A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
I think that all too often the author is misunderstood. It is not that they are socially inept. They try their best to have their feelings and their wishes known but they have a hard time separating from the worlds they are a part of to the real world.
What makes this particular you are involved in so special?
Well, the particular genre that I am in is part one thing and part another. I know that a lot of people don’t see it that way, but it is something that people never really think of. I am not a part of one specific genre. FEAR is a different kind of book. It leaves the reader on the edge of their seat and at the same time they are being worked over with some of the ideas that I the author have about the things that are real about this world—the spiritual aspects, so it becomes a spiritual-thriller. Something that is not always easy to write.
What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
This is one of my all time favorite questions because I am one of those who is young enough that you would think that I never had anything to do with some of these different types of writing. I have to say, I have evolved over time. I have gone to mostly computer, but I originally started writing longhand, and in many ways I still write some longhand. I like to keep the old art there. I had my time with a typewriter—not my favorite because of the ribbon—but I have to say that computer and longhand are two of my favorites.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Well, this is a hard question. I have been a writer since I was in the third grade. I always had the imagination that was there to make things come alive. It is hard for people to believe that I have been writing and telling stories since I was very young, but that is the way I am, and it is something that really makes a difference in the way that I write today. I still want the story to mean something to the reader or listener. So I would say that since about the time I was seven or eight years old I had a desire to write. When I got to college, especially in my later years, I took courses that dealt less with solving math problems and helping tell the story. I like telling the story of history. I like telling the story of all sort of people. It is who I am. So I think it was refortified in the past five or six years that writing was where I belonged.
What according to you is the hardest thing about writing?
I think that it is hard to be a writer because it is a very lonely job at times. However, to counter that there is a rewarding thing about the world of writing. You get to meet some of the best people in the world in a way. As I worked on the book FEAR I met some of the characters that I have really fallen in love with. There are a lot of people that never know that there is something about life that makes me want to be a part of the world that they are in. However, it is hard to come back out of that world. It is hard to hide in the corner and not come out. People expect an author to be personable at times and they are not. Some of my favorite writers talk about how they lock themselves away. So I would say that the hardest thing about writing is coming out of the world that you have created, but at the same time for a writer, that is one of the best things that I have loved.
Over the years, what has improved significantly about your writing?
I think that, and every writer should be able to say this. Their command of telling the story should improve with every passing day. I think that is something that should always improve. I try to make my stories improve with the passing of the day. If I had to fall back on someone’s statement about FEAR it is that “It is the best one yet.” They said that and so many people that were beta readers for me, or people to read it before it came out, it was something that most people said that each story has gotten better. But with the passing of time I have learned to spend a little more time with the story. It is something that I have wanted to improve with time. Improving the time means that I have taken the time to spend more time in the world with the characters. I have taken the time to tell the story of these characters. All of them are so very important.
Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
I do believe to an extent that a book cover plays a role in the sales of a book. There are a lot of people who will tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but sadly we still do. It is something that we all do, more often than not. Now there are some books that can’t be judged by their covers and those are often the books that are historical. Now historical fiction is a different story. It plays a different part in the whole situation. You want that cover to scream come and read me. I have been there, and seen that so many times. It is not always the right thing to do, but a book cover that shows a little of what the book is about, well, it is going to do better than a book with a plain cover.
Do you read and reply to the reviews and comments of your readers?
I do take the time to read the reviews. This last time I took time to have some people help me with the original manuscript. I got some mixed replies, and so I have taken some time to really read the comments and listen to what the readers really have to say. If you don’t listen to what they have to say then there is a good chance that you are not going to be doing what the reader wants…you are not going to connect with a reader and often times you are going to lose a reader.
Do your novels carry a message?
Many of my novels carry a message. I would like to think that it is a message of hope, but it is not always. Sometimes it is a message about where I am in life. I think that we all do that. Writer or not, the stories that we tell in life, well, they tell what kind of life we are having. It is not always an easy story that we are telling. It is like a pastor once told me, our lives are not always warm and fuzzy, why would the stories we tell about our lives be warm and fuzzy? So I think, if you look into any book or novel, you will find a message of some kind, you just have to look.
What books have influenced your life the most?
Well, I have to say that this is probably the hardest question for me to answer, but at the same time it is the easiest. Sometimes I let books influenced my life, but right now I am trying to let the Bible do most of the influencing in my life, and the reason is that it teaches about light and dark, good and evil, right and wrong. All of these things are important to a good story I think and for me that helps to write a really good novel. There is something there. I think that could not be said for some of the other books and things that I have read and let influence my life. For a while I let the books of Stephen King reign supreme, but after a while that can turn a person to a dark life. Just like a flowery romance can do the exact opposite. I think it is important for people to see right and wrong, good and evil, because in the end it brings us to making decisions about our life.
