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01 November 2011

Welcome special guest: author Gordon A Kessler @gordonkessler

Today we have Gordon Kessler visiting. Gordon is thriller novelist, former USMC parachutist, recon scout, and Super Squad team leader, with a bachelor's degree in creative writing.  I have taught novel writing for Butler County Community College, and I am a founder and current president of the Kansas Writers Association (a fifteen-year-old group of one hundred and fifty writers).

* So, Gordon, what inspired you to become a writer?
When I took my first college class, English Comp 101, I got straight A's, my teacher read all my papers to the class and she encouraged me to write. It took me thirteen years to get back to it, and that was twenty years ago. I've loved every minute of it. I enjoy creating worlds and circumstances, and voicing my opinions and thoughts through my characters. I also see the world through different eyes by writing in the antagonist's POV, and I've truly learned a lot from doing so.
* When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
My very first story was Zerk from Zenus from back in third grade. It's long departed from this world. I started on a humorous novel, but gave it up when I was told few humor novels sell. Jezebel was my first, and it was about 65,000 words when I sold it. Today's version is around 118,000.
* How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
As mentioned above, I actually sold my first novel, and it was the one I'm blogging about today—Jezebel. She's changed quite a bit since then, however. The publisher went bankrupt the same week they were to print 10,000 copies. It took me years to get her back, and I revised her considerably. After that experience, and a few I could tell you about with the "million-dollar" agents I've had, I decided to self-publish, and I don't regret it. Jezebel is available in hardcover and trade paper, as well as eBook from Amazon and other online stores.
* What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What’s your favorite genre of all to write in?
I like thrillers most of all because the really good ones have a great mix of romance, drama, suspense and action—my kind of book, my kind of life.
* What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
Best: Just write. Worst: never use passive voice. There are too many beginning novelists that learn the rules and follow them to the "T" without understanding when and why breaking the rules can make the story better. They usually learn from experience and reading the really good writers' novels.

* How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
I no longer do—I've gone completely "indie".
* In regard to the book you’re promoting, which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there’s a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
Protagonists: Tony Parker—David James Elliot; Julie Parker—Kate Capshaw; Sara Hill—Christina Applegate. Antagonist—telling you would give it away. Although the reader should figure out the "whodunit" early on—Jezebel isn't that kind of mystery—I'd like for them to wonder a bit for a few pages.
* The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
Jezebel started as a stand-alone, but I've recently gotten a great idea for a sequel, and I see no reason of stopping there, especially since she's building up a fair following. Believe it or not, the idea for Jezebel was inspired by a cute little ferret. Years ago, I was staring at a blank page in my typewriter while sitting at the dining room table, trying to decide what kind of a novel to write. I’d started a humor novel, and was about two-thirds finished, when I heard at a writers conference that humor novels don’t sell unless you’re Jay Cronley (Screwballs, Funny Farm) or Tom Bodett. So, there I was, trying to type that first inspired line onto the page that would open up my creative flood gates to propel me through four hundred pages of a novel, when the family ferret came bounding around the corner from the living room. “Jezebel,” I thought, “Ferret from Hell!”
     Well, even a mean ferret isn’t all that scary (and Jezzie was one of the most gentle things alive), but what about a huge, black Great Dane. I love Great Danes. They, too, are extremely gentle and intelligent. They’re beautiful and loyal animals. But what if something caused one of these gentle giants to get mean—go bad? Now we’re talking scary! The idea for the novel blossomed from there. It’s actually a revenge novel, and a number of gentle family dogs are influenced to do horrific things that they would never have done in their right minds. I also wanted to populate the story with ordinary people going through the ups and downs of life. The protagonist, Tony Parker is the best example: he’s a struggling family man going through a mid-life crisis—gray hair showing at the temples.

