Keven Breaux is a short fiction author and an artist who recently released his first novel, Soul Born, through a small press called Dark Quest Books. Now you guys know I’m picky about small presses, but these guys have published novels by Andy Remic, Jack McDevitt and David B. Coe. Kevin has a site for his book at www.soulborn.net and his twitter account is @kevinbreaux. Here are links for Soul Born through the publisher, and through Amazon.

~*~

Kevin Breaux’s Long and Squirrelly Road

High School, a time of your life when people ask you the same set of questions over and over and over… “How do you like your classes?” “How are your grades?” “What do you want to do with your life?”

When I went to high school the most appropriate answer to all three of those questions was a grumpy monosyllabic grunt, “Ehh.” (this was before “meh”, was invented) I hated most of my classes, got poor grades and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

If future Kevin traveled back in time and told past Kevin he was going to write a book some day, and it would be published.  Past Kevin would have reacted something like this.

“Really? Who will do the cover art? Wait… do I have to spell all the words correctly and get all my grammar right?”

When I was in high school some of the worst grades on my report card came from English classes. I know you’re all shocked, right? Well my bad grades were not in the ones that studied literature, I kinda liked those.  My C’s D’s and F’s appeared in the English classes that did book reports and speeches. Grammar was not a friend of mine, and mandatory summer reading assignments totally took the FUN out of reading being fundamental.

What did I want to do with my life? I wanted to be a comic book artist, yeah me, Kevin Breaux the next Jim Lee! The good old days, 1991-1993, and comics were at an all time high. Remember DEATHMATE, when Image and Valiant comics crossed over? I do, and looking back now I should have seen it as one of the seventh signs of the pen and ink apocalypse. I should have taken my comic art dream and headed for ze hills! (note to future Kevin, when you travel back in time warn me on this one okay? Thanks!)

I started off my college career in a community college and majored in graphic art. It was not long before I switched to fine art, so I could focus more on drawing and less on typography. By the time I got my associates degree the comic book industry was amidst a major decline and so was my desire to be a comic artist.

When I transferred to a full college I had to start back at the beginning, sadly I was misled that the community college and the four year college were connected, and as a result most of my classes did not transfer. This time around I studied photography and graphic design. When I graduated I took a job as a graphic artist and guess what? Within months of starting that job I began taking web design classes at night, at my former community college and slowly became more focused on web design and internet operations.

One dot com bubble burst later and I was back out of work. I supported myself as an artist for about a year doing comic book art commissions on eBay. While painting and drawing I decided to start studying IT and over the course of another year I got my A+ and MCSE certifications.

I took a job doing IT work and kept my shoulder to the wheel for over seven years. (Ok, start swirling the camera until the viewer gets dizzy and play the echoing sound effect now… seven years….seven…seven…seven….)

Huh? Where am I? What happened?

The economy shifted and I decided to move out west, so I could grow up with the country. To my surprise all the gold was mined already and I was stuck being an unemployed comic book artist wannabe, graphic designer, web designer and IT professional rolled up in one.  After a bunch of interviews, where I always seemed to come in second place, I did what came naturally and grew a beard.  No really, I finally focused on my true love, something I had discovered a long long time ago, but could never quite give the effort needed to, ice fishing! No, I’m kidding, I focused my energy on writing!

And yes, I did grow a beard.

From early childhood I always seemed to suffer with my art, never totally happy with it. Throughout art school I never could get what I saw in my head down on paper properly. I tried drawing, painting, sculpting and even photography.  I was so frustrated, and often felt like a failure. I just wanted to be able to express the beauty I was seeing, and it was during all that artistic angst that I discovered writing. I had liked to write from time to time when I was in middle school and high school. Normally I just penned short stories about my friends, putting them in tales of space travel and epic games of billiards. Nothing serious, but I clearly remembered writing being fun.

SoulBornWhen I was in my final years of college I started writing again. Maybe ten to fifteen pages a weekend, maybe less. Over the span of a few years I realized, I had a book.  Fast forward to 2007 and a few dozen drafts later and I did it; I finally fully expressed myself as an artist. What I saw in the cinema of my mind was down on paper, Soul Born was… well… born. I quickly started the sequel and a year later I had two books completed. After that I challenged myself to a new genre and a new writing pace. How fast could I write a new book? Less than nine months later I was on the third or fourth draft of an Urban Fantasy novel and could state, with a strong sense of accomplishment, that I had written three books.

By 2009 I was feeling pretty good about myself as a creative being. I had sold some short stories and was about to ink a deal with my first publisher. This was it, I finally found my calling.

So what have I learned after this very long and squirrelly road? A bunch of things!  After all those changes in my life, I can now look back and see that my constant was creating. Like most people I have heard my share of the lines, “you are not good enough” and “what makes you think you can do that?” But I did never gave up, I kept pushing forward and now I am finally seeing the realization of a dream.

Most importantly I learned that you may need to travel down many side streets in order to get yourself back on the highway.