Welcome, Ken, and thank you for participating in a Fast Forward interview today to discuss the second novel in your Kelli Storm Police Procedural series. A story’s protagonist often reflects an author’s personality, or displays characteristics the author has chosen to explore. Can you please share with us some of the back story that defines your protagonist, Kelli Storm, but isn’t included in the published novels?
KENNETH HOSS: Well, there isn’t much to add to Kelli’s story, as her life is an open book, no pun intended. She is a composite of people, both men and women, which I have interacted with over the years. There is, I will admit, some of myself in her too. We have both had our trials and tribulations.
FAST FORWARD: After writing the first novel in a series, it seems that subsequent novels would flow out fully formed. The author has the basics down: format for the storyline; a feel for the proper number of plot lines and chapters; techniques for creating a charismatic protagonist and supporting characters; secrets to making the antagonist likeable; and guidelines for adding conflict right up to and through the denouement. How has writing become easier for you; and what remains as difficult now as when you wrote the first novel?
KENNETH HOSS: It has become easier in the sense that both Kelli and I have gotten to know each other over the course of the first two books. I know how she thinks, how she will react in a given situation. With the first book, I had a basic idea of Kelli, but I didn’t really know her until the end of the book. With the second book, I wanted the story to go in a different direction from the first book, but Kelli didn’t and it took five false starts before I listened to her. After that, it flowed. What I am still finding difficult after the first book is my discipline. I still find myself procrastinating instead of writing, though I am getting better.
FAST FORWARD: To hold a reader’s attention, a series protagonist must continue to grow or change in each novel. In Sue Grafton’s ABC series, Kinsey Millhone does not age (much), or get married, or acquire children, but she expands her knowledge of the job, begins to carry a gun, and discovers family relatives who are woven into the storyline. Without revealing any spoilers, how has your protagonist developed or changed from Book #1?
KENNETH HOSS: In the first book, Kelli would let her anger take over, get the best of her at times. In book two, she is learning to control it, not letting it run her. I won’t say that she doesn’t still get angry, but at least she hasn’t threatened to blow someone’s head off lately.
FAST FORWARD: A series requires the presence of a continuing main character. Often, however, there is another recurring character. The almost infinite pairings of main characters with guy/girl Fridays or wingmen could claim its own category on Jeopardy. Two Mystery/Suspense series authors and their interesting (equal or supporting) characters that come to mind are Tess Gerritson’s Rizzoli & Isles; Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino. Is there a recurring secondary character in your series? What is the purpose/role of that character within the plot?
KENNETH HOSS: There are several recurring characters in my books, though the main one would have to be Kelli’s ex-husband, Kevin. He first appears in book one when Kelli needs his help. There is still a spark between them after several years and this only serves to complicate her life even more.
FAST FORWARD: Researching a new novel takes the author on a journey to many new places, whether through books, movies, newspapers, or physical travel. What did you most enjoy about the research process of your second novel, and where did your research take you?
KENNETH HOSS: I enjoy everything about researching a book, and I am always learning new things. In book two, my research took me deeper into the world of the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, and it was extremely eye opening. I read things that I could not include in the book due to the graphic nature, even though there are several descriptive scenes in the book. Most of my research was taken from current events, at the time of writing, which was and still is some very scary stuff, especially since I live in North Central Texas.
Where can fans of your novels find you and your books on the Internet?
Ken Hoss – Author – http://kenhoss.blogspot.com
Storm Rising – A Kelli Storm Novel - http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Rising-Kelli-Novel-ebook/dp/B0053GAWYU/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1
Storm Warning – A Kelli Storm Novel - http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Warning-Kelli-Series-ebook/dp/B009B5CYJ0/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1
Twitter - @kennhoss