Would you like to get to know more about how the inner book brain of an Indie Author works?
This is the place!
Periodically, we'll invite an Indie Author to open up their brain, and show us inside. We'll have a conversation that deals a little bit with writing craft, reading influences, and some other fun stuff.
Today, we thumb through the pages of
Indie Author Kristoffer Gair's grey matter...
Discover More About Kristoffer Gair HERE!
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I’ve gone to see Robert Frost’s grave—he wasn’t very talkative. I’ve also stopped over at an airport in Maine and look for Stephen King’s home while we landed and took off. Beyond that, I’ve hung out with G.A. Hauser, who taught me how to drink Blue Moon with a slice of orange, Kiernan Kelly and her husband who taught me the proper way to lick the cover of cup of ice cream, and Patricia Logan, who showed me how to shop at Trader Joe’s, forget her PIN number, and the proper number of bottles of wine to buy for after a book signing at Book Soup.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Easy. Where The Red Fern Grows. The movie makes me cry too.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Halo. I have to write in a place where I don’t see my Xbox or notice it. If I do, I feel the pull. You see, I’m a Master Chief in the Halo universe, an expert fighter pilot, driver, shot, and I enjoy blowing up all the… See? That’s why I can’t see the game system.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
My previous books stand on their own. I did write a sequel to A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, and that didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. I figured I’d keep to one-off novels that stood on their own for a while. That didn’t work out either. I published Falling Awake and readers wanted more. I gave them one more, and they wanted another. So, we’ll see how this latest one goes over. The first two Falling Awake books stand on their own—for the most part—but the third one relies on your knowledge of the first two.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Publishing my first book is about as close to a high as an author can legally get. It did change my process of writing, but only in that I’d co-written my first novel based on research by my co-author. I wanted my second book to be my vision, so I threw everything onto the page and went with it without worrying about making anyone else happy. I also learned to love the editing process during the second book because I saw the results of having talented editors who wanted the story to be the best it could be. It’s work. It’s torture. It’s amazing when it all comes together!
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I think the choice was made for me. It’s a dog.
What did you edit out of your books? (keep it family-friendly, please)
Very little was ever edited out of the books save for two of them. The majority of what’s edited are long scenes that need to be tightened up. There were several tweaks made to the historical book, Honor Unbound, just to keep things moving. I did have an editor remove the Prologue and Epilogue from Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, and that put me off writing and editors for a couple of years. I will one day republish the book with those sections added back in. For Falling Awake III: Requiem, I edited out 7-8k words. I can’t recall any entire scenes being removed so much as many scenes being pared down. FA3 is the longest book I’ve ever written, so if a scene felt long to me, chances are a reader is going to feel the same way. That’s when I’ll look for a way to keep things moving.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
The full time job. I’d rather go down to part time, but only if I could afford it. That would leave more time for travel once the COVID scare is over. It’s a pipe dream, but I’d have more inspiration by seeing more of life on this planet around me. My husband is an avid traveler and it would be great fun to continue our adventures, then figure out how they can work themselves into upcoming books.
What is your favorite childhood book?
The Gay Kamasutra. Kidding. It’s Lamont, The Lonely Monster.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Getting enough time set aside so that when I’m on a roll, I can go with it and see things through. I like to be comfortable, but my muse is a little fickle with the music. We need to choose something that works for us both for the sequences we’re working on. She whispers when she’s happy and I type away. And that frigging phone needs to stop ringing.
What is the easiest part of your writing process?
Dialogue. Writing dialogue is what brings a story alive for me as both the writer and the reader. If I can get the dialogue right, then the rest of it becomes filling in the blanks. Dialogue sets a scene for me, creates the mood, and the interaction between the characters is established through the dialogue. You can have the greatest descriptions and details in the world, but if the characters don’t feel real in how they speak, the whole thing is ruined.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
1-2 years depending on the length of the manuscript, and the amount of time I have available. I won’t rush a book. Rushing a story is evident and I’ll see the flaws as gaping holes. I don’t like that, not at all. So, a book will take as long as it takes to get right.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
Inept? Naaa. Uncomfortable? Probably. I am. Writers are great around each other because I think we understand each other. We have a common love. My problem is that when I’m around people who I don’t know or who I don’t know well, I go into entertainment mode. I mask my discomfort by joking around or going into stand-up comedy mode. Co-workers and friends often don’t know what the heck is going to come out of my mouth. The bad part is I don’t know either. Hopefully what I say works. If it doesn’t, I try harder.
