First, I wish to thank Clifton Kenny for giving me the opportunity to read his full-length novel debut, Reflections.
If you missed my review for it, you can find it here.
Clifton Kenny is a lifetime writing enthusiast, a superhero and science fiction fan. He is currently living in Burlington, Vermont.
Below are the questions and the answers. This interview is mostly based on his book,
1. How was the book born? How you got the idea for it?
I got the idea while running. I usually let my mind wander on long runs, and I started people-watching in the park and wondering what physical traits they got from their ancestors. I envisioned what that transformation would look like, and what other traits could have traveled throughout that family line. I thought it would be an awesome super power to be able to read those ancestral memories or hear them like stories. I was shocked when I did some research to find it is not nearly as far-fetched as I thought. My research in the areas of DNA, American history, and the bible was so full of nifty surprises, it made the book much more fun to write.
2. Why teenagers? And why is the story happening back in 1974?
There’s something about young people that is so genuine to me. More so than with adults. With teens, you have innocence, or recent remnants of it, lack of life experience and questionable judgment. They are not yet downtrodden and bitter about life, yet their turmoil, joy, trust, and respect are more extreme.
I chose the seventies because people who remember them know of a life completely unlike our modern times that would shock young people today. My mother’s childcare plan was usually “go out and play and don’t come in the house until dark.” There were no text check-ins, yet truth and accountability always caught up with you. The drinking age was lower, tobacco was everywhere, much more promiscuity before AIDS, and we learned self-preservation without adult micromanagement. Older kids had more young-adult decisions to make on their own, and I am so grateful I grew up then. These days I see 25 year-olds without half of the worldly common sense I had by 17 regarding problem-solving, dealing with other people, drugs, sex, etc. – I wanted to create a young cast of characters with the freedom to explore a cruel and miraculous world.
3. Are you thinking of writing a sequel to this book? ( I would just love it)
Yes, there will definitely be a sequel, and possibly a trilogy. It was too much fun and a labor of love not to continue on. Plus, we can’t just hang on that cliffhanger forever.
4. What is one of the most surprising things that you learned from writing this book?
I kept getting continuously surprised just by researching the three areas of science, history, and theology. Three topics that I found satisfying to the lifelong learner in me kept those aha moments coming with story development ideas. It was like striking gold seeing how all three areas fit the vision I had for the story. The facts around DNA storing ancestral data that is 98% unknown, the new brutally honest Zinnist versions of history now being recognized in comparison to those basic old school textbooks we all had, and the advancement in the analysis of Bible history all came together magically for me. Sometimes I felt like my research was highlighting itself automatically for my story!
5. What do you think that makes a good story?
Elements that I feel make a good story are humor, friendships being tested, adventure, shocking events, non-traditional family structures, and learning new things that sneak up on you without sounding all teachery.
6. Is it difficult to be Self-published?
It is easier now than when I first started a few years ago. The self-promoting is never-ending, and it is difficult to get noticed, but it’s a great hobby once you learn to manage it.
7. Tell us some of your favorite writers.
I love J.D Salinger and Stephen King. Again, young characters in an adult world that can be cruel and/or shocking.
8. Tell us something about you.
I can hold my own on acoustic guitar, and my new musical outlet is an acoustic micro-bass. Good times!
Thank you for reading my interview! And don’t forget:
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