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Jan 8

The Next Big Thing Interview Meme, Kenyon Style

Posted on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 in Featured Friends of Will, Writing and Writers

Just before Christmas I was asked by my friend, the illustrious poet and novelist Collin Kelley, to take part in a self-interview meme called The Next Big Thing. The idea is to talk about your current or forthcoming book using a pre-determined set of questions. You also have to tag other bloggers/writers to take part in the meme. Blog memes used to be commonplace back before I was on anybody’s radar, but since blogging has dropped off a bit they don’t come around as often. I was pretty happy to take part in this one - fun stuff to think about, even if some of it’s a bit silly. Anyway, here’s my answers and you’ll see whom I’ve tagged at the end.

What is the title of your book? The Survivor of San Guillermo

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A plot involving a newly invented time machine sends several people back to various points in history, each of them vying to alter the future in some way: some go to a day just before World War II and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, while others go back to the 1860s during the peak of the American Civil War.

What genre does your book fall under? Several actually: science fiction/Weird West/Western/historical fiction.

Where did the idea come from for the book? My wife challenged me to write a murder mystery, and at the time I was watching a lot of Sergio Leone movies. The book started out as a murder mystery with a Western setting. Then it blew up.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 17 months exactly.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? Sergio Leone, my wife Aida, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and a book titled Day of Deceit, which presupposes that FDR knew about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor and let it happen for political reasons. I don’t believe that, but the notion of the book is fascinating.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Agency.

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre? Stephen King’s Dark Tower comes to mind. So does some lighter historical fiction I’ve read over the years.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? I first finished the book back in 2001, so a lot of the people I envisioned while I was writing have aged too much. Looking at current actors and actresses who fit the bill, I’d say Thom Reynolds could be played by Gerard Butler or Hugh Jackman. Japanese actress Kyoko Fukada (from the original Ringu II movie) looks exactly like Haruko Matani. Olivia Munn is spot on for Lucy Baghdadlian. Idris Elba could play Ray Easley. And for the bad guy, Martin Evenson, I’d say Tom Felton, he of Draco Malfoy fame.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The book is part of a trilogy, and throughout the story, several real people from history make appearances. In this first book, there’s Henry Slocum, who was one of General Sherman’s top men, there’s Larry McCutcheon, whom most agree was the first casualty of the attack on Pearl Harbor, there’s Admiral Husband Kimmel, the man in charge of the fleet at Pearl Harbor, and Ronald Reagan, former President of the U.S.

I’ve tagged Todd Wiley, Elaine Calloway, and Eric Sasson to keep this going.

Sep 7

Someone Asked For it: My Summation of Dragon*Con 2012

Posted on Friday, September 7, 2012 in Games and Gaming, Ramblings, Reviews

It’s Friday and I think I have all of the Con Crud out of me. I’ve also had time to organize my thoughts regarding this year’s Dragon*Con. I also didn’t sleep ’til noon today.

All of that is to say I’m ready to tell you the highlights of Will Kenyon’s Dragon*Con 2012.

1) THE CROWDS. I was having breakfast with two good friends (and partners in crime at the Con) Wednesday, when one of them - Eddie - asked if my concerns about the noise and chaos had been justified. I’d expressed some trepidation, you see, about how prohibitive the massive crowds were to getting around, and how the constant noise level could make even a social animal like me look for silence and solitude. Here’s my wishy-washy answer, and little factoid for you: Yes, the crowds got on my nerves. But no, not as badly as I anticipated and not as much as last year. You see, this year the Con and the host hotels were much more strict about letting people without badges or hotel room keys into the hotels themselves.

That means there was likely more than 10,000 potential onlookers - people who wandered in off the streets to goggle at the costumes - who were NOT in the walkways, nor crowding the bars, nor taking photo ops in the middle of high traffic areas.

And you could feel the difference. Sure it was still an adventure to cross from the Hilton to the other side of the Marriott Marquis. But you could do it, and in decent enough time, too. (As a side note, the elevator wait times were down, too - less party crashers hitting buttons for every floor.)

