SeriousReading interview – Kade Cook

Good day Everyone,

Usually I dedicate this page to interviewing others but today I decided to post a recent interview I did with Seriousreading.com.  I hope you all find a few more interesting tidbits about me that you may have been curious about. 🙂win_20160914_094015

So without further adieu, here we go:

A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?

Well I can only speak for myself on this question as I believe we are all individuals, with individual and diverse levels of social anxieties. I am very well adept at spending time alone and isolated but I do crave, once in a while, the company of other people just to seep in what others think about and breathe in their energy. I do struggle at times to know what to do with myself or what to say when in a social environment but at that point I try to fade into the background or preoccupy myself so that it doesn’t get overwhelming. So I guess to some degree, depending on the person, it is a bit true.

Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

I don’t believe so. I am sure that it helps when you have to go back through your first drafts, which is always an interesting journey, to begin restructuring the project so that it is legible to the rest of the world. But I know that everyone makes mistakes and overlooks errors when it is their own work and that is why we hire an editor or a second pair of professional eyes to oversee the final product.

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

I absolutely love fantasy, especially urban. I allows the writer so much freedom to create and expand their worlds without having to know every little detail and specifics in order to do it properly and still stay realistic. The imagination is an amazing tool, and the more we use it, the more we can push it to its surreal extremes. Why have an imagination if you cannot use it?

What inspires you to write?

I began down this road on a journey to find the creative spark that I had suppressed for so many years of being a mom with young children and the bombardment of demands that this job entails. Somewhere in between the diapers, sleepless nights and never ending spit ups I lost myself and what made me feel alive inside. I push through the creative process as a journey to find out who I am now. Even if it means the terrifying reality of letting strangers and friends see who I am from the inside out. It allows me to breathe when I feel suffocated by real life. It takes away all the stress and demands of the world around you, even just for the few moments you are allotted to get lost in the imaginary world you created. It saves me from getting lost in a world that is eager to swallow you up without a trace. It is frightening to let someone see my creation but it is even more frightening to allow yourself to disappear without creating it.

Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?

No not really, when I sit down to write it is when I am inspired to do so. When the characters in my head begin bugging me to the point that I need to expel enough of what they are telling me to get them to quiet down for a bit, I will hammer it out until it is done. Sometimes it is an hour a day, and sometimes it lasts for days. I usually carry a scribbler and a pencil with me at all times just in case of such an emergency. haha

Writers are often associated with loner tendencies;is there any truth to that?

I can relate with that trait. I like people and social events…to a point. I find if I choose when I want to be social, I am better at conversation and interaction but most of the time I love my alone time. To think, to exhale and to allow the silence that surrounds me to whisper its hidden secrets that one can only hear when you have those moments of tranquility.

Do you think writers have a normal life like others?

I am truly not sure what normal is, because everyone has their own definition of what normality is for them but I can tell you that now that I am a writer, I am understanding why some writers find it normal to lock themselves up in a room or hotels for days at a time just so that they can manifest their worlds on paper. I would love to have that luxury but with a brood of kids constantly needing mom, it just isn’t in the cards. But as for a normal life, ie, socializing, and having a 9 to 5 kind of work life, it is highly probable. So far, so good for me anyways.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I set a plot. I like to know where I am going. As for how I get there, well that is entirely a different story. I let the characters lead the way.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

As I have said before that I have a brood of kids, so for me, finding the time to actually sit down and type it onto the computer, after taking care of everyone else’s needs is the hardest part for me.

What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?

The easiest part of writing for me is setting my mind free, letting it drift where it wants to go. Sometimes allowing it to gather flowers and dance with the shadows it unwinds any stress I might have been having in a plot conflict or smoothing out the edges to the flow of the story. Daydreaming is the easiest part of writing.

Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last?

