Interview with Enn Kae

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Well, I grew up in many places and moved around a lot. I was born in Lancashire, in an industrial town, in England's north-west. It was okay but, looking back, it was a real gift that my parents moved to Dundee, Scotland when I was 11 as I firmly believe my life would have taken a drastically different path. When I was a student at Dundee University I had an opportunity to study in Illinois, America for a year. That really opened my eyes to the world. I always knew I would leave the UK but, back then, I was 18 and I never wanted to go back to Scotland. I hated having to go back but I had to finish my Masters. After getting my Masters, at 21, I moved to London and started working there and I actually ended up in Watford for 3 years and there began a very dark period in my life. I mean, I'm only 37 but I really feel I've been through the mill, so to speak, several times. After London, I ended up in Manchester for about 8 years and then I moved back to London to work for 2 before finally leaving England, at the end of the summer in 2012. So, really, all this movement and change and not feeling a part of anything has really informed my writing. I am an observer, first, and a participant, second.

Another thing which is very important to me as a writer is that I was ALWAYS at the margins. I never fit into any group, whether as a child, teenager or as a young adult. I think really, when you are in that position and when it becomes such a pervasive element of your being, you begin to see the world a lot differently than most. I suppose we all do to some extent but I never got the herd mentality. I never belonged to a crowd and, though I tried my best to, I was never really good at it. I always felt like an impostor or a phony. I suppose that my vantage point has really been my greatest asset and influence in my writing. One of the reasons I left England was because the 'matrix of control', so to speak, was (in my opinion) getting to a critical mass. When you are constantly at the periphery you can only survive as an observer and, as an observer, you really see how manipulated the masses are. Again, it probably happens a lot everywhere though where I live now - in The Netherlands - it's not as apparent to me. That's probably due to the language so I'm not experiencing 'the matrix' to the same extent but I have also observed that the sort of 'matrix of control' vis-a-vis the media isn't as heavy or strong as it is in the UK.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Well, I grew up in many places and moved around a lot. I was born in Lancashire, in an industrial town, in England's north-west. It was okay but, looking back, it was a real gift that my parents moved to Dundee, Scotland when I was 11 as I firmly believe my life would have taken a drastically different path. When I was a student at Dundee University I had an opportunity to study in Illinois, America for a year. That really opened my eyes to the world. I always knew I would leave the UK but, back then, I was 18 and I never wanted to go back to Scotland. I hated having to go back but I had to finish my Masters. After getting my Masters, at 21, I moved to London and started working there and I actually ended up in Watford for 3 years and there began a very dark period in my life. I mean, I'm only 37 but I really feel I've been through the mill, so to speak, several times. After London, I ended up in Manchester for about 8 years and then I moved back to London to work for 2 before finally leaving England, at the end of the summer in 2012. So, really, all this movement and change and not feeling a part of anything has really informed my writing. I am an observer, first, and a participant, second.

