Welcome to Top 2 Bottom Reviews, Edward, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I grew up in Cleveland, received my BA in technical theater but later switched to costuming after doing an internship at a professional theater in Cleveland. Then I went on to NYC, worked at an off-Broadway theater but decided I wasn’t going to become rich and famous there so I joined VISTA and moved to Chicago. Three years later I headed west to Denver, got a job as a costumer, and have been here ever since. Just before I retired I started writing on a fanfic loop, discovered I loved it and the rest, as they say, is history.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first book was Everyone’s Man. I submitted it to Silver Publishing and much to my surprise they immediately accepted it.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
I began writing m/m on the fanfic loop, on a dare from a writing partner I was working with at the time. It was a ‘can we do this?’ thing, and we did. In the process I discovered I liked the dynamics of two men together in a romantic relationship much more than I did a m/f relationship. More chances for conflict and angst between the two men, and between them and the world in general.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
Getting published only took the time between submitting my first book and having it accepted by Silver Pub., which was perhaps eight weeks? Although, come to think about it, my very first published work was a short story in G.A. Hauser’s ‘Julian’ a few months before I submitted to Silver.
Since then I’ve had, as of today (Sept. 14th), fifteen books published, with the sixteenth coming out September 29th.
Do you write full time?
I do. I’m retired and have the time and the desire.
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I suppose when it comes down to it, the profession chose me. When I joined the fanfic loop it was just to read what others had written, with no thought of trying it myself. Then I said ‘What the hell, why not’ and started a story there. It was well accepted so I did another story, with another character and found out I loved to write. That surprised me since, up until that point in time the only writing I’d done was for a playwriting class in college forty years earlier.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
Before getting down to it I go online to check email, social sites, etc. Have to get the sleepy brain in gear you know. Then I take a look at what I wrote the previous day and edit it because it always needs it. After that I move on with the story. Since I’m strictly a seat-of-the pants writer, the ‘moving on’ is just a case of letting my mind take me where I think I need to go. I break for a trip to the local coffee shop and a bit of time playing games and then, feeling refreshed, I go back to writing until dinner and attending a chat group I’m involved with. I end the day with more writing if I still have a working brain.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
Revise and edit as I go along.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I write freely. I have the idea of where I want the characters to go and what I want to happen with them, but there are times when that changes greatly in the process of getting from the beginning to the end of the story.
Since a great many of my stories involve cops, PIs or covet-ops I do a great deal of research on the technicalities. That’s especially true when it comes to police work and forensics. I rarely do anything ‘historical’ but when that happens, as in a part of ‘Phoenix Rising’, then obviously research is involved.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I think every main character I write has some bit of me in them, my concerns with what is going on in the world, my family background sometimes, things I’ve done or places I’ve lived or been. With ‘Weekends’ my age was definitely a factor when writing Marcus.
My characters generally evolve with the story. I know at the start what they are and what they do so I have a feel for how they’ll react in any given situation. However, sometimes, they surprise me and things can change in a heartbeat.
I draw the line when it comes to harming children in any way, or having any of my main characters being abusive. They may get into some light BDSM if both of them want, but that is it. Some of them might have a history of being abused but I do not go into details any more than I do if a character has been raped. Talk about what happened, yes. Show it, no.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
It really varies with the book. Some I’ve started and finished in two to three weeks. Just as an aside I tend to write novellas so we’re not talking about three-hundred pages of story. I think the only exception to that is the ‘Phoenix Rising’ series which evolved over at least a year’s time from start to finish.
There are occasions when I get stuck and put a story aside for a few weeks or even a couple of months before going back to it to see if I can move on.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Honestly, that rarely happens to me. If one story doesn’t seem to be working at some point I start a new and different one and go back to original one when I figure out how to get it moving again.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I hope they care about the characters and what they are going through. I do have one subject which is important to me and it shows up in some of my books, the homeless, specifically homeless kids forced to live on the streets through no fault of their own. This comes into play in some of the Phoenix Rising books and in two up-coming ones, Safe Harbor and to an extent Yin and Yang.
