"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

VBT Pit Stop Give@w@y & At The Round Table with Greg Kiser - inSyte


Welcome to the Round Table at Immortality and Beyond Greg. We're so happy to have you with us. Greg is the author of a new paranormal thriller - inSyte.


Greg Kiser is happily married to a wonderful and inspirational wife, Serena, and has two beautiful children – Miller and Grace.
Greg graduated from Southern Polytechnic University in Atlanta with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Greg also earned his MBA from the University of South Florida. He is currently a Director at Cisco, a high tech fortune 50 multinational corporation.
Greg has written extensively for fortune 50 high tech firms in describing next generation networks and painting pictures of the true evolution of technology for the consumer.

Email – gkiser@cisco.com
Website - http://www.gkiser.com/gk/HOME.html
Blog - http://gregkiserinsyte.blogspot.com/



BK: Please tell us a little bit about your current release...

It’s Tampa Bay, Florida and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch “Double” Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics
If knowledge is power, Mitch just became the strongest man in the world.
But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.
At the center of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL. And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self destruction.

BK: What inspired this particular novel/book?

I was in a business meeting in 1999 and the customer asked me some questions and they weren’t quite important enough for me to fire up my laptop (which took about 5 min in those days) so I said I’d get back to him.
It struck me that it would be nice to have access to the info on that laptop unbeknownst to the customer. That would be sort of cool, make me seem pretty smart.
As time went on, I realized that’s really inevitable with the internet. There are glasses you can buy today - so called visual headgear – that let you watch content on your ipod. Maybe while you’re on a plane.
Obviously you can also view info on your smart phone. Let’s say voice recognition software improves and the glasses get smaller. Say the glasses become contact lenses. You get the picture. It’s just a matter of time before you can get online anytime, all the time, and you’re doing searches based on a question asked of you. Or just by thinking about something. So you would search the net the way you search your memory.
That’s the high concept and from there I developed the conflict to make the book (hopefully) interesting.

BK: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing stories in about 3rd grade. Silly stories that were funny and made the class laugh. Stories about my dog, ridiculous stuff I made up.
I wrote a serious story about my brother who died in 2006. That was the first real story I wrote as an adult. It’s available for free at the following URL:

BK: How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

Ahem – Long Answer Alert!
inSyte is different in that it has a well developed plot with lots of twists and turns.
But at it’s core, inSyte is a character driven novel. Each character’s motivations are always clear so the plot is easy to follow without being predictable. I also strive for nicely understated humor to break up the intensity.
You always know who’s head you’re in, ie the point of view in any chapter is quickly apparent. The perceptions of the characters are different for the same circumstances, which adds depth.
And I have a lot of dialogue. Dialogue speeds up pacing and is an important element in making a book read quickly. Dialogue also helps to illustrate the characters.
My characters are multi-dimensional and interesting. Even the smaller characters are well-drawn.
My novel is a thriller and there’s plenty of action and tension. I paid a lot of attention to the dialogue to add tension by inter-cutting, avoiding having people speak in complete paragraphs and even sentences. Showing the impatience, projecting a more natural flow.
More than just dialogue, there are a number of physical conflicts. Otherwise known as fight scenes. The various fight scenes have been described by reviewers as horrifying and terrific. This is not a novel about fighting, by any stretch, but there is physical conflict. Great fun.
My antagonist, Cheslov, was described by Kirkus Reviews as “Woven throughout a story with many finely crafted twists, turns and revelations is the charismatic, mysterious, murderous Cheslov Kirill. As a classic merciless political operator, Kirill is unforgettable and chillingly, complexly rendered, especially for a man who uses a school of sharks off the Florida coast for corpse disposal.”
Cheslov is an intense presence in the novel because whenever I have a chapter with Cheslov, you stay firmly in his point of view. You see what he feel, know what he knows. His thoughts are not very pleasant, but they are consistent and (mostly) fair. If not just a tad warped.
You see, Cheslov was born in 1900. And my novel takes place in 2020. Much of Cheslov’s memories are a blank. He remembers events leading up to World War I, then his memories pick up in New York at the turn of the 21st century. Something happened in the woods of Rostov in 1918 but he doesn’t remember exactly what that was.
But the reader knows. So the reader realizes Cheslov is a paranormal character.
My protagonist, Mitch, is a hero and you find that out in chapter 1. Ex-Navy SEAL. So who possibly go into conflict with a literal monster like Cheslov? How about a Navy SEAL? Who do you think would win? And how?
Read the book to find out!

BK: What was the hardest thing about writing this story?

Creating the initial draft was the hardest. The initial overall idea of what your book is going to be about. Who are the characters, what’s the high concept, where will the conflict come from.
Once you get past that and start writing, it gets easier.
And once you get that initial draft completed – then it’s fun. Truly. From that point forward, you only need to polish. Just pick you’re your gem every few days and polish for a few minutes. Hear someone say something funny at the mall, consider a tree limb in a park and how you might describe it, smell a familiar smell and let your mind run – all of these ‘experiences’ … feel them and bring them back into your novel as you polish and make it shine and breathe life into it. That’s the best part. Oh, it’s so hard to get that gem established at first. But once you do, it’s your gem. And it may never sell, it may never make millions of dollars – but it’s your gem and you can publish it and you can get it in print and you can show your friends and one day your children and one day, many years from now, you’ll read that work as a different person, as an older person. You’ll wonder who wrote that? You’ll be amazed all over again.

