I was overjoyed that Kyle agreed to take part and featured on my Meet The Author series here.
He is inspiring, motivating, positive and passionate. Get to know Kyle Lionheart, your new favourite author.
1. What inspired you to write your debut novel, “The Seven - Awakening"?
Without a doubt, my mother, Frances Lambky. She was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer right when I entered my freshman year of highschool – despite the disease never being ‘curable’, she fought hard and long for six years… until May 26th, 2008 when she, unfortunately, passed away. Like any human being, I was really broken down at the time (I was 20). And yet, one of the last things I told her before she died was, “I want to use my gift of writing to make you proud.”
I began the story in a completely non-fictional sense, portraying everything that had happened the morning my father woke me up and told me it was time to say goodbye. Admittedly? That was mostly for me at the time… because I was still dealing with and, ultimately, processing those very raw emotions. Then, as I began to gradually heal over time… I started to have my own, ‘awakening’ that everything I wrote would be able to help somebody out there someday. I knew if I could tackle a topic as heavy as cancer and spin it with a fantasy/adventure hybrid blend, not only would it be writing something I love… but, it might help anyone else out there dealing with that same sort of hardship.
2. Why did you choose the path of Self-Publishing?
In essence, that decision was really just influenced by “following my heart”, as cliché as that might sound. I’ll be honest – I want my books to be published more than anything in the world and I’ve been working 24/7 to try and make that a reality. But, still – my mantra has always been the journey… not the destination. I wanted to get there the right way. By selling it for $1, I didn’t really care about making a profit. I just wanted people to be able to READ it; if that makes sense. I know, deep down, I’ll look back someday and be thankful for beginning things this way. I’ll be thankful for starting from the basics and working my way to the top. I think that’s always just the way I’ve wanted to try and ‘make it’ in the writing world.
3. Do you have any advice for other writers looking to pursue Self-Publishing?
The beauty of Self-Publishing is the fact that you’re your own business, in every sense. And so I would say to anyone out there either going down that path… or, perhaps, about to pull the trigger on it… to take pride in that. You have an incredible opportunity to show the world who you are and be in CONTROL of that every step of the way – seize it. And also, when you start developing new readers… when you get your first message from someone OUTSIDE your family that’s read your work… that feeling never really leaves you. So, enjoy the “little things” along the way because – believe me – they’re really the big things. The longer you keep going, the more you’ll start to see that. I promise.
4. What inspired you to become an author & has it always been your dream?
In every sense of the word, yes. It’s always been my dream and a lot of that was influenced early in my childhood. I grew up with a stutter that made social interactions (especially, at school) challenging. My outlet quickly became writing because it was the one place I could go to express my thoughts and feelings without the fear of being ridiculed. As I grew older, I started to see the impact my words were having on people… how being able to use something I was naturally in love with was actually helping people. That was all the inspiration I needed. I quit my job after working a few years out of college in passionless positions (one year and a half ago) and never looked back. Now, 2 novels later, I know that was the best decision I ever made. And something amazing is happening. Not immediately, but definitely.
5. Where’s your favorite space to write?
Call me old fashioned, but I love writing things in a journal first before taking it to the page. So, this has allowed me to write in a lot of very unique places. All in all, though, my favorite spot has always been the patio outside of my place in Colorado. This might sound like fiction, but no joke – squirrels started visiting me while I wrote my second novel last year. And with them, so did the rest of nature. I love being close to that world and it makes me feel at peace everytime I do it.
6. What are your top 5 must haves for a writing space?
In no particular order: Nature, a veeeeeery black cup of coffee, my headphones for music, the absence of people and the morning – I always write best when it’s the AM. I think you’re more honest with yourself then.
7. How many hours a day do you write?
When I’m in grind mode for a novel, 8 hours a day. When I’m doing it casually for fun, no more than three hours.
8. In terms of Outlining are you Plotter, a Pantser or a Plantser? (Plots, Doesn’t plot, a mixture of the two)
I love this question because I answered it once before in another interview – definitely a hybrid. Typically, I’ll map out the things I want to accomplish in each chapter by putting a “map” together on a white board. But, that doesn’t mean I go a linear path… so many of my ideas have come together in the moment or doing things OUTSIDE of writing. I think being both is essential. As human beings, we’re not meant to just spit out ideas on command. There’s a process involved and I appreciate every second of it.
9. Because I have a pretty Type-A personality, I’m always curious about other peoples scheduling methods. Do you use a schedule to plan out your life / writing & if so, do you use paper or electronic planning?
