A Life of Death: The Complete First Novel by Weston Kincade Review
A Life of Death is a very interesting book in that it was unique from any other book I have ever read before. The scenes were all well crafted, the plot was well throughout. The character's had their own real personalities that made them seem like real people. The dialogues were also particularly well written with how they felt like real conversations.
The author himself compared his book to Harry Potter and after reading the book I have to say that he is correct. The plot and characters are all different, but somehow they both feel similar. Alex is like the Harry Potter of the book and Paige is like a tougher Hermione who chooses Harry over Ron.
I don't really want to go into the plot here because I feel like I would give away too much of the plot and I prefer to avoid spoilers. However I will say that both adults and young adults will love this book and if you are in doubt watch the trailer below it will pull you in!
Also make sure to check out the awesome author interview below!
What inspired you to write this book?
Believe it or not, the idea originally came from a show, Medium. There weren't nearly so many about this topic back then, and I wondered what it would be like for a teenager to develop psychometry (the ability to see visions from touching an object), not just adults going through flashes like in the show, but full visions of the victims' murders. Then a scene that later became part of the book came to me. What would it be like for someone with that ability to walk into a Civil War museum? It hooked me and the need for it on a more personal note took hold, so I wrote it.
Did you ever consider writing yourself into your book? If yes did you and if no why did you refrain?
Not really. I know some authors do, putting themselves in as small characters. I've always considered myself pretty average though, and to be in a book is something special. Hell, even my national SAT and GRE scores were average, split right down the middle, each category's score matching the other. I've heard that's almost impossible to do, but it happened to me every time. What does that say about me? Don't know. I just assume I'm the epitome of average, lol, so I have to work that much harder to be good.
However, there is a little part of me in Alex, the main character of A Life of Death. He's not me by any stretch of the imagination--he's a much better person than me--but of all the characters in the books and short stories I've written, he's the one I connect with most.
Which part was the hardest for you to write and why?
In this book, there's a part toward the end that gave me problems. I can't say why because that'll give something big away, but I realized not too long ago that a particular character had far too many similar characteristics to someone close to me. When I wrote the book I was drawing off my own experiences, so it makes sense. I was just surprised not to have realized it at first. It explains why the scene was difficult to write.
Which part was the easiest for you to write and why?
The easiest part was probably Alex and Paige's flourishing romance. We all remember those times: the anticipation of going on a first date, the questions about "should I kiss her," "does she want me to kiss her," "am I overstepping my bounds..." and the dreadful answer that always comes when you've stood looking at each other for far too long, "I'll just ask her." Never good, but I'm sure we all remember those times of uncertainty. It was fun to step back into the shoes of a teenage boy uncertain about simple things, not the rent, groceries, and all those worries of everyday adult life.
Which character was the hardest to write and why?
That one's easy, the Drunk. He's a real jerk, for want of a better/more explicit word. One reader said it best after reading A Life of Death. She said, "some characters you love, and others you love to hate." To summon him from the depths of my mind, I really had to get into the mindset of people I really don't like. To find out why, though, you'll have to read the book.
Which character was the easiest to write and why?
Alex. A part of his responses and reactions are similar to my own.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Now that's a hard one... and I might be a little biased. I like Alex, of course, but Paige is a badass in her own right, and she often gets Alex out of things, kind of like Hermione to Harry Potter. Like Harry, Alex always manages to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Paige is intelligent and often essential to their escape and success. She certainly saves his bacon from time to time.
Were there any characters that you did not like?
The Drunk and his son Frank, Alex's step-brother. He's not much better than his father.
What made you choose to write a book on this topic?
While the idea originally came from the show Medium, my inspiration actually came from my students. As a high school English teacher, sometimes kids come to me with their problems: everything from getting their girlfriend pregnant, or getting pregnant, to bullies, future plans for college, and family issues. If they feel like they can talk to me and no one else, I do what I can. Sometimes counselors aren't acceptable for particular students because they don't have the same rapport with them. I wanted to take these experiences and write a book that showed there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that the experiences, no matter how difficult, could make them better people and lead to success. A school psychologist even told me he started recommending it to his students/patients. That was a rewarding moment.
Did you base any of the characters off of real people?
There are qualities inherent to some of my characters that I know exist in friends and other people, but no not intentionally.
What made you decide to become an author?
That wasn't really a decision. There were just so many ideas cluttering my head, characters developing on their own and banging to get out, that I had to put pen to paper as the saying goes. That's why my little subheading on my author blog (http://kincadefiction.blogspot.com) is "Wordsmith at your service... delving into my subconscious so you don't have to. Trust me, it's better this way."
What advice would you give to your readers?
Read! Read to your kids. Listen to audio books. Embrace literature. Love it and live it! Explore the places and things that inspired the author. They'll probably inspire you. And if you find a great book, tell someone. Lend them the book. One thing I always love seeing is a book that's been well loved. Not abused, mind you, but a book that's been through so many hands that the cover is worn and as soft as a mouse's behind and you know tons of emotions have flown between those pages and its readers. That's a well-loved book. Read!
What type of person do you believe would be interested the most in your book?
Fans of psychic mysteries, the paranormal, and stretching the boundaries of what we currently understand about the mind will love A Life of Death. It's a bit gruesome at times, but the themes of salvation, love, and finding your place in this world run through it as clearly as a babbling brook on a summer's day. For readers who enjoy a light amidst a world of darkness and characters who strive to reach it, true underdogs, this book is for you.
What/Who inspired you to write this book?
My students mostly. My thanks will always go out to them for that inspiration.