Thank you so much to new author, Kyle T. Cowan, for discussing his first book “Sunshine is Forever” with me.
“Sunshine is Forever” is your first novel. As a new author, getting readers to give you a try is probably hard. What would you say to a potential reader to entice them to pick up your book?
You should support my book because it is incredibly hard to make it as a new writer in today’s world. Sunshine is Forever is a completely original story. You can read the first ten chapters to see that it warrants a publisher. I worked tirelessly with a professional editor to get it polished, and I would never release content that I didn’t think was ready for the public’s eyes. It’s also a great, heartwarming story, with a lot of relevant messages.
Given the serious nature of the topic, depression, did you do any research about the subject and how people deal with it?
I did a ton of research. A friend once told me that through his eyes everything is colorless, that getting out of bed felt like a chore. I think that was the first time I was inspired to write something about depression. My main goal in writing the book was to get a better understanding of the illness. I’ve always been driven and ambitious. When I get depressed, it’s usually career related. The way I push out of my depression is by working harder, but it doesn’t work that way for many people. Depression is a villain in my story, and in a lot of ways it is a villain in real life. It can constantly bring someone down and make him or her feel worthless. Depression is a huge obstacle for anyone to overcome, and it can’t be conquered alone. Hopefully Sunshine is Forever will help people feel less alone, and like they can talk about their depression without feeling guilty. The stigma that comes with any sort of mental illness needs to be lifted off our society so that people aren’t afraid to seek the help that they need.
People may not know you are also an actor. Your film, Camouflage, which you directed and starred in, also covers several serious topics, gun violence, homophobia and mental health. Why are you drawn to such difficult subjects? Do you think using popular culture to get a message out has an impact?
Camouflage is an extremely serious movie with little to no humor. I decided to take the opposite approach with Sunshine is Forever by writing the book with a lighter humorous tone. Human nature fascinates me. I like stories with characters that are flawed, because humans are flawed in real life. Difficult subjects attract me because they are hard to talk about. 350 million people suffer from depression globally. I think 350 million people warrant a conversation, empathy, and understanding. One of the best ways to get a message out to the public is by using popular culture. I strive to tell stories that matter, and that will have an impact on humanity in some way.
Speaking of difficult, tell us about getting a novel into the hands of the public. How did you select Inkshares and how do you make sure “Sunshine is Forever” gets the attention it deserves?
I’ve been writing my own original stories since high school. I’ve never officially had a writing agent, but I have worked with a few under the table. Over the past two years I have been meeting with different production companies, and working with a professional editor to get my stories up to par. I kept getting rejected with blind queries, and honestly started to get to the point where I wanted to stop writing. Getting industry professionals to read your work is daunting because there are so many people in LA and New York who are trying to make it in this profession. One of my mentors is the vice president of a production company, and he is the one who pointed me to InkShares. I chose to launch with Sunshine is Forever first, because it is a story that can appeal to literally everyone. My hope is that I will reach the 750 preorders to gain mass publication with InkShares, and that people continue to spread the word after the book comes out. Maybe one day Sunshine is Forever will become a Bestseller, and a movie. The people who backed it at the very beginning will get to tell their friends that they discovered this piece of work.
With all the time you have invested in writing, how does that affect your acting career? Are there any projects in the works you can share with us?
It doesn’t affect my acting career at all. Honestly, most of acting is auditioning, and a lot of time on set is spent sitting around waiting in my trailer. I write every day when I wake up before I do anything else. I do have some projects coming up. I will be in an episode of the new season of Longmire and I am in the movie War on Everyone, which will be released in October.
I admit to being a fan of yours from your time on the too-short lived WGN America show, Manhattan. As young Frank you were critical to revealing the back-story of scientist Frank’s passion. And you really nailed it on the physicality making viewers SEE Frank as a youngster. How hard was it to replicate the mannerisms of John Benjamin Hickey? Are you finding writing easier or more difficult than acting?
John and I spent a lot of time together leading up to me going on camera. Right after I got cast, I went to set and got to know him in his trailer. Then I watched him acting as Frank Winter. He showed me how Frank smoked, and we talked about the mannerisms he had already given Frank as an adult. The rest was left up to me. Playing another actor’s version of a character is very technical. I really worked hard on my facial expressions in front of a mirror. John is such an incredible actor, and I wanted my version of Frank to be identical to his. I think both writing and acting are daunting in their own ways. I like writing a lot because I have complete control over the story from start to finish. With acting, almost everything is out of my control. I can control my character choices, and whether or not I am fully prepared for a job, but I can’t control whether or not the director agrees with my decisions. There are so many factors that go into getting cast in a movie, and there are so many obstacles to getting a piece of writing out to the public’s eyes. Both careers are very challenging in their own ways.
Do you still have contact with some of the cast and crew of Manhattan? Have you had any support or encouragement from them that you feel comfortable sharing?
I’m in contact with so many people from Manhattan. That was one of the coolest things about being a part of that show; a lot of us have stayed in touch. John Benjamin Hickey, and Jefferson White both bought copies of my book and sent me some words of encouragement. It really makes me feel good when my peers support my other ambitions.
If this was a job interview, I’d have to ask “where do you see yourself in 10 years.” So lets pretend it’s a job interview – where is Kyle 10 years from now?
HA! Who knows? Definitely not me. Ideally, I would love to continue to write. Hopefully in ten years I will have multiple published books, and some of those will have been made into movies. I want to act in my own original content, and I want to continue to act in TV and movies. Basically I hope that my career has come to full fruition, and that I’m not struggling so much anymore. I would like to feel a little bit more secure in what I am doing.
Finally, how can we buy “Sunshine is Forever”?
I really hope you will preorder my book! The sooner I make it to 750 preorders, the sooner the book will be released.
Readers can preorder my book here: https://www.inkshares.com/books/sunshine-is-forever
$10 for an E-book
$20 for a Signed Copy
The first 10 chapters are already posted online.
You can also listen to me read the first chapter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCeu_He-fho
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me Sue!
To my readers – Kyle is sooooooo close to the magic pre-order number of 750 in order to take full advantage of all that Inkshares can do to help a new, indie author to the market for readers. Please take a look at his site and pre-order to help make this happen. Thanks, Sue