*** Now for some fun info… ***
* Are you a cat, dog or both kind of person?
Definitely dog—especially since my beautiful little eleven-month-old Golden Retriever, Jazmin (Jazzy Brass), came into my life about eight months ago. However, I get along with cats just fine, as well.
* Would you/have you own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet?
I don't care so much for owning the true exotics, however I find them interesting. I've thought about getting a parrot or similar bird. I have raised ferrets, and I truly love those little fur balls—so full of energy.
* Which do you prefer: rain or sun & warm weather or cold weather?
I love the sun and warm weather—for SCUBA diving or sailing. I'm more of a four season kind of guy, however. I enjoy crisp mornings when frost covers the grass. I also enjoy rainy days—if they don't come more than two or three days in a row. Snow and cold weather has their place, and I definitely get along well with them when I'm snow skiing. There are few better sensations than, after a day of wild skiing, sitting in an open, steaming hot tub up about 10,000 feet with a drink in one hand, and my lady in the other, while light, fluffy snowflakes drift lazily in the air.

*** About the book… (Excerpt at end of interview) ***

     Sleep lightly tonight, America.
     A madman has come to town seeking a diabolical revenge and large dogs begin attacking their masters for no apparent reason and with heinous results.
     Animal Control Director Tony Parker must find out why and stop the murderous attacks. Meanwhile, Jezebel, a huge black Great Dane has killed her master and is loose, terrorizing the city and stalking Parker and his family. Parker and Sarah Hill, his beautiful and seductive young assistant, attempt to unravel the mystery and stop the terrible carnage while dealing with their own demons and lusty desires.
     The attacks must be stopped. Jezebel must be found-and soon, you see—there is one other complication. Parker seems to have come down with an annoying little virus. No, it's not one of those irritating summer colds. It's certain death.
     She's a murderess, huge and black as a hell-bound night.
     Beware. Jezebel is on the loose!
     I did find some fascinating information on rabies—not a disease you'll want to contract—by visiting with a DVM at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. You'll find I used it in the novel.
     You can always find my books at any online bookstore, including Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Nook, etc. All three of my thrillers are currently on sale in eBook formats for only $.99—trying to get those sales numbers soaring! Of course, you can find them in traditional paperback and hardcover at reasonable prices, as well. One more plug for one of my books: Novel Writing Made Simple is an excellent resource for both the beginning and seasoned novelist, as well. You can find the spiral bound and paperback on Amazon, or there’s even an eBook version you can download from iBooks or at

***Find Gordon here***
Gordon says,
Here’s how to find out more about my thriller novels Jezebel, Brainstorm and Dead Reckoning: the book trailers on YouTube for Jezebel at; and Brainstorm at Then there’s my blog at and my websites at and I have other blogs and websites for writers, as well. You can tweet me at, friend me at and link with me at

Thank you for joining us here today, Gordon! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work. & Bloggers, how about giving Gordon your comments–what makes a good scare for you?

THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY:  a $50 GC!  Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

~ Excerpt ~
    Hill went to the front door and watched Chin’s van make a U-turn at the corner and head down the street.  The headlights flashed in Hill’s face, momentarily blinding her.  She winced.  The light burned her already blood-shot, weary eyes.
    A silent moment passed before a sound came from outside.  The back yard.  Scratching.  Something was climbing over the fence.
    The rifle.  It was still next to the back door.  Hill moved quickly toward the kitchen.  As she made it to the hall, the dog port began to open.  Hill stepped to the side, out of sight, before seeing what was coming through.
    She trembled, backing up to the wall next to the large window that was painted shut.  She could run for the door, but by the time she reached it, she’d be seen.  No way out.  Hide.  Where?  There was no place.  Behind the sheer curtain, maybe.  In the dark, she might not be seen if she was quiet and didn’t move.
    She pulled the curtain around her.  She could see through it, but it made the already dim room even dimmer.  The blowing fan was the only noise.  Nothing moved except the oscillating shadows of the fan blades beating the stale air through the room.  The green flash of the clock on the CD player caused an eerie, strobing light.
    A dark shape slowly emerged from the hallway and moved into the room.  Large.  Huge.  Black.


Chelsea B. said...

I enjoyed this interesting interview! The excerpt only makes me want to read this book more! As does all of the fun character interviews you've been doing, Gordon! :-)


Gordon Kessler said...

Thanks for following along, Chelsea! Please follow on Facebook and Twitter, as well.