As you’ve found your way to my website and, I'm assuming, read the title of this blog, you clearly already know my name is Kynan Waterford. But did you know I was born in the capital city of Australia, Canberra, in 1978?
Well, now you do.
My mother (Mary Leader before she was married) and father (Colin Waterford) had me fourth in what turned out to be a rather large family of ten children. Yes, you read correctly. Ten children. Five boys and five girls.
The boys from eldest to youngest: Liam, Kynan, Galen, Reyhan, and Tiernan.
The girls in the same order: Alicia, Rowena, Evina, Nyassa, and Keshena.
Thanks to my boisterous and many-talented siblings (whom I love dearly), I had countless opportunities to exercise my imagination whilst growing up. I also picked up a love of books in my early years and have not stopped reading since.
At school, I was more interested in Maths and Science than I was in English, but I remember being secretly proud of my ability to ‘bullshit’ my way successfully through any literary tasks. Little did I know that writing is all about effective 'bullshitting'. In fact, the only difference with my writing today is that I have a lot more experience. And, of course, revision. Endless revision.
Revision was something I never dreamt of doing as a school student. The thought of re-doing something you were only doing because you had to in the first place was simply ridiculous. But it turns out revision is a vital part of being a writer (or any kind of artist, I imagine) and so I seem to do more if it now than anything else.
After blazing my way through top level Maths and Science, I was awarded for my ability to apply logic and remember scientific facts when it mattered (i.e. at exam time) with a highly respectable Tertiary Entrance Rank - as it was called in those days. I had no strong preferences on what to do next and so I naturally fell into a Bachelor of Science at the Australian National University in 1999. This ended when I completed an Honours year in 2002, working for Dr. Hugh Campbell. My work involved selectively breeding mice that had human genes inserted into their genome and then using gel electrophoresis (a way of visualising DNA) to prove those human genes were present and expressing the proteins they encoded.
What was the point of all this, I hear you ask? Well it turned out the gene in question (flightless I - named for the fact its removal causes the often-studied drosophila fruit fly to become flightless) had possible links to brain tumours in children. By inserting a working copy into mice, the gene could then be safely studied (although not from the perspective of the mice).
In short, the project was a success, although I can only take a tiny portion of the credit. In fact, the most important thing I learned during this period of my life (apart from how crazy fast mice can breed) was that I simply don’t possess the patience or meticulous nature required to work with DNA.
CSI is nothing but lies, I tell you. Lies!
After this valuable life lesson, I wisely decided to leave the real science to the experts. Like my father, Colin - a retired analytical chemist and entomologist who invented a phosphene generator for gassing silos of wheat (this killed nasty pests like weevils without contaminating the wheat). This invention has since been purchased by many large, wheat producing nations like China and India and has made Australia vast amounts of money (another 'long-term' technology from the old days when CSIRO was properly funded), so there you go.
But I digress…
Luckily for me, by the time I realised I'd never make a good scientist, I'd already discovered my real passion.
Several years earlier, at the turn of the 21st century when I should have been studying for an advanced physiology assignment (or was it an inorganic chemistry quiz? I forget), I decided to have a crack at writing my very own novel. I made this decision because I’d recently heard some friends talking about writing novels at a party (Rob, Alicia, Lawrence, your fault!). After this seed of possibility was sown, I had a particularly vivid dream with an incredibly bizarre premise. I won't try to explain it here, but I was so taken with the 'scene' I'd just experienced that I wrote it down and eventually decided to try and craft it into a novel.
I remember this process being quite exciting at the time and I raced through my first novel faster than expected. I put this down to the fact that I read so much before bed each night, but the truth was I'd been infected with inspiration! I had so many ‘cool’ ideas (or what I thought were cool at the time) and they just didn't stop coming. When I was finally done, I felt immensely proud of myself and I gave the finished product (without any serious editing) to several of my friends and family. Many did me the great honour of actually finishing the book and some even had nice things to say about it. Indeed, the best compliment I received was: “I got so into it that I forgot it was you who’d written it.”
This spurred me on to write two sequels over the next three years and I had plans to possibly write up to seven in that series of books. But when I eventually went back to the first book, I realised how much better I’d become simply by writing so much. And, unfortunately, how much work my original novel needed.
