When Kevin Ikenberry learned he would be my Friend Friday subject this week, his response was, “Who, me?”
I understand why. Kevin is a great guy, and I always enjoy his company, but we probably only interact (online or in person) a few times a year.
But while I might not be talking to him that often, I’m always watching him. And learning.
First, Kevin is the real deal. I write science fiction stories with orbits and trajectories, and I try to make them plausible. Kevin calculated orbits and trajectories for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Command. (He has since retired.) If Kevin tells me I got it wrong, I’m gonna believe him.
Second, I don’t know if it’s his Army training or if it’s the secret of his Army success, but Kevin is driven. He has always impressed me with how he pursues his writing career. Constantly learning, constantly working, constantly finding new challenges. He works not just at the writing itself, but also at the business, and at strategies for growth and marketing. He has good humor, but he’s 100% serious about the work.
And that determination has paid off. He’s building his career, one achievement at a time. Besides his Protocol War series and his military science fiction novel Runs in the Family, he has a number of other works. And his determination led to two opportunities to work in established worlds that he loves: Vessel in Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga, and Friends in High Places in the G.I. Joe series. These aren’t the sort of projects that will make a writer famous, but some projects you do for the love.
My personal favorite of Kevin’s works is one of his short stories, Shipminds and Ice Cream. It uses a couple of familiar SF tropes to explore issues of family, aging, and loss. It’s very moving.
Kevin is in this business for the long haul. He’s thinking about more than just the moment, with a focus on his long-term career. He takes his time to evaluate a deal, rather than just grab the first thing that comes along.
And lastly, Kevin is supportive of the community. He teaches. He encourages. He helps. He’s part of multiple workshops, including now being a guest instructor at the incredible Superstars Writing Seminars.
So yes, Kevin, you. You inspired me last week without even knowing it, so I’m proud to share your story.