Author Interview: Anders Kingsley
Hello everyone, and welcome to my latest author interview. This week I’m thrilled to introduce author of The Secret of the Second Zeus, Anders Kingsley to the blog.
Would you like to start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Mitch. It’s a pleasure talking to you.
I'm in my mid-forties now, maybe the perfect age to write. Some may call me German, though I prefer the term European or world citizen. That’s because I spent most of my adult life in England and various other countries and continents.
Travelling and learning more about diverse cultures have always been important to me. Even for my book which is set in the heart of Europe (Switzerland to be exact), I decided to leave Europe to write it in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Could you tell us more about your first published work The Secret of the Second Zeus and where the inspiration came from for your story?
As the title suggests it’s all about a big secret, a whodunit story set in breathtaking Switzerland that combines the fast paced action of a thriller with an intriguing murder mystery. On top of that I added some witty dialogues, at least as witty as my German gene pool allowed it.
To give you a quick idea about the story:
Tom Rivers travels to Europe to see an old friend, only to find him brutally murdered. The next day he and Sandra, his friend’s sister learn of the victim’s last cryptic message—scrawled in his own blood on the back of a group photo, referring to an ancient myth.
The book has been compared by some readers to Dan Brown books, which is a huge compliment to me, but hopefully readers will find it funnier and more realistic. Based on the reviews so far, I can’t complain.
The inspiration came to me while doing a presentation on the Olympic Games and its political impact. The more research I did, the more I could see it’s potential for great books or movies. I felt like I stumbled on a gold mine, an Eldorado for great fiction books, especially for thrillers. It was only a matter of time until I’d be reading a great suspense novel covering this theme. What I didn’t expect at the time was that I would be the one writing it. So, I guess the story found me, rather than the other way around.
Authors always tend to have wildly different experiences of their first time publishing a book. How did you find the publishing process for your debut?
Getting the book published was almost easier than I thought. The first step was to find a talented and experienced editor to make up for my lack of experience and other potential weaknesses. I also found a good cover designer. Everything else I taught myself with the help of google. I wish the marketing part would have been as straightforward. I didn't do well with promoting the book and only started to see some interest in the book more recently.
If you could go back and change anything about your journey so far, what would it be?
I admit I was still a bit naïve when querying to my favourite literary agents in the UK. Nevertheless, I was fortunate to get some rare feedback, saying that the storyline and the writing itself was great and better than most of the many samples they received. One issue, it seemed, was the timing for my type of book, people got bored of the Dan Brown type of books unless they came from the original Dan Brown.
Another issue was that characters in the first few chapters seemed to be driven by the plot. Grateful for the feedback I saw the room for improvement and made quite a few changes to make the book even better.
So, if I could go back in time I would query them with the final version of my book and also with a more professional query letter. Apart from that, I wish I had known the writing community on twitter and other marketing tools much sooner.
On your Amazon bio you mention that your favourite genres are mystery and psychological thrillers. Do you have a favourite book or series within those genres?
I loved reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Lisbeth Salander was a great character and I liked the mystery plot. I also loved most books of the Payne and Jones series by Chris Kuzneski.
Are there any characters in wider literature that you’ve fallen in love with?
I’ll have to mention Chris Kuzneski again. I hope he doesn’t mind. Petr Ulster, director of the Ulster archives, he is a supporting character in the Payne and Jones series but a very funny one.
Do you have any goals you’d like to achieve during your writing career? A book signing at a particular book store perhaps? A multi-million pound publishing deal?
The ultimate goal is to make writing the center of my professional life so that I can concentrate on writing full time. Pleasant interaction with satisfied readers would always be greatly appreciated, be it at a book signing tour, a random conversation on a train, or a chat online.
Are there any fun facts we should know about Anders Kingsley?
Define “fun”. I was born in East Germany, a country that no longer exists (thank god). I was 15 when the wall came down. A truly great time for me and I’m very fortunate to have the experience of living in a country with no freedom of speech or travel. I say fortunate as it helps me appreciate all the small things in life that most people in Western societies take for granted. The right to vote in a democratic system is only one of the many amazing things I treasure dearly.
Lastly, would you like to tease us with what to expect from you in the coming year?
I am currently querying a new book, a psychological thriller set in Boston, Massachusetts. It starts when a retired couple receives a fatal message: Kill your spouse or I kill your daughter.
That’s all I can say about the new book for now. The time of its release will depend on whether I find a great agent and publisher to go the traditional way or whether I decide to self-publish again. In the meantime I hope to finish writing its sequel.
Once again a massive thank you to Anders for taking part in this interview.
Until next time,