My friend Jay, who works for the Hilton, seems to think there were probably less incidents which required a visit from the police, because the “football” crowd couldn’t come in. Of course, this reflects poorly, but I think accurately, on a certain type of football fan. (I’m sure you’re not that kind of person, dear reader who happens to like American football.)

2. THE DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL. This is not to say that the crowds didn’t get to me. Au contraire. On Saturday morning in particular I had to fight them, and I almost gave up and just went back to the gaming pit. You see, I had decided to go to the Decatur Book Festival that morning to visit my friend Jason Snape and to hear my friend Collin Kelley read. I’d neglected to take into consideration the parade, however. So it was that I found myself a salmon swimming upstream - one guy trying to get AWAY from Dragon*Con while literally THOUSANDS of people were converging ON IT. Add to that the problems MARTA was having (don’t get me started on MARTA tonight)….

I got to Decatur an hour and a half later - sweaty, hot, and irritable. I was too late for Collin’s reading, so I just hung out with Snape until I was less sweaty and irritable. And until I thought the parade crowds had dispersed back to the suburbs. Then I headed back.

3. GAMES. All in all, I played a lot less games than I usually do. My trip to Decatur took up over half of Saturday, and being tour guide for my friend Eric Sasson took a chunk out of Sunday. And being an old man now, I only stayed up until 3 a.m. one time. ONE TIME.

Unbelievable, I know.

I did get in games of: Runewars, Shogun, 7 Wonders, Dominion, Twilight Imperium, Al Hambra, Dreadfleet (fully painted!), Lord of the Rings LCG, Mage Knight, and Deadwood.

I didn’t play (and I wanted to): A Game of Thrones, War of The Ring, Battlestar Galactica, and Descent 2.0.

4) PICTURES. People have requested pictures from me, because Dragon*Con IS an opportunity to see some pretty amazing and amusing costumes. Unfortunately, I’m not much of a picture taker, and after 14 straight years of going to the Con, I’m rarely amazed - not because the costumes aren’t still amazing, but that I’m jaded. So I don’t take many pics. My friends DO, however, and I’m in the process of combing their Facebook pages for the best ones. I’ll compile them, resize them and post them as a gallery in the next couple of days. So look for them. As a teaser, there’s one at the top of this post… Avengers Assemble!

Jul 24

Collin Kelley’s Remain In Light

Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Featured Friends of Will, Reviews, Writing and Writers

Almost three years ago I posted a review of local poet and LGBT champion Collin Kelley’s first novel, Conquering Venus. Ordinarily, I’d link back to that review, but I’m not going to this time. Why? Because it’s not relevant anymore. That was three years ago, and the way I feel about that book has changed enough that the review doesn’t matter. If you want to go digging for it, feel free, but you’d be better off just reading this - I’ll clarify my repositioning on Conquering Venus in this review, in light of having read the sequel, Remain In Light.

Conquering Venus came out to mostly glowing reviews, and my reviews and attention to the book were mostly positive as well. Retrospectively, I think some of that praise might have been premature -  for reasons I suppose I now have to explain. First, though, let me assure you that the impending praise I’m about to give Remain In Light is highly deserved - with this follow-up, Collin has given us a book that deserves as much if not more attention than current books of similar pacing, style, and genre.

Despite my ex post facto misgivings, two things make Conquering Venus a unique and worthwhile book. One is Collin’s acumen as a poet. The other is his position in the local gay community as an adamant and prolific messenger, diplomat, and champion.

Unfortunately, those two things also contribute to the problems Conquering Venus has as well. First, Collin had some difficulty, I think, in transforming the powerfully metaphoric and sonorous language that makes him such a talented poet into the precise and practical language often required in prose. Sometimes his artful phrasing added beautiful layers to his scenes, as with the Prologue, (you can listen to him read it here). Other times - many times - scenes got muddied, became unclear.

