Interview with Kenneth Harmon

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I write in the shower, I write while I'm sleeping, I write when I'm eating, it's a never-ending process. I do manage to sneak in a few minutes for my wife and kids. I also love to read, everything from literary classics to horror and mysteries. I'm active on social media, especially Twitter and Facebook. I enjoy helping other authors promote their work.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I started writing many moons ago when I was a kid. The only thing I remember about those stories was that the characters all had crazy names. I think that came from reading S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders." After reading Ms. Hinton's book, I just assumed all characters had names like Soda Pop, Ponyboy, and Two-Bit.
What is your writing process?
Once I have an idea for a book, I typically spend several months doing research, plotting, and character sketches. Once I have everything in place, I typically write 2 pages in the morning and walk away from it, even if I'm in the middle of a scene. I then stew on it for a few hours and come back fresh and ready to start again. On a good day, I write 4 pages. I don't believe in writing "crappy" first drafts, so I'm careful. But I refrain from doing edits until I've finished the entire book.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was a kid, I read a book called, Strangely Enough, by C.B. Colby. It featured short 1-2 page stories of the supernatural. That book made a big impression on me.
How do you approach cover design?
I worked closely with my publisher, Winlock Press, on the cover for my latest novel, The Devil's Lament. There were certain elements I wanted incorporated into the cover design and Winlock was open to my suggestions. A good cover should make readers interested in the story. I was fortunate with the final cover design for The Devil's Lament because it turned out very well. I've received many compliments on the cover.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Good Earth. I love Fitzgerald's use of language in Gatsby. Also, no one introduces and describes characters better than he does. I've always enjoyed Steinbeck's wonderful descriptions and plots. To Kill a Mockingbird and The Good Earth are driven by strong characters and have stories that stay with you long after you finish reading.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle
What inspired The Devil's Lament?
Originally, I had planned to write a traditional horror novel with Lucifer as the antagonist, however, once I started to research Lucifer, a different story emerged in my mind. A story of forbidden love that changed the world. At that point I wondered what would happen if God brought Lucifer and Eve back together? Would he agree to stop loving Eve in order to regain his place in Heaven or would Lucifer remain in the role of Devil forever?
Describe your desk
Messy. I always have research papers scattered everywhere.
When did you first start writing?
I started to write short stories right after high school. I wrote my first novel before the age of twenty.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work online?
I have a website: www.kennethwharmonauthor.com, and can be found on Twitter and Facebook. I love to hear from readers.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is a great platform for authors to make their work available to readers. I know many authors who use Smashwords to sell and promote their books.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The process of writing itself. Creating something that makes you pause and say, "Did I really write that?"
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean everything to me. As a writer you want to create stories that readers find entertaining, original, and thought-provoking. When I'm plotting a new book, I always ask myself how I can make a scene or character more interesting for the reader.
What are you working on next?
A psychological suspense novel tentatively titled, "In the Light of Darkness."
Who are your favorite authors?
John Steinbeck. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Thomas Harris. Edgar Allan Poe. Thomas Hardy.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My kids. I have to drive them to school, so I have no choice. But I always have my work to look forward to.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I create original ads with pictures (photos) for each book that I use on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
What is the title of your first published work?
We've been living with a ghost since 2004. I wrote a book about our experiences, Ghost Under Foot: the Spirit of Mary Bell, that was published my Llewellyn. My wife and I even managed to land a spot on the TV show, My Ghost Story. My first published novel was, The Amazing Mr. Howard from JournalStone.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Online, I like to research award-winning books, Pulitzer, Bram Stoker Award, Edgar, etc. I also depend on my writer friends for suggestions.
What do you read for pleasure?
I like to read a variety of novels, but it seems that the majority of books I read are nonfiction for research.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot. I spent over twenty years in Texas and I have used Texas as a setting in a few of my books.
Which part of The Devil's Lament challenged you the most?
Part of my research involved reading the Bible. While writing the novel, I wanted to stay true to the Biblical account of Eden and the characters of Lucifer and Eve, while also incorporating the early Jewish mythology, which differs significantly from the version taught by Christians. For example, the Jews believed that Lucifer and Eve had sexual relations in Eden, and Eve bore him a son, Cain. They also thought that Lucifer remained part of the Council of Angels and had the job of testing human's faith.
Published 2015-10-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.