10 Questions with Kevin Gerard author of The Crossworlds Series

A Boy, a Mystical Creature, and the Journey of a Lifetime. Conor: an innocent ten year-old boy, not unlike other boys anywhere. Purugama: immense, powerful, magical, a towering champion of the crossworlds. A young boy subconsciously calls forth the power of the crossworlds creators. They send the mystical beast, Purugama, to accompany him on a fantastic journey. After revealing a number of possible futures to his young companion, Purugama prepares to return him to his home. His plans are interrupted when Drazian, Purugama's mortal enemy, faces the immense cougar in a ferocious battle. The prize? Conor's life, or death, depending on the ultimate outcome. Breaking the Barrier introduces Conor Jameson in the first of five epic fantasy adventures in the Conor and the Crossworlds series. As the journey continues, Conor's battles against the Circle of Evil's warriors become increasingly dangerous. Follow his amazing exploits as he becomes one of the champions of the crossworlds, finally fulfilling the oracle's prediction of reincarnation as first warrior and consort to the Lady of the Light.

Kevin Gerard is an awesome guy. He also happens to be a local author who has created this completely fantastic world in his Crossworlds series. So I decided he was going to be our guinea pig for the 10 Questions. And since he's such an awesome guy he answered them! I got these questions from the fantastic Blogfest from Pulse, my teens liked the questions so much we wanted to keep them going:

1. "If you could choose one fictional character to bring into real life, who would you choose?"
Bugs Bunny. I watched all of his cartoons when I was little. He seemed like such a cool and funny character. I can imagine hanging out with him for a couple of days, maybe at Petco Park.

2. "How did you survive being a teen?"
How does anyone survive being a teen? I’ll never forget being forced to switch high schools midstream. One weekend I was with everyone I knew and the next Monday I didn’t know a soul. It almost killed me, but certain things kept me going; my neighbor’s dog, my family, and certain friends that I could talk to about things.
3. "Have you ever written something that you feel uncomfortable writing, knowing that your family and friends will probably end up reading it?"
Yes, but that’s one of the magical things about writing. You can always come back and edit it out, or change it so it’s easier for them to take. That’s the number one issue with writing, to be completely free when penning a first draft. Remarkable things happen when you let yourself run wild. Just remember, you can always come back later and change things around – if you want.
4. "What do you think are the biggest issues that teens need to be thinking about today? Do you think teens today are looking for quality in the books they read, or just to live vicariously through superficial characters?"
I think the biggest thing teens need to pay attention to is what I call human connectivity. There is so much technology available now, and it’s all wonderful, but teens especially are getting caught up in the novelty of it without paying attention to the dangers of relying on these toys too much. Human beings need real live, face to face, eye to eye contact to have a healthy existence. That’s what I think teens should focus on in their lives.
For your second question, I think teens are seeking both escape and quality. I read to escape the pressures of my life, so living vicariously through superficial characters is fine, as long as the books are written well. Pullman’s polar bears really put the hook in me because they had such remarkable human qualities. The relationship between Eragon and Brom was very special as well. We all need a mentor we can respect and enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with running away with the characters in a great story.

5. "How have the books you've read inspired the books you've written, if at all?"
I think there’s a great deal of influence from other characters and other stories in my series, Conor and the Crossworlds. I truly believe the Lady of the Light, a central character in Conor’s story, is a distant relative of the Lady Maigrey Morianna, an astounding character in Margaret Weis’ series, The Star of the Guardians. Lady Morianna affected me deeply, so it is only natural that I would carry some of her essence over into Conor’s story.
The name and spelling of my main character, Conor, came from the great book, Trinity, by Leon Uris. His protagonist, Conor Larkin, was so strong and such a magnetic character that I swore if had ever had a son I would name him Conor. In effect I have, through my series, gained a son, and I did name him Conor.

6. "What is the strangest thing you have ever gotten inspiration from?"
That’s kind of hard, but I guess I’d have to say my cats. That’s not a really strange thing, but the fact that the Champions of the Crossworlds, the magical fighting force of wild cats who serve the Creators, have so many qualities of my own cats, well, that’s kind of interesting. In Book One, Conor travels with a three thousand pound flying cougar that talks and casts magical spells. At one point when they’re settling in for a night’s sleep, Conor decides to scratch the cougar in all the places his own cats enjoy. To his surprise, the cougar starts purring just as his cats would, although the purr from a giant cat vibrates the ground Conor’s sitting on.
I think the most devastating thing I ever got inspiration from was the death of my neighbor’s cat, Maya. Maya was my first friend in San Diego, and he was a very, very special cat. When he was killed in his own front yard by a pack of dogs, I told the woman who owned him I was going to make him immortal. Maya became the Lord of the Crossworlds Champions, the leader of all the giant wild cats. I thought that was kind of cool, and the story within the story of his death will always intrigue readers.

7. "Many writers say parting with a character is hard. Do you ever look back on a character and wish you had changed something about him or her?"
No, I’ve never looked back and longed for any change. I have become quite sad after finishing a book and knowing that I won’t be able to spend time with a certain character again. The big cats, the Champions in the Conor and the Crossworlds series were such wonderful friends. Writing their story was a true joy, especially when I wrote about Eha, the big, happy, hilarious cheetah. He always played tricks on everyone, always laughed his head off over anything. He was very much like one of my own cats, Sunny. Sunny loved to talk and laugh and act the fool.
8. "What is the one thing such as, sky diving or any other daring thing, that you would love to do but you are too afraid?"
I’d love to go to the bottom of the ocean and see what’s down there. I’m not very daring, though, so I’ll just have to trust what I see on the Discovery Channel.
9. "What was the biggest obstacle you faced in becoming an author and how did you overcome it?"
If you mean becoming a writer, then the biggest obstacle is allowing myself to “write freely.” What I mean by that is writing without restriction, writing anything that comes to my mind. That’s a trick that all writers struggle with their entire lives. It takes discipline to bring myself back to the moment and allow the story to continue, but it can be done.

If you mean becoming a published author, then the biggest obstacle is breaking the doors down to the path of traditional publishing. That means offering your work to agents and publishers and hoping they accept it. That’s next to impossible, so the way I overcame that is by using a subsidy publisher. Lots of people talk negatively about using those companies, and in some cases they’re right. My work is exquisite, however, and my hope is to make enough noise with self published books so that the traditional publishing houses will have to take notice. Then the fun starts.

10. "What do you do when you are faced with writer's block? What helps you get over it?"
Always remember that writing consists of two activities; writing and editing. When you realize that you can always come back at a later date and edit your work, it allows you to write like a madman, or a madwoman. The best piece of advice I ever read about writing is this – allow yourself to write poorly – there are going to be days when it just isn’t there, accept that and write anyway. Maybe tomorrow will be your Shakespeare day.
-Kevin Gerard

Make sure you check out his website or myspace to find out about a nationwide treasure hunt that will coincide with the release of the third book.
Website - http://www.conorandthecrossworlds.com/
MySpace - https://webmail.sdcounty.ca.gov/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://profile.myspace.com/conorandthecrossworlds
YouTube - https://webmail.sdcounty.ca.gov/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN_1JAdHdRs

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