I have to admit that I have been lucky enough to not suffer from those dreaded words. Anytime I feel like I am struggling or getting stuck, I get up and move around—change the scenery or go for a walk and let myself drift until it works itself out. I seriously hope I never know what true writer’s block feels like.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

Oh I love to read. And with my limited ‘me’ time, I have to choose my entertainment wisely because ‘There can be only one’. So instead of watching Tv or gaming or what have you I read. Some of my favorite authors are Cassandra Clare, Stephenie Meyer, Marissa Meyer, Stephen King, Dan Brown, Anne Rice and Veronica Roth. Oh and I cannot forget about J.K. Rowling, she is wicked.There are so many wonderful writers that I take a little of them with me when I open their worlds and dive in.

What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

The most important thing about my book is that I love it. It was created because it was a story that I wanted to read, to be a part of and something I feel proud of sharing with anyone willing to pick it up. If you don’t love the story then why on earth would you expect anyone else to?

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

In my opinion, the cover image must reflect the innards of the book and the title should be a name that settles gently within your soul. That saying it out loud sends you an image of intrigue and inquiry as to what this story is all about. It should capture your attention.

Have you ever designed your own book cover?

Actually yes, I designed the image of what I wanted to see on the cover in my shower. I kept drawing the image over and over until I could actually see it the way it needed to be. I asked a couple of Graphic artist friends if they could put it toggrey_cover_for_kindleether and then voila, GREY was born.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

Absolutely, if you cover doesn’t catch the eye of the reader right away or cause some kind of connection with them, they will pass it by without a second thought.

How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?

I would be devastated of course. Probably feel discouraged and broken hearted for a while but eventually I would just move on, keep writing and understand that not everyone in the world shares my excitement about my dream.

Does a bad review affect your writing?

A review to me is an opinion, everyone has one. Not everyone is going to adore what you wrote and they will have an opinion as to how you can do your job better. But the way I see it, if you force yourself to write in order to please everyone, you would never ever get to the point of actually publishing it because you can’t please everyone. And the story would not be organic, it would be forced and deluded with things that you think the read would want to read, not what should be written.

Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?

Oh yes! Pick up that pencil and do it. Don’t be afraid of not knowing how to do it, it will come as soon as you spill the lead upon the paper. Don’t waste precious years living in fear and doubt of your instincts. Trust your creative soul and let it do what it was meant to do. Create.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

If you start it, then finish it. Don’t let anyone else tell you that you cannot do it or that your dreams are a waste of time. Don’t let others put their dreams ahead of yours. Defend your dreams because no one else will.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

I dreamed for years of being a helicopter pilot. I loved to fly and so to me that would be the best job ever.

Which book inspired you to begin writing?

Actually it was a book my friend Yves Robichaud wrote for his son a few years back, ‘Kaylen’s Rising’. I read it to see what kind of world a person I knew created. After finishing it, I stepped back and thought to myself that if he could do it, then why couldn’t I?

Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first novel?

Yes, there were a few moments where negative thoughts and comments from other people hindered my belief in myself. But I am stubborn and this was ‘mine’ and mine only—I would defend its life and finish the story that burned inside of me, screaming to get out. So I did. Never regretting any moment of discomfort my journey had caused me. It is alive and I am the one that gave it breath.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

I am sure that any writer will tell you that one surely cannot write a book without expelling fragments of their personalities within the characters. In my books, each character carries with them pieces of my fun side, my devious adventurous side as well as my dark side. It is inevitable.

How realistic are your books?

My books are based on mostly real places, not all of them of course but I have been to most of them. Its modern day life dusted with a hint of magic.

Are there any books that you are currently reading and why?

I am actually reading a Beta Copy of a novel called ‘The Council’ written by a wonderful author friend of mine and the editor of my book. She is trying her had at fantasy and from what I have read so far, she is doing a great job. And why you ask? Because I am a big fan of witches or Mages and realistic worlds that include the possibility of magic.

Have any new writers grasped your interest recently?

Yes, actually, I just finished up the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I absolutely love what she did with twisting the stories based on the classic ‘fairy tales’.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

Well, anyone who was brave enough to pick up a copy of GREY and read it, might be interested to know that I am half way through its sister book. The next book in the series and have the thirds outlined, with quite a few of its chapters already written out on paper.

