Kevin M. Kraft is an award-winning author of Christian fiction (MOMO: An inspirational thriller). Kevin has been blessed with the ability to write stories since childhood. The love of writing has grown into creating screenplays and songs as well. To keep things even more interesting, Kevin is an actor and independent filmmaker. His musical interest at this time includes motion picture scoring as well as building and playing cigar box guitars (he founded the KC Cigar Box Guitar Festival). His hobbies and interest are numerous and vast. Kevin shares his life with his wonderful wife and children in the Midwest.

1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me!  When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?

I knew I have a gift for storytelling, writing in particular, pretty early in life. Even in Kindergarten, I appreciated a good storyteller or reader. My dad, my teachers—story time was my favorite time of the day. So, my imagination was tilled early, and I began writing short stories as early as…nine, maybe sooner. Teachers and classmates alike were enthralled by the tales I weaved, and I always exceled in English, grammar and composition, even helping other students at my teachers’ requests.

What I love most about writing, as a Christian, is the fact that the Creator has placed with His creation (us) the ability to create and to, if even in the smallest sense, experience the utter joy of creating. Probably what frustrates me most about being an author is knowing that I’ll never have enough time to write everything that comes to my mind.

2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? 

Sure, thank you! My website is WWW.KEVINMKRAFT.COM. In the broad sense of the word, I write faith-based/Christian fiction. But don’t let that fool you. I write in genres and mixed genres and invent genres that most Christian authors either haven’t thought of or don’t dare tackle. Also, rather than build a story around a message, I like to create sympathetic characters, often believers, and then put them in extraordinary circumstances to see how they respond.

Most prominent these days is my Doboro the Bottlenecker action-drama, faith-based book series about a blind, sword-slinging avenger and his journey on the road between justice and vengeance. It’s based on my original screenplay, which means that, yes, a movie could result. There are currently two novels in the series that have been released—Doboro the Bottlenecker  and Long Way from Paradise with a third Bringing Down the House due out in the spring. The first two books are available on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.

Then, there is Momo, my inspirational monster-in-the-woods thriller  novella, of which both the screenplay and the book are award-winners. (I’m re-releasing Momo very soon because we’re working on the film in the fall, Lord-willing. It is my shortest book, yet has received the most accolades and recognition.

Long before Fox’s Lucifer, I wrote S: A Contemporary Religious Fantasy. Probably my most evocative novel, it asks the question: “What if the Devil decided to repent?” While it sounds like a dark topic, many will be surprised at just how light it is. I won’t give any more detail except to say that S has been a conversation starter like no other! It’s available on Amazon/Kindle.

Interestingly, I have a large female readership! Yeah, most of my fans are women—even Doboro! I think it may be because I write emotional scenes well, if that doesn’t sound too sexist. And I concentrate on meaningful relationships. In fact, the reason I call the Doboro books “action dramas” is because there’s a lot of drama. They are not action-heavy, although the action scenes are quite dynamic when they do occur.

Information about me and my work can be found at WWW.KEVINMKRAFT.COM and at Amazon.

3) What projects are you currently working on?

As I write this, I am finishing up the third book in the Doboro series, Bringing Down the House. I have also begun work on an exciting science fantasy, whose name I can’t even divulge because it would give away too much. I am also working on some screenplay and book-to-screen adaptations.

4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?

My most significant achievement has been being granted permission by my favorite author to adapt my favorite of his novels for the screen, hearing him tell me that it’s the best adaptation of his work he has ever read, becoming friends with him, entering a collaborative agreement with him and his agent to make the film, and being closer than ever to finally seeing it come to fruition…and quite possibly being able to produce and direct said movie.

5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?

Yes, I have. But it’s too painful to talk about it. (Do you have a tissue?)

6) Do you have a schedule for when you write?  Do you outline your novels?  How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?

I don’t maintain a schedule, although I recognize the necessity for doing so. I sometimes outline novels and recognize the benefit of doing so. (Although, I have had a few occasions when I just sat down to the keyboard to write and just banged out a novel with nothing to work from but my imagination—with success, I might add.) It has taken me as briefly as one week to as long as four months to write a novel. I do not include ideas that I began developing decades ago only to finish them up now.

7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry?  Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?

