Books, Geekiness & 42: Interview/Giveaway with Fantasy Author, Ken Floro, III

Come and join me today as I chat with Ken Floro, III–author, father, dreamer, lover (?), and a paragon of geek culture. Seriously, he is uber cool and informed when it comes to almost every aspect of nerdiness (and I say this with the utmost respect). Don’t believe me? Then read on for a fun, quirky interview rife with references to this and that and everything in between. You may even find the meaning of life if you look closely…

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Read on, my friends, and stay geeky.

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Let’s paint a picture of The Rising Wind. Please choose something from each of the following categories that best summarizes the book and explain why: color, animal, US city, car, and food.

This is certainly an intriguing question, and one I’ve never been asked before. Let’s see. I’d have to say The Rising Wind is red, the visceral color of danger, for the pulse of blood and the throb of action! It’s a lion: regal and fierce. It’s Rome: ancient might and mythic legend. It’s a Mustang: powerful yet graceful. It’s beef stew: succulent, delicious, and hearty!

Or wait, was I thinking about sex again? No, no, that was that personality profile question where you list three adjectives to describe the ocean and it’s supposed to reveal what you think about sex. If I remember right, I answered: pacifying, rocking, and endless for that one back in college. My girlfriend at the time just rolled her eyes.

Here’s a clichéd question:  You’re wandering out in the desert and trip over a hard object lodged in the sand. It’s a magic genie’s lamp—OMG! Which three things do you wish for and why? Any chance you’ll regret these choices later?

Oh, man, I used to ask people a question like this all the time as one of those get-to-know-you-while-we-sit-around-drinking-together sorts of things. Somehow I always managed to dodge having the question turned back around on me. Now I have to stop and think for a bit. What would my three wishes be?

Well, first, I’d like to borrow one of the best answers I ever got to this question from an old acquaintance. She wished for the ability to conduct perfect communication with her fellow human beings, to convey all the subtle layers of emotion, nuance, predisposition, et cetera, that most of us never even fully realize, let alone verbalize, let alone express. I’d like to be able to do that. At the very least, I think it would be quite revealing. Although I’d certainly be worried it would turn out to be one of those ‘Be careful what you wish for’ situations. Still, even if it ruined my life, I’m sure it would make for at least one or two really interesting stories.

My second wish is censored. I can only indicate that it would involve several celebrities, a hot tub, the Millennium Falcon, elegant catering, a private performance by Elvis and the Beatles, and a dinosaur circus. Oh, and that DVD highlights of the proceedings would be mailed to everyone who’s ever been mean to me.

Third, this might sound kind of corny, but I’d like to physically visit the world of Avorath, the setting for my novel, The Rising Wind. It’s a place I’ve been crafting in my imagination as a labor of love for more than twenty years now. I’d like to actually walk those streets, glimpse those fields, dig my fingers into that soil, and gaze up at those sprawling fantasy constellations. And I’d especially like to sit down and share a drink with the Company of the Rising Wind; I’m sure we’d have lots to talk about!

I’m sure I’d probably regret almost all of those choices, but you only live once, so you might as well dream big and make your trip down this one-way road as memorable as possible. Right?

If there was one fictional character (either from literature, television, or movies) whose life and personality most resembled your own, who would it be and why?

Well, more often than not, I feel a lot like Arthur Dent, from Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Glaxaxy series. That hapless protagonist is perpetually unprepared for the staggering challenges into which the universe keeps tossing him, and although everyone else around him seems to know what’s going on and how to handle it, Arthur always seems to be struggling to play catch-up. I definitely relate to that.

Now a different spin on the same question:  If you could pick, which fictional character’s life would you most want to have and why?

I’d choose Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian because he experiences so many grand adventures and is able to explore so much of Howard’s richly fascinating fantasy world of the Hyborian Age. Magic, riches, power, exotic cultures, buxom heroines, battle, excitement, sorcerers, and monsters? I’d love to romp through a world and a life like Conan’s.

Would you rather your writing remain obscure forever all the while knowing you had talent and stayed true to your creative vision OR would you prefer to write a book that achieves great commercial success but that you just aren’t proud of? Why did you choose the answer you chose?

Ooh, an easy one! I’d choose the latter. And I’d do so for the simple reason that I’ve already had a hearty serving of the first option. Now I’d like to try the second, if for no other reason than to see what it feels like. Of course, if I can truly only have one or the other, than I’d definitely stick with the first option. Ultimately, I write to tell the kinds of stories I’ve always wanted to read, so even if I’m the only one who ever does read them, it’s worth doing just to satisfy myself.

About the book: After graduating into the Imperial knighthood, Marcavius and his cousin book passage aboard a merchant ship, the Rising Wind, to visit their family estate before reporting to the legions. They know no ship dares tread the heart of the Mennaidran Sea, yet along their voyage a strange fog suddenly sets the Rising Wind adrift in those haunted waters. Fortunately another passenger offers his skill as a navigator to save the day, yet he insists that the ship first detour to a nearby island to replenish its supplies. There the ship’s unlucky passengers soon learn that the monsters and magic of legend are no mere myths! Friends, strangers, and even bitter enemies must work together in order to survive and escape. Yet some of the greatest dangers they’ll face are destined to come from one another. Get The Rising Wind through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Ken was born and raised in the Southside of Saint Louis. After earning a degree in World Literature, followed by a degree in Culinary Arts, Ken soon made the obvious career move and went to work in medicine. If you’re having any trouble guessing why, then you’ve probably never served time in the literary or culinary fields. A little taste of reality can suddenly turn a healthy paycheck, normal working hours, and long-term job security into sumptuous delicacies. Despite the sudden change in his employment trajectory, Ken never turned away from his dream of writing. He’d nurtured a lifelong creative ambition, which had gained direction when a funny true story he wrote for a high school English class became so popular with his classmates they traded copies of it in the hall and passed them up and down the bus. Ever since that catalytic moment, Ken has been writing as a hobby and a passion. Thus far, he’s published eight books, along with several other tidbits. Connect with Ken on his website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.

Mrs. Storm

Writing everything from Sweet Romance to Children's Books to Nonfiction, Melissa loves books, birds, and bonbons--in that order. She has an advanced degree that she never uses.

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