Second, and this is just circumstance - it reflects less on the author than it does the world in which we live - the subject matter simply proved unwieldy for people who are not in or deeply sympathetic to the LGBT community. That, BTW, does not include me - I am and for many years have been a staunch ally of my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender peers.

Still, and I am loathe to admit this, but the incontrovertible fact is: if you are not a member of the LGBT community or an ally thereof, you might not find much in Conquering Venus to identify with. It’s a sad fact, but it’s true: although the feelings and angst that protagonist Martin Paige and his lover David experience are indeed universal, and ought to transcend boundaries, we live in a society that finds it difficult to transcend with them.

Conquering Venus was a sort of coming-of-age story, the tale of two boys who need to grow past certain things and become men. It’s filled with all the pathos and emotional upheaval you’d expect from any such tale. Honestly, it’s not the kind of story I gravitate toward, and for many others who do gravitate toward that kind of tale, it’s appeal is potentially lessened by their inability to find commonality with a gay couple in Paris.

Still, Conquering Venus was and is an impressive debut novel. The characters, particularly the chief protagonist of Martin and the two female leads of Irene and Diane, are thoughtful and multi-layered portraits of complex and fascinating people. And the setting of 1990s Paris is a character unto itself - you can sense in every overly poetically-phrased description Collin’s love for the City of Light and the people who inhabit it.

The strengths of Conquering Venus are present in Remain as Light as well. Martin, Irene, and Diane are back and as splendidly portrayed as ever.  The weaknesses, however, are gone.

Whereas Conquering Venus was a coming-of-age tale full of emotional circumstance, Remain In Light is a murder mystery and a thriller. The stakes aren’t astronomical here - we’re not talking government conspiracy or secret society adventures that will determine the fate of the world. But that doesn’t matter. What’s at stake is the fate of these characters, and Collin gets us so invested in what could and will become of them that we turn every page with as much interest and involvement as we would any story in a similar vein. And honestly, I care more about Martin Paige and Irene Laureux than I ever have Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, or Robert Langdon.

Finally, with this second excursion into long prose, Collin has adapted an efficient style which gives you pacing and plot in abundance, but a distinct and cohesive sense of place and time. The little ornamental trappings of poesy are still present here and there, but they add to the story now rather than distract and detract. There is also an air of mystery that drives the plot - something amorphous and enigmatic that hangs around each scene like a ghost, giving you the sensation that someone important was there before you, and that you just missed something that could change you and your perspective fundamentally.

Stronger in voice, more sublime in style, and ultimately more intriguing than its predecessor and many of  its contemporaries, Remain In Light stands as a great second entry in what Collin is calling his Venus Trilogy. It’s available now from Vanilla Heart Publishing. Get a copy here from Amazon.com.

Nov 9

Where You Can Find Me Now

Posted on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 in Featured Friends of Will, Writing and Writers

Right now, physically, I’m in my house, perched at the end of my dining room table, hovering over my laptop. (My wife wishes I’d take it upstairs to my office, but my desk is all messy and I’d have to move stuff off of it to make room.) Mentally, I’m INSIDE my laptop, writing this post. I’m also in downtown Atlanta, where a scene from a new story is unfolding in the back of my mind.

Here on the Internet, though? Well, I’m in a lot of places. More and more, in fact. You can Google me and see that, I think….

I’ve had this site now for a couple of years, and its readership has been steady and growing the whole time. You’re here now, and that’s what I’m talking about.

I’ve also been on Twitter for a while, although I’m not as prolific as some Tweeters, because I don’t use software to post for me when I’m not at the computer, I try not to be all spammy, and I don’t ever schedule what I’m going to say. The way I do it is much more organic and personal. What you see me post is really what I’m thinking about or doing. Right at that moment. If you’re interested, follow me @williamkenyon.

