Errant-Knight to the Kingdom Of Idoshia, Ka-Ron is as feared as he is loved, and his legendary legacy is quite well-earned; however, none of what he's accomplished can prepare him for what will soon prove to be the greatest battle of his life: being forced to live as a woman. Determined to undo the treacherous curse, Ka-Ron sets out with his loyal squire, Jatel, to find the Wiccan Master responsible for his plight, but along the way he learns invaluable life lessons that he may never have been open to had his fate not been dramatically changed...is it possible that the formidable Ka-Ron may ultimately become even more powerful as a member of the "fairer sex"...?
This is a story I've been curious about since I first heard about it, and one that has been very well received (and reviewed). Please watch for my own review coming soon but, in the meantime, let's chat with the man behind the tale . . .
♥ Thanks for stopping by, Don. For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet checked out your latest release, please tell us a little about yourself.
I write horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. I have been writing since I was twelve years old, and love doing it. Writing defines who I am, and I would have it no other way. I am a native Californian, born in Culver City, and have lived in over 22 states in my lifetime.
♥ The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, as I'm sure you can attest to, especially looking back at a 12 year old novice. How did you feel when you first saw your work in print?
I was always the new kid at school, and found it quite hard to become friends with those around me. So, I dived into books, reading them, absorbing them, and living vicariously through fiction. I found out that I wanted more, so I bought an old typewriter at a local Goodwill store and started to create my own stories. From there I tried to sell what I created, hoping for more challenges ahead. Finally, in 1997 I published my first novel Still Waters (a horror novel which takes place on board the RMS Titanic). Seeing my name upon the author’s copy of my book, I will have to admit, was better than sex. Well, it was certainly a “close second.” I do remember that, for a moment, I had tears in my eyes.
♥ You started with horror, continued with science fiction, and now you've written fantasy. Do you find that you deliberately choose your genres? Is there something specific that draws you to them, or was it just 'right' for each novel at the time?
I have always loved the “fish out of water” stories. The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight was an idea of mine for years, but the story took longer to develop than I had first anticipated. I wanted it to be a fantasy, but I also wanted it to be a Tolkien-like adventure. A quest to beat all quests. What could be more fantastic, or more human, than to go off searching for your true identity? Unlike most stories, where the man wakes up and discovers that he has been turned into a woman, Ka-Ron does not deserve what has happened to him. All-in-all, he is an honorable man. Still, within the course of living out his curse, he gets a chance to see life from another point of view, which always makes for a great story.
♥ Clearly, you've travelled a great deal, and lived an interesting childhood. How do you find your past influences your writing? Are you conscious of relating the story to your own experiences?
No matter what genre I write, there is humor in it. Things happen in our lives that, if we do not stop once in a while, and laugh, we’ll all go crazy. The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight has a lot of humor in it for a fantasy novel.
♥ Do you have a schedule or a routine to your writing? Is there a time and place that you must write, or do you let the words flow as they demand?
I write every day, with the sole exception of Christmas Day and my own birthday. I try to write at least five pages a day, sometimes a little more. I schedule this all between life, my money-paying job, and the work I do for Suspense Magazine, writing a monthly article called “Stranger than Fiction: True Stories of the Paranormal.” I have discovered that if I do not write, I get grumpy. So, to keep smiling, I have to write. I love it more than breathing.
♥ How about your writing environment - do you have a soundtrack to your writing? Is there a particular style of music or other background noise that keeps you focused and in the mood?
I love all forms of music. However, I do not listen to music when writing. Instead, I grab a DVD of my favorite TV program, or movie, and write while listening to them. Weird, I know, but different. My all-time favorite television program: Star Trek. :o)
♥ Okay, so other than watching Star Trek reruns, what are some of the hobbies and passions that keep you happy when you're not writing (or reading)?
I love history. When I want to veg-out, I sit in front of the TV and watch The History Channel. Also, anything to do with the paranormal is something I am interested in. In fact, back in 2004, I had a wonderful chance to visit “The Sallie House” in Atchison, Kansas. “The Sallie House” was a featured “haunted house” on Fox TV’s series “Sightings.” While there, I was attacked by her ghost, or something else. It absolutely scared the hell out of me!
♥ Getting back to your writing for a moment, is there a favorite quote or scene from your work that you feel particularly fond of? Something that reminds you of why writing is important to you?
In The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight there is a scene between Ka-Ron and her squire Jatel, where she reaches a pivotal emotional point, and feels herself too corrupted, or soiled, to continue onward. She looks up into her squire’s eyes and says, “Oh, Jatel, I am so ruined. Would you rid yourself of me?” Jatel answers, with a soft rub to her cheek, “Not for the world entire, sire.” Who among us would not sacrifice all for such loyalty? Deep feelings and the “human condition” is why I write.
♥ When you're looking to escape into a really good book (the kind that makes you miss appointments, forget about dinner, and stay up way too late), which authors do you generally reach for, and why?
Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe. All of these writers have the grand talent of writing epic stories which seem larger than the pages they are printed on, and that’s a rare thing.
♥ Some great choices there - what's the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
Where Pigeons Go to Die by R. Wright Campbell. This is a touching story between a boy and his grandfather, and what keeps those memories going long after the person we love has passed on. A really great book!
♥ Just for fun, who would you single out as your number one celebrity crush and what would you like most to do with/to them?
Oh, that’s a good one! I’ve had a crush on Jessica Alba since her Dark Angel days. If given the chance, I would love to just dance with her, have a few drinks, and look into eyes.
I know, it’s kind’a “PG-13” but that’s it. I really get off on a great pair of eyes.
♥ So, if your book were being made into a movie, and you had total control over the production, who would you cast for the leading roles? Does Jessica get a casting call?
If The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight is ever bought for a motion picture, I fear that the only way it could be made, is in a Japanese Anime feature. Still, if made into a movie I would have to pick…
Ka-Ron (male): Jason Statham
Ka-Ron (female): Jessica Alba!
Jatel: Andy Richter
Keeth: Edward Woodward or Ben Kingsley.
♥ If you could live the life any character in fiction, whose story would you choose to live, and why?
Sherlock Holmes! Minus the cocaine addiction, he is the most fascinating character ever created in English literature. In his world there is only “right” and “wrong” – there is no “gray.” I find that very refreshing.
♥ Is there a particular theme or message you're expecting readers to take away from your work?
Yes! We are more than our jobs. We are more than our bank accounts. We are free-feeling beings who must learn to enjoy ourselves. Life is too damn short to be angry at the past, or worried about tomorrow. Just live it! As you truly life out your life, the real adventure can begin.
♥ Thinking of the readers for a moment, what is your favorite aspect of the author-reader relationship? Do you actively seek out any formal interaction with your readers?
I just love the fact that someone has taken the time, and made the investment, into reading something of mine. When given the chance, I ask them all a thousand questions, smiling and eagerly awaiting any response. Every now and then, you do run into that one person who didn’t like your stuff, but, you learn quickly that you cannot please everyone.
♥ What can we look forward to from you next? Is there a project on the horizon that you're really excited about?
For those of you who enjoyed The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight I am finishing up a second book in the series entitled “The Lurker War.” I hope to make this a trilogy. I am also working on a sequel to my horror novel Manchester House. If anyone is curious about my work you can learn more at: http://www.donaldallenkirch.com/.
A huge "thank you" to Donald Allen Kirch for his time. I know I'm anxious to get reading, but if you need one last tease to help convince you to check out The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight, then watch this . . .