30 March, 2012

Author Interview: David Kubicek of Friend of the Family


In a desolate future, long after the nuclear war, practicing medicine is illegal. Health care is provided by Healers who treat patients using primitive methods like chanting and bleeding. Hank is a doctor who practices medicine only for himself and his family. His fear of being sent to prison has estranged him from the Underground, the loose network of physicians that tries to help people who have lost faith in the Healers. Then late one evening a 16-year-old girl named Gina knocks on his door. She has a secret of her own and the power to destroy Hank’s life if he doesn’t come with her and make her seriously ill father well. But there is one catch ¬— Gina’s father is the brother of a Healer.
~~~ (Summary from Goodreads) ~~~


INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

DDS: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
DK: I began writing before the technology revolution, my first instrument being a Remington portable typewriter. Although my main focus has been fiction, my first published works were newspaper articles, which I sold the same year I graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.A. in English. I ran a small publishing company for a few years, wrote a few screenplays (one of which is currently under option), wrote a Cliffs Notes on Willa Cather’s My Antonia, and was a stringer for The Midlands Business Journal and Grassroots Nebraska. I live in Lincoln, Nebraska, with my wife Cheryl, son Sean, two dogs, and a cat who thinks he owns the place.

DDS: What got you into writing?
DK: My mother liked to shop at thrift stores. One time, when I was in high school, she brought home a paperback she’d picked up for 25 cents. I was an amateur astronomer, and she thought I’d like it because it was about Mars. My heart sank when I saw that it was fiction, something called The Martian Chronicles by a random dude named Ray Bradbury. But since my Mom had bought it for me I decided to read it, which I did over the next week in study hall. It blew me away, and I was determined to write fiction that moved readers the way the Chronicles had moved me.

DDS: Tell us a bit about your previous releases.
DK: In Human Form:  Wendy longs to fit in, but as hard as she tries, she can’t quite hide her uniqueness. She doesn’t know that she is an android who lost her memory in a tragic accident. The few friends who have guessed her identity lead her to believe she is human, but their good intentions backfire when ruthless UFO hunter Earl Vaughn comes to town determined to unlock Wendy’s secret no matter what the cost or who is hurt.
The Moaning Rocks and Other Stories: This is a collection of 14 of my best stories. Some of them have been published before, but others appear here for the first time.
The Pelican In The Desert and Other Stories of the Family Farm: A collection of farm stories by various authors. It contains my Pushcart Prize nominated short story “Ball of Fire,” which I collected in The Moaning Rocks and Other Stories. For several semesters it was used in a University of Nebraska English class. Although out of print, paperback copies of Pelican are still floating around and can usually be found on Amazon and Ebay.
October Dreams, a Harvest of Horror (co-edited with Jeff Mason): A collection of horror stories by various authors. It contains my short story “The Moaning Rocks,” which I collected in The Moaning Rocks and Other Stories. It became something of a cult phenomenon when it was first published. Karl Edward Wagner reprinted one of the stories in his Year’s Best Horror Stories XVIII. Although out of print, paperback copies are still floating around and can usually be found on Amazon and Ebay.

Tell us about your recent release.
DK: A Friend of the Family is set in a post-apocalyptic world where doctors are illegal. The accepted caregivers are Healers, who practice such primitive and superstitious methods as bleeding and chanting. One night a 16-year-old telepathic girl named Gina knocks on the door of a doctor named Hank. She has lost faith in the ability of Healers and demands that Hank cure her father of a debilitating illness. Because of her ability, she knows about the hiding place under the floor where Hank keeps his equipment and medicine. If he doesn’t accompany her, she will turn him in. But if he goes with her he will certainly go to prison because the girl’s Aunt Rose, who is a Healer charged with treating Gina’s father, will turn him in.

DDS: What was the hardest part while writing this book?
DK: My biggest challenge was maintaining the tension, keeping the story interesting and keeping it moving because most of it takes place in one room, and although there is some physical action, there isn’t much of it. I think I succeeded in meeting this challenge because my son likes the book, which is a pretty big thing. Sean is a picky reader, and he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to like my stories solely because he’s my flesh and blood.

