It’s time to feature another interview with a debut author on the blog! These interviews can be a really great resource for new writers because you get to hear from a successful writer on what worked or didn’t work throughout the publication process.
Kevin Lacz, author of THE LAST PUNISHER (July 12, 2016, Threshold Editions), is a former Navy SEAL sniper, breacher, and combat medic. He is also a certified Physician Assistant with Regenesis, professional speaker, writer, and works actively in the entertainment industry. Kevin also worked as the SEAL Technical Advisor and played himself in the Oscar nominated 2014 film ‘American Sniper.’ The time he spent working alongside the film’s subject, Chris Kyle, made him a valuable asset to the film’s cast and crew. Kevin lives in Florida with his wife, Lindsey, and two children. He divides his time between practicing medicine, speaking professionally, and working actively in veterans’ causes, such as with the charity he co-founded with his wife (Hunting for Healing). Additionally, he was appointed to the District Board of Trustees for Pensacola State College by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
What is the book’s genre/category? (For example, mainstream, literary, fantasy, YA…)
Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.
A SEAL Team THREE sniper recounts his experiences in the summer of 2006 while deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, with what became the most highly decorated task unit since Vietnam.
Where do you write from?
Gulf Breeze, Florida
Briefly, what led up to this book?
I was not writing anything. I was studying for my medical boards to become certified as a physician assistant when my wife and I began the writing process.
What was the time frame for writing this book?
It took eight months to write the manuscript. It was an interesting process because I was writing with my wife and a co-writer who lives on the west coast. This involved a lot of e-mailing of drafts and discussions between the three of us.
How did you find your agent (and who is your agent)?
My agent, Alec Shane of Writers House, and I went to Xavier High School together in Connecticut. He got in touch with me in the fall of 2014 to discuss the possibility of a book.
What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
I submitted the manuscript to the Department of Defense for approval before publication. I was surprised by how lengthy and difficult that process was, considering the benign nature of the material from an intelligence standpoint. I feel this process could be more streamlined, which would facilitate other veterans to share their stories more easily.
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Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?
We focused a lot on the craft of the writing to tell the story, and I believe that we were able to complete a work that I am proud of, not only because it tells the story of men I consider heroes, but is also well written.
Did you have a platform in place?
I was featured in Chris Kyle’s memoir, American Sniper, and Clint Eastwood even asked me to appear as myself in the film adaptation. So I’ve already gained somewhat of a following from being involved with that. Additionally, I speak professionally and am represented by Greater Talent Network. I’m very active on social media and take advantage of websites geared toward books, such as Goodreads.
Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed?
You shouldn’t be afraid to tell your whole story, both the good and the bad parts. Stories are believable when they show a person’s human side, including flaws and mistakes.
I will continue to work as a physician assistant with my functional medicine practice, in Orange Beach, Alabama. I also plan to continue writing and speaking.
Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers’ Conferences:
- Oct. 28–30, 2016: Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference (Los Angeles, CA)
- Nov. 19, 2016: Las Vegas Writing Workshop (Las Vegas, NV)
- Feb. 11, 2017: Writers Conference of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- Feb. 16–19, 2017: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- Feb. 25, 2017: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA)
- Feb. 26–March 3, 2017: Writers Winter Escape Cruise (conference/cruise departing Miami)
- March 25, 2017: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI)
- April 8, 2017: Philadelphia Writing Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
- May 6, 2017: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA)
- July 22, 2017: Tennessee Writers Workshop (Nashville, TN)
- Aug. 18–20, 2017: Writer’s Digest Conference (New York, NY)
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Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:
- Success Queries: Literary Agent Sara Megibow And “Falls The Shadow.”
- How I Got My Literary Agent: Sarah Creech (Literary Fiction).
- Agent Spotlight: Valerie Noble (Donaghy Literary Group) seeks YA and New Adult.
- How I Got My Literary Agent: Mary Wahlstrom (Women’s Fiction).
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and writing a query letter.