Author Spotlight: Kendall Coppola
We welcomed Kendall Coppola to the author spotlight this month. Kendall Coppola is a New Zealand author, based in Auckland. He loves creative projects; writing novels and screenplays, videography, and photography. His debut book, ‘Two Years till Thursday: True Stories from a Truly Hopeless Romantic’, came out in December 2021. When he isn’t writing or working on creative projects, Kendall loves to play piano, skateboard and watch films.
Tell us about how you first started writing?
Kendall started writing in his teens, and firstly pursued writing screenplays. He got straight into longform screenplays, because at that point he had limited understanding of short films. At this stage he was encouraged by great feedback from school teachers. Slowly, in the last few years his focus has been shifting towards prose.
What inspires you to write/drives your stories?
Kendall enjoys writing in a number of different genres. Though the genres may be vastly different, in each of his projects he finds immersing himself in the character’s world and using character driven methods to be most interesting to him. He is inspired by the people in his life and his own personal aspirations which drives him to write. Kendall often writes about very driven and motivated characters, because he feels a connection with these types of people. Occasionally he will read a book or watch a film and find unanswered questions, or see opportunities for plotlines that weren’t taken which drives him to answer the question of what if this had happened instead?
How do you juggle writing with study/work/your other creative projects?
Kendall admits to not having a big social life. Instead he works his social life into his creative projects to find a balance. Whether they’re actors or other creators, he finds that when your interests and goals are aligned you can have fun and socialize at the same time as working on your craft. He also makes a conscious choice to prioritize his writing—Kendall knows how hard it is to finish a project, and keeping to a schedule is important to completing his work. As always, balancing creative projects with life events is a never-ending challenge.
When did you decide to pursue writing more seriously and start thinking about getting your books/screenplays published?
Kendall never writes anything because he thinks someone would like to read it. He always writes when he feels driven to write the story, and when it feels important for him to get a story on paper. It’s only after that he considers marketability—he doesn’t believe that he is entirely unique and figures there is someone out there who is also going through similar experiences. Authenticity is important to him.
Tell us about your novel, Two Years till Thursday.
It didn’t start out as a book, Kendall recalls. It was more like a series of diary entries and collating experiences. The book is a collection of short stories that all have a similar ‘hopeless romantic’ theme. While he wouldn’t categorize it as a memoir, as it’s not his life story, it is an anthology of stories about Kendall’s own past romantic failures, captured in a self-deprecating style of humor.
Tell us about your publishing journey.
Kendall went through the self-publishing route, specifically publishing to Amazon KDP. There’s always a learning process in editing, proofing, finding a cover and uploading your work, but for most part he didn’t find this too tricky. He admits to not having actively marketed the book so far yet—he is currently more focussed on completing some of his other projects which he sees as having more marketing potential. Sarah pointed out that sometimes creating a backlist can be a marketing tool in and of itself.
What is your writing process? Plotter/Pantser?
Kendall is more of a pantser than a plotter. He has a very rough idea of where things are headed, but prefers to ‘just go with it’ rather than make any sort of plan or outline. He doesn’t like planning too far ahead because he finds with the way he writes, his characters become more fleshed out with every scene. So, planning further ahead may make a character’s choices seem inappropriate or inauthentic. He tries to put in about thirty to forty-five minutes per day to get the words down, and tends to write in a very linear way, one chapter at a time.
How have you found writing scripts versus writing novels?
Kendall finds prose more liberating than script, as it is easier to insert flashbacks, and relate intimately with character thoughts. There is also less limitations around things like budgeting for films and being confined by the parameters of what’s possible. In a novel, anything is possible. In a way this makes screenplays challenging and exciting from a different perspective—you have to use different elements like setting, costume, production design etc in order to convey a mood or feeling that shows something about the character and the situation.
Other projects on the horizon?
Kendall has a contemporary fiction book waiting in the wings, and one novel he is currently working on. However he may publish his current project first, as he feels it may be better suited to the current market, and includes more character diversity. He also has a short film that he is currently shooting, and a number of other smaller projects.
Two Years Till Thursday: True Stories from a Truly Hopeless Romantic is now available on Amazon.
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