Indie Author Interview With David Kummer

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Next up to take his place in the interview chair is indie author David Kummer. Join us as he chats about the craft of writing and his new book My Abigail which is available on the amazon kindle store now:

Why do you write?

When I was younger, I loved to tell stories. When I would play with LEGOs, I always made elaborate plots and wrote some of them down I could replay them again and again. As I got older, I realized that a way to have complete, total control over my stories and what happened was to just write them down! Since then, my stories have evolved and gotten better (I'd hope), but the mentality remains the same. I'm just telling stories.

When did you decide to become a writer?

When I was about 8 years old, we had ten copies of one of my "books" printed. After I took a break from writing, I came back to it and wanted to really, actually publish. KDP was the option for me (haha rhyming), and so I took that route and now am about to publish my third work.

What genre are your books?

My first work, a collection of short stories, was strictly horror. My first novel was horror, but with a little more mystery and a lot less deaths. Now, my novella releasing March 30, is closer to a psychological thriller, and is not really classifiable as horror from my point of view. I would still, however, call myself a horror author if somebody asked.

What draws you to this genre?

You can do so much with the genre of horror. My books are a bit odd, as I try to make a more emotional, humane connection with the reader, and generally the "bad guys" in my books are actual people, not ghosts or demons. If I can make someone leave their lights on at night, then I've done my job good.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Like I said, I've always been a story-teller. My first book was actually written out on paper. When I wanted to type it up, my dad got me an Acer netbook, and since then I've changed computers, but the first time I really sat down to write was on that old thing. I still have it, actually, although now it's junk.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time, because I'm only a freshman in high school. Someday, I hope to make a living off of my books.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I normally write at night, because in the morning there's school, in the afternoon there's sports and practices, and then at night I'm finally free. However, on weekends I'll generally get more typing in, wherever I can manage it. I have no schedule, basically.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

My dialogue in my stories and the characters are what I'm most proud of. I hope they seem lifelike enough. To me, they do, but that could just be because I know what they seem like in my head. I want readers to make a connection with the characters and see parts of themselves in my work.

What have you written?

My first work was a collection of twenty-six short stories called As Trees Turned Away (see below for link to buy). At first, it was going to be called The Alphabet, because there was a story for each letter of the alphabet. (Ex: A---As Trees Turned Away, B----Beginnings, C----Crossing The Lake). Someday, I hope to go back and make alternate endings for all the stories and release that on maybe the 10th anniversary, which would be sometime in May, 2025.

My first full-length novel is called She (see below for link to buy). Writing a novel was completely different and a lot harder than short stories, but I'm very proud of the ending I managed to create. Someday, I may even go back and write a sequel. I already have it planned out.

My third work is a novella called My Abigail (see below for link to buy), which is the work I'm most proud of overall. The characters really flourished, I feel, and the twist that comes near the end is one I've had planned since I started writing.

Although it's not completed yet, my fourth work is going to be another novel. However, it's not even similar to my other works. Instead, it's a literary fiction novel set both in America and in Haiti. It's been very difficult to write and will be one of the hardest things I've done in life when completed.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?

I outline the basic structure, but I always add things in as I go. For She, I had to completely rewrite the outline because it wasn't going to be long enough for a novel. For my short stories, I rarely outline, and the only one I remember doing it for was World Of Rows.

How do you market your books?

So far, I haven't bought an ad or anything for my books. I promote them on my website, my newsletter, my Goodreads account, and get interviews like this, although this is mainly just for fun. I love to talk.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

Getting my Goodreads account was the best thing I did, because I've already seen it have impacts. I've gotten lots of interviews, reviews, and subscribers from it. I've met so many awesome authors on there and really fun readers. It's been great, even if it hasn't impacted my sales extremely.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?

Probably not having my platform (blog, Goodreads, Bookbub, etc.) built up before I published was my mistake, but it hasn't hurt me too bad.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Never give up. Even if sales go horribly, even if writing that one, perfect book never happens, and even if every session seems like you're churning out crap, don't give up. Sales will improve, your writing will get better, and you will always be glad you didn't quit.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?

The main character in My Abigail is named Caleb. From my point of view, he goes through a lot in things in his life that I've seen or have experienced myself. Caleb was, to me, a chance to vent and a chance to show the emotional pain that choices in our life brings. Now, of course, he has a lot more interesting time in his life. He is, in some ways, everything I wish I was. Self-sustaining, adventurous, and fun. 