BK: What character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?

My favorite character is Cheslov who is an antagonist… but not necessarily THE antagonist. I struggled at times with dialogue and scene creation for other characters. But for some reason, it just flowed with Cheslov.
My book takes place in 2020. Cheslov is Russian, born around the turn of the century. Around 1900, that is. Somehow he ends up in Tampa in 2020 as hired muscle for the Mayor. How did he survive to 2020 if he was born in 1900?
Something happened in the woods of Rostov.
It’s like that with Cheslov, he’s just naturally creepy. I think Kirkus reviews put it pretty well when they wrote the following in their review of inSyte:
“Woven throughout a story with many finely crafted twists, turns and revelations is the charismatic, mysterious, murderous Cheslov Kirill. As a classic merciless political operator, Kirill is unforgettable and chillingly, complexly rendered, especially for a man who uses a school of sharks off the Florida coast for corpse disposal.”
But he’s also charming, likeable on some level. He is the character everyone who reads my novel seems to talk about. Some are darkly drawn to him. Most found him fascinating in his evilness. But he’s the one people remember. Me too.

BK: Which was your favorite scene to write?

Interesting question. I always had this notion, even as a young child. What would I do if I were in a fight with someone (hey, I’m not a fighter, but as a little kid I thought of these things and just never let this particular one go) and they were wearing some kind of a mask, say a Halloween mask or whatever.
I was beating them, had them beat and then the mask fell off. And I realized I was actually fighting a werewolf.
Would I freeze? Knowing I was stronger and I had won, would fear get the better of me? Sort of a silly thought, but that stuck with me and I knew I wanted to put it into my novel. That actually comes out in one of the crucial conflicts, a fight scene between an ex-Navy SEAL and my antagonist who is part wolf, mostly man, named Cheslov.
So that’s my favorite scene. Yeah, that fight scene.

BK: Will this become a series? If so, what inspired it to be a series?

I might write a sequel. I have a lot of ideas about where to take it. But my wife is solidly opposed to the idea. She wants me to write something more romantic. We’ll see.

BK: Now for a little fun, and into your everyday life, What is a day in your life like?

My entire novel was written between 4:00am and 7:00am, before work. I am most definitely a morning person. Seems I’m able to tap into my subconscious somehow if I do so before I really wake up, before the rest of the world wakes up.
If I look over my monitor, I see a pool in my backyard and if I’m really lucky I’ll see my two kids swimming and my wife laying in the sun.
Of course, I don’t see them when I’m writing because they generally prefer to sleep instead of sunbathe at 7:00 in the morning ;).
So I’m a computer jockey. And when I’m not on my computer, I’ll take a break and play around on my ipad.
That’s a day in my life. Sad, I know.

BK: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m neither writing nor working I like to do a lot of things. I like to build a marble maze with my 7 year old son or watch my 9 year old daughter cruise the sidewalks on her ripstick or lay in bed and let either kid read to me. Captain Underpants is particularly entertaining.
I also love to go out with my wife, listen to live music, sip cold beer(s). Like to play golf, hang with the boys and watch a big football game.
Just a normal guy ;).

BK: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I was on a Nuclear Cruiser in the Navy. That might surprise some people.

BK: What do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

Stephen King and Thomas Harris. Gods.

BK: Please tell us one piece of advice you were given as an author that you carry with you when you write?

Never, ever use the word ‘suddenly’ in a novel. That advice came from an Elmore Leonard book on writing my wife gave me. There’s a lot in that simple mandate.
I take the point to be that you should show the reader what’s happening, draw them into the story so that they are surprised by an event, that an event seems to hit them ‘suddenly’ because their head is so totally in the story. Not because a narrator tells them that something is happening “suddenly”. It took me a while to understand that but I get it now. Keep it simple. Keep it direct. Keep it real.

BK: What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers/authors?

Just know that if you get in front of the keyboard at the right time of day for you, then you’ll write. Think about your characters, where the story is going to go. You don’t have to have it all planned out. It doesn’t have to be the next Da Vinci Code in terms of plot development. It just has to flow, to take on a life of it’s own.
Don’t start off thinking about how the hell you’re going to write a 300 page novel. Just start off and let the journey occur. Think about it and make your characters come alive and write their thoughts and lives and then let the interactions occur and you’ll be amazed and surprised and hopefully delighted by the results.

BK: What are you currently working on?

Nothing in particular. Thinking about a sequel. Always thinking about things. Trying to consider thoughts that I have that everyone else has but no one talks about. Occasionally I’ll think of something worth writing down. So I’m collecting things and one day, when the inspiration strikes, I’ll get in front of the keyboard and start writing and 50 pages later, I may realize I’m on my way to another novel.

BK: Where can readers connect with you?

inSyte@gkiser.com
inSyte is a paranormal-thriller that according to Perry Crowe of Kirkus Reviews, is equal parts Crichton, Clancy and King.
It’s Tampa Bay and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch “Double” Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics. More than mere information – Mitch can see into men’s hearts and be all places at all times (easy in an ‘always on’ surveillance society with fourth generation tweets). Sort of like God.
If knowledge is power, Mitch just became the strongest man in the world.
But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.
At the center of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL. And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self destruction.


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2 comments:

Julie W said...

I haven't read the book or heard of it before today, but now that I have, I'm really excited to read it!

Barbara said...

I haven't read it...but I have heard of it. Thx for the giveaway op!

barbbattaglia @ yahoo.com

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