Congrats again on your 1st place finish in this year’s Meager Puddle of Limelight Award for Best Opening Line, What’s the name of the story the opening line is from?
It’s called Ghostkiller, a 74K word Urban supernatural.
Tell us a little about it. Is it published? If so, where can folks find it?
It’s not published.
How many times did you change the opening line before you settled on ‘Aren't you a bit young to be raising the dead?’
I almost never change the opening line. It’s the seed for the whole rest of the book.
What’s your preferred genre/wordcount?
I started in fantasy, with Unbinding the Stone, but my last published novel, St. Martin’s Moon, is in a genre I call Science Fiction Gothic. My first novel came in at over 100K words, but there was a lot of world-building, of sorts. My later stories have been ending up considerably smaller. I don’t have a preferred wordcount, I just keep on going until the story’s done.
What’s your current WIP?
I have a number of stories in progress, but the one that’s currently front and center for me is a huge effort of Fan Fiction. I’m rewriting an entire season of my favorite TV series, Chuck. Season 3 had a number of problems and I’m fixing them.
Are you a pantser or an outliner?
Definitely a pantser. I usually start out with a first line, or an image, and I spin the story logic out from there. Even if I have an idea for how the story should end, I don’t know how the story will get there, and often the meaning of the ending is completely different when it does.
What are your long term goals as a writer?
My goal is to write stories that I want to read. I call myself as author and it’s a significant part of my self-definition, but I’m reluctant to call myself a professional. Writing is too personal for me, I have to want to write what I’m writing, I have to care. Not that I would mind the occasional movie deal.
Tell us about your very first sale.
I went to the library one day and looked in a book called the Writer’s Market, and found a list of publishers, and what they accepted. From that I made a list of publishers who accepted manuscripts from authors, and Echelon Press was on that list. I simply sent them an email and asked if they were interested, and were they ever interested! I only found out later that they weren’t supposed to be in that issue of the book! We both got lucky.
As a reader, does a good opening line make a difference to you?
It sets the tone of the story, definitely, active or not, dark or not. I have some constellation of criteria for what makes a story appeal to me, but I have no idea what it is.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard?
I wish I’d heard some. I don’t belong to any groups. I suppose it might help but I can’t write to anyone’s schedule.
What was the last story/novel you pitched/submitted?
Ghostkiller. In fact, I just recently spent an entire weekend with the help of one of my Facebook groups developing a query for it, which I sent in last week, so, fingers crossed.
What was the last story/novel you read?
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of fan fictions on the web. Most of them are pretty short, and quite a few are very good. My wife recently discovered my Elizabeth Moon collection, and she decided to add to it, so I’ve been rereading some of her work as well.
Where can readers find your work?
My stories are primarily available on the web, places like Amazon and BN.com. I have a complete set of links on my website, www.marcvunkannon.com which I’ll have to update right after I finish this.
Where on the web can you be found?
My stories are available at many online sites, Amazon, BN.com (which is right now the only place to find my short story Off the Map), and OmniLit.com. My own website is www.marcvunkannon.com, with some free samples of the novels, while my blog is up at http://authorguy.wordpress.com with a lot of links on the About page. If you want to see some of my free writing go here.
What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you first started writing?
Who says I know anything now? The big thing to be aware of is how hard it is to get published, and how much work is involved getting the books into people’s hands. If you’re going into it looking for easy fame and glory, you won’t find it here. It wouldn’t have stopped me, but still…
Is there’s anything I didn’t ask you, that you want to answer anyway?
Dialog. One of the benefits of my fanfiction writing is the practice I get writing other styles, especially narrative.
Who do you think would win in a fight, astronauts or cavemen (and why)?
Obviously the cavemen, since they would get the dinosaurs to fight for them.
Like many writers, Marc Vun Kannon started when a story came along and decided that he should write it. Don't ask him why. Others followed, until now he’s afraid to go out of the house without a recorder or notebook in his hand. But he shows them, he refuses to write the same story twice!