Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Konn Lavery

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: Weird Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Reveal Books
Publication Date: July 15, 2016
Pages: 228
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About the Book

WARNING: DO NOT CONSUME

If you’re reading this, then you did not take the above warning seriously. In that case, you’re probably as stupid as me. I’m Logan, by the way. I didn’t pay attention to any warning signs either. Being an unemployed deadbeat in Edmonton with no family and getting dumped by your girlfriend for her best friend can wear a guy down. All I had was my cokehead buddy, Skip, to cheer me up.

Surprisingly, my precautionary tale was not caused by either Skip or the drugs. Let’s just say a drunken make-out session with a pale girl by a dumpster, who was supposedly pronounced dead earlier in the evening, can leave you mentally jumbled up. A good motivator to figure this scenario out is having robed cultists stalk you, asking where the girl is.

Is this an ill twist of fate? Did I bring this on myself? Is there a reason behind my misfortune? Is the moral to not make out with spooky girls behind dumpsters? Hell if I know…

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Konn Lavery, I was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Raised as a vegetarian by trekies (Star Trek fans), I was home schooled until reaching High School where I chose to go to Jasper Place High School so I could make some friends and get ‘the real high school’ experience. It wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

Following graduation, I quickly learned retail sucked and I went on to learn web development and graphic design from Guru Digital Arts College (now known as Edmonton Digital Arts College) since multimedia was my highest marks in high school. Using this knowledge, I now work as an independent graphic designer and web developer. These skills also transition into my writing where I create the novel covers, build my web presence among other marketing materials.

What inspired you to write?

Writing has been a huge part of my life from a very early age. Originally I wrote background stories to strategy board games that I made up at the age of eight. The back stories kept growing and eventually I started writing, a lot.

The inspiration to those board games as a kid, and for my writing today, comes from movies and video games (specifically RPGs). These two sources of media were my primary enjoyment while growing up and I wanted to share the same awe factor that they gave me as a kid.

I dabbled in video games and animation to try and share stories but found myself getting stuck in technicalities of the medium and was unable to express the stories in a comprehendible manner. I shifted from learning to produce those forms of entertainment and dove fully into writing. To this day I have found it to be the best method to portray the stories I want to share with people.

What inspired your novel?

For my latest novel, Seed Me, it has been inspired by a number of various sources such as my experience with bed bugs which started my research into symbiotic relationships amongst creatures. Bed bugs are a horrible experience and it genially made me uncomfortable. So I thought basing a story on hostile symbiotic relations (amensalism) would be an exciting idea.

I was also inspired by Edmonton’s rich river valley and my love for the horror genre, which is where my fascination with cults comes in.

What is the genre?

On a large scale, Seed Me is a horror genre. Specifically, it can be narrowed down to weird fiction, a term coined by H.P. Lovecraft. His writing was an inspiration to this novel. His style specializes in having horror elements while keeping the frights and gore shrouded in mystery, letting the reader’s imagination fill in the blanks.

What draws you to this genre?

I’ve watched horror movies growing up and love them for their dark, creepy (and sometimes cheesy) vibes. They also make me laugh, not sure if that is a good thing…

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

The story and characters went through MANY revisions. Originally in 2012, the plot was something entirely different with a freelance blogger wanting to solve a mystery of a girl’s death in the river valley for a big story on his site. This plot was shelved as I couldn’t see any conclusion to it. I participated in NaNoWriMo back in 2014 where I approached the same concept but with a new plot.

After NaNoWriMo, I gave the first draft a very critical review and decided to scrap over half of the manuscript. I rewrote the second half and revisited various characters’ motives and backgrounds while doing research at the City of Edmonton Archives and searching on Google.

What inspired your protagonist?

Logan, the protagonist was pieced together from myself and my brother. The fun thing with Seed Me is it is a first person narrative, so you get to hear the internal monologue of his mind. I was in a very different place than I am today when writing Seed Me so my own thoughts did meld into his behaviour. He also pulls a lot from my brother with his worldly views.

What inspired your antagonist?

The antagonist went through many variations. With Seed Me, there was no one primary antagonist, rather various pieces that formed the overall opposing force (that is where the cult and amensalism comes in). For this book, I originally wanted it to be a creature feature – this is where the bed bug inspiration came in – which had a lot of slash and gore. All of this was drastically cut out after the first manuscript, it came across way too cliché and was boring. After researching about amensalism and studying Edmonton’s history I refined the monster and the cult to what they are in the final piece.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The first and last chapters. As stereotypical as that is, it is the truth. The meat of the book was straightforward to do because the premise had been set. It was the initial opening scene into the book that was a challenge because there had to be a hook to have the reader continue on but I couldn’t give too much away.

The ending was also a challenge for similar reasons, I didn’t want to reveal everything to the reader because then it would be over. It’s like the man behind the curtain concept, the mystery would be taken away and would lose all wonder to it. Both the beginning and end had to have the right balance of just enough information and not enough to keep the reader guessing and wanting more.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

Logan’s internal rambles. A lot of them were removed in the final version but I kept the relative ones in the story. Again, Logan pulled a lot from my state of mind during writing this book and these parts were more like a diary to me.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I am a part time author, working to the dream of being full time. For income, I work as an independent graphic designer and web developer in Edmonton. My portfolio is under Reveal Design (revealdesign.ca). Before that, I taught at a digital arts college and worked as operations and marketing for a home warranty company.

What are you currently reading?

My current book that I am reading is Looking In Seeing Out – Consciousness and Cosmos by Menas Kafatos and Thalia Katafou. I don’t often read fictional books, I tend to gravitate to non-fiction for their subject matter.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Clive Barker is my favourite author, a major inspiration to writing. Todd Mcfarlane and Chuck Palahniuk as well.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

These aren’t in any particular order, but my top five would be: Flight of the Eagle by J. Krishnamurti, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, Tales Tall and True by Alberta Education, Graphic Design Basics by Amy E. Arntson and The Satanic Bible by LaVey, Anton Szandor.

What are your future projects, if any?

I have quite a few projected projects. More on this to come in early 2017. A hint is I am going back to finish my dark fantasy series, Mental Damnation.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

My website has all of the information they need to get in contact with me and grab my books. It can be found at konnlavery.com. I am also fairly active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Keep pushing forward. That doesn’t mean you have to write every day, some people do not work well writing every day or simply do not have the time to invest in doing so. However, make sure you always keep doing something to improve your writing.

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