BLURB from Goodreads "Who will save the world, when there is no world left to save?" The year is 2025. Five years after 2020's Great Revolution set the nation afire, the United States of America collapses--and now, a military regime known as the Lords rule the nation with an iron fist. Through the barren, lawless, and chaotic streets of Washington D.C., however, Vincent von Faust embarks on an odyssey to pursue his father's killer, an enigmatic assassin known simply as the Fallen Angel. Battling mercenaries and seeking political favors, Vincent ultimately learns the Fallen Angel is closer than he anticipated; and soon, he realizes the only way to bring peace and justice to the war-torn nation is not to reconstruct it, but instead to destroy what is left of it......
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Kaleb Quist and I was born August 24, 1995, in downtown Sacramento, California. Right now I live in Carmichael, which is a suburb of Sacramento county.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
This probably sounds ridiculous to most people, but I’ve always believed that I was born a writer. I was coming up with stories in my head before I knew how to read or count; and when I could, I started writing short stories and making my own short films, most of which revolved around Batman fighting dinosaurs. I enjoy writing books, but more than anything, I’ve always wanted to make movies. I’ve never wanted to do anything else.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My new release is called Fallen Angel, as mentioned, and if I had to summarize it, it’s about a young man’s grand quest for vengeance, justice, and peace in anarchistic, war-torn America.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I wrote two books before Fallen Angel—my first being a gangster novel, and then a candid horror novel—but no agent, editor, or publisher on the face of the earth wanted anything to do with either of them. It took me over five years to get where I am now, having self-published my debut novel. I probably could have gotten someone to publish Fallen Angel, but I was so sick and tired of everyone in the industry by then that I said, “Screw it, I’ll just do it myself.” And I’m happy I did.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I’ve never calculated the exact time. Since I work on multiple projects at once, sometimes I’ll have an idea in my head for months, or even years, before I begin working on it. The first draft takes me several months because I always use all my ideas, no matter how good or bad. Therefore, for novels, the first draft usually comes out to roughly 200,000 words, while the first drafts for screenplays are close to 300 pages. From there, it varies depending on how many rewrite I do. Since I’m a perfectionist, oftentimes the rewrites take longer than the first drafts.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Right now I’m working on a new novel, which is a reboot and rewrite of the second novel I wrote (before Fallen Angel). To put it simply, I’m basically taking the same plot and characters, but completely changing the storyline and configuration. As of this interview, I’ve finished the first draft and am slowly but surely rewriting it. I’m also trying to get my production company, Primevile Productions, off the ground since I’m producing my first feature film, which will hopefully be released mid-2014. I have the script finished and now I’m working on earning the funds to shoot it. Both projects follow along the same genre and style as Fallen Angel—the debauchery and messiness of horror, combined with the aestheticism of fantasy and science-fiction—just in different times and places.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I was 6-years-old but I had my first short story published when I was 13. I take inspiration from numerous writers, but Quentin Tarantino and Alan Moore have had a particularly substantial influence on me. I saw “Pulp Fiction” for the first time when I was 10 and it changed my life. I’d never seen anything like it, and it’s still my favorite movie. Personally, I don’t think there will be a movie like it ever again. When I was 12, I also read Watchmen for the first time, and it changed my life as well. Both projects changed my entire perspective on storytelling and have become the basis for everything I’ve written.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
This is something else that will probably sound ridiculous to most people, but I don’t really come up with my ideas—they just come to me. I don’t have to put any thought or effort into coming up with a new book idea, it simply pops into my head one day and I go from there. I don’t have to force it either, since it always seems to come at the right time. Whenever I actually sit down and write, though, I try to take inspiration from everyone and everything around me, not just my favorite writers. I enjoy listening to people’s conversations, reading the news, hearing about urban legends, etc. to come up with subplots and characters.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
My usual routine is I get up at about 7 in the morning, drink some coffee, listen to music, and then sit and mope for a little while. When I finish moping, I’ll slowly start writing my present novel, and eventually, I’ll find my groove and have my word-count done by lunchtime. After lunchtime, I’ll then begin working on my page-count for my present screenplay. On average, I spend 6 to 8 hours a day writing, and I typically write for 5 to 6 days a week. Even with another job, or other tasks at hand, I can spend many hours writing in a given week.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I always try to base the title on a certain theme, character, or symbol in the book. A title has to sound very strong and substantial to me in order for me to feel comfortable with it. Fallen Angel was a somewhat obvious title, since the story mostly revolves around a character called the “Fallen Angel.” People wanted me to change the title since there are lots of other books called Fallen Angel, but I couldn’t find anything else I liked so I kept it. I usually start coming up with cover designs while writing the final draft. I did the cover art for Fallen Angel myself and am happy with how it turned out.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
The original title for Fallen Angel was Return of the Fallen Angel, which was a title I came up with before I started writing it. I shortened it to Fallen Angel since I thought the original title had too many syllables and didn’t sound right to me. For other stories, though, it varies. Everything is at least somewhat different every time.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Typically, before I deduce a character’s name, I’ll write out the character itself—their personality, who they are, where they come from, and what purpose they serve in the story. From there, I almost always choose names from a variety of foundations, though mostly other characters and people. For instance, the main character, Vincent von Faust, had his name taken directly from Faust, the alchemist from the German legend. Another character, named the Duke, was named after Isaac Hayes’ character in John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. Finally, the villain is named Sammael W. Ashton, W. Ashton being a play on “Washington” and Sammael coming from the Talmudic archangel Samael, the angel of death. When it comes to places, I try to use as many real locations as I can; but if it has to be fictional, I’ll take the name of an existing place and change it only slightly. For instance, the war-torn Washington D.C. is called “The District,” which is nothing but a shortened version of “The District of Columbia.”