Another thing which is very important to me as a writer is that I was ALWAYS at the margins. I never fit into any group, whether as a child, teenager or as a young adult. I think really, when you are in that position and when it becomes such a pervasive element of your being, you begin to see the world a lot differently than most. I suppose we all do to some extent but I never got the herd mentality. I never belonged to a crowd and, though I tried my best to, I was never really good at it. I always felt like an impostor or a phony. I suppose that my vantage point has really been my greatest asset and influence in my writing. One of the reasons I left England was because the 'matrix of control', so to speak, was (in my opinion) getting to a critical mass. When you are constantly at the periphery you can only survive as an observer and, as an observer, you really see how manipulated the masses are. Again, it probably happens a lot everywhere though where I live now - in The Netherlands - it's not as apparent to me. That's probably due to the language so I'm not experiencing 'the matrix' to the same extent.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I remember I began writing a novel when I was about 11 or 12. I never made it past the first page - though I delighted in writing the copyright symbol against my name. I remember thinking how badly I wanted to see that in print. My first proper story came for an assignment in my English class in high school. The teacher, Mr. Forrest, said I had a "vivid imagination.'' It was about a witch who cast a spell on a girl but she got her come-uppance in the end! Anyway, I will never forget what my teacher said. That was, of course, at a time when schools used to teach and weren't just places for indoctrination and what teachers told you really mattered because it was really difficult to achieve a high standard in anything. Anyway, I will always remember Mr. Forrest's words.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Well, "The Cull" is really about alienation and marginalisation as a process and as systems of control. I thought I'd tie those themes into the conspiracy theories about depopulation which are currently rife all over the internet. I needed a hook to carry the themes of alienation and marginalisation and I chose to use a dystopian/sci-fi setting because it's relevant - not only for indie readers but also because of the whole Truth Movement that's currently in motion. For those who do not know, dystopia is the opposite of utopia. For an example, just watch the news tonight! I could have chosen to write about my experiences growing up in a British underdog minority group (thus, often-vilified) but that's just boring and it's so over-done.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Oh gosh - my late and very dear mother was a great story-teller. She came from the Indian Sub-Continent and her grandparents were from Iran: places full of mystery, intrigue, stories and legends. It was embedded in her culture and she used to narrate bedtime stories to help me sleep when I was a child. It's sad that a lot of children don't experience that now. Children really are missing out on a lot in this world - their creativity is really being bashed out of them with our education system! The first stories I ever heard were my mother's: they were so fantastical and out of this world... such as stories about a goddess coming out of the seed of a mango; jinns coming up from the underworld at night to walk the earth (not always a good bed-time story!). The first book I ever read was called ''The Animals of Farthing Wood''. I ordered it from the book club we had at primary (junior) school and the teacher was really shocked that I read it - she expected me to have a very low literacy level in light of the fact that I had been excluded from my previous school for a year's truancy and, of course, that I was a child born to immigrant parents and such was the very real thinking in those days! I was about 10 or 11 then and I think the book really was aimed at late teens in terms of literacy. I remember thinking - wow - I read that and I got it. It was about animals and it was an allegory. I love allegories.
What is your writing process?
I normally get waves of ideas that come and go every so often and my job is to sift through, in my mind, which one would be worth going with. It's a sort of feeling, you know. It also comes from keeping my finger on the pulse and tapping into the mood of what's happening in the world. Having said that, I've had to quieten my mind over the years with meditation. When I decide where I'm going to go and which story to develop, I usually sit down and write a couple of pages of bullet-points. Then I just start writing. The basics build up, they take twists and turns but they usually end up at the original sheets of planning. It's analogous to building a house. You need to have strong foundations on which to build. I also need structure in order to survive - otherwise my life would be too chaotic - and I always plan. I do it for my job as a teacher but I also do it in my personal life. It's a useful tool to have.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Just the freedom to write as I please. I often thought that trying to get into publishing was such a daunting task. I've learnt a lot about it through digitial publishing. I am so grateful for Smashwords in leading the way in the democratization of the publishing industry.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has totally revolutionised the publishing industry - RIGHTLY SO - and I am so proud to be part of this revolution! It now means that I am looking to churn out, on average, TWO novels a year versus spending a liftetime TRYING to write one novel! I also do not like the idea that traditional publishers determined the market and set the agenda of what is or was worthy of publication. I love the idea that the more that people write, the better a world we will create.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I'm a man who has never had kids and this is the closest thing to having a baby. I like watching my kids grow, post-publication, but the whole gestation period of a novel is incredibly important. I need to be healthy in my body, mind and spirit in order to see it through but, my god, once I've ''given birth'' to a novel - WOW - it's like a rush of class A drugs (not that I condone them nor have I ever taken them)!
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm very lucky. My fans are coming to me. They are curious about the messages in my books. I'm getting traffic on my website from such surprise locations as Israel, Japan, India, Brazil and Russia and I think - wow - it's really powerful to know that I'm having an impact irrespective of how it's measured. That someone in some part of the world is taking an interest is important because it means that my message is being communicated. It's not about the money. Never has been and never will be. I just want the freedom to communicate my ideas and to feel that I accomplished my vision. So, I am extremely lucky to be experiencing a growing fanbase. They are everything to get my message across - and the message is that we are living in a matrix of control and we need to wake up! As Ghandi said: "Be the change you want to see in the World!"
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
TO MAKE A CHANGE! I hate TV, I don't read newspapers and I certainly don't swallow the Kool-Aid. I used to and I was desperately unhappy. I look for the story behind the 'story' in the mainstream media. Semantically, I think it's laughable that the mainstream media uses that word for their 'news.' They are, essentially, constructing narratives and those narratives are set by their masters. The masses, of course, love being lulled to sleep and it's my job to wake them up!
What are you working on next?
Well....erm....I've made a plan of everything I will be working on for the next two years so I'm going to be extremely busy. The next thing is a novel which I have already started work on. It's about an American soldier in Iraq and that's about all I'm prepared to say at this moment but I really want to give more away...I really do but I can't! I have decided to have my 3rd novel published by traditional publishers and I am going through the editing phase now before I send my manuscript. After that, I want to complete the Zeek series.
Published 2015-04-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Cull
Price: Free! Words: 18,940. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
A novella about a future dystopia - set in London's East End and Battersea Power Station; in a future world divided into a super-human race called The Pro-gens and the rest of us, The Re-gens. Abe, a Re-gen, uncovers a diabolical plan made by the powerful Pro-gens which threatens the future of humanity. Will he make it out alive to be with the love of his life, Ophelia, in Devon?
Zeek and the Hoodies
Series: Zeek World Series. Price: Free! Words: 1,620. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Graphic novel, Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Media tie-in
Ezekiel was just an ordinary guy. One day he snapped at a group of young people that hung around his neighborhood. The events that followed led him on a journey - through wrongful incarceration, media manipulation and public vilification – into a man called “Zeek”: a vigilante who will clean up the very system that created him.