A Mindbenders double-feature: a new review and an interview with the author (Him? Again?) on the Kindle Author site today.
Consider My Mind Bent, September 12, 2011
By Steve Madden (Richland, WA USA)
Ted Krever’s Mindbenders was a wonderful surprise. It took me all of two pages to get into it, and I was hooked through the end. The pacing is spot-on, alternating between exhilarating action and quiet, character-driven moments.
It’s a great bit of Psi-Fi, made better by the fact it’s both timely and relevant. Many (all?) of the government programs listed are real and the author has adapted their findings seamlessly into his writing. He manages to make the science behind it easily digestible, even going so far as to explain my urge to purchase a new SUV, despite having only three people in my family. Most importantly, he does all this without robbing us of character development.
If I had to complain about anything, it would be the end. Not that I found the conclusion unsatisfactory, but I wanted to spend more time with the characters. From the looks of it, the author is working on a sequel, so I suppose I’ll just have to be patient. As it is now, Mindbenders is a great book on its own and has the capacity to become a very impressive series.
Of course, there’s always the chance somebody out there is controlling my mind, compelling me to think this….
Ted Krever, author of Mindbenders, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Mindbenders?
TED KREVER: Well, I worked on the blurb for six months, so I guess that’s still the best capsule description:
If you could hear the thoughts of every person for three blocks around–the regrets, rationalizations, commercial jingles, the lies that hide what they can’t bear to think—how could you ever trust anyone? And if you could make them believe anything you wanted, how could you ever trust yourself?
Max Renn is a legend of the Soviet mind control program, a genetic experiment, the product of three generations of psychics bred by the state for their power. Before his first mission, the Soviet Union collapses and he disappears.
We meet him twenty years later in the Everglades, keeping as far from people as he can get, until his best friend—his only friend—is murdered and he is forced to assemble a team of people like him to fight the international conspiracy behind the murder.
The book fulfills all the requirements of the traditional thriller, but it really is about an interesting question, I think: if you knew what other people were thinking, how would that change the way you felt about them? How you interacted with them? How would it change the way you see the world? I’m in the midst of writing the second book and the question is only getting deeper, so I think it’s a fruitful one and the answers are by no means obvious.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
TED KREVER: I see them each from inside. I have to know what they want, where their desires and needs differ and where they meet. That differentiates them. And in this book, I did something I’d never done before: for the last draft, I cast the movie in my head. I decided which actors would play several of the roles (well, sometimes they weren’t actors—in one or two cases, I had musicians in mind) and that helped me making sure each character’s voice was distinct. No, I’m not telling who I cast.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
TED KREVER: As long as someone is open to the concept of a larger world, of facts that have not yet been accepted by the general population or the follow-on scientific establishment, I think they can enjoy this book. If they can view the mindbender’s journey literally and metaphorically, I think they can get more than enjoyment from it, though enjoyment is enough for me.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
TED KREVER: Long. I wanted to write from my teens. I graduated college with a degree in creative writing and then went off and had a ‘sensible’ career in television and Internet production. I came back to writing in the past ten years and now have six novels—five published. I’ve also gotten in touch with my biological family, having discovered that both my biological parents were writers. So it’s been the marathon track but that’s the one I’m good at.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
TED KREVER: I fumble around forever on a first draft, which to me is making storyline and character interact. It takes me usually about five drafts starting from the beginning over and over until I can get to the end once. After that, revisions are simpler because I have the lay of the land, but I’m refining and deepening every step. Usually, I will do the second or third draft from scratch, without referring to the previous one except in rare places, simply to try to get it feeling as spontaneous as possible on the page—by that time, I have the story in my head, so I should be able to describe it all as though it’s just happening in front of me. I’d rather have spontaneity than polish.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
TED KREVER: In thrillers, there’s John Le Carre, who’s done some of his best work in his sixties and seventies. Otherwise, everybody: Twain, Henry James, Hunter Thomspon, George MacDonald Fraser, Saul Bellow, Garcia Marquez, Paul Auster. And writers in other mediums: Neil Young, Alfonso Cuaron, Werner Herzog.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?
TED KREVER: Operation Shylock by Philip Roth. You get to the end of this convoluted story and, after the end, you see the ‘This is a work of fiction’ disclaimer. And you don’t believe it.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
TED KREVER: Website with blog and video trailers, facebook page, Twitter, Amazon discussion group, you name it. I also have a free beer offer: buy a trade paperback print-on-demand version of any of my books and the Author will buy you a beer next time you’re in New York—details here. Basically, anything I can think of.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
TED KREVER: It’s where the readers are.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
TED KREVER: Think long-haul. You’re no longer hoping for Mommy and Daddy publisher to do your marketing and publicity, lay out your cover, find readers, get an ISBN, etc. You have your own small business and you have to work it. So it’s a never-ending challenge. But on the other hand, you’re no longer begging for scraps from a group of people who are only vaguely interested in your work (if you’re anything but a blockbuster author) and all too willing to tell you how to become just like everybody else; you’re out fighting for your own art. If you aren’t willing to take on that fight, I don’t know why you’d want to be a writer in the first place.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.