Who are your books mostly dedicated to?

My books are written and dedicated to my children and grandchild. I wanted to leave behind something they could pick up and be with me whenever they choose within the words of my writing. I will be forevermore there, all they have to do is open the cover.

Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?

My children. They have been so supportive and interested in what I am writing from day one. Now I have a small following of want to be authors in the household, now how cool is that? To know that maybe you have had a hand in inspiring their creative futures?

Is it true that anyone can be a writer?

I am certain that everyone has a story dwelling within them, they just have to be brave enough to pick up the pencil and write. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or Shakespearean, it just has to be brought forth and written in the voice that you were given.

Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?

Oh my word no! One’s first draft is just mind babble placed on paper. It is firstly most important to get the thoughts out, to let them flow naturally as they arrive in order to allow the story to continue without too much force. Now, to make coherent and more precise thoughts out of the flood of words is what the second, third or twentieth drafts are for. Also, you waste precious time ensuring perfection the first draft.  I say drop the pencil to the paper and let the babbling begin.

Are you friends with other writers?

Over the past couple of years since beginning on this journey I have met some incredible and wonderful writers that I wish nothing but success for. Hopefully I will someday get to meet some of them and enjoy their successes with them.

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Inside A Beautiful Mind – Gian Andrea

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday once again.  So here we go once again prying into another writer’s mind to see what makes them who they are. Go grab a coffee and get ready for some fun. This week on Inside A Beautiful Mind I am going to be chatting with the insightful and world traveling writer Gian Andrea.

KADE: Good Morning Gian, Let’s tell the wonderful readers out there a little about who you are and what makes you tick.

GIAN: I was once born Italian, before I moved to the United Kingdom.

My pen name is Gian Andrea, which is actually my real first name – Giannandrea, only cut in half for obvious reason: Nobody really ever wasted much time to pronounce it properly, myself included, so Gian is more than enough – and I honestly like it better.13607979_1213340732029557_1425086741_n

Here, in London, the exotic charm of a foreign name sometimes works.

I spent a good part of my life getting people drunk. Me included.

Now I’m vegetarian and currently working for Greenpeace.

I believe in Art, more than I believe in people.

Painter, rolling stone and passionate about different languages and cultures, I often travel across Europe, to visit their major cities and their artistic heritage.

I hold a Bachelor degree in Literature and History with honours, and a Master degree in Philosophy with honours.

I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world – except for another degree in Physical Cosmology or pizza. Sounds so much cliché’, for an Italian, – but I do love pizza. 

KADE: That is outstanding, what an incredible life you must live. And I understand the pizza lust, it is glorious. So let’s find out about what you have written and your upcoming book.

GIAN: So far I’ve got one novel and one short biographical story out. They are both quite dark and deeply sad, in a sense, touching themes as addiction, free will, and the inconsolable human nature.

I started my next book again from these premises, a man confronting his own thoughts on his recent relationship with alcohol and a woman, and a revolutionary idea that could change people’s life for good. But this time I’m trying to take it a bit more softly – there is humour, it’s more centered on the bright side of life, and all in all it does not take itself too seriously.

KADE: Well, it sounds very engaging to me. What inspired you to write your first book?

GIAN: As a passionate reader first, and philosopher as well, I always found writing an excellent way to investigate the world around you and the human nature, as well as your own.13621559_1213336655363298_317404299_o

There’s nothing quite like writing, putting your thoughts on paper, to help you trying to figure out the meaning of this existence, or at least, to live it properly.

I believe it’s a sort of necessity, – as writing, like painting and any other form of art – deeply affects our life and daily choices, more than we may suspect.

Most of my favourites books, can be read as a work of physiology, digging inside our mind, – cause after all, writing is passing a life’s lesson.

So as for my very first book, it was both a way to analyze myself, and the world around me in relation with myself, and the will to convey a message to other people out there.

