Welcome to my stop on Kenneth B. Andersen’s The Devil’s Apprentice Blog tour, with Love Books Tours.
Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with Kenneth B. Andersen…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m 43 years old and used to be a school teacher, now a full time writer. I was born in Denmark and I live in Copenhagen with my wife, two sons and a dog. I began writing in high school and published my first book when I was 22. Since then I’ve published more than 40 books in genres ranging from fantasy to horror and science fiction. My books have been translated into more than 15 languages and my series about the superhero Antboy has been turned into three movies.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I often get inspired by reading books and watching movies. A good example of this is ”The Devil’s Apprentice”. Years ago I was reading a Danish novel called “Little Lucifer”, where the main character misbehaves and someone yells at him, that he’s the Devil’s apprentice. The moment I read those two words I thought that would be awesome: To write a story about a boy who literally ends up as the Devil’s apprentice in Hell where he is to be trained in evil by the Devil himself. Although my Hell differs a lot from Dante’s, it is very much inspired by The Divine Comedy.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
No. It’s the idea the creates the characters. That being said – since I’ve created all the characters – a little part of me (for better or for worse) is in most of my characters.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
Sometimes I just go with a feeling, and sometimes I choose a name because of it’s meaning. In “The Devil’s Apprentice” I wanted Philip’s last name to be Engel, which means ‘angel’. I thought it was fun – an angel ending up in Hell 😊
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I begin with outlining the story very loosely – and think about how I want it to end so that I have a goal to steer towards. A sort of X on a map. A map that might change as the story takes shape. Then I try to get to know my main characters by answering five pages containing all sorts of questions about him/her. Then I find out what’s going to happen in the first five chapters. When I’ve written them, I find out what’s going to happen in the next five chapters and so on. I write four hours a day. I have an office in my basement and I write from 8 am – 10 am and then again from 1 pm – 3 pm. I don’t aim for a certain amount of words or pages. Sometimes I write half a page in two hours if things go slow, sometimes three pages. It depends.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
It’s always difficult to a list like this, because there are so many I want to include. But these are some of the writers that have influenced me the most: Stephen King, Astrid Lindgren (Swedish writer), Ray Bradbury, Bjarne Reuter (Danish writer) and Philip Pullmann.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
If I can also choose from those who are no longer here: Ray Bradbury. Brilliant mind, brilliant writer. I would ask him about his view on the world today – ups and downs – and on the future.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes. ”Narnia” and ”The Never-Ending Story” were favourites of mine, but mostly I was into horror when I was a kid. Still am, but now I’m more selective. I’m always excited when a new King-novel comes out. I’m also a big fan of his son Joe Hill. His graphic novel ”Locke & Key” is awesome. I try to read all different kind of genres, but I like things with a twist. I recently discovered the author Christina Henry. She’s very good. I like it when the world we know is turned upside down, but I value credibility above all else. Not in the sense of story, but the way the story is told. Credibility and language.
When did you start to write?
I began writing when I was 15 years old and I was terrible at it. But I kept on trying and trying and trying. It took me seven years and fifteen turned-down manuscripts before I finally got my fist book published. But I was never close to giving up – on the contrary. It became an obsession for me to write something that was good enough to get published. Which finally happened in 2000 when I was 22. Since then I’ve published more than 40 books.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Oh, I don’t want to be judge, juror and executioner of other books. There are good books and there are bad books, and my focus is writing the best books that I can write. But a fun fact: When I wrote book 4 in The Great Devil War it was actually meant as the final book in the series. But I wasn’t quite satisfied with the ending and I discovered that I wasn’t done with the story, so I wrote two more books – and a new ending to the story. The right ending.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
The Road by Cormac McCarthy. A simple, but very powerful idea written in a simple, but very powerful way. Man, how I cried, when I turned the last page.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
I think my autobiography would be boring as hell so I would never write that. But maybe that would be the title: Welcome to Hell 😊
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Oh, man, that’s a tough one. Or maybe not. Coffee in The Prancing Pony with Gandalf.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve written six books about the superhero Antboy. A story about an ordinary boy who gets bullied at school. One day he gets bitten by a very special ant and develop the most amazing powers: He becomes very strong, he can climb walls, his body is like a suit of armor – and he pees acid. The books have been turned into three movies (you can catch them on Netflix, they’re low budget, but high on charm). It’s been seven years since I published the last Antboy-book, but now my little superhero finally returns. There is going to be three more Antboy-books, which comes out next year – it’ll be the grand finale 😊
Tell us about your last release?
The Angel of Evil, which is book 4 in The Great Devil War series, has just come out. The series begins with “The Devil’s Apprentice”, in which Philip – a good boy – accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The story of Philip’s adventures in Hell continues in book 2 and 3 – “The Die of Death” and “The Wrongful Death” and the reader also gets to visit Death’s domain, Paradise, Hades, and other underworlds. In book 4 – “The Angel of Evil” – the Great Devil War breaks out. This is where all hell breaks loose …
Do you have a new release due?
A few months ago I published a book called GRIMM, co-written with Danish writer Benni Bodker. The book consists of ten of the Grimm brothers best and most gruesome stories, which we have rewritten in a way that’s faithful to the stories but told with our words and our imagination. A very beautiful book, illustrated by one of Denmark’s best illustrators John Kenn Mortensen (check him out on Instagram, he’s awesome!) Me and Benni have re-written ten more fairy tales and GRIMM II is my next release in Denmark. Hopefully the books will be out in English some day.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Take my family out to dinner. Drink a beer. Feeling proud.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
You can sign up for my newsletter on my website http://www.kennethbandersen.com (and don’t worry, I won’t be spamming you). I also post a lot on Facebook (@WriterKennethBAndersen) where I sometimes do giveaways. The Great Devil War also has its own FB-page – @TheGreatDevilWar. I love hearing from readers and do my best to answer every single one.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Kenneth! 🙂
Multi-award winning series, published in more than 10 countries, movie rights optioned!
Welcome to a world like no other!
Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy.
Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training Philip in the ways of evil. Philip is terrible at being bad, but when he falls in love with the she-devil Satina and experiences the powerful forces of love and jealousy, the task becomes much easier.
Philip finds both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld–but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?
The Great Devil War is a gripping and humorous tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective, making the reader laugh and think. It’s filled with biblical and historical characters and set in a world beyond your wildest dreams. Or nightmares …
happy reading 🙂