I was recently asked for an interview, not by a book outlet or as part of some marketing effort, but by the son of my dentist’s boyfriend. He was supposed to find someone famous to interview as part of his journalism class. I told him that my dentist is probably more famous than I am, but I agreed nonetheless.
This is not the first time I’ve been interviewed by a journalism student. It used to happen a lot when I lived in Gainesville and created a regular comic for the Alligator, the UF college newspaper. (There is an amusing story there about when I got my hands on the secret Pike House book of laws and history that subsequently made its way into the newspaper… but that is a tale for another time.) Since then I have been interviewed for being a webcomic creator, an author, and a bunch for helping lead a neighborhood drive against some wealthy developers who wanted to put a nightclub right smack in the middle of everyone’s homes.
Lena suggested that I make a resource for folks who wanted to interview me. Something they could look at and copy and turn in—and say that they had interviewed me and I wouldn’t even have to know about it. Well, Lena said that first sentence, anyway.
So that’s what this is. I have culled the questions from my author interviews and amalgamated them into those below. Feel free to turn this in to your teacher and say that you interviewed me. Or that you interviewed someone else. It’s up to you. I trust you.*
The Pandriatic: a Literary Magazine for the Rest of Us
Interview with prize-winning** author of the Misplaced Mercenary series, Kevin Pettway
by Stacy Bublioni
The Pandriatic: Hello Mr. Pettway. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Kevin Pettway: Do you have any peanuts?
The Pandriatic: Excuse me? Um, no. Are you hungry?
Kevin Pettway: No.
The Pandriatic: So, everyone is wanting to know when the next Misplaced Mercenaries book is coming out.
Kevin Pettway: I just don’t trust peanuts.
The Pandriatic: Don’t trust peanuts… to do what?
Kevin Pettway: Isn’t this about my books? It’s soon. The books come out every six months. I am stupid-busy. That’s why I have so much time to sit here listen to your questions about peanuts.
The Pandriatic: Right. Let’s talk about the books then. A lot of attention has been given to the colorful vocabulary of Keane, one of your two main characters. How much of that is you, and how much is hand-made for the character?
Kevin Pettway: I think of it like this. I’m not Keane, but Keane is a piece of me. It’s like if you were walking down the sidewalk and got jumped by an old lady who smelled like menthol and really expired sardines, and she pushed you into an apple bush that was coated in dog-poo. And the instant that happened, a thousand people ran up and one of them shoved a microphone in your face and said, “How much of that dog-poo is from that dog-poo apple coated bush, and how much of it is just you?”
The Pandriatic: I… huh? Apples grow on trees.
Kevin Pettway: Six.
The Pandriatic: Sarah and Keane are one of fantasy’s stand-out friendships. The two of them complete each other in ways both obvious and not. Yet despite their similar age and attractiveness, they are not romantically linked. Why is that?
Kevin Pettway: Because it isn’t their relationship. Why isn’t your car a bicycle? Because it wasn’t made with four tires, an engine, and a little pine-scented air freshener. Sarah and Keane love each other enough to know that they couldn’t make each other happy in that way. Keane needs someone to push him more than Sarah would, and Sarah needs someone more supportive and kind than Keane is. As friends, they make a whole person. As a couple, they’d implode.
The Pandriatic: That’s unexpectedly complex. Wait. Did you just answer a question?
Kevin Pettway: Does your bicycle have a little pine-scented air freshener?
The Pandriatic: Moving on then. Some of the villains in the world of the Thirteen Kingdoms are horrible, evil people, doing things for what might otherwise be considered noble reasons. On the flip side of this, some of the heroes are innately good people who occasionally drop into pettiness. With bad guys that are a little bit good, and good guys that are a little bit bad, how do you keep them separated so effectively for the reader?
Kevin Pettway: What a flattering question. I couldn’t have made that sound better for me if I’d written it myself.
The Pandriatic: I assure you that you did not. I wrote these questions myself yesterday morning.
Kevin Pettway: Sure. Anyway, to answer your beautiful question, ideally, you should be rooting for both the good guys and the bad guys by the end of the book. Very few people are entirely good or bad, anyone can grow, and the conflict within them makes them more interesting. Like right now, I’m trying to decide whether to finish answering or go pee. It’s drama! What’s he gonna do?
The Pandriatic: I can wait.
Kevin Pettway: Waiting is not dramatic.
The Pandriatic: How did you come up with the magic system of the Thirteen Kingdoms?
Kevin Pettway: There are three different magical systems in the books, sorcery, runecrafting, and whispering. They interrelate, and their practitioners are very competitive. All three follow their own rule-sets that are often hidden from the rest of the world on purpose. Except for runecrafting. Morholt will teach that to anyone. Anyone willing to have sex with him anyway. Boy does that cause trouble later!
The Pandriatic: Was that a spoiler?
Kevin Pettway: It’s a teaser.
The Pandriatic: What’s the difference?
Kevin Pettway: Spelling?
The Pandriatic: Misplaced Mercenaries is not just dramatic and heartfelt, but it’s also funny. How do you find that line and manage to make it seem realistic through all the books?
Kevin Pettway: Real people are dramatic, heartfelt and funny too. Especially when you stab them.
The Pandriatic: Have you stabbed anyone as research for your books?
Kevin Pettway: Yes. I mean no. Definitely no.
The Pandriatic: That seems like a good place to leave. Or leave the interview, rather. Please don’t stab me.
Kevin Pettway: You’re safe. Though I am researching a new book where this guy is super-obnoxious throughout a series of interviews.
The Pandriatic: Nailed it.
Kevin Pettway: Thanks!
The Pandriatic: This has been Stacy Bublioni, interviewing Kevin Pettway, author of the funny and entertaining Misplaced Mercenaries books, which you should absolutely buy right now.
Kevin Pettway: You know, I think I am hungry. Do you have any peanuts?
*I just think it’d be hysterical if a whole bunch of people turned this in as their homework.
**I won a weekend at a Hilton for Lena and I for writing about how shitty a contractor I hired was. We brought a cooler full of booze and snacks and the PlayStation and had a GREAT time.
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