Today, I have author Kristoffer Gair in the interview chair. We’ll be discussing his latest release Falling Awake III: Requiem, a m/m suspense novel.
Kristoffer Gair on Falling Awake III: Requiem
1. How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Kristoffer: I had a plot bunny for using an airport as a setting, then had a bit of déjà vu while traveling through the Atlanta airport. I wondered what would happen if a character woke up in a place he believes to be an airport, only he doesn’t remember who he is, doesn’t recognize his reflection, and can’t recall why he’s there. That’s the mystery. And during this time in this place, he meets people (Tam, Larenz, Alex, and Amanda) who each tell him a story. These stories begin to shed light on his reason for being there, about his potential future, and he has a decision to make.
That was the first book. The second book, Falling Awake III: Revenant, is a prequel of sorts, whereas Requiem picks up the story from the first book and finishes it.
2. What did you enjoy most about writing Falling Awake III: Requiem?
Kristoffer: Creating characters I could identify with, who I cared about, and who I wanted to root for. I cared what happened to them, and I wanted to write them in such a way that readers besides myself would care about them, too.
3. What did you least enjoy about writing Falling Awake III: Requiem?
Kristoffer: Letting the characters go at the end. I’ve been living with them in my head for 5 years and their stories, as they are in their group in the book, are done. I don’t know that I could do them justice taking them into the future, and I won’t do it just for the sake of doing it. Are there other threads I left open? Oh, yes. So, let’s see where I take those instead.
4. Tell us about your main characters–what do you like most about them?
Kristoffer: They are relatable, react like people we know, and probably act like people we know. They are easy to bond with and care about.
5. Let’s keep this on the main characters. Tell us what you like least about them.
Kristoffer: I don’t know that I dislike anything about them, though… Daniel goes with the flow a bit too much, Tam doesn’t always like to show his emotions, and Alex can be selfish at times that borders on reckless.
6. How did you come up with the name for your book?
Kristoffer: The second book, Revenant came about because I needed another name for “ghost.” There is a theme of music that runs through the third book, and certain artists represent certain characters throughout all three books. Some of these characters have passed on, and the remaining characters are left with only their memories of those who have passed on. The music becomes a memory as well, a song for dead. Hence, requiem.
7. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Falling Awake III: Requiem?
Kristoffer: I’d love to say I’d expand more on the lives of the main characters, but the book is already far longer than anything I’ve ever written. I am, for the moment, happy with how the story turned out. This could change over the coming months, but for now, I like it just the way it is.
8. Tell us why Falling Awake: Requiem III is a must-read.
Kristoffer: Many readers asked to know what happened after the first book ended. I originally didn’t have anything planned. I had my idea, but I didn’t want to force that idea of what the characters’ futures entailed onto anyone else. I honestly felt I gave everybody everything they needed in the first book to make their own decision.
I knew if I did continue the story, I had to make it worthwhile to me to spend the time writing, but it had to become something almost epic for the readers who asked for it. I feel I achieved both, so if you bonded with Daniel, Tam, Larenz, Alex, and Amanda in the first book, you’re going to want to see how it ends here!
9. What can we expect from you in the future?
Kristoffer: Well, I imagine I’ll either make you laugh if I write another comedy, or I’ll make you cry. I have about 4 books bouncing around in my head right now on top of the two I’ve already started writing. Whatever I do release in the future, rest assured it’s going to take me a while, but it’ll (I hope) be worth the wait.
Kristoffer Gair on Writing:
1. What is your writing process? (e.g., researching first, create outlines, character building, etc.)
Kristoffer: I write the beginning, a page or two in the middle, and then the end. Once that’s complete, I let the journey begin. I don’t know how I’m going to get from A to B to C, but I do, and that’s the fun part!
2. What is your writing setting? (e.g., loud music, at a café, evening, etc.)
Kristoffer: I can write just about anywhere and have. Airports are a huge favorite, but I write at home, at work, hotels when I travel…anywhere. I’ll bring a variety of music with me, stick on headphones, and as the story progresses, a playlist emerges that can bring me right back into the story whenever I need to.
3. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Kristoffer: NO f***ing video games around me. I will come up with every reason why I need to defend the world against zombies from plants, aliens in Halo, or the Empire in Star Wars: Battlefront II, all instead of writing.