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
Humm. One would be editing. You can go through a book with a fine-toothed comb and think you’ve found everything and then the publisher’s editor gets their hands on it and you realize how much you didn’t see. Without the editor— well you get the picture.
The second would be to learn to accept that not every book you as an author think is worth publishing actually is. You’ll get rejection letters. Don’t take them to heart and let them stop you from trying again.
And for God’s sake don’t let a bad review stop you. Just hope that the reviewer says why they didn’t like your book and learn from it. A bad review from a good reviewer can be a teaching tool.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
-laughing- Usually the title is the last thing that happens for me and sometimes it takes a long time to come up with one which fits.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I love puns. I grew up with a father who excelled in them.
What is the most frequently asked Edward Kendrick question?
Yipes. I’m not sure there is one. I suppose it’s ‘How did you start writing?’
That seems to show up in every interview.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on a POV story to match one which I’ve submitted to Silver Pub. It hasn’t been accepted yet but if it is then this one will be the back-story of the other primary character, since the first story is told strictly from the POV of one of the two protagonists. It will also continue their story into the future, hopefully. Time will tell.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
Show, don’t tell. Show what the character’s are feeling and why. This is something I have to fight at times to accomplish. Don’t say ‘He felt sad’, explain why. Etc, etc.
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
I’m not that great at promotion unfortunately. I do hit up some of the Yahoo groups on their ‘Promotion Mondays’ and I talk about upcoming books on my blog and then link the post to FaceBook and Google+. Recently I’ve done a couple of blog hops but honestly those scare me. I’m not a very good blogger other than to say ‘I’ve got such and such book coming out’ and then giving the blub, and excerpt and the link to where to find it.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
I read, not for ideas because obviously that would be considered plagiarism, but for the story and watching how a good author keeps the reader’s interest. Or how they manage to loose it. LOL.
I also make certain I take breaks when I’m writing, especially when I get to the ‘what next’ point. Believe it or not I find that a good CPRG (Computer role-playing game) is great as a pick-me-up. There’s nothing like building a character in one and then taking them out to try to kill the ‘ghosties and goblins’ to get the juices flowing again.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I love a good mystery or suspense story. I also read graphic novels thanks to Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ series.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
Since I’m retired, if I had the money I’d be traveling. Not quite what you meant but the truth. I already spent forty-plus years doing what I wanted as a profession, being a costumer.
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
Off the top of my head and the ‘what if?’ thing in general. Some of the ideas evolve from my concern for homeless kids. When I’m writing a mystery then sometimes the ‘crime’ is sparked by a newspaper story.
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
I love them all. How could I not? They’re done by one of the best in the business, Reese Dante. She just has a way with getting the feel of the story into the covers she designs.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Reading, playing games, walking, having my son come around unexpectedly to say hi and sit and talk. Unfortunately the last is not going to be an option now as he and his girlfriend have moved out of town. But there’s still the phone calls when, like most kids, he remembers. LOL
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Meaning a new book? Yes. Safe Harbor comes out on September 29th from Silver.
When Bobby, AKA ‘Prizm’, witnesses the kidnapping of two other street kids, and then finds out one of them was murdered, he goes to the only man he thinks can help him. Father Kurt, an Episcopal priest who runs the Harbor, a shelter for homeless teens, gets more than he bargained for when he talks Bobby into going to the police.
While the search is on for the killers, who may also be cops, Bobby and Kurt find themselves attracted to each other. Then a new friend of Bobby’s is taken by the killers and he decides it’s time to use the resources at hand, other street kids, to find and try to stop the murderers.
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
Hate to harp on it, but edit, always edit. If it’s not your forte then find a friend or a beta reader to do it for you. It will make a world of difference in whether your book is accepted or rejected by a publisher.
What future projects do you have in the works?
More books? –grinning- Actually, between now and next March I have, at last count, nine more books coming out.