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I decide on everything in the story before I even attempt to write it. I build the characters and plot from scratch and then write an entire mythology around them—where they came from, who they are, their wants, needs, and desires, how they speak, who they like, who they dislike, and the list goes on. I can’t improvise and make it up as I go along, or else I won’t feel organized or comfortable with it whatsoever. The tiniest of details needs to be written out about everything in order for me to go ahead with it. I don’t know why I always need to do it that way. Maybe it’s my obsessive-compulsiveness.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Believe it or not, I haven’t had writer’s block in three years, but whenever I did, it was nasty. Everyone has their own remedy for writer’s block, but for me, what works is simply not overdoing it. It’s better to under-write than to over-write, because writing is a very strenuous mental activity—it is to your brain what weight-lifting is to your muscles. And what do weight-lifters do? They give their bodies a break for two or three days a week, which is exactly what writers should do in order to keep their mind focused, imaginative, and sharp. Get enough sleep, don’t corrupt your brain with too much drugs and alcohol, and write down your ideas so you don’t forget them. And if you have writer’s block simply because you can’t come up with any ideas, I’ve found it’s best to watch your favorite movie or read your favorite book—you might not get any ideas from it, but it’ll help you unwind, because the more stressed you are, the more intensified the block becomes.
What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
Writing actually is my way of unwinding and relaxing, haha! But outside of writing, I’m mainly committed to film and music. I love going to movies and concerts. I listen mainly to heavy metal and hardcore punk. My favorite band is Iron Maiden, and as I mentioned earlier, my favorite director and screenwriter is Quentin Tarantino. Spending time with family certainly isn’t a bad hobby either.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Still to this day, Watchmen is my all-time favorite book (just because it’s a comic doesn’t mean it isn’t a book). Like I said before, it changed my life when I was 12-years-old. I had no idea a story of such scope, imagination, and brilliance could be compacted into 12 mere issues. My favorite character in the story, and probably my favorite character of all-time, is Adrian Veidt. I don’t necessarily want to massacre New York City with a squid from outer space, but he’s one of those characters I’ve always aspired to be like. I’ve probably read it a dozen times cover-to-cover, at the very least.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
My first instinct would be to say that books don’t transfer well to movies, but I think Peter Jackson and Chris Columbus both proved that wrong when they started doing the “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” movies. As long as the film sticks to the book well, I think, it can be done right. It’s a double-edged sword, though, because no matter what, you’re not going to be able to fit a 50 – 100,000 word book into a two hour movie. Even if you could, movies run at a much different pace than books. Audiences can sit and read a book for five hours, but they would cry foul if they had to sit through a five hour movie (which I believe is very ironic). Personally, besides the “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” films, I was really impressed with Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen and the Wachowski Brothers’ adaptation of V for Vendetta. More recently, I liked Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby, too.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
If I could talk to the next great author, I would tell them three things: 1.) Persistence is as important as innovation. 2.) Don’t take BS from anybody, especially yourself. The worst thing a person can do is hold themselves back, and 3.) Don’t wait until you have money, a fancy job, or a college degree to write the next bestseller. Do it now, and don’t wait for anyone or anything.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
I want to go back in time to the mid-90s and have dinner with Alan Moore, Quentin Tarantino, and Stanley Kubrick. I would ask them, “For just 24 hours, what cereal box cartoon character would you be?” and then watch the debate ensue. That would be a very, very interesting conversation.
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