Hi my name is Mike Kuykendall, and I am both a first time author and a first time Kickstarter. I’m here today to ask for your support for my first novel "Kali- Destroyer of Worlds.”
This is the story of a 12 year old girl, Becky Wilder, and her transformation into Kali, a dystopian dark hero who may be humanity’s only hope.
America is hit by a chance gamma ray burst, wiping out a small swath on the Eastern seaboard. The damage is severe, but mostly contained in a a stripe from North Carolina eastward to the Atlantic. All a small community on the edge of Raleigh knows is their unshielded electronics stop working altogether, and no help arrives from the outside world.
So far as they know the world has ended, and they are utterly alone.
It’s amazing how quickly society crumbles. The military runs off to fight perceived wars while cut off and leaderless; lack of communications cause police and emergency first responders run from major catastrophe to major catastrophe chaotically, forced to operate like a small, mobile armies with different leaders, and often working against each other while trying to reign in mobs of desperate citizens and gangs of criminals let loose from prisons.
The wider world unravels, and without electrical power, food, and fuel in some areas, America quickly descends into anarchy within weeks.
Becky Wilder knows none of this; she’s busy trying to kill herself, all alone in the wilderness, when the gamma ray burst hits nearby; she has to find a way to survive in the middle of an ensuing forest fire.
But I digress; the beginning of Kali’s story has already been written. I self-published the first part of her tale as a short story on Amazon, titled simply “Destroyer of Worlds.” Since then I have had two children and am currently a stay at home dad, and I’ve been trying to find a way to finish the book ever since.
This is also the first 11 pages of the book I want to write. It will hopefully serve as a taste of not only the story I want to tell and my skill in telling it, but hopefully also as my writing bonafides. I have blogged and tweeted extensively to keep writing since, but have never taken that next step to finish one of my many, many book ideas and subsequently try and get something published; to be honest, in the pre-Kickstarter world, the idea of navigating the publishing world to try and sell your own work was pretty daunting, especially for a first timer. I don’t know how many editions of Writer’s Guide I bought, but I had a LOT of them lying around and nothing to show for it over the years.
Now, as to why Kali, and why now?
I am the father of newborn baby girl. I have a 3 year old boy Jack, and he’s the best kid a dad could ask for. He was also a boy, and as one of five boys myself, I understand how to raise a male child. When my girl Lily was born, I suddenly realized how hostile the world is to girls in almost every way. You could say I became an instant feminist, if I wasn’t one already.
To that end I noticed how few fully developed female characters there are out there, waiting for her to adventure alongside as she grows and imagines while reading her first books. I was a voracious reader as a child, thrilling to the adventures of Doc Savage, Conan the Swashbuckler, Arthur Dent, Louis Wu, Bilbo Baggins, Pug the Apprentice, and the like; the idea that my daughter will have far fewer female heroes to look up to and compare herself to as she grows up is kind of depressing to me.
When I decided to go for it and try to write my first book, a strong female lead was the only way to go.
Why horror? I admit, this is a story for teens on up and not for the squeamish. While growing up I read a lot of scifi, but I also read everything Stephen King ever wrote. I think after reading “IT” at age 10 I was forever changed. I devoured horror, war movies, and the like; Mad Max, Apocalypse Now, The Stand, and Swan Song all enraptured my young mind.
Plus, a dystopian nightmare just isn’t the same without a few rolling heads.
I’ve been developing Kali’s story for a while now; my daughter’s arrival hastened my story plotting, and I am now ready to tell her tale. In order to do that I need Kickstarter’s help!
My goal includes just enough money to keep me afloat for two months, plus rewards. I’ve calculated I’ll be able to write a book between 250 − 300 pages if I can actually take the time to concentrate on it exclusively. I’m not even including editing costs, as I intend to handle that in-house with a few of my favorite academic types and “constant readers.”
Please help me bring Becky’s story to life. As my rewards I’ll include prints of my conceptual art for the story; top backers can even get an original piece! Check out the other rewards and support “Kali-Destroyer of Worlds” today!
Thanks a lot, and thanks in advance for your support!
Sound via Huoratron (Soundcloud link)
Member of Kicking it Forward
Risks and challenges
The primary risks and challenges to this book will be reigning it in to around 250-300 pages. I have plotted out the story at least that far; it has hellacious legs. My goal will be to polish and perfect just the beginning of Kali's story, as I suspect there will be further adventures beyond this one if this project is funded.
With number of free hours to work I have figured I can do the job in two months.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The voices in my head tell me to.
As Harlan Ellison once said "cross my palm with silver motherfucker!" We all have to eat. I'll be subsisting on well below poverty/unemployment levels after rewards and binding costs. But it will be for my creative effort this time, and that's worth any loss of other income from development projects I could have otherwise been doing.
The last of my (planned) children having been born, I feel the weight of my strange life and wonder at what I'll be leaving for them. Plus, neither have even learned what Daddy does for a living yet. I can still be "Daddy's a novelist" (though I can still fall back to "Daddy's a Web Developer" if need be.)
I can do this in 2 months, and I can prove my work schedule; look at my posting on FB and my Twitter feed since this project began. Now when I begin to write I will go into total media blackout, other than updates to my backers. I've been able to be productive for up to 8 hours almost every day, in between diapers and checking to see if "yes I pooped" actually means "yes I pooped." I'll just tell the Stephen King-esque demons in my basement to get to work writing instead of promoting, and the OCD will take care of the rest.
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