FAE AND WITCHES AND GHOSTS - OH MY!
My BUZZ GUEST today is RUDY KEMPPAINEN, CEO-PUBLISHER at KEMPNET SYNDICATIONS.
Rudy has had a fruitful forty-year writing career. Twenty-six of those years have been spent in the newspaper business. Rudy is a correspondent for the “Eagle-Scribe” weekly that is run out of Augusta, Illinois. And as busy as he is, he still managed to write and publish thirteen books! His latest book is called The Talking Christmas Tree: Christmas Eve Adventure with Austin McFir.
When we discussed Rudy being interviewed for ‘FAE AND WITCHES AND GHOSTS—OH MY!’, he said, “being on the receiving end of the table will be a nice change for me. I am usually the questioner.” Having said that, here is Rudy’s interview complete with an actual encounter with a ghost! Uh huh…that’s what I said--a ghost! Check it out:
I started out pretty young. I was inspired by a high school English teacher to pursue it. My parents didn’t really approve of that choice. They were always telling me to get a “real job”. Of course, after I received my first advance check from a publisher that was more money than either of them had seen in one lump, they pretty much shut up about it. ~grins~ I started out as a not so invisible ghost for business books, working with Prentice-Hall. I did a practice management book for dentists, a handbook for hospital administrators, and then a business guide for funeral directors. That was how I got my start.
I moved over to John Wiley & Sons after that. I wrote a book for them on “Power Consulting: Using the Media to Expand Your Business.”Gradually, though, I became disenchanted with major book publishers and began dreaming of starting my own publishing house.
Commercial book publishing and books created by that route tend to be a cumbersome process. Everyone knows that old cliché about a camel being a horse created by a committee. That’s what commercial publishers, at least the bigger ones, are like. They look at your stuff and say, “We like it, but we’d like you to change this and this.”
You do what they ask, the project goes to the next level of management, and you hear, “We love it, but we’d like you to change this and this and this. By the time, you get done with all of this, you look at it—and it bears no resemblance to the original concept which you started on. You wonder, “What the Hell am I working on here?” I got sick of that idea and began to dream about starting my own publishing company. That was a dream that took nearly thirty years to ultimately achieve.
That’s what I achieved in starting Kempnet Syndications. We had our kick-off on June 1, 2016.
2. How long did it take you to create your first book?
The practice management book for dentists was actually a second effort. I worked with a controversial dentist who was nearly persona non-grata within his profession because he had medical research which showed that teeth could actually heal themselves. He based his practice model on that—and I wrote the national book on that basis. That took me about six months.
3. How long did it take you to create the last?
My fastest turn-around time now is sometimes a week or less. I am pretty prolific by most standards. My latest, “The Talking Christmas Tree”, was something that I put together from memory from the first short story that I wrote back in 1968. I was only sixteen at the time. I changed and embellished from the original. It’s a short story, as far as length goes. But it’s pretty appropriate for the holiday theme, which is what I was trying to achieve.
4. Do you prefer creating short stories, or novels?
In fiction, I tend to prefer the longer works. Novels give you greater flexibility in terms of description, developing character motivations, packing surprises. You name it and novels have it all over short stories, at least in my opinion.
5. Where do you write?
I have an office at home where much of my work is done. Standard tabletop computer is my usual venue. But I also keep a tablet handy. I will set my butt in my recliner, put my feet up, and have one of those little lap desks that I set my tablet on. I look like the laziest son of a b**** on the planet when I do that. But I don’t appear busy, even when I am. I lock out the world around me mentally when I am truly in the zone, a fact which bugs the Hell out of my wife. But that, again, is another story.
I can work virtually anywhere without a problem. I have journalism colleagues here who tease me, whenever they see me with my tablet out, that I must be writing one of my “smutty romances” during breaks. They actually aren’t smutty, though, which probably disappoints them. They were probably hoping for something which they could get their one-handed pleasures on.
6. Are there any genres you prefer?
I do a lot of reading these days in the romance genre, mainly because I am open to learning new nuances in the craft. I am actually surprised by the level of description that is acceptable these days. Scenes like that used to be relegated to the back rooms of adult book stores back when I was younger. Even in the 1970’s, they weren’t as open about sexuality as they are today. I wrote a few of those kinds of books back in the day, the books that people hid under their pillows out of a sense of prudishness. I don’t go that far with my romances. It isn’t a case of sex for the sake of sex. In my Alexander Longshaft books, yes, there’s sex. But that comes as a result of the natural evolution of a relationship. I try to build a sense of commitment in my characters before I let them engage in the “wild thing.”For most people, I think that comes across as more realistic. I doubt that women generally, or guys either, for that matter, get off on the Part A goes into Part B logistic. They want it to be a consummation of sorts, whether or not they have become legally married at that point. That’s what I try to build into my books.