It was a way to say, “Hey, look, the world is not just what you see.”

KADE: Oh, I like it. Great answer. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

GIAN: Absolutely. I don’t think it’s actually possible to write anything that does not come from your own life experience. I mean, pretty much everything you can imagine has somehow roots in what you’ve learned or experienced so far.

KADE: Yes, I agree. Whether we know it or not, anything we write has rooted from within. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

GIAN: There is a chapter where I mention the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. I’ve always been very fond of Mythology, I consider it a highly sophisticated way of teaching – way more deep than we usually think – and the similarity between a statue that becomes a real person in flesh and bones, such as Galatea, in this very myth, and Agida in my novel, that slowly tries to become numb as a statue – I believe was quite interesting to write for myself as well.

The more I was writing about it, the more I could see where I wanted to go with the story and that character – and it also helped me to understand a thing or two about myself.

KADE: That is wonderful. With that kind of revelation, you must have felt such a connection with this world. How did you come up with the title?

GIAN: AGIDA – upon dirty art

I made it up, sort of Latin name; for some reason I wanted something that’d sound like 14628052_1295167363846893_1639565620_nthose old philosophical essays I used to study at Uni – though without being misleading.

For the second edition, we got rid of the subtitle and kept only the Title, “Agida”.

KADE: Yes it does have an interesting sound to the way it rolls off your tongue. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

GIAN: Grammar. I do love it, it’s true. But I speak a few other languages other than English – so art first when someone pointed me out some misspelling or typos – I was furious with myself and quite ashamed. How could I not notice that? How could the editor not notice that?

On the other side – the best compliment is of course when someone told me my book 14689040_1295167500513546_1858634759_ochanged their life or their prospective on life – which is exactly my aim.

More specific – when they wrote me that after month, my book was still echoing in their mind, and they would have to change their opinion about it.

KADE: I quite agree, how wonderful it must have been to hear someone say something so touching. Now, I know we all have our own ways of writing. Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

GIAN: Don’t think so, I write whenever I can, and wherever I can. I change house and location quite often, twice a year on average, so I don’t have a proper desk-board or designed writing area, let’s say. 

KADE: Well then since you don’t have any quirks then tell us what is the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

GIAN: If it’s actually possible for sperm cells to be absorbed through the perineal rectum, faster than they would by oral assumption, let’s say.

Fascinating science. I love it.

KADE: Ha ha yup that is definitely an unusual search for sure. So how about giving us an interesting fun fact about your book.

GIAN: The original cover picture, basically a girl’s bottom, was taken many years ago, when my first novel was still at a basic stage. Two days of shooting, the girl was a Russian model friend of mine – we shot so many different pics in different locations – and had quite a few cheeky drinks in the process. I always love that picture, I believe there’s something perfect in the way the hands are positioned, they tell a lot…but with the second edition we had to switch to a more soft, and way better, version of the same cover – this time personally made by a young talented painter and good friend of mine. Some people thought it was an erotic book, some found it deeply offensive and I’ve got even a couple of people writing me angry mail and one or two reviews addressing the cover issue. I personally found it quite amusing.

KADE: I believe that if you, the writer, has found a way to grab people’s attentions then you have done a good job. I am curious, do you work with an outline, or just write?

GIAN: I write, and build a sort of outline as I go – always ready to adjust it or just ignore it.

KADE: Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?

GIAN: I always knew what I wanted to do, I just had to decide how.13595683_1213339345363029_1858988814_n

So, – after avoiding vanity publishers – I tried both way, collaborated with a couple of editors and publishers – and eventually had better results with self-publishing (even in terms of sales.)

Though I think it may be, just because I haven’t found a good one, yet.

But I did like the idea of being in control of every single aspect, from marketing, cover design, title to lines spacing, layout and any little details.

It was time consuming, and I was working frenetically around my laptop pretty much all day long – but the feeling I had when I published the first edition of my first novel was just incredible!

