Wednesday, January 4, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Kali Kucera, author of 'Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun'

Kali Kucera is an American lorist and short story writer living in Quito, Ecuador, where he also rides and writes about bus and train travel. Since he was 9 years old he has been composing plays, operas, short stories, and multi-disciplinary experiences. He has been both a teacher and performer as well as an arts mobilizer, and founded the Tacoma Poet Laureate competition in 2008.

His latest book is the mythical realism novel, Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun.


About the Book:

In a time when supernatural and industrial worlds are staged to collide, an Andean boy finds himself in the center of an epic struggle between the cosmos and the earth. Unawqi is born with both insurmountable power and a fate of certain death, both of which are challenged by his hunt of the emperor, Aakti, the Sun: the very force that desires to abandon the earth unless Unawqi can overcome

Premise: How easily we take the Sun for granted. We are conditioned to its rising and setting on time, and assume it enjoys doing so, or more likely is indifferent. Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun reveals a more perilous tale: the Sun, Aakti, is a being who is a reluctant player in providing light and warmth to our world, and even more has always desired to leave us to die if he didn’t have certain personal complications standing in his way. Aakti will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if that involves murder of his own kin or annihilation of an entire living planet. Ironically, what holds him back is the very life he is creating; the family from which he tries to but cannot wrest control, and among them a young intrepid boy emerges, a hunter who sets out on a journey, not to stop the Sun, but to overcome him with a force we also take for granted: our humanity.

Welcome Kali! Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?
Both, actually.  I learned along the way of pursuing publishers how far they have gone into the gutter and it’s basically impossible to get considered by anyone serious, and in direct contrast, how the self-publishing option has increased the quality and respectability of its own game over the past five years.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?
I did it myself.  Similarly to the previous question, five years ago it would have been a headache, but now there are so many templates and refinements of guidelines and tools to correct bad formatting, with a little bit of focus and patience it’s easy.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?
There are automated tools built into publishing platforms that guide you to making an informed price.

How did you choose your cover?
I designed the cover to reflect the soul of Unawqi, an innocent boy, burned and mutated not of his own choosing, and yet persistent with his curiosity to live through it.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?
Both. Revision comes with every reading, every version from longhand to typed, and then some more on top of that.  It’s a constant exercise. Since I’m a story teller, I always read my chapters out loud to hear how the written word sounds orally.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?
Not the same book, but digital copies of my other books, yes.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?
Read it. Hire an Editor. Start writing your next book.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?
Plan a tour. Don’t whine about how difficult it is, just throw yourself into every opportunity to market it. Work even faster on writing your next book.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?  
I offered promotional copies in exchange for reviews and feedback.  I use my own blog to reveal chapters as they’re written.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?
The hallmark of my writing is that characters from one story/book show up in other stories/books, so the end is never the end, and feel free to snoop into my other stories to look for clues about a character’s past or future life to the one exposed in a different story.

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