Interview: R.T. Kaelin

I had the pleasure of interviewing R.T. Kaelin.  I hope you all enjoy.

What inspired you to write Progeny?

Short answer: bad books and my kids.

Long answer: After reading a handful of books which I thought had predictable plots, one-dimensional characters, and meh-writing, I made an offhand comment that “I could probably do better than that.” So, I tried.

Now, as to why I wrote Progeny specifically, I wanted something my kids could read later in life (they are 5 and 8 now) that daddy had written. The two main characters in the book (and series) are named and modeled after them. Granted, in the book, they are 15 and 17, but I wrote their mannerisms, physical characteristics, and personalities into the characters.

For example…

Golden hair the color of early-Harvest straw cascaded down her back, straight except for the ends that turned up into feathery waves. When she passed through the shade of a tree, her eyes appeared a rusty brown color, but in the harsh light of the Summer sun, they shone green.”

That’s Kenders in the book, and my little Kennedy at home.

If you could describe Progeny in a few words, what would they be?

I thought about this one for a while last night. In the end, I came up with three.

Epic. Heartfelt. Authentic.

Epic because the story is such. Progeny is Volume 1 in The Children of the White Lions series and sets the stage for what I have planned to be a five-book journey. I am editing book two now, and have the beginning of book three started. The cast of characters grows (and shrinks) as the story goes along, the world opens up, and the plot grows.

Heartfelt because I poured myself into the story, the characters, the world. I do not want to imagine the number of hours I have put into this book. Lots.

Authentic because the people and places in the book feel real to me. Sure, I know them better than anyone, but more than a handful of readers have commented on how much the characters seem like real people to them.

Who's your favorite character? And Why?

Not fair. That is like asking a parent “who is your favorite child?” So rather than pick one, I am choosing to answer this question a little differently.

My favorite character to write is Jak. His sense of humor is the same as mine, which makes him easy and enjoyable to write. Jak chapters are written very quickly as I can see the world through my own eyes.

My favorite character to read in this book is Kenders. Her struggle with who and what she is one of the things I really enjoy in this volume.

My favorite character who almost was never a character is Nundle. He was an accident. I started writing a chapter about the antagonist and chose to do so from the point of view of a planned throwaway character. However, Nundle quickly came to life. He was brave, an underdog, and a tad bit excitable. So, he stayed and got a rather large role in the story.

Do you have any authors you look up to- an idol?

As an idol? Not so much. But I do have a list of authors I really enjoy reading (when I have the time).

Raymond Feist, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson.

I do not read as much as I used to. Bad me. Every author will tell you to read as much as you can—I am doing so now: Read as much as you can. However, one of the things about trying to make your way as a new author is that a day job is required. I write in my free time, which leaves little time to read.

If you were stranded on an island and could only bring one book, what would it be?
I again invoke the “I choose to answer this question in my own fashion” rule and will give two answers for two situations.

If I were going to be stranded on the island forever, I would bring the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I find new things in the story every time I read it, so at least I would be entertained for a while.

Now, if there was some chance I was going to be rescued one day, I’d choose—and, admittedly, this might seem a little odd—a thesaurus. Sometimes, I feel as though I overuse some words and would not mind having a larger arsenal of words to throw at the page. Plus, it would eat up a lot of time while I was waiting for my rescue boat.
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  1. That sounds like such an adventure. I would be scared to be stranded on an island but I wouldn't mind living it through a story.

  2. You wrote it for your kids... So sweet... :D