If one can write, it doesn’t matter how old they are. One who has a talent for writing or a gift, if you will, can write anytime, it doesn’t matter how late—especially if said person is writing something often to keep skills honed.

8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you?  Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?

Some say I was born with a pen in one hand and a book in the other. Absolutely! Voracious readers make great writers. In fact, I’m not sure it is possible, at least in the case of fiction, to write great stories without having read a lot—or been read to a lot. The first book that I read was Sir Kevin of Devon by Adelaide Holl, which was released the year of my birth, ironically enough. It was a wonderful story of a knight fighting a dragon, and I remember it being very exciting. I’ll have to see if I can find that book again somewhere…

My favorite author…Ray Bradbury for all-time-favorite. But I’ve gotta give props to James Byron Huggins. He sort of took over the top spot in most recent years.

Currently, I’m previewing a lot of books for my young daughter and don’t have much time for personal reading.

9) How has the current state of the world affected your writing? Because writing is an isolated practice, do you find it easier to deal with quarantine? Has it stifled your creativity or has it made you even more driven to get things done?

The current state of the world has no bearing on how or what I write at all. Things sure have become fodder for dystopian novels and pandemic novels and alternate reality novels…although I have not actually written any of those yet.

10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you? 

I am a real DIY-er and an anarchist in many ways. As a person of dark hue, I refuse to become preoccupied with the so-called “black experience” or African American stereotypes. So, it’s independent for me, although it could be interesting to be a hybrid writer. There is a lot to be said for being in control of one’s product, although…it does come with its own hazards.

11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally.  I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?  How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?

I can’t think of a thing.

Just kidding! Writing, for me, isn’t a coping method. I find no spiritual food in writing itself. It’s creation and experiencing within my creation through the experiences of my characters. It’s entertaining for me, like watching a movie. Fulfillment comes from knowing others have been touched by what I have created.

Said another way: It’s like I have a second brain or program that runs in the background of my consciousness. Even in the midst of writing, I am able to somehow remove myself from the act of writing to observing. It’s weird, I know! I’ll be writing a scene and then something extraordinary will occur and I’m like, “OH! I CAN’T BELIEVE HE JUST DID THAT!” Or I’ll find myself weeping over a heartbreaking scene. And I’m writing it!!!! Like I said, it’s weird. But it serve me well and allows me to be as entertained by my work as I hope others are well.

Okay, now I have a few questions for YOU Ms. Carpenter… 

1) What’s the best book you have ever read. What’s the worst?

For me personally there are far too many good books to single out one as the best book ever. I will say that the one’s that have impacted me the most were To Kill a Mockingbird, and Little Women. Those books just opened my eyes to a completely different level of writing and expanded my view on the type of writer that I wanted to become. I don’t think there is a worst book, mostly because I don’t see any books as bad books. They may not be something that is my taste but the opinion of a book is objective because what I might find isn’t my taste may perhaps be the most amazing book to someone else. Even books that I find don’t particularly draw me in like others teach me something in the writing aspect as to maybe the kind of book I don’t want to write and if there’s a lesson in it somewhere I don’t think that’s a bad book.

2) How are you at receiving criticism?

I will admit that I am sensitive but only because when I write something it is deeply personal, even though it’s fiction. However, having said that, I understand that I can’t necessarily be objective when it comes to my own writing simply because it is my baby (so to speak) so I see it as beautiful and close to perfect (even though logically I know it’s not). If I’m receiving critique from an editor in regards to my work I want the best book possible so I have learned to not take critique to heart because I know that the person critiquing it also wants the best representation of my work put out to the world as well. Critique from readers is very important but I also understand that every reader has their own expectations and preferences of what they choose to read so I try not to take it too personal.

3) What inspired YOU to become an author?

I have known that I was meant to be a writer ever since I was six years old because even then I just wanted to be a storyteller. By the age of ten I really felt that with the childhood I had I could only really communicate my feelings with the written word and the stories just never stopped living inside my head. I would make up characters and life situations and when I was with my friends I would convince them that we had to play games that involved making up stories and scenarios to act out. What they didn’t know is that we were acting out the stories of the characters that were living inside my head lol. I suppose I should thank them for indulging my creativity even then because it only made my love of writing and storytelling bloom even more. I, like you, fear that I will never be able to tell all of the stories that I have inside my mind but I certainly plan to try.