Are there any books that you are currently reading and why?
There are actually a lot of books that I am working my way through right now. It is actually kind of funny because I have always thought that reading and writing go hand in hand. You take in new information so you can craft new stories. I think that it is important for people to see that there is something to it. I think that people have sometimes forgotten that they need to take new things in. So right now I am reading a lot about Ulysses S. Grant, and while there are some people who would say, what do you think you are going to do with that? I have to say that I am hoping to write an essay on the life of Grant. There is a great deal that I want to know about the man. Here he is hailed as the hero of the Civil War, and more importantly to me, the hero of Shiloh, and he is the most misunderstood individual in many ways. So I am reading about Grant as I am preparing to write about Grant.
It is often believed that almost all writers have had their hearts broken at some point in time, does that remain true for you as well?
I think that in all ways people of all different walks in the arts have their hearts broken and in some of those ways they push people onward or they hold people back. I know that I have had my share of heartbreak, but it is something that I have learned to sit back and work my way through. I may easily sit down and write a scene that depicts that heartbreak.
Any advice you would give your younger self?
The best advice that I could give to my younger self is to not give up on the idea of writing. There was a period of time in there where I had given up on the writing and I think that hurt me more than anything. I really think that there is something missing about the kind of person I am as a writer now. I love writing, it is a part of me, but people never really think about that. But at the same time don’t give in to the things that are out there. Be willing to try some new things with your writing.
How much of yourself do you put into your books?
The best thing that I can say about this, is that I come from a very different world, a creative world. Since I was in second and third grade I was writing my own stories. I was telling my own life story. I think that is what we all want to do is to tell the story of our life. It is not that fiction writers get away from telling their own story, it is that they just tell it with a different twist. So there is a lot of me that goes into every story I tell. If there is something I am dealing with in real life, well, more than likely it is going to show up in some form on the pages of the book I am writing at the time.
From all that we have been hearing and seeing in the movies, most writers are alcoholics. Your views on that?
I think that this is overplayed. I think that if you could talk to a writer you would find that there are some that are alcoholics and drug addicts, but there are more people out there who would rather show people that there is not this outrageous case of writers being drunk. Now you take the story, and Stephen King is very open about his substance abuse early in his career, and to think that there is something that needed to be done. But at the same time you have people who don’t have those problems and sometimes their books soar to new heights.
People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?
I think that this is a mythical thing. I don’t live a glamorous life by any means. Do I have a good time, yes I think that I do. I am one of many people who thinks that it is nice to escape into a different world. I think that is what my work as a writer does. It allows me to get away from the life that I have to live. I don’t really want a glamorous life to be honest with you. I would rather have the simple life that I am living.
Which of your books took you the most time to write?
I have six books and they have each taken a different length of time to actually write. They have none taken over a couple of months to get it into a first draft. However I think that people think that there is a desire to think that someone is slow when things aren’t moving along. I think the book that I spent the most time on was the newest one FEAR and I say that because we took the time to hire an actual editor and we worked out a lot of the kinks I think that is the biggest things that have been helpful to me. I learned a lot. So here we are just releasing the book that I wrote a year ago. So it is often not the writing time that takes so long, but rather it is the time put into getting it ready to put it on the shelves.
What do you do in your free time?
My free time is usually spent reading something. I like to take in new information. I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what I want to focus on. However, I do have some hobbies outside the literary world. I do some carving. I do some photography, which you can find some of that on my website adamjkugler.com. I enjoy just trying to get out and about. I love hiking and seeing things I have never seen before. It is a lot of stuff to do, but in a way it all feeds my writing.
Writers are permanently depressed; how true is that?
That is so far from the truth. Do I suffer from depression? Yes. But it is not a permanent thing. I have my good days and my bad days. I love spending time with people outside of the world of writing and it is so much fun to just be a part of the world that I am a part of. I don’t think that writers are anywhere near being permanently depressed. I think they can be happy people.
When can the readers expect your next book in print?
My next book since FEAR is just now coming out it is going to be a little while. I am not sure that I can say something right on the timing, but it may be a little while. I think that is the biggest thing. I have been the kind of person who tries to stay in touch with the readers and walk them through the process. I hope that there is a little bit of my work in print in different areas, as I am working on a little bit of flash fiction and short stories. I think that is what is going to be the next project. I want to be able to sit back and take it in.
Some writers create a bubble around themselves until they’re finished with their project – how true is that in your case?
This is one of my favorite things. There are times that I love to just lock myself away at times. I won’t say that it is a full project thing, but if I made it through everything, in the tail end of the project I might start working harder and harder in the direction of making sure that the plan is, and I will dig in and isolate myself. I think of it as going into a fortress so that I can hide and block out some of the things that I need to do.