Award-winning fantasy author Kevin Potter has been an avid reader and prolific writer since elementary school and has no plans to stop this side of the grave.
Of Val-Harra and The Calamity, he says “It started as such a small thing, just a bit of backstory for a D&D game I was designing. But now it has grown into something so much bigger than I ever could have imagined.”
Currently, he is working hard to complete the next volume of the ongoing series.
He lives in a small town in Oklahoma with his wife, two daughters, several dogs, and two cats.
CONNECT WITH KEVIN
Welcome to SPFM, Kevin! Since we already have your bio, describe yourself in three words.
Obsessed with dragons!
Summarize your book, Shadow of the Overlord, using one gif.
If you could recommend three self-published books, which would you choose and why?
I have to cheat and name three series :-p
First, is the Chronicles of the Black Gate by Phil Tucker. It’s simply an amazing story with some twisting of the usual fantasy races and tropes that I found fascinating. And, of course, as indie published fantasy goes, it doesn’t get much more epic than this!
Second, the Ethereal Earth series by Josh Erikson. I’m not usually into urban fantasy, but the whole premise of the first book (con-man gets a literal god stuck in the back of his mind!) grabbed my attention from the get go. The books have just the perfect blend of comedy, character, and adventure to keep almost any fantasy reader engaged.
And finally, the Rhenwars Saga by M.L. Spencer. In the world of dark fantasy, few authors can match what she created in this sweeping saga. From brilliantly believable characters who are morally gray (at best!) to sweeping adventure and heartbreaking tragedy, I couldn’t have asked for more.
What is your favorite part, and your least favorite part of self-publishing?
Favorite is definitely the creative freedom and ability to publish without having to fight through agents and editors who don’t think my work is “salable.”
My least favorite is definitely the need to do all my own marketing. Like many authors, I struggle getting my head around the best ways to get my books in front of readers.
What’s the first story you ever wrote?
I honestly love telling this story. This first thing I remember ever writing was a short story that was assigned in school when I was 7 or 8. We were given homework to write a one-page short story about anything we wanted to write about. As I hadn’t quite reached my obsession with dragons yet at that time, I chose to write a story about a magical pair of shoes and their adventures looking for an owner who would properly care for them. I ended up with a seven-page “epic” that had my teacher’s eyes bugging out of her head when I turned it in ☺
Who inspires you?
My mom. She was the most incredible person I’ve ever known. Her intelligence, altruism, and creativity were far deeper than my own, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish she was still with us. Almost everything I do is in the pursuit of making her proud.
What’s your process for creating fully fleshed-out characters?
This may seem a little strange, but I approach my characters the same way I do my plotlines. I don’t see myself as a creator at all, rather, I am a discoverer. An explorer. I firmly believe those characters and plots are already there, just waiting for me to uncover them. And like any good archaeologist, I get to know my characters by exploring them. I watch what they do when I drop them into situations, conversations, and moments of self-reflection.
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would tell your younger self?
My biggest regret in my writing life is that I didn’t get serious about it until I was in my thirties and already had a family.
Tell us about the hardest scene you’ve written. What made it so difficult?
I expect most authors would talk about a time they were blocked or a character they had to kill.
But for me, it was actually a reunion between two characters. One was supposed to be dead, and for years everyone thought he was. His return is as sudden as it is shocking, and I really struggled not only with making sure that the reactions to his appearance were heartfelt and real, but I honestly struggled with my own emotions during this scene.
Every time I came back to write it, I’d end up bawling my eyes out. I think a lot of what made it so raw for me was the state of these two characters’ relationship at the time of his apparent death. It was all so new and where they stood/what they might be was so unknowable, which, of course, fed into the tragedy of it. But because of that, each of them built up in their own minds what could have been, how things might have turned out, and now they have to face the reality of what will be.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I think the biggest trap is seeing yourself as an “aspiring” writer. This is about mindset. Stop seeing yourself as aspiring. Either you are a writer, or you aren’t. And the number one inescapable fact is writers write. If you are writing then you are a writer, you don’t have to be getting paid to be a writer.
In no particular order, additional major traps are:
Thinking you’ll be the “lightning strike” overnight success
Thinking you have to (or can’t) write to an outline
Thinking you won’t have to market your books for them to sell
The False dichotomy of indie vs traditional publishing (apart from the mega bestsellers, we aren’t that different)
EVER thinking you are done learning how to write
Seeing other writers as your competition
Thinking you can make your own book covers (99% of writers can’t)
Thinking you can edit your own books (99.9% of writers will never see their own errors)
Tell us what lies ahead for you.
Well, due to my day job I’ve been on a bit of a writing hiatus for a while. But now that I’m back to having a bit more time, my next project is putting together a boxed set for the first three books in my series. I’m hoping to have that out in the next month or two.
After that I’ll be writing the fifth book in the series, where I expect the story is going to get quite a bit darker.
After that will be book six, which will be the finale of this series, at which point I’ll be able to go back to my other series and we’ll finally learn what The Calamity has in store!
About Shadow of the Overlord (The Calamity #1)
A heroine no one knows they need. A reluctant warrior with a dark secret. A crumbling kingdom on the brink of war.
Taliesimon has always dreamed of being the first female Dragoon warrior, but the commander and his lackeys will do anything to ensure she fails.
An itinerant sell-sword, William’s life is nothing like he imagined. His greatest enemies are the bottle, which he takes no pains to avoid, and his past, which he avoids at all costs.
When the king mysteriously disappears, the kingdom teeters on the verge of collapse. If neither he nor his estranged son, the prince, can be found, the kingdom will fall into the hands of a brilliant mastermind working from the shadows.
As an unknown threat rises, a violent raid brings William and Taliesimon together in an uneasy alliance with tremendous potential for disaster.
With enemies on all sides, can they put their differences aside in time to save humanity from a brutal war unlike anything the world has ever seen?
Shadow of the Overlord is over 600 pages of thrilling epic fantasy, guaranteed to keep you up reading late into the night! If you enjoyed the constant adventure of Dragonlance, the complex and fully realized world of the Magister trilogy, or the wonderful characters of the Inheritance Cycle, then you’ll love Kevin Potter’s page-turning, epic sword & sorcery adventure.