Today's spotlight is William Bryan Miller. His book Kyrathaba Rising.
William Bryan Miller lives in south-central Kentucky with wife Susan, and their three children: Hannah, Grant, and Emma. Two other children live nearby.
Bryan and Susan’s two dogs are as different as night and day. The five year old miniature schnauzer is of serious mien, typically stationing herself at the door, ready to bark an alert and intercept any “intruders”. She also is self-appointed breaker-upper of spats, wrestling, or anything else among family members that makes a level of noise above that of normal conversation.
Their two year old Boston Terrier, Millie, has personality in spades. Her favorite activities include defecating in the house (yes, she still does this), begging for food at supper time, and cuddling. She is much more the lapdog than the schnauzer, Savy.
Bryan works as a licensed professional clinical counselor. His career in mental health treatment has, so far, spanned fourteen years. He works with children, adolescents, and adults on issues spanning the entirety of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.
Bryan is an avid hobbyist computer programmer. His preferred development language is C# (using Microsoft’s free Visual Studio Express 2012), though he has also done some work in Visual Basic, PHP, and AutoIt. Most of Bryan’s products, thus far, have been donationware (free, but please consider donating via PayPal), and can be viewed and downloaded from this page. You may also be interested in viewing Bryan’s entries over the last few years in DonationCoder’s annual N.A.N.Y. event. There are fourteen applications available for free download. No nag screens, no adverts, just fully functional programs. Check them out!
Bryan attended undergraduate college at Western Kentucky University, from 1989 to 1994 (he wishes to point out that it took five years to get his B.A. in Psychology only because he switched majors three times, and blew most of one semester due to love-sickness). He went on to earn a Master of Counseling degree at Lindsey Wilson College in their CACREP approved graduate counseling program, one of the first (and still one of the best) in the United States. Bryan later obtained his LPCC credential and has been practicing as a licensed counselor for over a decade.
Bryan’s wife, Susan, is a registered nurse. She works for a local home healthcare agency, making home visits to care for her beloved patients.
Bryan, his wife, and their children attend a local Methodist church, where they remain actively involved in Sunday School, Worship, and Children’s Ministry. If you aren’t familiar with evangelical Christianity and want to learn more, download my free program, Kyrathasoft Christian Prayer Minder program for Windows XP and later editions, which contains lots of good information, as well as providing you a means of recording, passwording, and protecting your prayers in a journaling format over time.
In addition to computer programming in C#, Bryan also enjoys reading science- and fantasy-fiction, writing, hiking, and camping. He maintains an interest in the martial arts, and earned his 1st-degree brown belt in Shaolin-Do at the age of fifteen. Since then, he has added to his arsenal a machete within easy reach next to his bed, and a .357 Magnum revolver kept in his car’s glove compartment, loaded with hollow-points.
Some of Bryan’s favorite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Raymond E. Feist, Anne Rice, T. H. Lain, Greg Keyes, Stephen R. Donaldson, Neal Asher, George R. R. Martin and Gregory Benford.
If you’d like to engage Bryan in an online discussion, you can invite him to appear as a guest on your blog, or consider joining the DonationCoder website and looking up member kyrathaba on the forum.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
I love the freedom to express multiple points of view through dialog. And I am constantly surprised and thrilled by unforeseen, totally unexpected things that my characters do and say! Like every author, my heart soars when I get a 5-star review, or a personal message exclaiming about how good my book is.
What genre(s) do you write?
I tend to write in science-fiction or fantasy-fiction genres, but I also have some interest in psychological thrillers.
What genres and authors would we find you in?
I grew up on a steady diet of both fantasy- and science-fiction. I devoured the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, Raymond E. Feist, Guy Gavriel Kay, Authur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, and Terry Brooks.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Disciplining myself to sit at my computer and write until I had a 3,000+ word chapter finished. It’s so easy to get distracted. Sometimes we’re tired, and we feel like taking a break (“I don’t think I’ll write this weekend”). Although there are times where breaks are healthy, more often self-discipline is needed, to forge ahead.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a “pantser”. I surprise myself by what develops in each succeeding chapter. I never do book outlines, even though some authors swear by them. When I’m writing, to story just comes to me, and my fingers try to keep up on the keyboard.
Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?
People should choose books that entertain them. If they’ve never tried me, they should, because multiple 5-star reviews across sites like Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, and Smashwords.com, suggest strongly that my book IS entertaining. But hey, if someone is a Dean Koontz fanatic, and his newest book has just come out, they should buy it, not mine – because that’s the best use of their money.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
I want the reader’s reaction, after reading the last page of a book, to be “Curse him! How could he possibly end it on such a cliffhanger!? And I want their second reaction to be, “Damn, that was really good!” I want their third reaction to be going online to search and see if any other works have been published and are available by William Bryan Miller.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In Kyrathaba Rising, the overall message is one of human resiliency and hope, and the determination of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming odds and stress. It’s a dystopian, futuristic, post-apocalyptic page-turner about the human remnant that is trying to survive years after Earth is decimated by alien attack. The message is also one on the critical importance of human relationships in making it through a crisis.
How long have you been a writer?
Kyrathaba Rising is my debut novel. I’ve written short-stories, articles, that sort of thing for years, but this is the first full-length novel I’ve written and published. So I suppose you could say I’ve been an author for years, but a novelist for only a few weeks...
How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?
After I had my final draft completed, I uploaded it to Smashwords. I think it took about 5-7 days for their team to vet it and for the book to “go live” on the site. A somewhat shorter wait for my upload to go live on Amazon.com. Maybe two weeks after the ebook started selling on various sites, I got everything lined out with Createspace.com to produce 5”x8” paperbacks. I have to say, they’re quite good quality: the image on the front is glossy and high-definition. The binding is strong. The paper is good quality and bright white.
What other careers have you had?
I’ve been a pharmacist-assistant, a restaurant cook, a martial arts instructor, and – for the past fourteen years, a licensed psychotherapist.
Do you write under more than one name? Why?
No. I use my full given name. Initially, I had this clever pen name: Glen Forkovian. I live in a small community called Glens Fork, so you can see how the pen name came to my mind. But I decided it’d be better to use my real name because of the business aspects of selling books.
Are any of your characters based on real people or events?
I sure hope not. The novel is set 170 years in the future, approximately. I’ve been told the characters are quite believable, and that’s a good thing. But the events they experience? I hope humanity never has to endure such a menace. The main protagonist, Sethra Slatten, is based upon my old college roommate, Seth Slayton. Sethra’s best friend, the roboticist Byron Milner, is based upon my middle and last name: Bryan Miller. Zuzana Wesley derived from my wife’s first and middle names: Susan Wesley.
How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?
I’d start by saying to my date, “How you doin’?” with a big grin. Hah! Seriously, I suppose I’d simply say, “I’ve written a terrific, fast-paced science-fiction novel. I’d like to give you the first half of the book for free, because I know that if you read the first couple of chapters, you’ll be hooked!” And in fact, this is exactly what I do on Smashwords and on Amazon, where the first 50% of the book is available as a free sample download.
What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?
I am a living yin-yang symbol. As a blackbelt in Shaolin-Do karate, I’m capable of inflicting death; but as psychotherapist, I’m able to help heal inner wounds. Also, I can say the alphabet backwards.
What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
I’m a conservative evangelical who believes in showing respect and demanding respect. I believe in the value of hard work, and having a work ethic. I can’t stand rap music, porn, and all the other filth that is sending this once-great nation down the tubes.
The second book in the Kyrathaba Chronicles will come out in (probably) the first quarter of 2014, certainly with the first half of 2014. It is titled Kyrathaba Waxing. Buy it. Buy a copy for your friend, your coworker, and the nephew whose birthday is around the corner. But make sure you’ve bought Kyrathaba Rising for these folks first. They need to be read in sequence...
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
J. R. R. Tolkien, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Brooks, Isaac Asimov, Authur C. Clarke, Ian Banks.
How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
My wife has been very supportive, and we enjoy looking over sales figures together. The rest of my family is also excited. My father bought five copies. I don’t know if he intended to read the book five times, or if some were to be used as gifts.
