Before we start with the interview, I'd like to share Kirk's BIO.
Kirkus MacGowan wrote his first novel at age eight about traveling to Mars and finding the cure for Cancer. He put his writing dreams on hold for twenty-five years and focused his energies on playing baseball. He moved on when he found playing softball with his friends more enjoyable.
Since then, he graduated with a B.S. in Psychology, married a woman too good to be true, and moved back to his hometown. He gave up an amazing career waiting tables and now stays at home with his two crazy children. He spends his time writing thrillers and fantasy, playing softball with friends, enjoying the occasional computer game, and wrestling with his kids.
Let's give a warm welcome to Kirk!
Louise: Kirkus welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release The Fall of Billy Hitchings without giving too much of a spoiler away.
Kirkus: This sounds corny, but the climax for The Fall of Billy Hitchings came to me in a dream. I woke with a start and sat straight up in bed. I ran to find a notebook and wrote down as much as I could remember. Hence the birth of my first novel. It’s a fast paced mystery/thriller with ancient relics, police chases, witty remarks, romance thrown in for good measure, and a nice taste of hope. Some humor as well.
Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Kirkus: Great question. I have an idea for one or two, but the rest develop as I write. On occasion I’ll have a character in mind that I need to write into a story.
Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
Kirkus: I didn’t have to do much research for the first book, but the one I’m working on now is a different story. It’s interesting a single thing can be called so many different names depending on where a story takes place. In the United States, what we call a janitor or custodian is generally called a caretaker in Europe. Something so simple, yet it can increase the plausibility of a story by so much.
Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?
Kirkus: I began as a Pantser. About 50k words into The Fall of Billy Hitchings I hit a snag. Hard to explain, but the plot line was lost. I knew where I wanted to go but had no idea how to get there. Over a two month period I cut 25k words and created an outline. It was tough, but I learned from my mistakes. I have a cork board covered in notes for my next book sitting next to me as we speak.
Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?
Kirkus: Yes and no. I tended bar when I met my wife. After getting married and having our first child, I went back to college. When the Michigan economy (and much of the U.S.) had the tremendous downturn, it actually cost me more to work and pay for child care than if I stayed home. I became a stay at home dad and finished up school. That same month is when I became a writer.
We’ve adjusted our schedule to accommodate school, and now writing. My wife works three twelve hour shifts over the weekend and Monday. The four days in between are my writing days. Well, as much as a three year old boy and a nineteen month old girl will allow it to be.
Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.
Kirkus: We turned a storage room in the basement into a study. Right now I’m sitting on a love seat with my legs propped up on a stool. I’m wrapped in a comforter (remember I live in Michigan) with my laptop propped up on my lap. Of utmost importance is the hot cup of coffee on the desk next to me and the abnormally large headphones I use to listen to classical music.
Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.
Kirkus: When I finally find the strength to pull myself away from my children, typically around nine in the morning, I head to the study. No internet, just the music. I write for a minimum of two hours, usually three. Take a quick break (again, depending on the little ones) and this time sit at our desktop computer. Though I’m still working, at least I can spend the time in the same room as my family. I spend at least two hours on social media, responding to email, or critiquing work for my writer friends. The rest of the day I’ll sneak in tidbits when I can.
Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?
Kirkus: My current work in progress is currently named The Sixth Deadly Sin, a psychological thriller involving one of the main characters from my first book. It’s about a third of the way complete and I have the first chapter up on my blog.
Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?
Kirkus: I tend to switch back and forth between thrillers and epic fantasy. Dean Koontz is my typical favorite, but right now I’m leaning toward epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, author of The Way of Kings.
Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?
Kirkus: Feel free to contact me on any of the social media sites or my blog. I enjoy chatting about reading, writing, parenting, and just about anything else. I also love to hear feedback on my works. It gives me a chance to meet the readers and learn what I can do to improve my future books.
Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?
Kirkus: On my web site and blog: Diapers, Bookmarks, and Pipe Dreams, Facebook Fan page, Twitter, Amazon Author page, Goodreads and Smashwords.
Louise: Thank you again Kirk for visiting us. Readers below are the purchase links, but before you run up to buy his book, leave a comment for a chance to win it! One lucky commenter will be drawn to win a copy of The Fall of Billy Hitchings. Comments are open until Dec 18, 11 pm PST.
Also I have included a link below where you can read an excerpt on his future release The Sixth Deadly Sin.
Billy Hitchings: An ordinary kid with everyday dreams. He has a good life with his Grandmother in Myrtle Beach, only a few blocks from the Atlantic. He even enjoys his job at the local burger joint... most of the time.
John Reeves: A marine who lost his path overseas working as a mercenary in war-torn countries across the Middle East. He works as a bodyguard in New York, never quite able to get away from the action.
Dr. Amfar Ditpra: An archaeologist from India recently graduated from the University of Michigan. He and a co-worker are asked to transport an artifact their team found in Kentucky when everything implodes.
Coincidence and his own curiosity push Billy into a tangled mess of dark questions with darker answers, at the heart of which are rumors of an ancient legend and a not-so-ancient artifact. Will his new friends help him find the answers he seeks? Or will they betray him to their own needs?