Author Spotlight – Kyle Alexander Romines
Kyle Alexander Romines is a teller of tales from the hills of Kentucky. He enjoys good reads, thunderstorms, and anything edible. His writing interests include fantasy, science fiction, horror, and western.
Kyle’s debut horror novel, The Keeper of the Crows, appeared on the Preliminary Ballot of the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards in the category of Superior Achievement in a First Novel. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
You can contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also subscribe to his author newsletter to receive email updates and FREE electronic copies of his Warden of Fál prequel short, The Path of Vengeance, AND his horror/science fiction novella, The Chrononaut, at http://eepurl.com/bsvhYP.
Thanks for joining us today, Kyle. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
I am about to start The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, by Diana Wynne Jones. It’s a humorous “travel guide” that offers a glossary of fantasy terminology.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
At the moment, my friends and I are making our way through Gloomhaven. I’ve been playing as the Brute, an Inox warrior who likes to get up close and personal in combat. He’s close to reaching retirement, and I can’t wait to see what character class gets unlocked when he does…
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Why?
I hand-write my plot outlines and type the novels. I say type, but really I use a program called Dragon Dictation that allows me to speak my story into a microphone, which then transcribes my words into a word document. I literally speak my stories into existence!
And how do you like to work – in silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps?
You can usually find me writing in a dark, quiet basement somewhere. I am easily distracted and require a lack of physical stimuli to focus.
Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit? Tell us something unusual about your writing method!
There’s a running joke that I write in my bathrobe. A great exchange of dialogue came to me in the shower (it always does, for some reason) so naturally I sprinted to my computer to put it down.
I do write rough outlines for my books, and I tend to know the important points in my stories—and the series overall—but I also leave significant room for the characters to change and grow. Without fail, they will always find a way to surprise me.
What are your most significant non-book fantasy influences?
RL Stine. I devoured his Goosebumps series when I was a kid; they were my first chapter books. His stories had a lean, fast-paced, and gripping quality that made me want to keep turning to the next page, and the next, until I had finished whatever book I was reading at the time.
When I began writing, I tried to incorporate a similar approach. I tend to strip out extraneous details and flowery language from my writing. In fantasy, that means a delicate balance between worldbuilding and keeping the plot moving. To be consistent with this approach, I intentionally kept the first novel in my sword and sorcery Warden of Fál series on the short side before returning to a traditional page length of 400 pages or more for the rest of the series.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
The first episode of True Detective season three. The first season of True Detective was one of my favourite shows of all time, but the second season was a huge let-down. I’ve heard great things about season three, and I want to watch it before I accidently get spoiled.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write or otherwise do any work. How do you choose to spend the day?
Traveling. I love to travel to new places and discover new things.
If you could choose one punctuation mark to be made illegal, which would it be and why?
The exclamation point! Stop shouting while I’m trying to write!
In no more than three sentences, tell us a little something about your current work in progress!
I’m currently halfway through the fourth book in my Warden of Fál series—The City of Thieves. This one has it all—old friends and enemies, a cursed blade, goblins, fairies, druids, false kings, and (of course) thieves. Lots of thieves.
If you could co-write or co-create a series (like The Expanse, or the Malazan Book of the Fallen), who would you choose to work with and why?
Jeff Smith’s Bone. Bone was my first exposure to fantasy when I was a kid, and I have a deep love for the characters and the world he created.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Way back when I was first starting out, I had the chance to work with editor Michael Garrett, who has edited Stephen King. Michael taught me about the importance of POV in storytelling, which is one of the single best pieces of advice you can give a new writer.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Rome, during the empire—for obvious reasons.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
Whenever I don’t feel like writing, I work on editing, marketing, or promotions. That way I’m still doing something book-related.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
That’s a tough one!
Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with what we like to call a ‘shark elevator pitch’? (It’s exactly the same as an elevator pitch, but with sharks.) (Well, one shark. Which, by the way, is currently picking between its rows of teeth to try and dislodge the remains of the last author who stepped onto its elevator.)
Ahem. So: why should readers check out your work? A shark elevator pitch of your own book(s) in no more than three sentences – go!
Five kingdoms, with five kings and queens. The High Queen rules all, and her wardens keep the peace between realms. Most wardens are beloved heroes, but one is hated and feared—Warden Esben Berengar, the most dangerous man in Fál.
Brilliant. Thanks again for joining us, Kyle, and good luck with your upcoming Warden of Fál series!
Kyle Alexander Romines is the author of multiple fantasy and science fiction books. The first novel in the Warden of Fál quartet, THE WRATH OF LORDS, is available now.