Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Interview with Peter Kassan

Thank you for stopping by my blog, Peter!
Thanks for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

For those who haven’t heard about your book could you give us a quick rundown?
Well, since I wrote the blurb, I might as well just quote it:
What if you suddenly discovered you had a sense—and powers—that almost no one else in the world did?
When Amanda Lindner Nichols, a 24-year-old graphic artist living with her husband in Queens, New York, is revived from a near-death experience, she discovers she perceives everyone around her as points of light—but not with her eyes. She soon learns she can not only perceive the life energy of others, but she can give and take it. With the help of others like her, she brings her husband Chris to the brink of death and back to bestow on him the same remarkable faculty, and they're the happiest they've been.
But not for long. All over the world, people who've been revived from their own near-death experience at just the right moment discover themselves with these same unusual powers. They find ways to use them—some for good and some for evil. When Amanda and Chris encounter a ruthless group of gangsters with the same faculty, tragedy follows—and Amanda faces the greatest challenge of her life.

How would you describe your main character, Amanda?
Amanda is a young woman living in Queens, New York, who finds herself with an extraordinary sense and extraordinary powers. Before the events that transform her, she’s a normal person living a normal life.

Is Lightpoints going to be part of a series? If so, what do you foresee for the series?
I didn’t conceive of it as part of a series. I started a sequel that followed Amanda about a year after the end of Lightpoints, but I wasn’t happy with the way it was going, so it’s on hold. A few readers have expressed interest in finding out what happens next. If there’s enough demand, I suppose I’ll have to return to it. As far as a series is concerned, I don’t see one. If other people want to write stories based on the same premise, though, I’d be happy to talk with them about it.

Can you tell us about the paranormal world you have created? How does it differ from our own?
It differs quite a bit, I hope—although several readers wondered if what I described could be real, and at least one reader asserted it was real.
In my world, under very exceptional circumstances (if you have a near-death-out-of-body experience and are resuscitated just at the moment you touch the Light but before you merge with it), you come back with a new faculty, which includes the ability to perceive the life energy of those around you, and to transmit and absorb that energy. Your ability to transmit and absorb life energy is especially acute with people who also have the same faculty.

Are there any authors that have influenced your work in any way?
Every author I read influences me in some way, even if it’s only to be more conscious of something I want to avoid in my own writing. But in terms of someone I admire, I’d say Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire was probably the most influential.

How did the initial idea behind Lightpoints come about?
I had had the vision of someone who could perceive others as points of energy a long time ago. When I decided to write a paranormal novel, that image came back to me as a starting point.

Do you ever draw inspiration from real people or situations?
Some of the characters in Lightpoints are based on real people, but only as a starting point. And I’ve long been interested in the phenomenon of near-death-out-of-body experiences. I also drew on my familiarity with Tibetan Buddhism and several other subjects. Overall, however, the entire story was a work of imagination.

What was the last great book you read?
It depends on what you mean by great. If you mean important and enduring, it’s been so long since I’ve read one of those I’d have difficulty naming one. If you mean terrific, it’s not all that recent, but I loved Alice Seybold’s The Lovely Bones. I admired the originality of her conception of heaven and the way she described her protagonist’s extraordinary experiences naturalistically. I also thought she had a masterful control of tone. There were no false notes.

Is there anything you are currently working on that you could share with us?

I’ve just started working on the first installment of what I’m planning as a trilogy based on the same premise as Lightpoints. It’s set on the West Coast, with an entirely new cast of characters, including a new protagonist. It takes the premise in a different direction, though. To give you a hint, the working title is The Zombie Problem.
Combining my love of writing with my interest in computer programming, I became a technical writer for several software products companies, eventually becoming a minority shareholder and executive vice president of a small, privately held company. There, I wrote and managed the writing of everything from software design documents to marketing literature.Twenty-five years later, after it was sold to a large computer company with a three letter name, I became one of those celebrated risk-takers we’ve heard so much about. I started a company based on what I thought was a bright idea of mine. Within a couple of years, I’d crashed and burned, and discovered myself in financial ruin and without a job. Trying to find a job in my industry or to establish a consulting practice, I learned it was no industry for old men. Mostly to keep myself sane, I decided to write a novel based on the germ of an idea I’d had in my twenties. That became Lightpoints.
To find out more about Peter, visit his website.

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