I’m delighted to be hosting Konn Lavery today. Konn is chatting to us about Dream, the second novel in his dark fantasy series Mental Damnation. Find out his inspiration, the best (and worst) part of his writing journey and you MUST watch the book trailer for Mental Damnation. Wow …
Konn Lavery is a Canadian horror and dark fantasy writer who is known for his Mental Damnation series. The second book, Dream, reached the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional books list. He started writing fantasy stories at a very young age while being home schooled. It wasn’t until graduating college that he began professionally pursuing his work with his first release, Reality. Since then he has continued to write works of fiction ranging from fantasy to horror.
His literary work is done in the long hours of the night. By day, Konn runs his own graphic design and website development business under the title Reveal Design (www.revealdesign.ca). These skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.
Connect with Konn Lavery
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Dream in 20 words or less.
Dream is the second novel in my dark fantasy series called Mental Damnation that follows a girl who sees visions of hell in her dreams.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
The story originally came to me back in high school in 2007 while I was in math class. The protagonist, Krista, was a character I sketched clutching her head while being split between the real world and hell. It seemed like a cool concept that I could have a lot of fun with. Krista was a character that I had adopted from previous manuscripts I had written. The Mental Damnation series was originally supposed to be an origins story about her. However, as ten years have gone by the story has evolved into being something entirely new.
This release of Dream is actually a second edition of the original version back in 2014. The same goes for Reality, Part 1 which had a second edition released early in 2017. The original Reality was my first published novel back in 2012. A benefit of being self-published is you can freely release new editions of the books. After gathering feedback from readers over five years I decided to go back and re-release the series and improve on them. I’ve gained enough experience over this period to have the story reach its full potential.
A lot of inspiration has also come from Christian and Egyptian mythology, reading about their concepts of the afterlife, demons and angels. I was also a huge fantasy nerd playing video games like Never Winter Nights and World of Warcraft which have contributed to my interest in the dark fantasy genre.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most Konn?
For Dream my favourite scene was chapter 11 when Krista first meets the ghoul Malpherities who claims to come from hell. He is a lot like an evil cheshire cat character and speaks in riddles. The two have friction in their relationship since Krista has little knowledge of what is happening to her mind and Malpherities is ancient and has little patience for her cluelessness.
Did you do any research? What resources did you use?
I did do a lot of research into Christian and Egyptian mythology. I’ve read the Bible many times in the past and have had an interest in ancient Egypt most of my life. I’ve watched documentaries, read books and researched online to learn about their concepts of the afterlife.
For the fantasy aspect of the story I had done a lot of research into evolution of reptiles for the reptilian race, vazeleads. Krista is a vazelead so it was pretty important to make her people appear reptilian but have just enough human-like characteristics that they were relatable.
Do you have a theme for your book covers Konn? Who designs them?
For the Mental Damnation series there is a continuous occult theme. My other novel, Seed Me, took influences from 70s horror movie posters. I am a graphic designer by trade so I design all the covers myself, starting with sketches on paper and eventually scanning them into the computer where I can render texture and colours.
For the Mental Damnation series I looked into a lot of cults, druidic, Celtic and satanic religions for influences on how to make the covers.
The Mental Damnation series also has illustrations found within the novels at the end of most chapters following the same style as the covers. Glyphs are spread throughout the books too to help create the right atmosphere when reading the novel.
What do you think book trailers achieve?
I do have several book trailers for the Mental Damnation series. They were for the first editions that came out in 2012 and 2014. As neat as they were to make, I found they didn’t actually offer anything in terms of sales or presence of a novel. That is why I haven’t been in any hurry to make a book trailer for Seed Me.
(I think the book trailer for Mental Damnation is a pure work of art)
Do you have a favourite book?
Oddly enough my favourite book is The Flight of the Eagle by J. Krishnamurti. It is a heavy ready about life philosophy through interviews with a monk. I don’t read a lot of fiction as I don’t want to have my writing style influenced by what I read. I do read a lot of nonfiction, hence The Flight of The Eagle. It was a major inspiration for me to better my life through the teachings it offered.
Some of the things I read in non fiction (especially philosophical books) tend to appear in my novels. Mental Damnation has a constant moral battle of right and wrong between the various characters as they go through their own challenges of growing as people.
What are you reading now Konn?
Currently I am reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. It explores how trees feel and communicate amongst each other. It shows a whole other world of existence that I was previously unaware of with plants.
What has been the worst part of your writing journey so far?
Time, it has been super difficult juggling work, family and friends while writing too. It is such an isolating experience to write that it becomes a tough balancing act with everything else in life. Eventually you just find the time to write and squeeze it in where you can.
… and the best part?
All of it has been amazing. It is what I am striving to do full time and every part of the journey has been meaningful in their own way. The first-draft writing is exciting because you are bringing something new to life. The editing is exciting because you can polish your work. The launch and post launch is thrilling because you invite others to read your story and sometimes you get amazing comments from readers about how they are inspired by the writing.
Finally, Dream is part of a series, what’s in the future?
Dream is part two of the Mental Damnation series. I am projecting for four books in total with the third one coming out early 2018.
Thank you for being my guest today Konn.
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
Having her family murdered by the humans during her people’s banishment from the surface world, Krista and her only friend, Darkwing, struggle to remain alive. The pair of reptilian street scum live in their newfound home, the City of Renasence, dictated by a fascist military known as the Renasence Guard. The two find themselves at odds when Krista puts her faith in the Five Guardians’ goal of unification, while Darkwing chooses to stand with a notorious gang, the Blood Hounds, who are known for their anarchist views.
This divide in their friendship forces Krista to persist on her own as the Five Guardians become crazed from an unknown disease – Mental Damnation. After their infection, the Guardians develop a bizarre interest in her, claiming they must reap her innocence for their newfound master, the Weaver.
With a military dictatorship, politically-driven gangs and their guardians infected and on a hunt for her, Krista has limited options for survival: Does she fend for her life in the City of Renasence, against menacing forces, or risk leaving everything behind and enter the uncharted realm of the underworld?
Thought to be banished to the underworld by the humans, Krista mysteriously finds herself as the first of her kind to walk on the surface in centuries. This was caused by one of the underworld’s corrupt leaders, Danil, who uses her in an unholy ritual to set their people free. Danil’s infectious touch gives Krista the nightmarish disease known as Mental Damnation.
She becomes the key interest of two men, Paladin and Dr. Alsroc, who struggle to make sense of her sudden appearance and how it relates to Mental Damnation. Her friend back in the underworld, Darkwing, abandons his gang to begin his search for her.
Krista finds herself torn between two worlds, gaining acceptance among the humans while experiencing inner turmoil from hallucinations caused by her disease. These visions paint a hellish dream world known as Dreadweave Pass where the realm’s ruler, a corrupt god known as the Weaver, is on the hunt for her. Krista’s blood is believed to be a key component for the Weaver’s retribution against the Heavenly Kingdoms that once banished him!