DDS: Tell us about your favourite character (one of your own creation)
DK: My favorite is Wendy Konicka, the main character in my novel In Human Form. She is an android—created by the lone survivor of a space ship crash decades ago—whose memory is so severely damaged in a tragic house fire that she forgets she’s an android—and the few locals who discover her secret don’t tell her and lead her to believe she is human. I like her strength, her fearlessness, and her friendliness—all traits which she had as an android and that she retains when she loses her memory. After the accident, her mind is a blank slate and her “human” character is developed from her experiences in the novel, but although she sees the dark underbelly of humanity, she remains optimistic.

DDS: What are your writing pet peeves?
DK:
·         Interruptions when I’m writing: phone, doorbell, someone wanting to talk to me if they aren’t on their deathbed.
·         When people get upset when I reject their story suggestions. My wife Cheryl has helped me a lot over the years by critiquing my stories and giving me ideas when I get stuck. But when I turn down one of her ideas, she gets a bit cranky. I reject ideas that are cliché, have been done too many times before, or that don’t fit with where I’m going with the story. It’s not personal.

DDS: Who is your personal favourite author?
DK: I love Ray Bradbury’s early work, pre-1970. But my all time favorite is Stephen King. He’s had such a long career and is still cranking out good books. When I made the transition from writing mostly short stories to focusing on longer stories and novels, I learned a lot from reading King.

DDS: What is your favourite genre and book?
DK: Although I read in a wide variety of genres, I love science fiction, horror, and mainstream with elements of science fiction or horror. Naming one favorite book is hard, very hard. There are so many excellent books. Three off the top of my head are: The Help by Katherine Stockett, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I know neither of the guys listed under question 8 is on this list, but I like them for their body of work, and both of them have written some brilliant single stories. But the novels by Sebold, Niffenegger, and Stockett—all written within the last decade—left great impressions on me.

DDS: Tell us three random facts about your book that you have not mentioned anywhere else.
DK: This is difficult because I’ve said lots of things about this story in a variety of places. But here goes:
·         Space and Time paid me ¼ cent per word for the original version of A Friend of the Family, which came to about $23.50. Fortunately, $23.50 went farther in 1987 than it does today.
·         I used Book Antiqua font because I thought it looked cooler and may even be easier to read than Times New Roman, which I used for my previous books.
·         The policemen who show up at the end are more menacing than they were in the original story.

DDS: What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
DK: That even in the most dire circumstances, when all else seems lost, a spark of humanity, of goodness, still burns brightly.

DDS: What’s next?
DK: Probably the next thing to see publication will be a short novel which I call my “Mars Story” but probably will be officially called something like: “Stowaway.” It’s about the attempt of a radical group to sabotage a scientific observation station orbiting Mars.
I’m currently working on Empath, a young adult novel set in a society about 100 years after a plague has killed 90% of Earth’s population. Many of the descendants of the survivors live in walled cities. They are terrified of mutants who they fear are evidence of the plague re-emerging, so they exile the mutants to the wastelands beyond the city walls. The title character is Cassidy Anne Lange, an empath who has concealed her condition for 16 years, even from her father. But her luck runs out when she makes an impulsive slip and saves a classmate’s life by taking his injuries into herself, allowing him to heal. That is the beginning of Cassidy’s trouble because in this society empaths are considered mutants.
Also in the works is the sequel—the second book in a trilogy—of In Human Form.


Tour Schedule:
March 29 - Meet & Greet with Ebook Giveaway at VBT Cafe' Blog
March 30 - Interview & Excerpt at BooK ReviewS
March 31 - Interview & Ebook Giveaway at Unnecessary Musings

April 2 - Guest Blogging at Mass Musings
April 4 - Interview & Ebook Giveaway at Immortality and Beyond
April 6 - Interviewed at Writing Innovations E-zine
April 10 - Interview & Ebook Giveaway at Reviews & Interviews 
April 12 - Guest Blogging & Ebook Giveaway at Beauty in Ruins 
April 16 - Guest Blogging at Wise Words
April 16 - Interviewed at BK Media Entertainment

April 18 - Interview & Ebook Giveaway by Louise James
April 20 - Review & Ebook Giveaway at Ereading on the Cheap 


One lucky commenter from the entire A Friend of the Family book tour will receive a $25 Amazon Gift card.





1 comment:

  1. Thank you for interviewing me, Debdatta. I really like the way you've designed this page and included my tour schedule. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete

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