantage of the excellent marketing advice and tools as I improve my skills overall.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love anybody who wants to talk about the characters. It is like introducing a best friend to other people, who then becomes part of their circles as well.
Published 2015-03-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

State of Nature
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 65,110. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
The Cold War is over and Charlemagne enters a new state of nature as the team delays killing an old enemy who holds the key to information vital to their survival. Together with their enemy, they set off for San Antonio, where their only chance of continued existence lies at the trigger of a trap.
Cetus Wedge
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 48,590. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
The body count is already too high for comfort as Frank Cardova and his protege Steve Donovan scramble to determine why members of a deadly team of covert operatives are practicing their lethal trade in Chicago without official sanction. Who hired them? Who is controlling them? And above all, who is their next target?
Trinity Icon
Price: Free! Words: 37,670. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
A cold war story set in 1970s Chicago, Trinity Icon introduces a team of covert operations specialists on a mission to stop a spectacular bombing downtown. Third year student Alex Dolnikov finds herself caught up in the mission and fighting for her own survival.