I am Kevin Bohacz the bestselling novelist of Immortality and a lucid dreamer… Welcome to my dreams. I am also a writer for national computer magazines, founder and president of two high technology corporations, a scientist and engineer for over 35 years, and the inventor of an advanced electric car system – the ESE Engine System (circa 1978). I was also a short order cook for I-Hop, flipped burgers at McDonalds, and delivered Chicken Delight. All of those careers and more are behind me now that I am a full time storyteller, a catcher of dreams. Thank you for reading my stories and making this all possible.
His latest books are Immortality and Ghost of the Gods.
Visit Kevin’s website at www.kbohacz.com.
Would you call yourself a born writer?
I am a born storyteller and there is a difference. For me the love is in the story and writing merely is the medium I choose for my storytelling. Had I been born thousands of years ago I would be reciting fables around a campfire. Now that I think about it, maybe that was one of my past lives?
I’ve been writing my stories since 1989. Immortality and Ghost of the Gods are my 3rd and 4th novels. The short answer to your question is the ideas come from my muse. So to me that means I am a born storyteller since only a storyteller would have a muse! Right?… Since the stories come from my muse, not me, in the process of creation I am experiencing the novel firsthand as if reading it instead of writing it. I get to take the same ride as my readers.
My novels come from daytime dreams as well as nighttime dreams. When I am writing it really does not feel like I am creating the material. It feels like I am watching daydreams which come from somewhere other than me and I am merely typing as fast as I can to capture the daydream that is unfolding before my eyes. For all four novels I have written, I first created thousands of pages of meticulously detailed background material. Once I feel the characters have become like friends to me, I sit down and start writing. Invariably in a short time the characters stage a revolt and the story takes on a life of its own veering off in directions I never planned. In the end I typically use about 1% of the meticulously detailed background material. Thousands of years ago the Greeks and Romans thought that all creative people were merely channels for muses. I truly cannot figure out where my stories come from. Out of a process of elimination I have decided they come from some Jungian collective awareness that we might as well call a muse!
What was your inspiration for Immortality and Ghost of the Gods?
Well… I hate to say it but the inspiration came from my muse. I think in reality I would have to confess I have two muses: the one in my head that has no name and the one in my heart that is my wife, Mazelle.
For Ghost of the Gods there was an additional “inspiration” which is difficult to explain and I would wish on no one. Not very long ago I was widowed at a young age. My wife, Mazelle, my best friend of 17 years died in my arms while we looked into each other’s eyes. In the time that followed when I was drowning in grief I could hear my wife whispering to me, “Write my love… Write.” So I wrote. I wrote so hard that my arms grew sore. I wrote so hard that I gave myself tendonitis but the pain in my arms did not slow me a bit. This writing saved me from grief that was dark enough to crush the life from me. I completed my forth novel Ghost of the Gods in an amazingly short period of time while also simultaneously working on two new novels.
What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
My books are first and foremost created to entertain. My stories come through my heart from my muse. They can be scientific or supernatural. They contain a lot of action and suspense and are often epic in scope. But at their essence they are about people and so they are about love, triumph over adversity, and the human spirit.
All my novels have deep philosophical underpinnings or subthemes but since I believe the essence of any novel is to be a thrilling read, the ideas remain an integral part of the mosaic and so do not detract from the entertainment as attested to in the professional reviews of my novels. Example: Publisher’s Weekly STARRED review: “Bohacz provides mind-bending portrayals of factions vying for power and reflections on the essence and fragility of humanity. But philosophical concerns never obtrude on the fast-paced plot…”
In these philosophical subthemes I grapple with the big questions: what are we, where did we come from, and is there a purpose behind existence. I also grapple with the fallout from these themes and the great contradictions such as why society as a whole displays this self-destructive seeming disregard for life, our fragile environment, love, and sprit—while if you ask any individual in the same society they will tell you they regard all these things as important and in fact try to act accordingly in their own lives.
How long did it take you to complete the novel?
My first novel, Dream Dancers took about two years. Immortality, which was written part time, took nine years while I also started and ran a successful high tech company, got married, and built a new home—though there was also a 180 degree change of direction that did require a full rewrite. Ghost of the Gods took about a year working full time. The unpublished novel in the mix took about a year also working full time. The current novel I am now completing titled Dream Signs took about a year. So writing full time, as I have been since 2010, it takes me about a year to a year and a half to write a novel but since I am always writing more than one novel at the same time, this gas mileage figure varies greatly depending upon the terrain.
Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.
I do four things every day without fail: I write, I walk for 2 hours, I meditate, and I dream. All these things are integrally connected. All support and sustain each other. I think I have chatted enough about my writing and my muse. I write for six to ten hours a day.
The walking, typically while carrying hand weights in the form of dumbbells, is a form of meditation called originally enough, walking meditation. When I am walking I am communing with nature, stimulating my body so that my mind is awake, and I leave myself open and quiet for my muse to speak through me. I get a lot of great stuff while walking and use my iPhone for dictation.
My meditating is a very long topic that can be summed up as sitting very still and quieting my mind into perfect silence for about an hour. Inspiration in the form of my muse does not like to be kept quiet, so she is pretty much ready to grab me and throw me down on the bed when I stop meditating… and… well… ply me with her sweet inspiration.
