Where are you from? I currently live in Trenton, Michigan (suburban Detroit). I was born in Wyandotte, my family moved to Grosse Ile when I was 10, and I graduated from Grosse Ile High School.
Tell us your latest news? I published my first novel FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE in early July.
When and why did you begin writing? I’ve been writing stories for much of my life, and began to pursue it professionally when I studied English, creative writing and journalism at Central Michigan University. After college, I worked as a newspaper reporter at the News-Herald (suburban Detroit). Writing primarily as a sports writer, I won numerous Michigan Press Association awards for sports coverage, sports feature writing and sports column writing. More recently, I work as a writer for Team Detroit, Ford Motor Company’s ad agency.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? I don’t recall there being a specific “event” that prompted me to consider myself a writer; I’ve just always enjoyed writing. That said, I suppose getting two of my poems published in a student arts magazine at CMU was an achievement that stands out.
What inspired you to write your first book? More than anything (my apologies if this sounds trite), what inspired me to write FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE was the desire to do it. The process of developing the story and actually writing it spanned nearly 20 years, and finally completing something that was for so long an “on-going project” was incredibly fulfilling.
Do you have a specific writing style? While writing styles change depending on the project, one constant is that my writing style tends to be conversational. It was certainly what I strived for when writing FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE.
How did you come up with the title? The title was actually one of the first phrases I wrote, even before I knew what the story was going to be. It dates back to a poem I wrote when I was at CMU, and I always felt there was a bigger story behind it than what the poem addressed. Once I decided to write a novel, I liked the idea of having a title that required explanation; I think it helps drive the story. In addition, the title serves as a metaphor for the book’s primary theme.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Yes, and I think by the end that message is fairly evident, that lives are shaped by opportunities, some that are obvious as they happen, others that do not become clear until later in life. How each of us reacts to those opportunities, and to what lengths we go to create other opportunities, ultimately dictates the direction our lives take.
How much of the book is realistic? All of it, if I was successful.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? The story is not based on real-life experiences, but certainly real-life experiences greatly influenced various scenes. I hand-picked certain events, and sprinkled them throughout a fictional story in order to tell the story I wanted to tell.
What books have most influenced your life most? I most enjoy reading classics of American lit, and those are the books that have had the greatest influence on me as a writer.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? There have been various editors or colleagues whose writing style I enjoyed, and they’ve all had a certain impact on my writing style as a news reporter. As a writer of fiction, I can’t point to anybody in particular who I consider a mentor.
What book are you reading now? I haven’t read much for the past year due to the emphasis on finishing FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE, but I am currently reading an historical novel by Michigan author Jean Scheffler called THE SUGAR HOUSE.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Again, I haven’t read much of late, but I am looking forward to reading A GIRL ON A TRAIN due to everything I’ve heard about the book.
What are your current projects? My second novel is in the early development stages. It will not be a sequel to FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE, but I am leaning toward a continuation of one of the lead characters in the novel.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. I relied on a small network of friends – some who have a writing background, others who do not – for feedback on an early draft of FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE.
Do you see writing as a career? Yes, as it has been for years, whether as a journalist, marketing writer, novelist,…
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? After years of tinkering and rewriting, it was surprisingly difficult to finally sit back confident that the book was complete. I suspect I’ll always look at different phrases, sentences or scenes and think, “It would have been better if…” That said, I’m happy with the finished story and wouldn’t make any drastic changes to the plot or characters.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? No, I’ve just always done it. I remember writing stories when I was growing up, writing songs with my brother when I was young, and submitting stories of our little league football games to the local newspaper. Writing is just something I’ve always done.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? I can’t give too many details, largely because I’m still sorting through them myself. I can say that the book I am imagining involves one of the lead characters in FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE, not so much a sequel as a new story about a character we’ve already met.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? To me, the most challenging part of writing long-form stories is in keeping thoughts and ideas organized. I struggled with it when writing FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE, probably because the book was such an on-again, off-again project. I’m hopeful that the experience of writing the first book will help me in this regard with future projects.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? I don’t have a favorite author as much as I do favorite books. My favorite books tend to be those that tell realistic stories with a universal message.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? No. For the purposes of FOREVER SINCE AN APPLE, I deliberately set the book in places with which I was already familiar (i.e. – northern Michigan, Chicago). I did make a few trips to ensure that my depiction of a particular region was accurate, but for the most part I was already familiar with the locations. Since publishing the book, I have done some traveling around the state to market the novel at festivals and fairs.
Who designed the covers? I did. I designed about two dozen variations, selected my favorite five or six, and then consulted with a friend who is a professional graphic designer to get his thoughts. Thankfully, the one I had chosen as my favorite was the same one he flagged, saying that he wouldn’t change it at all. He liked it, so I went with it.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? The most difficult part for me was finding the time to write. I started writing it during the summer of 2003, pressing to complete it before my third child was born that fall. I didn’t make it, and the project got pushed aside. During the next decade or so, I would occasionally work on it, but never consistently enough to make real progress. During the summer of 2014, I decided to give it more attention, and I devoted much of the past year to finishing it.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I learned a lot during the course of writing, most notably the importance of approaching a project of this scope with a plan. I think my lack of a solid plan/outline made it more difficult to finish and prolonged the process. It’s a mistake I’m hopeful to avoid in the future.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Be patient but persistent, because the process of rewriting, rewriting and rewriting is a long one. And do not get hung up on word count; the story will be done when it’s done.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Just that I appreciate them giving some of their precious time, and I hope they reached the final page satisfied that the time was well-spent.
Connect With The Author:
Purchase Forever Since An Apple @ http://www.amazon.com/Ken-Welsch/e/B0117VRH5G/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1439256557&sr=8-1