Derrick Ferguson: Who is Keith Gaston?
Keith Gaston: I am the author of more than a dozen books ranging from Speculative Fiction to Crime novels. My first book was published in 2007. After serving five years in the military, I began college, earning a degree in Computer Science. Since earning my degree I've gone on to earn two Masters degrees in Technology Management and Business Administration. My experience in the military and computer sciences has shaped many of my stories and characters over the years. I also write under the name D K Gaston.
DF: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?
KG: I currently live in Michigan and still file my taxes under the title of computer tech guy.
DF: Tell us something about your background
KG: I am married to a wonderful woman and have two beautiful children. They're twins, one boy, the other a girl. I have worked in pretty much every IT field at one time or another from programming to systems administrator.
DF: How long have you been writing?
KG: I started drawing and writing comic books with friends in the fourth grade, creating such characters and teams as the Hooded Phantom and The Legion Unknown. It wasn't until I was working on my Masters degree that it hit me that I should start writing again. I enjoyed in a creative writing class, helped form a writers group and then I was well on my way to working on my first book titled, XIII.
DF: What do you love most about writing?
KG: Tough question. I think I love coming up creative stories the best. I enjoy brainstorming these ideas off the members of my writers group.
DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?
KG: Don't ever write for the money, do it for love. Once it becomes about money, it turns into a business using a formula style of repeating the same story and then you produce nothing original.
DF: What’s the best advice you can give for someone wanting to become a professional writer?
KG: Once you start writing, don't stop until you finish that first draft. This means do not edit yourself, because it'll only slow you down during the process. Once you're finished, but the first draft away for a week and then blow off the dust and start working on that second draft.
DF: Who’s Taurus Moon and why should we be reading his adventures?
KG: Taurus Moon is a relic hunter who will work for pretty much anyone if they can afford him. He's financially strap most of the time, lives in a run-down apartment in Detroit, and always seems to be in trouble. He searches for lost supernatural artifacts that may or may not be located on Earth.
He doesn't see himself as a hero, yet always finds himself helping those in needs, whether he wants to or not.
The Taurus Moon novels blends action, fantasy, science fiction and humor. Fairy tales, mythologies, and legends are not stories, but his reality.
Readers will enjoy Taurus Moon because his stories are a fun thrill ride.
DF: What further Taurus Moon adventures do you have planned?
KG: I'm working on an anthology featuring many of the secondary characters from Taurus Moon. I haven't come up with a title just yet, but I expect the book to be published sometime around August 2014.
DF: You really seem to have hit your stride in the suspense/thriller genre. So much so that you’ve been described as “the black James Patterson.” How do you feel about that and what is it about the suspense thriller that attracts you as both a reader and a writer?
KG: I think I'm referred to as the black James Patterson because I tend to write my novels in a movie-style much like Mr. Patterson. If there's a car chase scene, I like readers to feel as if they are sitting in the passenger seat. I take the reference as a compliment.
I am a big movie buff and a huge fan of the action movies of the seventies. It is the great movies of that yesteryear like, “Three Days Of The Condor”, “Telefon” “Shaft”, and many others, that have influenced my writing. This of course led me to finding books with the same type of story-telling, and I discovered writers like David Baldacci, James Patterson, James Rollins. And of course I was a huge fan of comic books and used to read Doc Savage and Conan the Barbarian.
When I first ventured into writing, what I discovered was lacking were action and speculative fiction novels written by Black authors. When I stumbled on a book written by Brandon Massey, I was thrilled, and he became part of my inspiration to write in genres other than thrillers.
DF: The TEASE Trilogy blends the spy/espionage genre with blaxploitation and urban/street lit. Was that deliberate on your part or did it just turn out that way?
KG: The TEASE novel was an experiment for me to see if I could attract readers who typically read Street Lit. I used a character I introduced in Darkest Hours (a Joe Hooks thriller) a spy called Shaw as my protagonist. To my surprise, TEASE became my best seller.
Tease is an assassin working for a local crime lord named D-Shroud. She has never failed on any of her missions... Well, not until she assigned to kill Shaw.
The book wasn't going to be called TEASE, nor was her character supposed to live beyond the first novel, but my beta readers insisted she continue on. Strange how things work in the writing world. LOL.
DF: You’ve just recently co-wrote a novel with Teresa D. Patterson: A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW. How did you two come together on this project?
KG: She approached me with the idea, wanting to reach an audience outside of her normal fan-base. I thought it was an opportunity for me to connect with readers who don't typically read my works.
She told me her idea and we hashed out the details of the basic plot and began writing together. She's located in Florida, while I'm in Michigan, so we did all this via the Internet.
DF: What did you learn from collaborating with another writer? And are there any future collaborations we can look forward to?
KG: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed collaborating with another author. It took a lot of pressure off my shoulders creatively and I believe our writing styles blended well.
I've also been co-writing a novel with Keith Kareem Williams called Blood & Vengeance. This book will be published mid-June 2015.
Yes, I am looking forward to working with other authors in the near future.
DF: Out of all your work, pick the three books that a new reader should start with that you feel represents you at your creative best.
KG: I always recommend The Friday House (government conspiracy thriller), The Promise (a mystery thriller), and Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter (action/speculative fiction.)
DF: What’s A Day In The Life Of Keith Gaston like?
KG: I work from 8 to 5 on weekdays, squeezing in a hour of writing during lunch. On weekends, I spend most of the time working around the house and spending time with the family. When I get a break, I do some writing and surf the web... Oh and I play Call of Duty.
Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?
Keith Gaston: I have two audiobooks, TEASE and Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter. Both bring the characters to life and should be checked out.
Thanks for interviewing me, Derrick, I've had a blast answering your questions.
For more information on Keith’s books, please check out both his Amazon pages: Keith Gaston and D.K. Gaston