TN:  Today our interview is with Kenneth Passan. Why do you write, and what subjects or genre inspires you?

KP:  I enjoy writing because it is one way I can express myself or my interests. When I first started, it was two nonfiction books I had published, related to criminology, true crime and forensics. Those were my specialties in interest, life and experiences. Then I turned to novels, because I’ve always been a storyteller ever since I was a little kid.

The genres of my thriller novels include horror and the supernatural, a wildlife thriller, a marine thriller, and one crime thriller so far. Although I’m not limiting myself to these, these are my main interests in storytelling. I’m usually open to anything else, as long as it’s a thriller. It’s my interest in these subjects that inspire me to write those genres.

TN: What genre do you normally write in?

As mentioned in my previous answer – thrillers of horror, supernatural crime, and anything else that sounds exciting and reads the same way.

TN: Describe your writing style.

KP:  I use a combination of narrative and a goodly amount of dialogue. I try to keep it balanced enough to maintain the reader’s interest and a smooth following of the story and plot. I never use the first person. Sometimes I will jump scenes and characters among different chapters, but I make sure I continue a smooth continuous follow-up on later chapters with the same scenes or characters. I avoid as much as possible trying to confuse the reader by ambiguous storytelling. In other words, I want the chapter to chapter flow as smooth as possible.

TN: What is your biggest challenge in novel writing and do you ever get writer’s block?

KP: My biggest challenge is starting the story. Although I think about and plan ahead what I’m going to write about, it’s how I begin that I consider one of the most important things about the story. A lousy beginning can cause the reader to put it down and not return to it, so I have to make it as a kind of hook to keep the reader reading for more.

Occasionally I do get writer’s block but my persistence, no matter how long this block lasts, always overcomes that. That’s one of the main reasons I can continue writing. My ability to do that.

TN: How many books have you written and what inspired you to write your first book?

KP:  I’ve written a total of seven books so far. Two nonfictions and five novels.

Inspiration to write my first book, Forensics and the Violent Criminal Mind, came from my experience, education, and complete interest in criminology and forensic science. Watching TV documentaries on true crime and man’s violence against man inspired me to write about it. Since I could not qualify to do police work, writing about it or its related sciences was the next best thing for me to express myself.

TN: Why did you decide to self-publish instead of going through an agent or publisher?

KP: Well first of all, I did have three publishers. Two different ones for my nonfiction books. The second one had dropped me because the book didn’t sell and they then refused to publish my first novel just because of that.

Getting an agent was impossible. All 300 that I queried, for most of my books, rejected me for totally subjective reasons. I gave up on agent queries forever. To me, the only vocabulary word they know is “no”. So, for my first novel I did get a traditional publisher that accepted it because of the correct genre. They also accepted my second novel for the same reason. The third they rejected. Not the right genre for them. That’s when I turned to self-publishing. Mainly for the genres they couldn’t accept. One of my future books I plan to write I expect they will take. Bottom line: practical reasons for self-publishing.

TN: How did you come up with my cover designs?

KP: The traditional companies I had used came up with them by their graphic artists. The self-publishing I am doing I try to relate the cover design to the theme and story in the book. Trying to make it attractive and eye catching to the potential buyer. In other words, try to make it so that the potential buyer will want to pick it up and look through it for possible purchase. So I try to consider all that is involved in book buying, since I’m a former book buyer myself.

TN: What software do you use for my print books and ebooks?

KP: I use Word, first of all in order to make any editing easier. When I’m ready to make it an ebook, I either convert it to pdf myself, if required, or I let the self-publishing company do it. If I do it myself, I use Sada PDF Premium, which does allow editing. For print books, I use Word entirely.

TN: What tips would you give to someone who’s considering self-publishing the work?

KP: Do your homework. If there are publishing costs involved, how reputable is the printing company, if there are free online publishing companies ( which there are), and if you are willing and able to do all the work yourself, which involves editing (often multiple times}.  Know the advantages and disadvantages of traditional vs. self-publishing before you make your decision. Whatever company you choose, whether self or traditional, know as much as you can about the company before you commit yourself. You want to avoid getting burned. It happened to me with my first company and after that it never happened again because I did my homework. Never, ever, use a vanity publishing company. I mean, NEVER. You WILL get burned if you do.

TN: Describe the plot for one of your books.

KP: In Stingers, an invasion of the deadly irikandji jellyfish invades the eastern US coast after having been brought along from the other side of the world by ocean currents. When deaths and serious injuries start occurring to swimmers and anyone else in those waters, it’s up to the marine and other scientists, as well as the US Coast Guard to not only safeguard any more lives, but also to get rid of the things. A unique plan is hatched and adopted to engage such a plan before the deadly swarm sweeps all the way up the coastline.

TN: If you’ve written more than one book, which one is your favorite?

KP: My favorite is The Elevator. It is suspenseful and coincides with my interest that the supernatural does exist and not a figment of anyone’s imagination. It also is a lesson that even the most horrific experiences and occurrences, devilish or not, CAN be overcome. Goodness always prevails despite the odds.

TN: Do you have any future projects/novel ideas in mind?

KP: Of course. I always do. Currently I’m well into my sixth novel, which is another supernatural horror. There’s another one I put on hold until I finish this one. This other one, when completed, will qualify for my publisher of my first two novels so I plan for that to be traditionally published. The current one, when completed, will be self published.

TN: Thank you Kenneth for sharing and I wish you continued success. For my readers you can discover more about Kenneth on his website: