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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Interview with Christopher Kokoski, author of Dark Halo! #FMBBooks



Holly: Hi Christopher! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Christopher Kokoski: Sure. I’m Kansas-born and grew up in a military family in Hopkinsville, KY and Germany. I first discovered my love for writing in my middle school English class, where my teacher, Ms. Hampton, encouraged and praised me for my efforts. I’ll never forget her kind words and the inspiration. I attended college at Murray State University in Murray, KY, where I had some of the best and worst years of my life. I learned a lot both in and outside of the classroom. Most importantly, I met the woman who would become my wife. Fast-forward three years later and we were married and settled into Southern Indiana, where I still live. We have a six-year-old daughter named Lilly who is the light of my life. My first novel, Past Lives (first in a series) was published in July of 2011. My second and most recent novel is Dark Halo, which is a standalone.

Holly: Can you tell us a little bit about your book, Dark Halo?

Christopher Kokoski: Dark Halo follows a father racing against time to save his family in a town besieged by shadowy, demonic forces. The story is based on the idea that, throughout history, natural disasters (like Sandy, Katrina, Tsunamis, etc) have covered up battles between angels and demons. Dark Halo takes place during one of these cover-ups.

Holly: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?

Christopher Kokoski: The characters came first, then the plot. This was a new experience for me, since plot typically comes first for my stories. Dark Halo started as a writing exercise where I was practicing writing first lines of novels. The first line struck me as unusually intriguing, so I kept writing…and writing. After a page or two, I realized I had a novel on my hands. Writing without a clear vision of
the plot frightened and thrilled me, but I kept at it and am glad I did. I’m very pleased with how the story turned out. I hope readers find as much enjoyment from reading it as I did in writing it.

Holly: You’re out demon hunting (because you’re that kind of awesome) and you come across one about to kill a young couple. He has not seen you yet; what is your first course of action?

Christopher Kokoski: Great question. I’d drop to one knee, bring up my demon-killing crossbow (because all respectable demon hunters carry one) and unleash a quiver of arrows into the demon’s head and chest.

Holly: Are you working on anything at the moment?

Christopher Kokoski: Yes, I’m working on the sequel in the Past Lives series about a man who discovers under hypnosis that he is a reincarnated serial killer. It is scheduled for release in 2013.

Holly: Do you think you may ever go into another genre?

Christopher Kokoski: Yes, but I don’t suppose I’ll stray too far. I love speculative fiction, and paranormal suspense in particular. While I’ll stick to what I love and know most of the time, I might throw in a love story or international spy story just for fun. I like to challenge myself, to keep reaching, stretching and pushing my literary limits.

Holly: What is the hardest part of writing in your opinion?

Christopher Kokoski: In my experience, the hardest parts of writing are twofold: disciplining yourself to write everyday (or most days) and critically reviewing your own writing. Both take grit and gumption, willpower and focus, which often make all the difference. I believe it is this bulldog persistence and brutal honesty that, over the long haul, leads to ever-greater heights of success.

Holly: What is the easiest part of writing in your opinion?

Christopher Kokoski: The easiest part of writing for me is often coming up with ideas. I have a raft of ideas waiting to be written if only I could write fast enough to keep up. Generating ideas isn’t always easy, but compared to the discipline of daily writing, revising, reviewing and revising again, it almost seems easy. Then, of course, there is coming up with a title, book cover, back cover blurb and marketing. While little of writing is easy, if you love to do it, you can find enjoyment in most of these tasks.

Holly: Can you tell us a few do’s and don’ts for aspiring authors?

Christopher Kokoski: Absolutely. My short list of do’s include:

·        Choose stories and ideas that captivate you (don’t settle for anything less than full-out passion for your story ideas)
·        Open strong: Jump into the story with action, conflict and tension.
·        Pack each page with some form of tension.
·        Write about highly motivated characters that are constantly at odds about something.
·        Make problems, conflicts and obstacles worse and worse throughout the story, right up to the climax
·        Limit the number of main characters in your story. Give characters multiple roles to play.
·        Connect the external goal (save the world) to an internal character change/problem/goal (find identity/overcome cancer/self-acceptance).
·        Leave out, skip and delete the boring parts.
·        Dramatize (show, not tell) conflict, action, suspense and tension.
·        Arrive late, leave early: Start scenes in the middle of the action and stop them before the crisis is resolved.
·        Surround yourself with trusted friends who have permission to be brutally honest about your writing flaws and weaknesses. Thank them, take them out to dinner and buy them big Christmas gifts. They are writing gold.

Holly: What is your favorite part of writing?

Christopher Kokoski: My favorite part of writing is those moments in the “sweet spot” where the words flow easily and naturally onto the page (or screen!), where time ceases to exist and the story almost seems to take over. Those moments are called by different names – in the zone, flow state, on fire. Whatever the name or definition, those moments flood my mind and body with energy and motivation.

Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Christopher Kokoski: Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your support, feedback, appreciation, comments, reviews and friendship mean the world to me. I hope my writing provides you with joy, hope, inspiration, relief, reprieve and, most of all, loads of entertainment.

Random Quickies!


Holly: When do you prefer to read? 

Christopher Kokoski: Anytime I have a spare moment.

Holly: Vampires or Werewolves? 

Christopher Kokoski: Vampires

Holly: Witches or Zombies? 

Christopher Kokoski: Witches

Holly: Favorite movie? 

Christopher Kokoski: Dirty Rotten Strangers



Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski

genre: paranormal thriller
334 pages

In a town besieged by shadowy, demonic forces, a father races against time to save his family.
Thirty-five-year old Landon Paddock has deserted his wife and daughter, abandoned his business, and secluded himself in his late parent’s southern Indiana ranch. But he’s barely lapsed into a drunken coma when a mysterious, winged stranger appears during a violent lightning storm, chasing him out into the maddening night with his estranged 15-year old daughter.

As layer after layer of reality is dissolved by a series of violent encounters, the only way to survive might be for Landon to band together with the family he destroyed to make one last stand against a sinister army of unthinkable magnitude.



Christopher was born in Kansas, the son of an Army Ranger and Black Hawk pilot. He grew up in Kentucky and Germany, and graduated from Murray State University in 2002 with a degree in Organizational Communication. He spent the next three years laboring over his first book, Past Lives, while getting married to his college sweetheart, having a beautiful daughter, and more or less finding his stride in life.

He currently lives in Southern Indiana and works in Louisville, Kentucky as a national trainer. He has presented at local and national conferences on a wide spectrum of topics including communication, body language, cultural sensitivity and influence. Other notable activities include writing articles, short stories, novels and training materials for national and international audiences.
Christopher continues his passion and dedication to writing by working on additional novels, including a sequel to the Past Lives series. His most recent book is the standalone paranormal thriller, Dark Halo.

Social Media Links
·        Author's Website https://christopherkokoski.wordpress.com/
·        Author's Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/Ckauthor.com/
·        Author's Twitter  https://twitter.com/Eric_Shooter/

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