4. How do you decide when the book is finished and ready for publication?
Kristoffer: When I can read a draft all the way through, usually after four or five edits, and not get stuck on a scene or bit, then I know it’s time. Honestly, I never know if I’ve nailed it or not, so I’ll have a beta reader or two who will NEVER blow smoke up my bum take a peek and tell me what they think. If I’m happy with the comments, even the ones I disagree with, it’s ready to go.
5. Do you read the reviews for your books? If yes, why? If no, why?
Kristoffer: Yes. No story is perfect, and no story impacts a reader the same way. I’ve had people review a short story I wrote for an anthology and they absolutely could not finish reading it (aka they hated the story), and another reviewer laughed until they cried, claiming that same story someone else hated was very Monty Pythonesque. Nobody is wrong. They’re just stating what they enjoyed or disliked.
There are occasions when a reviewer will point out something, some detail, that I wrote and completely didn’t realize I’d done. I love those. People also come up with their own interpretations of events or character motivations that surpass what I had in mind.
It’s easy to be mean in a review. God knows I’ve written a few of those in my time. But, if someone has taken the time to sit down and share their thoughts about my work, the least I can do is read it. I can either agree or disagree just like can like or dislike the story.
All about Kristoffer Gair:
1. What is something unique/quirky about you?
Kristoffer: I’m not content to sit quietly and play by the rules whether at work or at home. I enjoy a bit of mischief, or being the prankster. I’m a firm believer in that it’s okay to have a little bit of fun as long as it’s not causing drama or pain to someone I work with. Keep em’ laughing. I’ve sent families to a recovery lounge before when I knew who was working at the desk there, and told the family members that said person behind the desk was very hard of hearing. They should feel free to talk as loud as possible. Then, half an hour later, I’d send another family up to the same person after having told them he is very sensitive to sound, and to please speak as quietly as possible. The things I get away with…
2. What are some of your pet peeves?
Kristoffer: Usually, it’s people who use the word “that” instead of “who.” Lately, it’s people who refuse to wear masks during the epidemic, and have temper tantrums in public when asked to put one on. I work in a hospital, have seen what Covid does to people, and it’s no hoax. Someone who feels their rights are being violated by being asked to wear a mask doesn’t trump my rights not to get sick because of their ignorance. But that’s just my own humble opinion. Humble, I say.
3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live, and why?
Kristoffer: I am actually perfectly content living in Michigan. We have all four seasons, sometimes five, and sometimes within a week of each other. My husband has mentioned living in Phoenix one day—the place where heat comes from—or maybe Hong Kong during the winter and Michigan during the summer. Alaska might be a nice switch. I hear we can see Russia from there. New York might be interesting for a couple months out of the year, but that’s just really for the food. They have Bon Chon chicken.
4. Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Kristoffer: Irreverent, sarcastic, soulful, vulnerable, amusing.
5. What is your favourite social media site? You can only choose one.
Kristoffer: God, I miss MySpace. Does anyone remember having all the problems with that site that we do on Facebook? Or Twitter? I use both now. I get the most out of Facebook, though I’m hoping someone will come up with something better.
Kristoffer Gair on Reading:
1. What book do you think everyone should read?
Kristoffer: I’m going to go with a short story on this one and say A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. It’s pure brilliance, and that story demonstrated beyond anything else the power of literature.
2. What do you think about the current publishing market?
Kristoffer: I used to have a negative view about self-publishing, only I’ve self-published my last three books because I wanted more control over how this series was presented. Self-publishing is easier than ever before and it’s allowing authors who might never see the light of day have a product in their hands. I think that’s awesome!
However, I also think new authors should be working with a publisher and learning the business, learning editing, and what they like versus dislike. Publishers, unfortunately, are closing left and right, or not paying their authors. I think this is a huge shame. Publishers need to make money, but they also wouldn’t have a product without authors.
The one problem I see with self-publishing is the number of authors who are releasing work that hasn’t been professionally edited, and it clogs up the system from those who are releasing polished work. I think that answers the question. If not…uh…blue!
3. If you could have been the author of any of your fave books that you’ve read, which book would you choose and why?
Kristoffer: As much as I loved reading from an early age on, and still do, I’m happy writing what I write, exploring my own worlds, and sharing them. I’m trying to make my own mark. Other authors made theirs. I’m happy being me. =)
4. On average, how much do you read every week?
Kristoffer: I ready every day. It may not always be fiction, but I read. I keep up on all the news sites, specialty blogs, and suggested articles. I’m also usually editing what I’m writing if I’m not busy writing it.
