# Please introduce yourself and your book!
My name is Sam Kench. I’m a screenwriter, indie filmmaker, and author. The Fall of Polite is my debut novel and was released amidst the pandemic. It’s a brutal, post-apocalyptic tale of survival and revenge set in a freshly lawless New England in the dead of winter. Critics have called it “Wonderfully written with great imagery,” (The Indie Express) and “A must-read” (The Novel News Network).
# What are the real-life stories behind your book?
Social commentary is important to me in most of my writing, and the post-apocalyptic scenario in The Fall of Polite draws a great deal of inspiration from the fraught socio-political state of the contemporary U.S. However, the characters and plot are 100% fictional. The book was written before the start of the COVID pandemic, and there is no viral component to the apocalypse of the book, so the novel can still function as a bit of escapism if that’s what you’re after.
# How do you deal with creative block?
I rarely if ever experience creative block. If I ever feel a little stuck on a particular story, I can usually power through that blockage with enough caffeine, or else I jump into working on a different story for a while to remain productive.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
I’ve become more focused and gotten faster as I continue to write more and more. In the past, I used to ping-pong between various projects constantly. I still jump around a little bit from time to time but now I frequently focus on a single project and write straight through to completion. I’m still early in my writing career and I’m sure my creative process will continue to change over time.
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book?
Before writing The Fall of Polite, I had been focused on writing screenplays exclusively for years. When diving into prose, I was frequently surprised and enthused by the differences in writing between the two mediums. I think the best decision I made before writing was to avoid outlining the story. I’m not against outlining in general (and I do outline certain stories), but for this specific story, the added sense of freedom of writing without any narrative rails in place was a perfect fit and allowed the characters drive the story in interesting directions it wouldn’t have gone otherwise.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I, of course, hope readers will enjoy my stories and find them compelling but, first and foremost, I’m writing for myself and only interested in telling stories that I would love to experience as a consumer. At the end of the day, the story comes first, and I’m willing to take certain narrative risks that some readers may find challenging. I have to trust that enough readers will connect with my style, stories, and characters to stick around for the ride and get something worthwhile out of it.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
I think emotions fuel the engine of creativity. I also believe that part of my job as a storyteller is to shape and guide the emotional experience of the reader, which might stem from my experiences as a director.
# Do you have any creativity tricks?
I think creativity and productivity are intrinsically linked but not always equally weighted. Anything a writer can do to increase productivity while maintaining the same level of creativity is worthwhile in my eyes. Figure out the conditions that make you the most productive and work to ensure those conditions as often as possible. Then, figure out what hurts productivity for you and work to eliminate or delay those factors. Personally, I’m most productive first thing in the morning, and my productivity goes down as soon as I’ve eaten anything, so I wake up every day and get as much writing done as I can without taking any sort of break. I’ll wind up fasting on my most productive days. Smaller things help too. For instance, I realized that I’m at my most productive if I work at a desk facing a window and if I have music playing that fits the atmosphere/tone of whatever piece I’m working on. Little things like that contribute to the pace at which I write.
# What are your plans for future books?
I recently finished the first draft of a new novel, I have a couple of others in the works, and I’m always writing new screenplays. It will still be a while before I’m ready to share any substantial information about the new novel, but I will announce an upcoming project that should be released within the next few months. Sins of the Father is a serialized western set in 1800s Oregon Country. This prose series will be ongoing, and the first dozen or so episodes are ready to go. I’m excited to hear what people think when the episodes start dropping. The first three episodes will be free to read, so follow me on GoodReads and at YouTube.com/brickwallpictures for updates on that project and everything else I do.
Author website: samkench.com
Video showcasing reviews the book has received: https://youtu.be/wgyRzkYHW4E