I also have a number of Facebook friends, and I still use Facebook even with all the recent frustrating updates. The difference for me there is that currently my Facebook friends are people I ACTUALLY KNOW. That may change in the future, especially if I get a big enough head to set up a fan page. In the meantime, if you know me and we’re not friends on Facebook, and you’re interested in hearing from me daily, then friend me.

I also recently joined Google+ to see what that’s like, and it put me in touch with a few friends of mine who aren’t on Facebook. It also put me in a position to know what Wil Wheaton was doing ever second of the day. Otherwise, though, I use it the same as Facebook.

In the wake of my recent publications, I’m trying out some other social media outlets. If you’re interested and/or if you’re on them already, then please hook up with me there.

First, I’m now officially a Goodreads author. That’s www.goodreads.com. On Goodreads, you can rate pretty much every book you’ve ever read (including my stories), see how other people rate those same books, get recommendations for things you might want to read, and actually have discussions about books. The site is a Godsend for people who like fiction. And I knew I was right at home when I saw how universally despised Silas Marner was. What were the curriculum people thinking when they made that required reading for any class?

Also, I’ve joined the Kindleboards at http://www.kindleboards.com/. All I’ve done there is introduce myself, and there’s A LOT going on there - a lot to process, sieve, and sort out. I think it’s going to be a struggle to rise above the noise there, but I have a few ideas…. And if YOU’RE there checking out what I post and say, we can keep my posts at the top of the heap. So, if you have a Kindle, let’s hook up.

And finally, as of right now, I’m occupying space on a couple of other people’s sites. At http://badgrrls.com/blog/?p=111&fb_source=message, there’s not much about me or by me that you can’t get here at willkenyon.com or by buying my stories. But since the people behind that site and I are like-minded, you might be interested in some of their stuff.

Over at http://collinkelley.blogspot.com/2011/11/five-questions-for-will-kenyon.html, Collin took some time to pick my brain, finding out the why and wherefore of what I do/what I did/what I’m doing. We had to pare it down because I rambled, but there’s a lot there. And beyond that, Collin himself has a lot to say and offer. You might be interested in that.

So that’s me. For now. I’m still perched at the end of the dining room table, but the refrigerator’s only about seven feet away. And there’s some beer inside….

Jun 7

Poets on Twitter. Revisited. Again.


I’m on Twitter. Check me out and follow me here.

OK, now that we’ve taken care of that, let me say that I am one of many, many, many, many poets on Twitter. Some of us use Twitter to promote our work. Some of us use Twitter to communicate and share with other poets like ourselves. Some of us “Tweet” poetry - using the 21st century constraint of expressing ourselves in 140 characters the way poets of past ages used other “formal” constraints - like sestinas, rhymed couplets, sonnets, even haikus - to force themselves into sieving their thoughts into tightly structured, no-nonsense pieces that say only what the poet needs to say and nothing more.

There are a lot of us out there, and we’re getting a little attention, and that’s good. But then something like this article in the NY Times comes along.

The Times went and asked four very famous poets (very famous in poetry circles, at least) to write poems that fit into the Twitter constraint. One hundred and forty characters, full of meaning. All four poets accepted the challenge, with varying levels of success.

The problem that some of us who are on Twitter every day have with this exercise is this:

1) The poets in question didn’t have Twitter accounts AT ALL at the time they wrote their “Twitter” poems. Pinsky got one a couple of days after the above article was published, but he’s only Tweeted with it 12 times as of my writing this tonight. Billy Collins actively RESISTS social media, and the other two still don’t have accounts either. And this is fine. I understand why they may not feel the need to join the social media revolution, and I have to admit that this world - of Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Bings - isn’t for everybody. And I’m GLAD that the NY Times is paying ANY attention to poets and poetry at all. But…

2) With as many poets as there ARE on Twitter, you’d think the Times would approach at least ONE poet who’s found success with social media, and let him or her join the ranks of the illustrious. I’m not saying ME - I’d be a terrible representative of Twitter poetry, since my poetry’s been kind of dry this past year and I don’t Tweet as often as I should. Still, in a highly competitive, market-driven, speculative, and often thankless profession, you’d think somebody ELSE could get cut a break. Pinsky, Collins, Alexander, and Rankine have already gotten theirs .