7. I see you have a cookbook for sale it looks interesting. Are those really your grandmother’s recipes?
Nearly all of them are, yes. But, back in her day, they didn’t have things like slow cookers or things which made life easy. Believe it or not, I learned how to cook on a wood burning range very much like the one pictured on the book cover. I place a heavy emphasis on the preciseness of the cooking art. I also try to show readers how to make their own judgments regarding how to create a final product to suit their own tastes. Cooking and baking are actually as much art as it is science. Some original recipes will tell you to add this or that to it. If my experience says that this isn’t necessary, I will tell my readers exactly that.
I remember being the only boy to compete in cooking and baking projects in my county’s 4-H show. It turned out that I ended up beating all the girls, in the opinions of the judges. One of them was a master baker who was regionally famous for his work. He offered me an apprenticeship in his business—and was thinking of turning over his business to me when I was done with high school. My parents were excited about that, but I wasn’t. You should have heard the grumbling from them when I turned the guy down. They thought I had done something truly shameful in saying no. But, even at that time, I had my eyes on a different line of lifetime work, that of being a writer. I fought with them—and I won!!I’ve always been a bull-headed a**hole when it came to what I wanted to achieve.
I always viewed cooking and baking as a hobby for me, not a profession. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take it seriously. But I like my creativity to stick around for a while. Food turns into poop in 48 hours or less. There’s simply no posterity there to be had.
As a side note here, my grandmother didn’t always turn out the “perfect dish”, even with her efforts. In those cases, she would dismiss it with her favourite line, “Well, it’s good enough for what it turns into.”LOL!Most people would have considered even those efforts as being quite edible. But she was a perfectionist to the extreme, a fact that made my own mother disdainful of cooking and baking. She never liked the striving for perfection.
8. What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I’ve had a lifelong penchant for medical novels, in particular. But I haven’t found any truly good ones lately—or I would be reading them. But I do like romance novels, especially if there’s a nice “happily ever after” conclusion to them.
9. Do you have a favorite author(s)?
I would have to cite two in particular, Robin Cook, who authored “Coma”, and James Michener. My favourite book of his was “Final Diagnosis.”I don’t remember all of the details anymore about that one, except for one scene. The hospital had a serious stomach virus spreading through the patients. They decided to test fecal samples to find out what was happening.
The lab director told the staff that they would be reviewing over 400 samples. Then he asked the staff for questions. One of the staffers piped up and said, “That’s a lot of shit.”
I got a good laugh out of that one—and probably that gives you an idea as to my rather strange sense of humor. But that’s an entirely different story.But I thought it would be illustrative of me as a person.
I personally prefer authors who set up a surprise, even a small scene that is unexpected. With that in mind, I think I try to emulate that preference in my own work. My readers seem to enjoy that as well.
1. If you could invite any 5 people (i.e. cartoon character; famous person; rock band; poet; artist; living or dead) for a meal together, who would they be?
I think that mine would be something of an eclectic mix. They would probably be Tennessee Ernie Ford, Leonardo Da Vinci, Norman Rockwell, Johnny Cash, and maybe John F. Kennedy. Okay, so I’m a complicated dude. Just goes with the territory.
2. You have an imaginary friend that only you can see. What does he look like?
I will run with this one. Knowing me, that friend would definitely be a she, not a he. I tend to identify with women much better than with men. Of course, with my temperament, I would prefer that she be a curvy specimen. I like to know that I’m talking to a woman without asking them to drop their pants. LOL!Hopefully, she’s also a reasonably good conversationalist. Eventually, even with delicious curves, she would become boring. Of course, considering that I am already 64 years old, I’m not as drawn to the erotic fantasies as I used to be in my prime.
3. Would you rather encounter an alien or a ghost?
I would have to say that a ghost would be my preference. Ghosts were, after all, human at one time or another. I’ve actually seen one, many years ago. Turns out that she was a very tortured soul, based on what I sensed. Later, I learned more about her and found out that she was a murder victim in the area. She would turn up from time to time, based on reports, and would briefly visit the house where she was killed, then move on. I haven’t heard any more reports about her in over ten years. Maybe she finally found her peace. I was probably about twenty feet away from her and tried to talk to her. But all that I ever heard were these sad moans—and nothing more—coming after midnight on an otherwise deserted street. It was just the two of us out there, but I never felt threatened. I think she appreciated that I accepted her as she was.
Thank you, Rudy, for being today’s BUZZ GUEST! I really enjoyed your answers and our chat time setting up for this interview.And I think your lady ghost did appreciate your compassion for her situation. Awesome stuff.
YOU CAN FIND RUDY AT:
Facebook -> www.facebook.com/kempnetsyndications
Twitter -> @rudykemppainen
Amazon as Rudy Kemppainen -> https://www.amazon.com/author/rudykemppainen
Amazon as Alexander Longshaft -> https://www.amazon.com/author/alexanderlongshaft
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