Dreaming is a very big part of my life. I am a lucid dreamer and my dream life is wildly prolific. In the past three years I have recorded over 5000 dreams in my journal, and well over 300 of them were vivid hyper-real lucid dreams. I’ve had as many as 17 dreams in one night. I never try to control my lucid dream journeys. I let them unfold and develop on their own. To me controlling a lucid dream is like trying to control life instead of fully experiencing it here and now. I literally feel like I have two lives. One life in this material reality and a second life in dream reality.
What did you find most challenging about writing this book?
Why does a bird fly or a fish swim? It is the essence of their being. Writing is my essence, my passion. It is my very life. To me writing is like breathing—it is vital sustenance for my soul. A day without writing is… well… unimaginable. I never have writer’s block and writing without exaggeration has actually saved my life as I mentioned earlier. For me there is nothing challenging about writing… The challenge is helping my agent market the books and self-publishing the books. I just want to write. The money does not matter to me. I only have so many years before I leave this world and I have something like a million books I want to write, and every day I have to spend publishing and running my personal book business is a day that I am not writing.
What do you love most about being an author?
I get to spend luxuriously long periods of time doing nothing but writing. It’s like getting to eat dessert first every day. For me writing and dreaming are one in the same. So I am literally getting paid to dream. How can you beat that? Right now I am on a writer’s quest. Almost everything I own is in storage or given away. I have simplified my life. I have sold our home and so I am homeless. For many months I have been wandering up and down the California coast living in magical oceanfront vacation homes for a month at a time looking for the best place to dream and write. I have been letting intuition lead me from place to place. I find that my intuition is far more reliable than my left brain in these decisions. This quest is exciting, creative, and beyond my comfort zone. I feel I am in one sense homeless and in another sense at home. I am uprooted… and this is all very good…. very creative. Pushing beyond my comfort zone causes all sorts of emotions to bubble up to the surface and those emotions are then infused into the written pages of my stories.
Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?
My first novel, Dream Dancers was conventionally published in 1993 in a deal closed by the agent I had at that time. In 2003 when Immortality was completed I assumed I would be able to get it published since I was already a published author. I soon found myself waist deep in rejection notices from both agents and publishers. All the rejection notices basically said, “We are sure this is a wonderful book but we don’t have the time to read a long manuscript by an obscure author.”
I knew Immortality was a timely, entertaining, and marketable novel. Some extremely successful literary professionals including more than one famous writer had read it and told me they loved it. So here I was a published author unable to open a single door into the major publishing houses. Three years later I had reached the point where I either had to give up or publish it myself. Back in 2006 self-publishing carried the stigma of failure but I had no choice. I knew in my gut Immortality was a fantastic story. So I started a small publishing company, hired an offset-printer, and proceeded to manufacture and sell Immortality.
In 2007 Immortality took off becoming a bestseller. Using my bestseller success as bait, I was able to sign with an agent who had represented a smattering of NYTime’s bestsellers. My agent proceeded to shop Immortality to all the big publishing houses. My wife, Mazelle and I were deliriously thrilled. This time the responses from publishers were very different from when Immortality was unpublished and I was un-agented. Across the board the feedback was surprisingly similar, “We love the book but who are you?”
What the publishers were really saying was I had no massive following. I did not have a million readers chanting in unison, “We want to buy more books by you…”
Fast forward to 2010, Immortality was still selling very much like it was in 2008, constantly hitting the top 10 of its genre and never falling below the top 50. In fact 2010 and half of 2011 was one of my best grossing periods ever. By now my agent had done all he could and given up six months prior in 2009. He loved Immortality and was very frustrated and baffled by his inability to close a deal. It was then that I was contacted out of nowhere by a veteran NYC agent who was a senior member in a super-agent firm. This agent told me they had read Immortality and loved it! This agent was convinced they could sell the book. Mazelle and I were wildly excited and told the agent to go for it. This new agent got the book read by a different group of more senior editors. This time the responses really threw me. The feedback I got was essentially, “We love the book but why should we buy it when you have already sold the heck out of it?”
At this point I felt like I just could not win. Years ago I didn’t have a big enough following, and now that I had a following, it seemed the publishers wanted something more. They wanted an unpublished book. I explained that 95% of the copies of Immortality had been sold on Amazon, which meant that I had tapped less than 50% of the potential market for a book in this genre. So while it was a bestseller, the lion’s share of the meat was still on this bone yet no publisher was interested in the feast. With fractional market penetration I had made a pile of money but there was many times more to be made if a big publisher would get behind the book. Yet it now felt like with regard to attracting a publisher, success was my worst enemy.
Today, three years later I now have a new amazing NYC agent from a top firm who has closed deals for other indie authors in exactly the same “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” predicament as me. I have received glowing critical reviews, including Publisher’s Weekly who has awarded STARRED reviews to both Immortality and Ghost of the Gods. There is interest from Holly Wood in making Immortality into a movie. I have every confidence that this time we’ll succeed in finally getting a solid publishing deal.
Where can we find you on the web?
I can be found lurking night and day around my writer’s Facebook page. Any one can strike up a conversation with me there. The page is www.facebook.com/KevinBohaczWriter. There is also a web page: www.kbohacz.com.