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Advice from IR Approved Author Kenneth Thomas: “Give yourself time to launch well…get time off the month before and after releasing your book.”

VanWest The Past received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Kenneth Thomas.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

VanWest The Past, published May 20, 2020.

What’s the book’s first line? 

The exponential growth of long-distance space travel at the beginning of the 22nd century caused Earth’s health to decline and its population to plummet.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

The Past is the first book in the VanWest series, a fast-paced thriller about an Enforcer who lives in a dystopian Earth of the year 3000 and works for an authoritarian ruler called the Universal Council. Tasked with travelling through time to stop a renegade sect, that seeks to change Earth’s past, he comes to learn about his dark origins and his unique ability. Falling in love with the daughter of its leader, Mad Newton, he returns to the present to face a difficult choice, whether or not to save her. And be part of the New Beginning. VanWest is a multi-genre book series with plenty for those who like to read historical fiction, dystopia, time-travel and science fiction.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

A subtle theme throughout the book is green issues and how technology affects our world. The Past gives a realistic look at how our future world could turn out, with most of Earth becoming inhabitable, famines reducing its population and larger inequalities between the rich (the Elites) and poor (the citizens).

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Someone who wants to enjoy a fast-paced, smart science fiction adventure that can be read in a few days. Escapism that takes you from a futuristic Earth of 3000 on an exciting ride through time to 1950s Paris and then 1990s Florida, and back again.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

The titular character VanWest is relatable, he has an extraordinary psychic ability and is a top Enforcer but he is a character most people can relate to and end up rooting for. He has to navigate an uncertain world, and the ambiguities between right and wrong, with many trying to use him to pursue their own agendas.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

I’ll leave that one open, there are so many great actors, someone smart, strong and funny would be ideal.

When did you first decide to become an author?

Many years ago, I have always wanted to embrace a creative side and try to bring exciting stories to audiences. Writing novels is a great way to do this.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

Yes, it is. The second book in the series, VanWest The Present, is out at the end of July 2020.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’m currently a business growth and analytics Lead for a multinational company, one day I would like to become a full-time writer and producer.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

It varies with work pressures, I started 8 years ago with outlining much of my first book, during the last year I got more time and finished it.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

The best part is deciding your own schedule, publishing when you have the time and energy. The worse part is navigating a lot of the items by yourself, from formatting to marketing. Overall, it’s a great experience that requires a lot of time and effort.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Give yourself time to launch well, if possible get time off the month before and after releasing your book.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why? 

If the right one came along, yes. However, if someone comes calling to offer a 10% royalty with no marketing and energy to build its success, I will not be interested. Indie publishing gives you the freedom to publish when and how you want to.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

The ambition to be a full-time writer and get out of the company rat-race. Personally, I feel writing makes me a more well-rounded person. It’s something creative that I can make and enjoy.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

There are so many, it’s a long list. Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) would be up there, we write in a similar style – in the present for fast-paced dystopian, action books.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Westworld written and directed by Michael Crichton, it is my favourite science fiction concept of all time. It still feels fresh so many decades later.