Interview with K. Zeth Ozbirn

Hello Everyone!

We are delighted to have author Kevin.Zeth Ozbirn amongst us today at Musikdiv India Online Magazine at our Special ‘Authors Festival’ interview series to tell us about his new book Before the Gates!
Please read on …

“Before the Gates” is a short story cycle masquerading as a novel, or, a novel masquerading as a short story cycle. Expressionistic and thematic, it follows its main characters as they deal with fate and consequence in the resulting tumult of the sudden loss of their hometown of Biloxi,MS. Each finds their own path. They find more questions than answers. They find madness and enigma instead of realism. They find the void in the terrifying future of lives they never thought that they would lead. Degradation and redemption from degradation are central to the movement of the work, which is non-linear, but follows an emotive thematic drive in lieu of chronological coherency. Multi-lingual and dense, it is a piece meant to be episodic, but with a definite forest hiding behind the trees. If you are a fan of John Barth, Jorge Luis Borges, and David Foster Wallace, this may be a book for you. Not for the casual reader, it leads those who follow it into the darkness that surrounds the world within which we live: the world we have created for ourselves and for those around us, for the better or for the worse.

So Kevin, we’ll start your Interview with the very first question

1.Please introduce and tell the readers something about yourself.

I am a Zen Buddhist Vagabond living in Tishomingo, MS, USA. Somewhere in a box, I have a piece of paper that implies my erudition in the English language; however, I doubt the sincerity of this document, and, as such, keep it hidden from view. A former US Navy Veteran, I was a diver and quartermaster, as well as a an Electronics Technician 2nd Class Petty Officer.

2.What brought you to writing?

I’ve been writing since childhood. My first published piece, about a man’s encounter with an invisible supernatural force, was in a school newsletter in 3rd grade.

3.How long have you been writing?

About twenty years.

4.Which was your first literary project?Tell us something about it.

My first true literary project was the unauthorized autobiography of a teenage runaway. It was a collection his journal entries compiled by friends after his starvation and death.

5.Is this your new/latest project?

No. My latest project is still on the drawing board. I have published “Before the Gates”, which did draw from that initial project, however, in theme, if nothing else.

6. Traditional books or e-books? How do you prefer to see your works published? Have you tried ever publishing the traditional way?

Publishing in paper form is subject to “modes of production”, i.e. one must be part of the club to produce. E-books offer an opportunity for everyone to publish, but this does not mean that everyone should. I will have my first printing run of “Before the Gates” around February.

7.Can you give a chapter sample preview of your book here for our readers to know more about it.

[Interior to a larger short-story.]
( Please look at the bottom of the interview for book excerpts )

8.What are your hobbies?Things that you enjoy doing besides books of course.

I kayak often. I also enjoy target shooting, but do not hunt.

9.Who is your favourite author?

Tie between Jorge Luis Borges, Stephen Millhauser, and John Steinbeck.

10.What is your favourite genre to read and also to write?

Literary fiction is my mainstay, but I’ve loved Science Fiction since childhood. Frank Hebert and Arthur C. Clarke have had a large influence on me.

11.Do you have a role model that you get inspiration from?

I am inspired the most by Miyamoto Musashi. After proving himself as the best swordsman in all of feudal Japan, he turned away from swordplay to study with Buddhist monks. My favorite quote of his is “If you can master one thing, you can master a thousand.” The point is that if one masters learning, one is then open to learn all.

12.Where do get your ideas from?Do you take your story ideas from real life situations?

Real life is the impetus for most stories. I create an amalgamation of people and situations. Then, much like an owl, what I cannot accept is regurgitated in literary fashion.

13. Do you have a pseudonym?

No. But I have considered it.

14.Whats your experience been like in the publishing industry?Postive or negative?Please share your experience with our readers.

Lots of rejection letters. However, there comes a point when the letters stop being simple form letters, and then become complimentary, even if they are rejections. Most of the published authors I know have been very supportive over the years, especially Cynthia Shearer and the late Barry Hannah.

15.Where do you see yourself 10years from now?

Bald. Hopefully with a little more change in my pocket.

16.What motivates you to write?

It’s simply what I do. I can’t help myself. There are nights when my fiancée complains because I must get up and go to the computer to fix some part of a story that has resolved itself differently in my subconscious, and I cannot sleep until it has been amended. As far as motivation, I am beginning to suspect psychosis, at this point.

17.Is good cover art important for your books?

Covers are overrated. I believe simplicity is preferable to complex pictorial content that mirrors movie posters. Most covers I find too complicated and somewhat trite.

18. Do you have a pricing strategy?

I am developing one. Initially, I priced at what I felt was appropriate. Now, due to research in marketing techniques, I am pricing for the market, especially the e-book market, where a lower price seems to help spread “word of mouth”. Print versions will be priced according to cost with little overhead profit, to then be invested back into the printing process.

21.Why do you think readers should buy your book?What can you offer them through your book?

An experience unlike any they have had before. There will be darkness and light. There will be stark realism that dissolves into expressionistic symbolism. Writing is not bound by reality. It lives in the imagination, and I have faith that readers’ imaginations are capable of creating realms beyond the realistic.

22.Where is your book available?Any Buy Link for our readers?

Here my “Before the Gates” Amazon link

23.Do you have a website or a blog that you’d like to share here. Not particularly.

I am on Google+ and Facebook under Kevin Ozbirn. Feel free to look me up.

24. What advice would you give to other writers?

I wish that I had enough wisdom to offer advice.

25.Anything else you’d like to share with our readers

Believe. Believe in anything, not because belief magically brings things into existence, but because it is a frail bird with wet wings. After Pandora’s jar was opened, the last thing to emerge was Hope. Belief and Hope are sisters, each with their own caprices, but with their own beauty, as well.

  • Thank you K. Zeth Ozbirn for gracing us with your presence.It was a sheer pleasure.Good luck with your book.We conclude the interview here

    Thanks again from Team MusikDIV

    Book Exerpts – Sample Chapter

    Before the Gates By K. Zeth Ozbirn

    The Parable of Alexandria (Apocryphal)

    We weren’t sure of anything, anymore. The flames were daylight. The smell of smoke as the olahs of our thoughts caught in the dry air and suttee rushed upward into the sky, the dark sky, so black and so moving in shaded patches and wisps that spiraled and spread until our eyes could take in no more and they burned, as well. The water falling in twin rivers, clearing the ash and the dust, our scorched hands holding what they could on the way out.
    Never enough. We knew that much.
    There were so few hands and so many flames stealing through the stacks and the smoke thick as death daring us to try again. Just one more load. Another circuit. You could at least try—
    There were those who did and were never seen again like so many leaves and saddles’ scorched edges, leather codices cooling in hands’ blackened flesh. The tears ran and the desert wind blew dust through our hearts like the olahs that rose to the gods and their pleasure. Unsure and augured flights of ash we could never tell, the story falling through time is the dirty, forgotten salt of our chins.
    We failed.
    Through the desert we walked. Blinded.Parched. Our souls fell in piles of words that caught in the wind with the sand and the dust of what was and wasn’t and never could be again—
    Now, in the wind, still circling the sky, vultures patient and silent as the penitent walk on all fours, begging for death or water, whichever comes first…

    Buy Before the Gates by K. Zeth Ozbirn On Amazon Kindle >>

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