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
This one I guess, from The Beast Within
“Hey, where you headed now?”
Gary looked over his shoulder and gave a hint of a smile. “Nowhere, everywhere. Hell if I know. Just away from here.”
“Come on, Gary, it’s not so bad.” Devin walked quickly toward him, hand held out. “Stick around and unwind.”
Gary glanced down at the hand then up at Devin again. “Dance? That does nothing for me.”
“So we do something else.” Devin let his hand drop down to his side again. He was tempted to just turn and go back to the dance floor. To find someone else and sate his need to wipe away the last month. But… He bit his lip. “Come on, just one dance?”
“What would that accomplish? It’s over, done, finito. No more games, Devin. You’ve changed and it’s… not working anymore.” With that said, Gary walked quickly out of the club.
Devin watched him go and felt empty inside. When someone touched his shoulder he spun around then smiled bitterly. “If you’re here to watch the meltdown it’s not happening.”
Vanni chuckled softly. “Of course it’s not. He’s not worth it. Come, let me help you forget him.” He held out his hand and Devin took it.
The lights, the mass of humanity on the dance floor, the throb of the music, all began to work their magic and soon Devin was lost in a world beyond reality. Faces spun by until they blurred into one, known and unfamiliar at the same moment. Hot bodies, lathered in sweat, glistened eerily under the flashing lights as they moved chaotically to the sounds of frenetic instruments.
Vanni held him tightly while he wove an erotic spell around Devin that only heightened the other sensations. Desire swelled within him just as his cock swelled beneath the tightness of his jeans. He needed… he needed…
“No!” Devin broke free, his eyes wild. They glistened green and red and gold as the multi-colored pulsating beams flashed over them.
“Devin!” Vanni said sharply.
“I can’t… I need…” Devin spun around to thread his way erratically through the whirling bodies to the door. As he got to the door he glanced back to see Vanni watching him, his face devoid of emotion before he turned away.
Probably looking for the next man willing to dance with him, Devin thought in disgust.
Or this one which is the unedited first chapter from You Can’t Change the Past
Part One – A Shattered Life
“Vance Montgomery, get your ass in here right this minute,” the voice roared.
Vance cringed, wishing he had the guts to just run. But his mother would find him, or if not she’d send her present boyfriend looking. And that would make things worse. Straightening his shirt, tucking it into his tattered shorts, he made his way across the browned grass and up the dirt path leading to the battered trailer which served as their most recent home.
He hesitated, trying to gauge from the tone of her shout whether he should face her down or be servile. As the trailer door swung open he stood as tall as his five foot five inch frame would allow.
“Yes, mother,” he said deferentially, hiding the fear he felt as she stood there holding an almost empty bottle of beer in one hand, her hair ratty and scraggly around her thin face.
“Where the hell have you been? School let out over an hour ago.”
“I stayed after to do my homework.” He scuffed the worn toe of one tennis shoe in the dirt.
“Boy, don’t lie to me. You were off with those damned Power’s kids getting into trouble.”
Shaking his head he lifted his eyes to look at her. “I wasn’t, I swear.” Which was the truth as far as it went. He’d been with two other boys from his class, trying to talk Mr. Smith at the grocery store into giving them jobs for the summer. The man said he’d think about it.
Grabbing the doorframe with one hand to steady herself she took a long pull on her beer, tossing the empty bottle in the vicinity of the open trash barrel a few feet away. Then she grabbed his arm before he could back away, dragging him into the trailer.
“You know how I deal with liars Vance?”
“Yes, mother.” His voice trembled and he took a deep breath before saying again, “I wasn’t lying.”
Her hand flew out, landing hard on the side of his face. “Give me your belt.”
Her grip tightened painfully on his arm. “It’s the belt or the chain.”
He fumbled with one hand to get his belt off. His mother snatched it from him, spinning him around, forcing him face first onto the sofa. He closed his eyes, praying the beating would be brief.