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be an author?
Probably 1st Grade when I wrote my first puppet play. Nobody else was writing, and that gave me a leg up on something my peers couldn’t or wouldn’t do. I remember teachers reading several Judy Blume books to us, then I’d go off and try to write the sequel. I even tried to write the third Star Wars film. Mind you, I didn’t get very far, but there were no Ewoks in my story!
Who are your biggest literary influences?
Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Truman Capote jump to mind because they’ve given me something to aspire to. I think it’s fair to say that literary influences also include the friendships and feedback from some very, very incredible people who have opened their lives up to include me; Kiernan Kelly, Trish Gillham, G.A. Hauser, Patricia Logan, T.C. Blue, Brent D. Seth, Milton Ford, and many others. They keep me grounded and inspired while I aspire, which, now that I think about it, often makes me perspire.
What’s your favorite movie which was based on a book? Why?
It’s between Blade Runner and JAWS. Why? Because they’re frickin’ Blade Runner and JAWS! JAWS made me afraid to go into the pool for months. And Blade Runner? Talk about world building! Talk about details!
How did it feel when your first book got published? How did you celebrate?
I remembering thinking two things; I hate the cover (the original first printing of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation), and I need to get cracking on another book. Publishing a book, especially the first, is like climbing off the best rollercoaster in the world and wanting to go right again! I celebrated by going to Friendly’s Ice Cream and getting a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup sundae.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about authors?
We’re deeply sexy people who enjoy free gifts. And free lunches. Sometimes dinners, too. Crap, that’s four things. Let’s just say that most folks don’t understand that writing for us is like breathing. We can’t “not” write. Our brains aren’t wired to stop writing. Relaxation for us means looking around at the world and asking “What if…” and plotting out a story in our head. It’s how we exist.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
I have 5 books in my head that are demanding attention. Unfortunately, I can only proceed with one of them at this time, and I’d rather not say too much about it at this point. Let’s see how things proceed over the next couple of weeks. I can say that, thematically, it’s almost a Western, which intrigues me because I think that adds a flavor to the story I haven’t seen in my writing before.
Are you attending any conventions/festivals where readers can meet you and/or buy your books?
I wish, but no. Welcome to COVID. I was waiting until I had more books published under my actual name, and now that I have, I can’t really take them on the road. However, once this has passed and provided the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t happen, I really, really want to.
Please provide links and/or instructions about how readers can purchase signed copies of your books.
I suspect if someone wants a signed copy of a book, they can contact me through my website, www.KristofferGair.com, and we’ll figure something out. I don’t usually get many requests, but it’s always pretty awesome when I do.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?
Don’t worry about writing what you think will sell. Why? Because you can’t be in this for the money. You’re in it because it’s what you love to do, so write what you love. Chances are if you’re happy with what you’ve written, someone else will be, too, and that’s how you start to build an audience. Also, if you’re looking to flatter an author—like myself for example—a good place to start is a box of cannollis from Tringali’s. Not that I wouldn’t share a box of cannollis from Tringali’s with my neighbors and husband. I would. It’s just the receiving part of the box of cannollis. You can’t go wrong with these. It’s tooooooootally sound advice.
7/13/2020 10:43:01 pm
You, sir, are a rock star. You never fail to make me laugh, even though some of your books made me cry. I will forever hold our Butt-Thologies near and dear to my little, withered heart.
7/14/2020 11:52:47 am
And you, my luv, make writing in an anthology worth it. And travel. And making fun of my husband. And making fun of your husband.
2/16/2022 12:08:38 am
Very much appreciated. Thank you for this excellent article. Keep posting!
2/16/2022 08:38:24 am
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.
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