If you agree with me, then put your money where your mouth is and check Ocho #24 out. This is a tiny book of poetry (pictured above) put together about a year ago by my friend and colleague Collin Kelley. It contains nothing less than 38 poems by 38 poets who ALL have active and vibrant accounts on Twitter.

Yeah I’m selling something, but let’s be clear - I’m not selling ME. Below is the poem I have in the volume, so don’t go and buy it on my account. Buy it because my poem is weak compared to the other poems you’ll find in Ocho. It’s those other 37 contributors that’ll make your purchase worthwhile. Just like it’s one of them who deserved a call from the NY Times.

My poem:

Deluge

My heart would displace the ocean
Cause tidal waves to crash upon the crests of mountains
No matter how far inland you placed them

So gorged with blood and saltwater
I could erode your fields with the overflow
Ruin and drown your harvest

This surplus swells at walls that I neglect
And despite protests of the mountains and plains
I clamber at the hole that opens hugely in my chest

Feb 18

Collin Kelley: The Prologue To Conquering Venus

Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2010 in Featured Friends of Will, Writing and Writers

Last October I had the pleasure of interviewing author Collin Kelley about his new novel, Conquering Venus - which, by the by, has been nominated ALREADY for a number of prizes. When I posted that interview - which you can find here - I told you all that I would soon be posting a reading by Collin himself of the Prologue to the book, a beautiful passage that sounds so much like poetry it’s easy to see why Collin is an award-winning poet as well as burgeoning novelist.

Well, I failed. Somehow that reading slipped through the cracks, and only last week did I wake up, breathless from the dream that Collin projected into my mind, and realized my omission.

So here I rectify that error.

This is a small podcast of the Prologue to Conquering Venus by Collin Kelley. Thanks for listening. Buy the book.

 Conquering Venus Prologue:  [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/collinkelley.mp3]

Also, be sure and visit Collin’s web site to see the awards the book has been nominated for and to enjoy more of Collins’ writing.

Oct 20

Conquering Venus by Collin Kelley - A Podcast Interview with the Author

Posted on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 in Featured Friends of Will, Greatest Hits, Writing and Writers

Collin Kelley is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning novelist, poet, and playwright from Atlanta. He has three excellent volumes of poetry as well as the novel we’re talking about here under his belt, which to me makes him a formidable force among local poets and writers. He’s been a journalist for over two decades, having worked for various Georgia-based magazines and newspapers. He’s also a consummate blogger, maintaining a longstanding and popular web site at:

 http://collinkelley.blogspot.com/

It just so happens as well that Collin Kelley is my friend.

 A couple of weeks ago, I sat down with Collin across a table and a microphone and asked him some pointed questions about his new novel, its standing as a work of “Gay Literary Fiction”, his place in today’s fluctuating publishing world, and his opinion of the Star Wars prequels. I decided that our interview would be that much more interesting if you could LISTEN to it. So here it is in a podcast format.

Below, you’ll find a series of questions in a readable format, each followed by an audio track of Collin’s answer. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and that you’ll go right out and pick up a copy of Conquering Venus (or click over to Amazon to buy one). It’s both a compelling and enlightening read.

Will: I know you spent time in Europe in 1995, just like the main characters of this novel. So that leads me to think maybe some of this is autobiographical. Is it? How much of it is?

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/whatsautobiographical.mp3]

Following this question, Collin went on to share a few more words about the inspiration behind Conquering Venus and its eventual genesis:

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/cvgenesis.mp3]

Will: What do you think of the idea that authors tend to inject some of who they are into their characters, or to use episodes from their own lives in their writing?

