Hello and good to have you here! It’s been a while since I have done an author interview, ’tis true, but boy, do I come bearing treats?! That’s right, no further introductions needed, Kevin is a force and that force will speak for himself!
Let’s get cracking!
Hi Kevin! Welcome to Cover to Cover... First things first, imagine that you’re introducing yourself to a whole new audience on another planet somewhere in the wide universe, what would you say? I have learned that you’d rather be a bit more private and not come across as a ’raving narcissist’ so if the answer is mumble- mumble – we accept!
Hi Liz. If I were to introduce myself to a whole new audience in some distant galaxy (assuming they had provided me with a universal translator), I’d rather they simply read my books than have me jabbering away like a chimpanzee and boring them rigid. On the other side of the coin, there is an abundance of authors who can’t stop banging on about their books. Imagine how annoying they would be to a distant audience!
You have lived in multiple countries and you have a background in karate and kickboxing. Can I say, cool? Because, cool! How have the different cultures you’ve lived in and your background in fighting sports influenced your writing?
Liz, you would also from your own experiences know that living in different countries expands our horizons, helps us to understand different cultures and imbues us with a global perspective. I’m not sure if kickboxing has helped my writing though (it’s certainly lost me a lot of brain cells). But having a fighter’s mindset has helped me to shape the personalities of my more-combative protagonists, so there are some benefits.
Which of the countries you have lived in, gave you the most inspiration? Or would it feel too much like ’choosing your favourite child’?
Only Irish blood flows through my veins but I’ve long since lost my Irish accent and now sound like a cross between Jude Law and Jamie Oliver. Growing up in an Irish household, though, has ensured that I still pepper my sentences with occasional Irish phrases. Malaysia and Germany were both wonderful places to live in, and I learned a great deal, but I draw inspiration from each country I visit.
Even though Wuttichai lived in these woods, he found most of its noises sinister and most disturbing, and it was far worse at night, when the tree branches formed dark cages that huddled together to whisper amongst themselves. In his imagination, owls were the harbingers of night demons; he had come to believe that their sinister hoots heralded the appearance of black ghosts who could slide into homes after dark, in the guise of unattached shadows.Kevin Ansbro, Kinnara
Your books! 5 of them to date? What has writing 5 books taught you? If you could go back to start
writing book 1, what would you do differently, if anything?
Oh, dear God! I would dearly love to rewrite my first two books; the verbosity therein pains me and makes my teeth itch. But they’re popular with almost anyone who’s read them, so I’ll trust my readers’ judgment over mine. Some things are best left alone.
Going a bit deeper into the books, are they all completely different, or do they have an overarching
thematic that you have found yourself committed to?
My books are completely different to one another, especially one that is a collection of short stories drawing on every genre imaginable. Certain themes do tend to crop up in my books: namely good versus evil, success through adversity and love succeeding against all odds. I write mostly in the magical realism genre and strive to depict our real world in a credible way, adding implausible events and magical elements in a matter-of-fact fashion, as if they have every right to be there.
My characters’ personalities are often deliberately exaggerated or flamboyant. Poetic descriptive imagery is a must, and the storylines should speak to the reader’s soul. Oh, and I also handcuff humour and tragedy to the same radiator.
The oak trees had shed their leaves, revealing the inky thumbprints of crows’ nests in the crackle glaze of dark branches.Kevin Ansbro, The Fish That Climbed a Tree
How do you feel about clichés? Can a book exist without clichés?
It depends on the genre. If I were to read a serious thriller, I would roll my eyes and groan like Chewbacca each time a cliché reared its ugly little head. But sometimes, for comedic or ironic effect, a carefully-placed cliché will cause the reader to raise a knowing smile. I did exactly that in my book, In the Shadow of Time where, with a nudge and a wink, I had fun with a James Bond trope in one of the opening chapters.
Is there something that you know you will absolutely never write about? A topic, a certain character,
even a genre?
I couldn’t imagine myself writing a chick-lit story, even though a cheesy Hallmark movie on a winter’s afternoon is one of my guilty pleasures. I am quite fearless when it comes to tackling risqué topics, but do my best to not make them seem gratuitous.
It baffles me why some readers slam an author because an animal’s been killed in one of their books, or an old lady has been murdered. The author doesn’t actually go around killing animals and old ladies in their spare time! This is fiction, people! : )
Which main character from your books is your all-time favourite and why?
I know which is my readers’ favourite: it’s a young Thai beach vendor named Sawat, who sells cold drinks to tourists on Patong beach. Despite a young life blighted by terrible tragedy, he remains eternally optimistic and his sunshine smile would light up the darkest room. Kinnara
My own favourite is a privileged young Englishman by the name of Sebastian whose ego is the size of a planet and whose contempt for anyone but himself knows no bounds. He is selfish and brattish to the point that he becomes something of a pantomime villain. And I just loved it each time I had to write him into a scene. Sometimes the most unlikable characters are the most entertaining. The Fish that Climbed a Tree
What is it that you wish readers of your books were able to experience when reading your titles?
My intention is always to elicit strong emotions in my readers’ hearts and minds. I want them to laugh, to cry, to hate me one minute and love me the next. My style of writing veers more towards the rich and linguistically playful.
The man has an executioner’s stare and a handshake that could crush a coconut. But scratch beneath the surface, Luna, and you will find the most loyal friend.Kevin Ansbro, In the Shadow of Time
Name an author, or few, dead or alive, that you wish you could share a house with for a week and
talk about absolutely everything and anything?
I would love to share a house with Charles Dickens. The discussions we’d have! I would of course take him down to the local pub to show him off to everyone. Imagine the disbelief on people’s faces… “Yes, he really is Charles Dickens … No, you can’t take a selfie with him … No, you can’t tug on his beard…“
What’s next for Kevin Ansbro?
Very little, really. After finishing my fifth book, I decided to take a sabbatical from writing. Being an author isn’t as glamorous as it might seem (tapping away on a keyboard for nine hours a day, five days a week, isn’t exactly a rock and roll lifestyle). So I’ve been lunching with friends, reading more books and flying to more countries. Cheers, everyone!
I’m a foodie and an avid reader who values good manners, love and friendship above all else.
I am constantly putting my foot in it, am reputed to have a wicked sense of humour and love to laugh, but sometimes do that ‘snorty pig’ noise when I do.
I’m also easy-going and extremely friendly. So, come on over for a chat — I’ll put the kettle on!
Thank you so much, Kevin, for your time and for giving us a glimpse into you and your books. I have to say I am intrigued by all of these books. Don’t these covers just catch your eye? I’m stuck choosing in between them… but I think as soon as my schedule allows, I will probably start with The Fish That Climbed a Tree.