His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.
Visit Kevin’s website at www.kbohacz.com.
Welcome to As the Page Turns, Kevin. Can you tell us what your book is about?
The epic tale of Immortality and the sequel Ghost of the Gods is about many things: physical immortality, love, the end of the world, and revenge… but the underlying thread is the idea of self-directed human evolution and the notion that through this mechanism at some point in our history we will vanquish death from natural causes.
How do we extend our lifespan to the point where death becomes the exception instead of the rule? I think we have been doing just that for our entire history as a species. It is what all self-aware life forms do. Once you know you are going to die, once you have taken that bite of the apple, there is no alternative other than to wage war on death. Survival is hardwired into our psyche.
As far back as we can trace our ancestry we've extended our lifespan by enhancing our bodies so that we could better protect ourselves from the environment and predators of both the two and four legged varieties. Unlike non-self-aware creatures that function heavily on instinct, we have been very busy using our analytical brains to alter our bodies. In the hundred generations of recorded history and millions of years before, we have been self-evolving by augmenting our bodies with technology. We started with stone tools then worked our way up to fire, then wheels, then suits of armor, then gunpowder, then the atom.
This self-directed evolution radically changed in the last century. Today life extension is coming through sweeping scientific breakthroughs. We are embedding electronics into our bodies, networking our thoughts, and engineering our genes. We have moved from physical prostheses to mental prostheses in the form of computers. Our self-evolution is accelerating at a breathtaking rate in lockstep with the geometric advancements in technology. It seems inevitable that we'll continue to enhance ourselves with machines, chemicals, and genetic manipulations. What will healthcare be like a generation from now? The environment? Love? Wars? No one knows if we're careening toward paradise or a nightmare, but I think nothing short of a global catastrophe will keep us from opening this particular Pandora's Box.
Authors have different reasons for writing their books. What's yours?
My first novel was published in1993. Ghost of the Gods which is being released on February 28th is my third published novel. I’ve written all my books because I love to write and I love to read. Writing is my passion. It is my life. I never have writer’s block. To me writing is like breathing—it is vital sustenance for my soul. Writing literally has saved my life. Not very long ago I was widowed at a young age. My wife, my best friend of 17 years died in my arms while we looked into each other’s eyes. In the time that followed when I was drowning in grief I could hear my wife whispering to me, “Write my love… Write.” So I wrote. I wrote so hard that my arms grew sore. I wrote so hard that I gave myself tendonitis but the pain in my arms did not slow me a bit. My writing saved me from grief that was dark enough to crush the life from me. I completed Ghost of the Gods in an amazingly short period of time while also simultaneously working on two new novels.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are fictional. I create entire backstories for them from childhood to present day. I include all the life shaping events that would be present in a flesh and blood person from first love to greatest loss. For me when reading there is nothing worse then when a character acts out of character. This can wreck the entire story for me on the spot. So I take great care to make sure all my characters are true to themselves. I live their lives in my imagination to the point that they become real to me. In fact when I complete a novel I feel the absence of my characters from my life as if I had lost close friends.
Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?
The short answer is the plot comes from my muse. When I am writing it does not feel like I am creating the plot. It feels like I am watching a dream which comes from somewhere other than me and I am merely typing as furiously as I can to capture the dream that is unfolding before my eyes.
For all four novels I have written, I first create thousands of pages of meticulously detailed background material. I create detailed backstories for all the characters. I flesh out an entire plot from beginning to end scene by scene. Once I feel the characters have become intimate friends of mine, I sit down and start writing. Invariably in a short time the characters stage a revolt and the story takes on a life of its own veering off in directions that I never planned. In the end I typically use about 1% of all the meticulously crafted background material! Thousands of years ago the Greeks and Romans thought that all creative people were merely channels for muses. I truly cannot figure out where my stories come from other than some Jungian collective awareness or the deep subconscious, which in either case we might as well call a muse.
What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?
I am a lucid dreamer and my dream life is wildly prolific. In the past three years I have recorded over 5000 dreams in my journal, and well over 300 of them were vivid intense lucid dreams. I’ve had as many as 17 dreams in one night. I never try to control my lucid dream journeys. I let them unfold and develop on their own. To me controlling a lucid dream is like trying to control life instead of fully experiencing it. I literally feel like I have two lives. One life in this material reality and a second life in dream reality. So what would I do with an extra hour? I would spend it in a lucid dream reunited with my wife Mazelle. In dreams time is often stretched. So if I am very lucky, that one hour of material time might be stretched into a day or more of dream time.
What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?
I write because it is my passion, my essence. If I had to pay people for the privilege of writing I would. So my advice is write without a profit motive. Do not write because you want riches or fame or even a very modest income. The money will come if it comes but focusing on money will take your eye from what really matters which is first and foremost to write a book people will love. Once you have your book you have two options as I see it whether self-published or a publisher buys your book. You can spend as little as possible to promote until it proves that it will pay for itself. To me this is like tossing your book into the winds of chance to be discovered. I have two friends who are famous writers who did just this for their first foray into self-publishing and their excellent books went nowhere! So if you want to build a career you must be ready to spend a lot of time and money promoting your book. This means real advertising with broad reach not book signings. This means endlessly hawking your book. This means truly believing in your book enough so that you take the real risks... I guess it all boils down to determination. Determination is the critical ingredient, the spice that makes the meal. You must be dogged and unwavering. If you have a good book and will stop at nothing, you can end up with a bestseller… I did.