I’ve always been a big believer in checking things off because it gives a much needed sense of “wow, I’m actually progressing”. So, typically, I’ll make a list of all the things I want to get done for the week… and then, eventually, I break it down into a day-by-day list to help me ‘get there’, so to speak. I usually do this on Sundays since I tend to reflect a lot on those days and because it’s right before a new week.
10. What is your favorite part about the writing process?
Every story has to have an intention and obstacle… without that? You’re just doing journalism. So, for me? My favorite part comes after I’ve established that. I feel like I can go into “grip it and rip it” mode once that’s accomplished and can get back to the basics of writing the way I love to write. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling and I lose all sense of time when I’m in those moments. It’s almost like a trance.
11. What is your least favorite part about the writing process?
I feel like the obvious answer might be ‘writers’ block’ but you know what? For me, it’s always been editing. I got my degree in English at the University of California, Irvine – so I’ve always felt equipped to do it. Well, I was wrong. It’s just a long process that sucks your soul out… the worst part is, it’s not necessarily HARD; it’s just tedious. That will mentally get you after a while. I’ll definitely be hiring an editor someday once I’m (hopefully) published.
12. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
“The Seven – Awakening” took me an incredibly long time because I was wriing it while carrying a full time job AND doing various charity projects too… my only opportunites were a one hour lunch break and siphoning enough coffee to keep me up at night before having to go in the next day. When I departed my jobs, however, that all changed. I wrote my second novel, “The Seven – Catalyst” in five months… start to finish… and it was a little over 400 + pages. I have to admit, it was a crazy journey where I was writing constantly almost every single day for 8 hours at a time (often more). Still, that’s what it’s all about. I loved every second of that madness.
13. What’s your biggest internal obstacle in getting your writing done?
Doubt in myself. And honestly? I think this is a universal truth – I feel like every writer out there, at one time or another, ponders, “Is this every going to be good enough?” And when I get in that mindset… I’m paralyzed. It’s definitely gotten less severe as I continued to press forward, but yeah – doubt can definitely put you to sleep if you’re not careful. That’s actually one of the larger themes of my series. One of the main villains is literally named, ‘Doubt’.
14. What’s your biggest external obstacle in getting your writing done?
This sounds vague, but distractions. Social media. The internet. You name it. I feel like it’s a blackhole that sucks you down… that’s why I went on airplane mode every morning when I was writing my second novel. It took some discipline and will power, sure – but I don’t think I could have finished in 5 months if I didn’t do that.
15. Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
I think it’s the default state! And yet, overcoming it really isn’t as difficult as you might think. I actually took this advice from the legendary J.K Rowling when she was asked on twitter how SHE overcomes it… and her response was, “Sometimes you have to just stop trying to force it, walk away and let your suconscious show you the way. Fill up on life for a while.” I usually did this by taking walks and I swear, I would always come back with ‘my well’ full of new ideas.
16. Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
It’s energizing in the beginning, especially on a new day. Still, I cannot deny that after 8 hours –if you’re REALLY putting your soul into it – I get fatigued. My head hurts, I’ve neglected doing other things and internally? I know it’s time to ring the bell for the day.
17. Best piece of advice for other writers?
Don’t be afraid to use your voice. That’s the most wonderful thing about being a writer – every single person has their own unique, individual voice. If you’re writing to try and sound a certain way or match a rival author…? The rest of the world will see right through that. Yet, if you’re fearless and don’t hold back on writing the way you KNOW feels right – I have no doubt you’ll succeed. Those are the people that always stand out the most.
18. What is your favorite quote about writing?
“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” ~Josh Whedon
19. Which authors are your biggest inspirations?
I grew up on Harry Potter, so Rowling will always take the cake there. I’ve also always been a big Tolkien fan as well. On a very personal level, Dave Eggers’ “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” taught me that it was okay to write in the style that fits your voice. In a lot of ways, he’s been the catalyst for following my dream.
20. What are you currently working on now?
I’m in the process of bringing Awakening and Catalyst (the first two books of my seven-part series) to the caliber I want them to be… with professional illustrations and new book covers. I’m hoping to have that done before Summer, so I have a shot of being published sometime this year. Outside of author life? I’m a budding screenwriter. I’ve always wanted to do both and I’m in the process of writing a spec script for an existing series (Silicon Valley) as well as a Pilot for my own original one. It’s been great to challenge myself with this and I know that it will only help me become a better writer universally.
21. What is your Favourite Season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)? Does the season impact your writing life / creativity?
I’d say Fall, mainly because of the weather… but also, I’m a huge football fan too (go Broncos!) So, I would say every Sunday – yes, that definitely hurts my creativity! But other than that… I’m at my happiest during Fall, therefore, I write at my best level too.
Connect with Kyle
Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/info.kylelionheart/
Website @ www.kylelionheart.com