Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Kevin Milne's work has been compared to Nicholas Sparks when asked if this is a good or bad thing Kevin says "To quote Tony the Tiger, it’s not good…it’s GREAT!

Kevin Alan Milne is the bestselling author of four previous novels; The Final NoteSweet Misfortune, The Nine Lessons & The Paper Bag Christmas. He’s releasing his newest novel The One Good Thing March 12th. He’s been compared to Nicholas Sparks, to which he responds; “To quote Tony the Tiger, it’s not good…it’s GREAT!”

Here’s what New York Times bestselling author and columnist Jason Wright says about Kevin and his newest novel; "The magic of Kevin Milne's books is that they make you stop wishing the world was a better place and inspire you to actually get up and go make it one. The One Good Thing is exactly that kind of book."  Connect with Kevin on FB here and Twitter @kevinamilne. Kevin lives in Sherwood OR with his wife and five children.

Debbie - Kevin thank you for chatting with me about your brand new novel. 
Kevin - Thanks! It’s a pleasure to be here.

Please tell us a little about The One Good Thing.
The One Good Thing is a story that has been on my mind for many years, mostly because of things I was privy to as a kid, for better or worse. The plot unfolds with the death of a man who was well known in his community for performing random acts of kindness; in fact, he is killed while helping a stranger. In the wake of his untimely death, mourners flock to Facebook to share all of the ‘Good Things’ he’d done for them over the years, but through these online comments hidden details of his life begin to emerge, some of which cause his wife and children to doubt—and even resent—the man they thought they knew and loved. Only the daughter maintains faith in her father, and she sets out to learn the truth about him. Her efforts begin to unravel the complex past of a man who, for reasons that few would understand, had committed himself to change the world, one good thing at a time… 
I’ll be really interested to see how folks respond to this novel. Unlike my previous books, it is written in first-person, present tense, from multiple character’s perspectives, so if nothing else it should keep readers on their toes!         

Your work has been compared to Nicholas Sparks. Is that a good or a bad thing for you?
To quote Tony the Tiger, it’s not good…it’s GREAT! I consider it a huge compliment to be compared to Nicholas Sparks. He’s a terrific author who has enjoyed a ton of commercial success—how many movies and bestsellers has he had now??  Nicholas has a terrific base of readers who really connect with his inspirational twists on life and love, so his success really helps broaden the market for authors like me.

Where do the ideas for your novels come from?
Oh gosh…that’s a tough one. My books definitely have a certain moral slant to them, so I’m sure some of my ideas are just inherently linked to that. But in terms of what actually prompts the ideas?? It’s tough to say, because it has been different every time. For Sweet Misfortune, for example, I was eating lunch with a pal at a Chinese restaurant, and when I read my fortune cookie I was so bothered by the absurdity of the riches it foretold that I informed my friend right then that my next book was going to be a story about a pessimist who sells misfortune cookies. Quirky, yes, but viola!, a novel was born. Each book has had a similar ‘ah-ha’ moment. It’s been pointed out to me that I like to examine potentially negative things—trials, tragedies, heartache, failures, etc—and see what good can come out of them. I guess in that context my ideas may simply be born out of the notion that even when it’s bad, life is pretty good.      

Tell us about your becoming an author. Was is a slow process? Did you just sit down one day with writing a novel in mind?
I like to think that I jumped into writing as a consequence of boredom. I’d always wondered whether or not I could write a book, but never gave serious though to trying. Then, one day at my desk job, I was so bored that I closed my office door over lunch and began typing. Low and behold…I loved it! I kept my door closed and wrote the whole rest of the day. Three weeks later I was done with my first manuscript. I still had no intention of becoming an author, but when friends and family read what I’d written, they urged me to shop it around. After that, I received plenty of rejection letters over a period of several months, but eventually it landed in the right hands. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Tell us about your reaction when you sold your first novel.
Now that your 5th is being released is it still like the first time?
Getting my first book under contract was the coolest thing ever, but I was completely stunned; it took a few days before I fully grasped that I was going to be a published author. Later, seeing it in stores threw me for a loop as well. I was ecstatic, but also terrified. I remember walking into a Barnes & Noble in Oregon and seeing it on the new release display case; it was hard to comprehend that those were my words out there for everyone to read. This may sound awkward, but I felt kind of naked, like I was exposing a very private part of myself to the world. But it was certainly a moment to remember—exciting and humbling at the same time. Now that I’m on book #5, I’ve grown much less nervous about people reading and scrutinizing my work. I know there will be people that like it, and I know some will hate it, and I’m ok with that. I still love seeing my books on the shelves, but I don’t expect to get that crazy-nervous-thrill of the first time. 

It says on your bio that you’re a business professional during the day. Will there come a time that you write full time?
I ask myself that same question every day! My family would tell you that I do write full time, at least in terms of hours spent writing each week, but right now I’m content to have two full time jobs. The reality of writing is that the pay comes in fits and spurts, and is wildly unpredictable. As a father of five children, and with the economic turmoil we’ve experienced during the handful of years that I’ve been writing, I’ve been reluctant to give up a steady paycheck. That being said, if somehow one of my books suddenly landed atop the NYT Bestsellers list, I’d probably find a way to spend more of my time pumping out novels. [Note to my boss: please disregard that last sentence. J]

Are you a reader?
Absolutely, I love to read. Sadly, I don’t have a lot of free time to do so. I’ll usually take a few weeks between manuscripts to catch up on my favorite authors, and then I won’t read again until I’ve met my next deadline.

Fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction.  You are what you eat, I suppose.

Do you have a favorite of your novels?
You could ask me this five times, and I’d probably give five different answers, but right now I’ll go with The Nine Lessons. It was my second novel, and not a raging success in terms of quantity sold, but I really love the conflict between husband and wife, the setting (Vermont), and the story’s ultimate resolution. Plus, there is more of me (thoughts, ideals, beliefs, feelings, anecdotes, and the like) in the words of that book as compared to some of my other works, so it’s fun to go back and remember what I was thinking at the time I wrote it. Once in a blue moon I’ll pick it up and just read a page or two, and invariable it will make me laugh out loud….in a good way.

Do you have any signings or events planned.
I’m sure I will, but I don’t have any firm dates at the moment. Usually my first event for each new book is a signing and book club hosted by radio personalities at the Clackamas Town Center B&N in Portland, OR. I suspect we’ll do that again, though I guess I better get in touch with my publicist to be sure…

Thank you for taking the time to let us into your world a little. Good luck with the new novel.
It was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me!


More praise for Kevin’s novels:
"Stirring and dramatic, Milne's work echoes that of Nicholas Sparks in its focus on love, commitment, faith, and the ultimate heartbreak of being human."  - Booklist

"Milne provides an...unforgettable story, forcing us to believe in all of his characters...and in something more." - Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

"[The Paper Bag Christmas] is a small book in size, but the message it sends is so big." - American Chronicle

"This one's a keeper." - Omaha World-Herald

Visit Kevin's website here


  1. Thanks for introducing us to Kevin and his novels. They are both new to me, and I like Sparks. Will be adding some of these to my reading list :)

  2. Hi, I have read all of Kevin's books and I am looking forward to reading the lastest one... "The One Good thing". Kevin's books are fantastic and realist.. the stories rope you in and your in for a great ride. The Paper Bag Christmas was the first one I read and I was captivated and look forward to each new book that Kevin writes in the future. He is an author that needs to be on your reading list.

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment. Stop back by and let us know how you liked it.