Where do your ideas come from? 

I get ideas from lots of places. Books, movies, the news. But most of all I get them from daily life. When I see something, I will ask "What if?" on accident. For instance, there were two events that I brought together to create She. The first one was when I looked out of my window late one night. The second was when I went walking under an old, stone bridge and found some strange things hidden under there.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest part is just doing it. There's so many distractions online, and some that even try to tell you it'll sell more books, such as Goodreads and BookDaily. But in the end, what sells the most books is writing more books. That's it.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

The most difficult part of writing My Abigail was figuring out to display the emotions from my characters. I don't particularly like using similes and metaphors, so I prefer to use their actions and words to voice exactly how they're feeling, because in real life nobody has a bubble above their heads saying "Tears flow from my eyes like the waterfalls over a cliff."

Which writers inspire you?

Mark Edwards and Ike Hamill are two, recently, that have inspired me. I love all of their works, and Ike Hamill is even indie-published, like myself. You should check them out.

What do you do to get book reviews?

I will offer people free copies in exchange for their reviews, or I'll find another author and offer to review their book if they review mine. 

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

Not very. It's extremely difficult to get reviews or sales, and since the two normally go together it hasn't been good.

What is the current book you are promoting? 

Currently, I'm promoting My Abigail because that's the newest one and it's the one I want
people to read the most, especially since it's only 20k words and won't take them very long to read.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

My favorite character is actually Damian. He's creepy, strange, and misunderstood. 

Who is your least favorite character and why? 

My least favorite character is Damian's father, who you only see once in a flashback, but all the same. Writing that flashback brought me to tears (that flowed over my face like waterfalls over a cliff. Haha.)

If your book were made into a movie, who would you cast? 

I would get all of the old Wiggles and mix in some characters from VeggieTales, and then we would win an Oscar.

What is your next project? 

My next project is the literary fiction book (see above), but it's turning out to be extremely hard to write, and I can't even imagine the editing right now. (I do my editing myself, along with my dad and English teacher, who's pretty awesome. I think she's the only teacher that hasn't given me a detention.)

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

My favorite character is Harry Potter, because I grew up reading about him and watching the movies. Even now, I enjoy that series, and even read the entire thing before writing My Abigail in an attempt to better construct dialogue and characters, which J.K. Rowling is a master at.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? 

I would like to meet Sherlock Holmes. Wait. What. He's not real? Fine.

I would like to meet William Wallace, to see if he resembles Mel Gibson at all. (If you don't know, I'm making Braveheart references here.)

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?

I would make everybody read. i'm holding fast to my belief that readers make the world a better place. I mean, just imagine. If we gave Putin a copy of How To Kill A Mockingbird we could achieve world peace. That simple.

How do you write your books? 

With a keyboard.

I'm kidding. I'll get the idea, outline it, and start writing. Once I'm done writing, I'll edit, revise, re-edit, and then set to work on covers and such.

Who inspires your writing?

Readers. Every time I see a book sells or get a review, it makes me want to write more.

Who is your favorite author? 

My favorite author right now is Mark Edwards. All his books are wonderful and full of drama. I love the characters and the story twists never fail to amaze me.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?

The more you read, the more you can write, and the better you write. Even if it's a bad book, it will teach you what not to do.

What is one thing you hate about being a writer?

The sense of loneliness when writing. Being an author really is a solitary task, no matter how much you try to include people.

Tell us something unique about you

Something unique about me as an author: I'm 15 and have 3 published works, with many on the way. Most people can't say that.

Something unique about me as a person: I have 9 siblings, and most of them are under 6 years old. It's hectic, to say the least.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

There are numerous ways you can find out more about me and my work.

1. My email

Feel free to email me anytime. I'd love to chat.

2. My blog

Here, you can find my reviews on books/movies that I've read/watched, as well as my random musings.

2a. Newsletter

The signup sheet is on my website, but this would be the best way to find out about promotions, news, releases, etc. Also, you get a free short story for signing up

3. Amazon Author Page

Here, you can find the bookshelf of books that I've published, as well as leave reviews and see updates on my blog posts. If you do review a book of mine and them email me (see above) you will get a free short story.

4. Goodreads Account

Here, you can ask me questions, rate my books, see blog updates, read a short bio (you can do that basically everywhere), get to know me better, and become my friend. Also, you can see what I'm reading right now. 

Links to books:

As Trees Turned Away: 


My Abigail:

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