Last week I had the privilege of interviewing writer extraordinaire Kimberly Kinrade. This week her partner in love life and the universe, and equally gifted writer Dmytry Karpov has stopped by for some coffee and a chat.
As a horror writer myself, I simply have to ask this question first.
1. What is your favorite scary movie.
Though I often write dark short stories, I’m not actually much of a horror fan. Those stories just come naturally to me, especially in a shorter format. Personally, I believe that feelings of horror, or unease, are the easiest to evoke in a reader in a short period of time.
So as for scary movies, I haven’t seen that many—just enough to know the genre conventions. But recently, my favorite horror film has to be “Paranormal Activity.” It actually got me invested into the story, and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, even though I knew it’d be terrifying.
I also liked “Insidious,” which was made by some of the creators of “Paranormal Activity.” That movie haunted my thoughts for days. But only because it exploited my irrational fear of really scary old ladies. Wow. I’m shivering just from writing that.
2. If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
This wasn’t an easy choice for me, but, though I almost don’t believe it, I’d be Harry Potter. I love fantasy and magic, and the kid got to go to a magic school. That’s awesome. I’d use my powers to teleport and make things float and do all sorts of things.
3. What is your favorite color
I love the color red. To me it represents passion and creativity. Those are some of the things I value most in life.
When I was younger I got kicked out of my English class for using this classic excuse. The only thing was for me it was true.
4. Has the dog ever eaten your manuscript?
No. And I’m happy for both me and the dog, because it would have had to eat an entire laptop. I haven’t written stories on actual paper with like an actual pencil since I was in Seventh Grade. That’s when I started to take writing seriously. But soon enough, I transitioned to a digital format, just in case any dogs did find my writing overly appealing.
5. What do you consider your biggest failure?
I didn’t release a novel last year. I had some personal writing deadlines that I just failed to meet. I did release my short story collection, “Dark Edge,” which I’m really proud of, but I had a few novels planned that never got finished. I have many great ideas and the skills to convey them, and I love sharing my work, so not having a novel out yet almost doesn’t make sense to me. Of course, it’s not like I haven’t been busy. I’m constantly honing my skills as well as researching into new possibilities combining literature and electronic media. Hopefully all of this work will make my first novel better than I ever imagined. My New Year’s resolution is to finish one this year. And that’s what I’m going to do.
6. Do you laugh at your own jokes?
I do. Some people think it’s sad or weird, but I don’t stop myself from enjoying life. Even if that means laughing at my own jokes. Sometimes secretly in my head.
7. When you were a child what did you want to be when you were grown up?
I wanted to be an inventor. I loved coming up with new and cool ideas. And as a kid, I thought I’d be able to make them real when I became an adult. I still believe anything is possible, but I’ve decided to narrow my career down to writing for now. This way, people’s imagination is my only limit.
However, I still love inventing new ways of conveying stories. With the creation of eBooks, there are more possibilities now than ever.
8. How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I’d love to say I take the constructive feedback and brush the rest of it off, but it’s not that easy. The first review I ever received gave my book a one star rating. That was tough. It brought up a lot of fears: what if no one will like my work? What if I’m a horrible writer? I realized that the one star reviewer didn’t like my style—others may like it more. But still, I feared any future reviews.
Fortunately, the ones I received next came from people who enjoyed my writing. After getting a few four and five-star reviews, the bad ones have become a lot easier to deal with. Now that the fear of being a horrible writer no longer haunts me, I can focus on the constructive feedback. And if someone doesn’t like my style, so what? I can’t please everyone, but I can do my best to write a novel that someone out there will love.
9. What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?
Probably when I teasingly tell my fiancée, Kimberly Kinrade, I don’t miss her when she’s gone. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I don’t know if that qualifies as a lie, since she knows I’m joking.
Honestly, I rarely lie. Honesty is an important part of trust for me. And I want people to like me, or not like me, for who I am. Not some half version of me filtered through lies.
10. What is the biggest sacrifice you have made for your writing?
Letting it take time away from my family. I love Kimberly and our girls.