Book Title: Falling Awake III: Requiem
Series: Falling Awake
Author: Kristoffer Gair
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Genre/s: M/M Suspense, occult
Trope/s: Love can conquer all.
Themes: Reincarnation, friendship, sacrifice, love
Heat Rating: 1 flame
Length: 149 000 words
He will turn what is into what can be.
Blurb: They targeted him before he was ever born. They will hunt him. They will execute anyone around him. They will rip his innocence away, corrupt him, and twist him into an instrument of terror. He will give the world reason to fear, fear the unknown, and he will do this lifetime after lifetime after lifetime.
Except this time, Daniel Davis hasn’t come back alone.
Four souls have returned with him, would-be protectors who’ve vowed to shield him from this fate. If they succeed, Daniel will turn what is into what can be. And if they fail, his light will dim and fade…forever.
Note: There are two prior books, Falling Awake and Falling Awake II: Revenant.
“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.” Amanda grabbed a blanket from the inside of the vehicle and wrapped it around Daniel, then took a clean cloth and held it up to his chin. He’d need stitches and there’d be one hell of a scar. “Look at me.” He did, still shaking.
She’d almost been a moment too late. A second of hesitation and he’d be dead. What did the intruder want? What had he been looking for? And why did he scream what he did at Daniel?
Let me see your eyes. It’s in there, isn’t it? Deep down you can feel it.
The intruder’s words. Why the eyes? What was in them? What had he looked for? And why would Daniel feel it? Why did all of this feel so familiar to her? She knew the answers somewhere in the back of her memory, just out of reach. Why couldn’t she remember?
You can’t hide from us! We’ll find you again and again and again!
This had happened before. It happened now. It would happen again. Unless…
She studied the young boy’s face, the remains of a kind of innocence now lost and something new dawning. He’d never be the same again. Ever. Nobody prepared him for this. Not this young. How did one recover? With time? Without his mother or father?
Daniel began sobbing anew, as if reading her mind about his parents, whom she was sure he already missed.
“You’re—” Her voice cracked and she struggled not to break down in front of him. He didn’t need that. He needed strength. “You’re safe, baby. You’re safe now, Daniel.”
He stared into her eyes now. Was he searching for truth, or to see the depths of her own demons compared to his?
She met his gaze with her own and peered into his eyes. Blue. The blue eyes she’d seen in her recent dreams when he’d appeared much older. Still there, but… She felt her head tilt to the side as she searched even deeper. Beyond the blue. Something else. Something new. Foreign. Fear? No. Fear was on the outside, on the surface, but below the fear in a place he couldn’t feel or know existed inside himself? Shadows. Something that didn’t belong. A blackness, a blackness that swirled around in its infancy, as if waking.
The intruder is responsible for this. He woke this thing.
The blackness stopped moving for a moment. Did it sense her? She stared at it and some part of it intuitively stared back at her. The blackness knew her. They were old acquaintances. And if the thing, this entity or presence…whatever the hell it was…could have sneered at her, she knew it would have.
Have you ever heard a child scream as if their soul was being ripped apart at the seams? Like there’s no safe place in Heaven, Earth, or in-between that’s safe.
Where did these words come from? When did she say them? Part of her understood she never had, and yet another part, the part far back in her mind, knew she had. But when? How could that even be possible? Amanda also understood Daniel’s soul was infected and this thing inside him would take great joy in ripping him apart.
“You’re safe now, Daniel,” she repeated, mostly to reassure herself, only she knew deep down it wasn’t true.
The darkness in Daniel’s eyes began its dance anew.
…it’s going to eat him from the inside out.
Her words again? When did she say this?
“You’re not going to get him,” she muttered.
The darkness found an opening and began to disappear behind Daniel’s eyes, hiding beyond the physical, beyond reach. Beyond her reach.
He’s already ours.
Daniel began to shake.
Kristoffer Gair grew up in Fraser, MI and is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He is the author of 7 novels—some written under the pseudonym Kage Alan—been a part of 6 anthologies, and currently lives in a suburb of Detroit.