Interview with Kevin Conlin

Author of Five Voices

Five Voices


Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?

I was born in Wilmington, Delaware. My family moved a few times when I was very young, but we were back in Delaware before I was 7. I’m still here.

If you currently reside somewhere besides where you were born, what’s the story that lead from there to here?

I still live in Delaware.

What made you decide to write and publish your first book?

I had written a couple of YA novels years ago, but I wanted to give writing for an adult audience a try. This story had been with me for a long time. When I was studying abroad, I met a retired Scottish police officer. This was only a short time after there was a terrible mass shooting over there. He told me how he knew the shooter and had only seen him the day before it happened. He said he could tell something was bothering the man, but he decided not to pursue it. He told me he had always regretted not doing anything. That story stayed with me, and the idea grew from there.

How would you describe your books to first time readers?

In the summer of 1996, reporter Izzy Buchanan has the story that is going to make her famous. Twenty years earlier, a psychopath stepped onto a campground and started shooting. Before he was taken down by a heroic bystander, he took eleven lives and injured many others in what was the worst mass murder in the state’s history. Izzy, an ambitious and brilliant college journalism student, has made it her goal to find and interview five survivors of the St. Maria Goretti’s Campground shooting. A special trait unifies these five: they are the only witnesses who have never spoken publicly about what happened the day of the massacre. The five include the current governor, a young middle school teacher, a retired maintenance man, a mysterious woman who has since left the area, and the killer himself, whose pending execution makes Izzy’s assignment urgent. The secrets these witnesses have been keeping will change Izzy’s life forever and will challenge the journalistic principles that she holds so dear, possibly forcing her to reveal her own connection to the massacre.

Who do you feel is most likely to connect with the topics you write about?

I think anyone who enjoys mysteries (murder or otherwise) will enjoy this. Another theme people have told me they’ve enjoyed is journalistic ethics, and how much duty a reporter has to report the truth regardless of consequence. Another reader told me she liked the many levels of forgiveness and the limits of mercy that are explored. Of course, Delaware readers have told me they like the local setting.

What unexpected or surprising thing did you learn during the process of writing and publishing?

Not being a social media person, I was amazed at how quickly news spread when my wife and family started posting about the novel. People in other parts of the world were downloading it, which was incredible. Seeing good reviews from people I’ve never met was also a pleasant surprise.

If you could, what advice would you give to your past self before embarking on this journey?

I would tell my five-years-ago-self to write for distance rather than depth. I ended up cutting so many extra details that I later decided weren’t needed. I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy. Be that as it may, I loved the whole process.

How many people would you ideally like to reach with your books?

“Ideally” is a loaded word! My dream is to go to the beach or the pool and see a total stranger reading my book.

What has been the biggest challenge and frustration during the process to date?

Finding the time to write and promote is easily the biggest challenge.

What’s your biggest strengths when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?

A) Like any writer, I absolutely love doing it.
B) Having friends and family to help edit and make the cover.
C)I wish I had a strength!

What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?

A) I’m always tempted to over-describe a setting and get wordy.
B & C) Fiding time to learn about and take advantage of all the services and media that are out there.

When do you think you will write your next book?

I have the first 2 chapters of many books already written. It’s just a matter of deciding which one to focus on. Hopefully, I can start within the next few months.

Are you self published or did you use a hybrid publisher, or a traditional publisher?

Self-published but shopping for an agent.


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