Name John “FeatherLeaf” Kaniecki
Age Nearing half a century
Where are you from
I was born in Brooklyn which makes me a native New Yorker. I lived most of my life in New Jersey.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have a degree in Math from Montclair State University. I have been married ten years to my lovely wife Sylvia from Grenada. We do ministerial work in Newark, NJ at the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue,
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am very excited to tell you that Witty Bard has just published a compilation of my science fiction stories. The book is entitled “Words of the Future”. If you enjoy Twilight Zone or a good mystery I am confident you will enjoy my book. Of course if your a science fiction fan it is a great match as well.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I took a creative writing class freshmen year in high school. I started writing poetry and song lyrics around age twenty. I started writing stories from my life about seven years ago. A couple of years later I started writing science fiction.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always took writing seriously. I would copyright all of my song lyrics.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well I had a story selected entitled “The Sin of A.D.A.M. selected for an anthology by Witty Bard. So I asked them if they would like to do a book exclusively with my writing. They looked at my material and agreed to do so.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
No and yes. I don’t like stories where violence resolves the issue. Also I like to touch on greater issues or social concerns. For example in the story “The Mystery of William Twain” two magazine publishers investigate mysterious submissions to their journal. The pair travels to a rural New Jersey town. While there they are educated in a social dilemma. That is people moving into town and commuting to New York City, have hijacked the politics. In doing so the new comers have ruined the traditional way of life. This is a true to life problem I came across in my travels in New Jersey. I put it into the backdrop of my story as an added dimension. In this way I explore a social issue without being preachy.
Also I like to have a twist in my stories. I want the conclusion to be a surprise.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“Words of the Future” was selected based on the content of the stories. Two of the stories “The Absurdity of John the Jerk” and the “Mystery of William Twain” involve a couple of magazine publishers. The story “Anonymous” involves a science fiction writer. So there is a writing theme. The future reflects the science fiction aspect of looking ahead in time.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
First and foremost I want readers to enjoy the story and be entertained. Then I want them to be presented with something to think about. I avoid preaching or presenting my opinion. Rather I present true to life representations. For example in the Mystery of William Twain the two publishers are discussing the source of the weird circumstances they are experiencing. The one negates any possibility of the devil. When asked why, her answer is that she cannot accept the devil’s existence because in doing so she must accept the existence of God. Then she elaborates on all the evil on the Earth. Her conclusion is that this negates the existence of God. Now in real life I am a preacher. Yet in my story I can present an agnostic or an atheist explaining her point of view, without tearing it down. All the while it adds a richness to both the character and the story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Capturing humanity in the characters I think is key. In life I see no human being without any flaws. (Except Jesus) Also in science fiction it is important that everything is logical. The people at Witty Bard did a fine job of scrutinizing the stories in the editing process assuring every detail made sense.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well the characters are composites of real life people with a heaping of imagination. In the Mystery of William Twain, I deal with a real situation in rural New Jersey.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Bible is a book. I can never get away from. It is a deep book. As far as it impacting my writing it helps me to be honest with myself.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading a poetry book by Billy Collins and just finished a poetry book by Leonard Cohen. Neither of which I particularly cared for. However in saying that I can see aspects in their writing as to why those two individuals are highly praised.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I really have a strong desire to make a living off of writing. I have a host of poetry needing publishing. I worked more on my fantasy book entitled “Fallon from the Farm”. But that is on hold. I started a science fiction novella called, “A Faint Ray of Light”. I like how that is coming out and it is always on the back burner. Other than that I have a whole host of stories submitted to various magazines waiting for a response.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My church family. They are very supportive.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I love writing and I believe my skills improve with every story. I am certainly putting the time into it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I haven’t had time to reflect on that. I gave Witty Bard about fifteen stories to review and they narrowed it down to six. I would have included additional stories in the book. However Witty Bard and I discussed the possibility of a second book with some of the stories that weren’t used. There was a certain continuity they were looking for.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My mother read a lot to me and I read a lot on my own once I learned how to. The game Dungeons and Dragons really sparked my imagination.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is the beginning of Star Davis.
“My name is Star Davis,” I stated.
It was a lie.
Not a nickname or twisting of the truth, but a pure fabrication. The interviewer representing the Intergalactic Transport Company squinted his eyes behind his thick glasses and grunted. I didn’t give so much as a blink as I stared into the creature’s pig-like face. I didn’t think for a second that my alien friend believed my lie. But he had no interest in questioning me or scrutinizing the details of my application; after all, he got paid by commission.
It was a common thing to lie in matters of outer space affairs. In fact, at the Academy, they had a whole course dedicated to the art of lying. I never took the course but instead hacked into the computer system and falsified the records. Some poor chump named Iggy Agnes had to take it twice, poor Iggy the Piggy. They say there is no honor among thieves, well that goes double for spies.
Being anonymous brings a great deal of freedom. For someone like me, who had dedicated the remainder of their life to exploring that jewel of jewels that we call the universe, liberty was essential. The multiplicity of planets, kingdoms, empires, or whatever made the accurate tracking and recording of names next to impossible. Certainly enemies, or even competitors, always wanted to maintain their edge over each other. Thus, an unfriendly, look-out-for-number-one attitude prevailed, and information was not shared. So much the better for me.
Lying, as I said, is an art form. Some people are good at painting, sculpting, or whatever. Talk to any artist; they could go on for hours about the intricacies in what they do. Lying is a complex thing. Take, for example, choosing an alias. Everyone from the Admiral of the fleet down to the guy who mops the decks wants a noble name. I’ve seen men hastily choose a pseudonym that they hated. It forever puts a damper on the whole experience. One guy named himself Rick Seymour. The poor bastard was taunted every time the fellows went to get drunk. “See more dick, see more dick,” they repeated over and over again. I felt sorry for the guy until I got to know him. Sometimes life is just.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I am always trying to do better. To have a beautifully written story that flows. I strive to have interesting and believing characters. I want to make you think but not put on any burdens. And above all I want to be unique. I want you to read my story and say, wow that’s that first time I say anything like that.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Michael Moorcock. I just like his creativity.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I came up with the concept and Witty Bard did the details. I think the cover is excellent. It contains the title Words of the Future and there is a vault door opened. Beyond the portal is a library.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The editing. I am very bad with grammar or at least I am not up to the point where I would like to be.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned to never give up. All of these stories were written several years ago. My success has emboldened my writing and I have written a lot lately. Never surrender.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep on writing, keep on reading, and keep it real. At the same time think the unthinkable.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes I am a firm believer in honesty. So if you buy the book and read it please post your comments up as to your opinion. Try to be nice but be truthful. And above all thank you very much. It is truly a blessing to be able to share a part of me with you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Maybe Curious George?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The world makes me cry, too much evil. My loved ones make me laugh.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Neil Young. Just to smack him around a little so he can get some sense in his head about his marriage. Also to thank him for his inspiring music. As an artist he was never afraid to take a chance or try something new. Also he is one of the few people in the spotlight willing to stand up a little bit on social issues. Silence in the face of evil is consent.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“At least he tried”. Because it’s true.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Church work is very refreshing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Doctor Who I like. Twilight Zone.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pizza with mushroom, pepperoni or sausage. Blue or Red. Rock and Roll and Folk Music
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Been a musician or an artist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?