The worst part though is, – you’re in control of literally everything: which means at a certain point you’ll have to rely on someone else to help you out: a good graphic designer, editor, promoter etc.

KADE: It is a lot of work on the writer’s part when they decide to take on everything themselves but I applaud you for doing it, for doing what felt right for you. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

GIAN: I suppose I’d say I started writing my first novel three, four, years before I managed to actually release it. Truth be told though, it was something quite different from the final product, that changed as I kept changing place, job and people around me.

Definitely I didn’t expect it to become such a long story.

KADE: How did you choose the genre you write in?

GIAN: I don’t. There are things I would never write about it, simply because I think they are not worthy or don’t interest me. All the rest goes straight into my writing.

You can categorize a book only after you wrote it.

KADE: True enough. So, Gian, tell us where do you get your ideas?

GIAN: Ideas are all over the place, our own world is basically made by ideas and concepts, which means we are free to write about anything.

Flaubert once dreamed of writing a book about nothing that would contain the least 13595859_1213337175363246_291563437_nmatter. Still something, if you ask me.

So I just pick what I think it matters the most to me, and write about it.

KADE: That makes perfect sense. The world around us is full we just have to learn to stop and pay attention to the details. Many writers have muses or inspirational people that have helped influence their writing, is there any particular author or book that has influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

GIAN: Definitely.

And definitely too many to be listed here, so I’ll quickly name C. Palahniuk and D. De Lillo for style and themes, J. Fante and C. Bukowsky for the irony and deep sadness and honesty in their language, A. Camus, E. Cioran and J.P. Sartre for the sharp philosophical accuracy they used to analyze the human nature, and of course, E. Hemingway as a great, fragile, example of writer and man.

KADE: Wonderful shortlist of great mentors. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

GIAN: The one I take for myself: write about what you know, what it truly matters for you, and write it simple and clear and don’t spare anything.

There is no such a thing as a good subject or a bad subject for a book:

if you manage to convey your passion, as well as your message, it’s half of the job done.

KADE: Oh I like that. Pretty straight forward and to the point. Something we can all use going into our journey of writing. Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

GIAN: Hard to say. Right now I’d go with “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is   being superior to your former self.” But it something that changes with time.

KADE: Very nice quote. Now for something a little more silly. Which do you prefer, Tea or coffee?

GIAN: I’ve never really been into coffee, though it’s weird since my Italian origins, still, I do drink it quite regularly, rigorously black – usually on morning as soon as I wake up.

Tea is more than a hot drink -it is an occasion, a ceremony: I mostly fancy fresh mint tea or English breakfast, but really I like them all.

KADE: Fair enough. What about your taste bud…Sweet or salty?

GIAN: I do have a sweet tooth, but I have to choose, – if I really have to, I’d go with salty.

KADE: Now that we are nearing the end of this wonderful chat, would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?

GIAN:

“Our cells, our memories, is all we’ll carry forever.

What we have done is what we are.

Relationships are not meant to last anyway; as if humans ever were.

She smiles at me, and her smile has wrinkles.

One foot already out of the door, my hand ready to pull the handle, I’m not quite sure what being happy means to me.

My body cells close to her body cells, lips-distance, I tell her, “I’m the son of a big nothingness.”

KADE: Oh now that is so sad. You have managed to break my heart. Wonderful. Alright, now it is time to let the world know the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?

GIAN: Blog:

Facebook Book page: https://www.facebook.com/AgidaArt/

Facebook Profile page: https://www.facebook.com/gian.ebasta

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14170074.Gian_Andrea

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GianAndreauthor

AMAZON author page http://amazon.com/author/agida

Website http://giannandreacocchi.wix.com/gianandreauthor

KADE: Alright folks, I hope everyone had fun but we must say good bye to my guest and big thank you to Gian Andrea for taking time to let us peek inside his world and for taking the time to hang out with me today. Also I would like to say thank you to all of you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.

If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please email me at kadecook.author@gmail.com and place Author Interview in the topic space.

Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you next week, Peace!