It is this moment in any writer's career that I believe separates the true writers from the many unsuccessful self-publishers out there. A true writer will trust their instincts and try to perfect what they've started. The many who don't succeed, however, simply push what they've created out into the world and hope it will find that illusory audience that will accept (and hopefully buy) it.
I certainly don't blame them. I could have very easily done that myself.
For those who haven't experienced it, the process of writing an entire novel is incredibly time consuming and no matter how good or bad the end product might be, you can't help but become attached to the characters and ideas you create. Criticism can be hard to adjust to (despite being the most useful tool of any artist) and the thought of changing, or even worse deleting, entire sections of what you've already spent so much time on can be a soul-destroying prospect.
I remember that soul-destroying moment well, but I thankfully managed to push through the flames of self-doubt and decided that if I really wanted to see what I was capable of (not just how well I could do in exams), I was going to have to spend some serious time at this.
There's a quote from Michelangelo that, I believe, puts any honest artistic endeavour in the perfect perspective...
“If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn't call it genius. ”
In one rather self-deprecating and unexpected admission, Michelangelo gives any striving artist hope. You too can create a masterpiece, if only you are willing to put in the time and effort it requires.
And so I committed myself to writing. I didn't just want to write a good book (and hopefully sell a few copies). I wanted to find my own style of writing and master it!
With this daunting decision behind me, I then proceeded to edit through that 120,000 word manuscript more than twenty times! Literally! And yet I still wasn’t happy with the result. The story was great and the series had so much potential, but the writing just wasn’t good enough. So I gave up on ‘fixing’ my first novel and decided to write something entirely different.
And thus it was that 'Jupiter – Illusions of faith' was born.
Jupiter was meant to be more a fun distraction than a serious novel, but the more I got into it, the more I enjoyed what I was creating. And, low and behold, all that time I’d spent editing my first novel had crafted me into a much better writer.
At this point, I should probably mention that I had (and still have) a day job. After finishing my Honours degree, I was lucky enough to snag employment (like all good Canberrans) in the public service, working for the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Getting my mind around statistics was certainly no big deal after studying insane levels of algebra and calculus at Uni (although don't ask me to remember any of it now), but the process of understanding and interpreting statistics is another matter entirely. It was here that I discovered a talent for public speaking and explaining complex concepts, like statistics, in plain English.
This talent I believe comes from my mother, Mary, who is incredibly empathic. She chose to be a stay-at-home Mum (making my siblings and I all incredibly lucky) and only started her career in pastoral care once we'd been raised and my father had retired. In spite of her somewhat late start, Mary has become invaluable to the pastoral care community and is currently in high demand not only as a pastoral carer, but as a supervisor and teacher as well, educating others in effective ways to work in this emotionally demanding and yet vital part of end-of-life care.
Thanks to the useful mix of genes I received from my Mother and Father, my communication skills improved naturally as I toiled in my day job, and after incorporating all the feedback I received from close friends and family, I finally found the writers voice that had eluded me for so long.
That was a very good day in the life of Kynan Waterford, believe me.
And so, after editing through Jupiter many times and even paying for a full copy edit (not cheap for such a large novel, I can tell you), I then used this newfound voice to write three more stand alone novels and finally reached a point where I felt ready to share what I'd been working so hard to create with the world.
Which brings me to today, when my foray into self-publishing has finally begun!
As you can imagine, this is an incredibly exciting moment, but what has surprised me more than anything is how much fun it has been creating all the free extra content that I'll be using to market my books (e.g. short stories, book trailer animations, videos). It’s amazing how much easier it is to write a short story when you’re used to writing entire novels!
What comes next for me and my writing career is now up to people like you, who have bothered to come to my website and even read through this blog. If enough people appreciate what I do and are willing to pay a small amount for the entertainment and enjoyment it provides, I might even be able to quit my day job one day.
So thank you sincerely for your interest and I hope you have found this peek into my life interesting and, above all, that you enjoy the fruits of my many years of labour.
Whatever happens, I know I'll be writing till I die. I have so many more 'cool' ideas rattling round in my head and in this rapidly changing world that we all live in, there seems to be a new scientific breakthrough every other day, so I highly doubt I'll ever run out of inspiration.
If you have any questions about my life, or my books, please go to the Contact page and ask away. Who knows, you might even get your question answered in a video!
And now, just because, I'd like to finish with another quote from Michelangelo that will forever be relevant.
“I'm still learning. ”
Thank you for reading.