Chris Kuzneski
Photo Credit: Daniel Portnoy

Chris Kuzneski

Bio

Chris Kuzneski is the internationally bestselling author of The Secret Crown, The Prophecy, The Lost Throne, Sword of God, Sign of the Cross, and The Plantation. He grew up in Pennsylvania and now lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Chris Kuzneski

Chris Kuzneski

Books

Q&A

Chris Kuzneski’s passion for ancient Greece and how it inspired the story of The Lost Throne.

My latest thriller, The Lost Throne, is a book that I’ve been waiting to write for most of my life. And that isn’t an exaggeration.

Although I grew up in Pennsylvania, several thousand miles away from Europe, I fell in love with Greece when I was eight years old. Three decades later, I can still remember the moment when my fascination began. My classmates and I were sitting on the carpeted floor of our classroom. Our teacher Mrs Fleming was holding a large piece of yellow cardboard in her wrinkled hands. It was turned away from us, so only she could see its contents. It was like she was the guardian of an ancient secret, one that she wanted to reveal to us, but only if we proved our worth.

Gazing down at us, she asked, ‘Who can name a country older than America?’
Talk about a simple question. Remember, this was thirty years ago, back when the Cold War still raged. Other than a few African nations that none of us could pronounce, every country was older than the United States. It didn’t get much easier than this.

All of us launched our hands into the air, hoping to be the lucky student who was allowed to speak. Mrs Fleming picked someone up front, and correct answers started to flow from all corners of the room. England. Italy. China. France. Scotland. And many more. She kept calling on students until there were no more hands in the air.

Satisfied, she smiled at us and showed us the other side of the cardboard. A title was written at the top in big, bold letters. It read: ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS.

Underneath she had glued several pictures of famous archaeological sites. The Roman Colosseum caught my eye because it looked like an American football stadium. All that was missing was a green field and seventy thousand screaming fans. I recognized the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt. Even as a child, I knew what they were and where they were located.

And that’s when I saw something amazing. The Acropolis. A flat-topped rock that stood nearly five hundred feet above the city of Athens. The plateau was covered with ruins, the most impressive being the Parthenon, a massive temple honouring the Greek goddess Athena. I ignored the scaffolding that held its broken pillars in place and tried to imagine how it looked more than two thousand years ago when it was originally built.For some reason, that image always stuck with me …

Flash forward to my college graduation. I had just earned a writing degree from the University of Pittsburgh. As a gift, my parents offered to pay for a graduation trip. Most of my friends would have selected a party destination like Las Vegas or Cancun. But not me. I wanted to visit Greece. My parents and sister liked the idea so much that they decided to join me—whether I wanted them to or not!

Anyway, we had a chance to see all the major sites in Athens before exploring several islands in the Aegean Sea and the Peloponnese. We visited Delphi, Mycenae, Olympia, Sparta, and several villages along the way. It was like walking through time.
While touring the battlefields that I had read about in The Iliad, a story of my own started to form. One of fire, deception, and ancient gold. Of bloodshed and betrayal. Of modern-day soldiers and secrets from the past. Unbeknown to me, I was envisioning the first draft of The Lost Throne.

It would take more than a decade for this story to evolve into a novel.But in my mind, it was well worth the wait.

For more information on Chris and his books go to www.chriskuzneski.com.



Thinking of becoming a writer? Read about Chris Kuzneski’s rise to fame

Chris by Chris

I grew up in Indiana, Pennsylvania, with my parents and three siblings. As a fourth-grader, I wrote my first book, The Monster Cookbook, a work of fiction that detailed the culinary and nutritional needs of a dozen creatures that I’d created. The school’s librarian was so impressed that she had it hardbound and placed in the school’s library with all the books that my classmates enjoyed reading. Unbeknownst to her, a career in writing was born.

I attended Indiana High School, where I was voted Class Clown of my senior class, and anchored the line of a team that won back-to-back championships. I continued my football career at the University of Pittsburgh – playing with the future NFL stars Tony Siragusa, Jeff Christy, Mark Stepnoski, Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward, Marc Spindler and many others – while working on my BA in writing. Unfortunately a freak foot injury ended my athletic career. (That, and a severe lack of talent.)

While studying at Pitt, I wrote for The Pitt News, the Indiana Gazette, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, eventually earning my BA in writing and my MA in teaching. From 1992 until 1998, I taught English and coached football in two western Pennsylvania school districts and was selected to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. But in my mind, I still wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a writer. So I quit my job and took a leap of faith…

I finished my first book, The Lesson, in 1999 and was confident it would get me noticed. Alas, I was only half-right. My 1000-page monstrosity did get me noticed by several agents – just not in a good way. Their advice? Write a second book and make it 600 pages shorter. Otherwise you’ll be back on cafeteria duty before you know it.

Well, I ain’t stupid. I followed their suggestions and finished The Plantation less than a year later.

I then wrote letters to many of my favourite writers, asking them to read an unpublished version of The Plantation. Amazingly, most of them agreed to do it, and before I knew it, the endorsements started rolling in – including ones from James Patterson, Lee Child and Nelson DeMille. Before long, I decided to self-publish my book, hoping it would get me enough money to pay my rent. Remarkably it did more than that….

Scott Miller, an agent at Trident Media, bought one of those self-published copies in a Philadelphia bookstore and liked it enough to email me. At the time, I had a folder with over 100 rejection letters, yet the best young agent in the business bought my book (at full price) and contacted me. Not only did I get a royalty from his book sale, but I also got the perfect agent!

In 2004, I moved from Pittsburgh to the Gulf Coast of Florida where I’ve been enjoying the sun, surf and hurricanes ever since. As of right now, I am currently single (and looking)!

For more information on Chris and his books go to www.chriskuzneski.com.

[September 2007]

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Interview with Chris Kuzneski

How long have you been a writer?Since I was old enough to hold a crayon and not try to eat it. In the fourth grade, I wrote my first book, The Monster’s Cookbook, which was filled with dozens of creatures that I’d created and what they should be fed. The school’s librarian was so impressed that she had it hardbound and placed in the library, right next to all the books I grew up reading. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Either that or a professional athlete. I ultimately chose writing because the money is so much greater and the groupies are be

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