Unfortunately, sometimes life can be full of misfortune. Troy Kester from Mount Torrens in the Adelaide Hills has encompassed the horrors of his own life to create Something Wicked – a fantasy novel and proactive solution to his grief. Through witches, vampires, demons and demigoddesses, Kester has created his own world where adversity is a theme, and the notion of family and its importance is explored. Three brothers, Aaron, Noah and Perry Pogue struggle against their emotional differences to find their way back to one another, to become the ultimate force of good.
After entering a writer’s competition in the local Courier, Kester has seen his day-dreams turn from scribble to print, as he continues with his own personal journey. By delving behind the pages of his created world, Kester illustrates how you can lose yourself to find yourself, and how you can discover your way back from the darkness.
Pen name: T.R. Kester
Workplace: Thomas Foods International (abattoir)
Favourite authors: J.K. Rowling, Esme Barratt
Intended audience: Young adult
Setting: Treadwell, inspired by Adelaide and Canada
Publisher: Peter Murray of Murray Books & the Publishing Academy
Congratulations on your book, how long did it take to write?
I’ve worked on 'Something Wicked' for ten years on and off. The first five years it was therapy based to help deal with my brother dying suddenly. Being in year twelve it was either study and keep focused or fall apart, so my high school counsellor said to write a journal to cope with how I was feeling, and to cope with bullies at school. My brother was twenty-six-years-old when he died, eight years older than myself, and I really looked up to him.
What drew you to the fantasy genre?
Before my brother died I would confide in him about life, bullying, adulthood and teenage-hood. He said to watch these TV shows called Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel—just so I could have a bit of an escape from reality. So it was all about escaping the horror of bullies at high school. Then when he died that is what I became obsessed with – escaping reality, so the witches, the demons, and the vampires, they all helped me to escape myself and the emotional wreck that I was.
When did most of the magic happen?
Most of my writing happened while caring for my grandmother, and being unemployed. I became her carer when she was diagnosed with dementia. I gave up my job at Kmart in West Lakes to care for her, so I would write to pass the time. After she was put into a nursing home I studied aged care, and tried to write on the side as well as study.
What inspired you to write 'Something Wicked'?
My family, and just watching how they picked up the pieces in the aftermath of my brother’s passing. My sister Melissa Kester, she is very indestructible. I want to say she is made of concrete. Maria Merlino-Chiarolli was my high school counsellor and still today is my best friend. She was the one who encouraged me to write when my brother passed away. Before Maria’s influence I never wrote and wanted to be an architect. So 'Something Wicked' wouldn’t have happened without her teaching me how to process emotions properly. Tiffany Dean and her Cosplay is another inspiration (Cosplay is when people dress up in costumes of their favourite characters from video games and TV shows), I admire that her creativity influences me as well. She is artistic and I try to rebound off of her magic. Neil Moreton, my partner, was also my backbone and really pushed me to do my best.
Are the characters based on real people?
Definitely, for example the three brothers are based on different aspects of my personality. There was a time in my life when I was Aaron – judgemental and cold. Perry who is irresponsible and lives life recklessly is the character I wish I could be more like, but know it is not in me to be. I feel I more identify with Noah because I am grounded, I am paternal, and I like to think that through my book I can help people and tell people that they can believe and achieve anything.
Is 'Something Wicked' part of a series?
I would like it to be. At the moment I am working on book two, ‘Wicked Secret.’ I want it to be like The Bold and the Beautiful in the sense that your family can still be your enemy. I am into the 17th chapter and I am thinking about, and plotting a spin-off series for a completely different character, Bermuda Pogue. She is the daughter of one of the characters, but you have to read the book to put the pieces together to see whose daughter she is, hence the title ‘Wicked secret’.
Give us an insight into your writing routine
All day I think about plots while I am at work and characters (I day-dream a lot). Then I come home, I get coffee or tea, put my ipod on with music up full-blast and then go off into my own little world and hammer away. It feels like I am reliving a past-life because I get so entranced in what I am doing and lose consciousness around me. I feel like I am living it when writing, or like I am watching what is happening like a TV show.
Tell us about the cover design
I owe it to my publisher, Peter Murray. He gave me two book covers and I went with the green. It’s certainly not what I envisioned because this book is about brothers. I imagined something masculine and handsome on the front but this threw me right off. It’s deceiving because you think it must be about a woman, but when you get inside the book it is about brothers and family. The cover is a seduction. To me the woman reminds me of the antagonist Rafaela, who is an evil Demi Goddess and turns out to be related to the brothers.
What is the most important thing you learnt through your writing?
How to channel my emotions productively. I’ve learnt how to talk to [my partner] Neil, how to interact with people better, how to channel my anger into my book. I feel I have grown through my writing to become a better person.
What else do you enjoy other than writing?
Shopping, watching supernatural TV shows, listening to Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. I love relaxing with Neil, and I feel I am finally living my life now. At twenty six I had built this fear that I was going to die because that is when my brother died. When I turned twenty six I thought I’ve outlived my brother let’s make the most of it, so I have travelled to Canada and got my book published. I also came out about being gay. I thought now it’s time to be Troy, rather than a shadow of who I could be.
Where and when can we purchase 'Something Wicked'?
I am self-publishing as well as my publisher through Herron who is a book distributor. My T. R. Kester webpage will be up-and-running soon, but in the meantime you can contact me through Facebook on my fan page and order copies via email as of this week. Like my page to keep up to date with my future book signings!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Always believe in the impossible because I thought this book would be impossible. I figured I could keep churning out the work and, like acting, I would receive a lot of no's and get my heart broken a little bit each time. When I got a yes I was like 'what?!' So always believe, sometimes life will knock you on the ass and you have to pick yourself back up, but I believe you have to go through the dark to find the light.
Join Kester at his next book signing next Saturday the 22nd & Sunday the 23rd of August, 2-4pm @ The Sanctuary Tea House, located on the ground floor of the tower building in Marion Westfield Shopping Centre.
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All images provided by Peter Murray and Leonie Dean