11. What inspired you to write your first book?
When I was a kid, I would spend hours just walking around my room, thinking up ideas. Usually, they involved magical worlds and fantastical creatures. These journeys into my imagination were more fun than any movie, book, or video game. Once I learned to read and write, I developed a particular interest in fantasy novels.
Then one day in seventh grade, when I was eleven, I decided to write a book. My first attempt was a ten book epic fantasy series compiled of dozens of characters and settings. Let’s just say, I still haven’t finished that first book.
12. 2011 saw you publish your debut work Dark Edge. So tell us what are your plans for 2012?
I plan to publish a novel in 2012. Right now, I’m working on two different outlines. One is an Epic Fantasy about two kingdoms on the brink of war and two friends who end up on different sides of the conflict. The other is about an aspiring magician with real magic who gets caught up in a dueling event that’s more than it appears.
When the outlines are done, I’ll pick one to turn into a novel by the end of this year.
Simultaneously, I’ve been working on creating a new kind of “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. In the past, these sorts of books have given readers the ability to choose where their characters go and sometimes what they do. This gives readers a sense of control over the story, but it often happens at the expense of a great story line and the flow of the writing.
In my approach, instead of giving the reader simply logistical choices, I want to give them emotional choices. When a character comes across an obstacle, the reader can decide if the issue is handled with humor, sympathy, logic, or even brutality. This not only gives them control over the story, but also allows them to tailor the experience to their preferred emotions. Since most people read novels for an emotional experience alone, this integrates decisions into novels in a way that I’ve never seen before.
Also, many “Choose Your Own Adventure” books only give readers choices during pivotal moments in the story. This approach can be fun, but puts too much emphasis on the choice, causing people to make choices that they think are the “smartest” or will have “the best results” even if they may not be the most fun choices for them. It can also make readers go back if they’re not satisfied with their choice, destroying the flow of the story.
Instead of focusing on big, pivotal moments, I give the reader many small choices. This makes decision making a part of the experience, and not the focus of the book.
Unfortunately, this type of story takes a long time to write. Hopefully, I’ll have something I can share with people soon.
13. What books have most influenced your life most?
The “Deltora” series got me into fantasy as a young kid. After that, “The Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan nurtured my love for the genre and expanded what I thought possible. Recently, Brandon Sanderson’s work, including his “Mistborn” trilogy, have pushed my perception of fantasy conventions even further. These books inspired me to create original works that push my genre and literature, instead of trying to recreate someone else’s ideas.
14. What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
When I was kid, my family and I went swimming at a beach. As I was walking along with them in shallow water, a huge wave came out of nowhere and swept me under. Water pushed down my throat. My legs and arms scrambled for the surface even as I began to cough and vomit in an attempt to suck in air. The few times I broke out of the water, I screamed for help.
As I was about to lose my strength to keep fighting, an arm reached down and pulled me towards the sun. I pierced the surface and gushed water from my throat. Finally, I tasted air again.
My dad held me by the arm and dragged me to shallower water. Somehow that wave had taken me more than three dozen feet away from my family. When I felt my toes touch the sand again, and my mother’s arms wrap around me, I finally stopped shaking.
Let’s change it up a little bit. Last week your partner in
crime love and life Kimberly was my guest, so let’s see if you two can answer a few questions about each other. No cheating now.
15 What’s Kimberly’s favourite fruit?
Pineapple. But a really good mango would beat it
.16 What’s Kimberly’s favorite colour.
Purple. But she also likes blue and red.
17 What is Kimberly most afraid of?
Ants. Big ones. Especially with wings.
Dmytry Karpov defies convention in writing and life.
At an age when most are still growing into the thought of a voice, Dmytry has gained a certain genius mastery of his craft in writing and editing. And he continues to learn and grow.
His writing style is often dark and twisty, with searing prose and storylines reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s short works.
He also has an eye for structure, style and character development that is true brilliance.
Writers worldwide should be throwing money at him to make their work shine.
Publishing companies should be bidding for him to review their slush pile.
And agents should be begging to represent him.
He’s that good
‘Dmytry’s debut publication is an anthology of short stories and an excerpt from a novel he is working on. The stories are not for the faint of heart and will make you consider the darker side of life and realize that it is hiding in the shadows all around us.