Where are you from?
I maintain that I’m a scout, placed here on this planet by an advanced alien species. However, the official story is that I was raised in Crocus, Kentucky, which at the time was a community of twenty-one people, seven dogs, and sixteen cats. Now I live in Glens Fork, Kentucky, about four miles from where I was raised. From 1989 to 1996, I lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where I earned my B.A. in psychology and then worked for a couple of years after graduating. Later, I moved to Columbia and got my Masters in Counseling.
How do you come up with the titles?
“Kyrathaba” was the name of a made-up world I used as the setting for a long-running Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign in college. As the reader discovers in the Kyrathaba Rising, Kyrathaba is a real place, sort of. You’ll have to read the book to sort that out.
Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?
Well, I’ve discovered a creative outlet that I know I’m going to invoke many times in the future. For the nonce, my life hasn’t drastically changed, although I do spend more time networking with other authors and book-lovers on Goodreads, Twitter, and the Independent Author’s Network. I’m also dipping my toes in this new site called Writaz.com. It’ll be interesting to see to what degree it becomes part of my author platform. One thing that changed after I published the novel was that I started a Wordpress blog. I’d never been a blogger before.
Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
In terms of my writing, I prefer one project at a time. Better to finish one project and publish, than to have four partially finished projects on your hard drive.
When not writing, how do you relax?
My wife and I like to sit together on the swing on our front porch, drinking coffee, enjoying the breeze, and listening to the windchimes. I’m also an avid reader. Often, I read simply for pleasure. I try to do my part by giving indie authors reviews on Smashwords, Amazon, Goodreads, etc. I also enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music, and some pieces by Mozart and Beethoven. I also like playing Words With Friends.
Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.
(1) When barefoot, I curl my toes ceilingward. This comes from years of Shaolin-Do karate training, which teaches you to walk this way when barefoot, so that if you kick someone, you won’t break a toe. Please note that I do not do this when wearing shoes.
(2) I have a scar on my chest from where I slipped on a slick rock and cut myself while investigating the train tunnel in Greensburg, Kentucky, at age ten. Now, when people comment about it, I tell them nonchalantly that I got it in a knife-fight.
(3) I think I already mentioned that I can recite the alphabet backwards. I can also speak fluent pig-Latin, and enough Spanish to majorly embarrass myself.
(4) I’m a hobbyist computer programmer. My preferred programming tool/environment is Microsoft Visual C# Express (currently, the 2012 version). You can peruse and download any of my free programs here: http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?board=307.0
(5) I offer a very affordable proofreading service for indie authors:
Please share with us your future projects and upcoming releases.
There will be at least a sequel to Kyrathaba Rising. It may turn into a trilogy. Expect Kyrathaba Waxing in 2014.
In the DonationCoder annual NANY competition, I’m going to be releasing a free Sudoku game that you can read about here:
Where can readers find you?
Places where you can acquire my Kyrathaba Rising in ebook format:
humans survive, hidden in deep subterranean enclaves that offer some
protection from surface radiation. Although the main attack is now
seven years in the past, one alien ship remains in orbit, and the
conquerors are not content merely to let humanity lick its wounds.
Humanity is greatly diminished, but a few tens of thousands survive,
sheltering in huge compounds deep beneath the ground, prepared many
years ago against the possibility of nuclear attack by some rogue
Five heroic individuals in Compound A-3 take it upon themselves to
find a way to save humanity, for in a matter of a few more years,
attrition due to radiation will finish the job that the aliens began
with their initial attack.
Sethra, a computer programmer and electronics expert, joins forces
with Byron, a roboticist with a talent for acquisition and
reallocation of others’ belongings, as well as with the compound’s
chief medical doctor, Eddie, and two brave women, one of which is more
than she seems.
How do you defeat aliens while hiding in your last refuge hundreds of
meters beneath the irradiated crust of the Earth, especially when the
aliens are far more sophisticated?