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/charactersdrawnfromlife.mp3]

Will: You’ve hinted to an almost mystical tie which binds the main characters of Martin and Irene. To what extent did you want to “lay on” this magical realism? In your mind - regardless of the perception of your readers - is the “magic” genuine? (After his answer, I had to follow on with a question that was dear to my heart - it also helped me sneak in a Star Wars reference. Listen closely!)

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/magicalrealism.mp3]

Will: Your marketing campaign has happened in a “viral” capacity and largely on the Internet - where very little insulates you from anyone out there who might take issue with your very candid approach to gay characters. Has there been any backlash? (The answer is surprising, folks!)

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/gaybacklash.mp3]

 Will: How do you feel about the fact that the novel is distinctly labeled as “Gay Literary Fiction”?

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/gaylitfic.mp3]

Will: Do you think sales and reception of the book would have been different had it been published back when you first started trying to do so, back before the setbacks to the gay rights movement brought about by the Bush Administration?

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/bushadvent.mp3]

Will: So then… is this version very different from before?

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/newversiondiff.mp3]

Will: The publisher for Conquering Venus is Vanilla Heart. Tell us a little about them and your relationship with them.

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/aboutvanillaheart.mp3]

Will: Since the big presses are all looking for the next J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown, how do you see the role of small presses like Vanilla Heart in the future of publishing? How will it effect you and your book? (Somehow our discussion sidetracked to a discussion of electronic tools for media consumption, but I think that’s OK, because that’s part of his answer - the discussions go hand in hand.)

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/smallpress.mp3]

Will: And what does that mean for physical bookstores?

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/bookstores.mp3]

Will: You just got nominated for yet another Pushcart Prize. Tell us about the Pushcart - and how many times have you been nominated? (He hasn’t won yet - fingers crossed!)

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/pushcart.mp3]

Will: So… how’s the new book (the sequel to Conquering Venus) coming?

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/newbook.mp3]

Will: And has Vanilla Heart contracted for it yet?

Collin: [audio:http://willkenyon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/newcontract.mp3]

Conquering Venus is available NOW from Vanilla Heart publishing. The book’s available at most online stores that sell books, as well as in finer bookstores across the country. Check out Collin’s web site for more details. Also be sure and check back later this week, when I present a reading of Conquering Venus by the author himself!

Apr 6

Collin Kelley’s Conquering Venus

Posted on Monday, April 6, 2009 in Featured Friends of Will, Reviews, Writing and Writers

I finally did it. Two weeks ago, Collin Kelley sent me (and I’m sure a lot of other folks) a copy of the preview chapters for his new novel, Conquering Venus. From the time I got it, this particular post was formulating in my mind. But I didn’t want to write anything until I’d sat down with peace and quiet and actually managed to READ Collin’s chapters.

No need to list the excuses as to why it took two weeks to get to it – it just did. But I finally read them, and now I feel like it’s time to tell you about them and about Collin. Get ready, Collin, my man – here’s what I think about you in more or less a nutshell.

Available from Vanilla Heart Publishing

Available this summer from Vanilla Heart Publishing

Regarding the book itself: given the 22 pages that I read and what I gathered from the plot summary and cover blurb, my first impression was that, given the choices I have for reading, I simply wouldn’t choose this. That was, however, my FIRST impression, based on the fact that the subject matter just didn’t appeal to me.

But then I thought – wait a second: if I’d simply had a sample chapter and some liner notes of Ian McEwan’s Atonement, would I have read it? Probably not. But its nomination for the Booker Prize a few years back made me give it a whirl, and I now think Atonement is one of the best books published so far this century.

And there are many books like that – books that did not immediately appeal to me because of their subject matter, but which I read anyway for whatever reason. Books that subsequently impressed me, or even blew me away: Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge, Kay Gibbons’s Ellen Foster. More.

So it’s not fair to judge Collin’s work on his subject matter, and therefore I won’t. I also can’t reasonably say anything about how the plot and characters develop – a lot actually happened in 22 pages, but it could go anywhere from there. There’s a terrorist bombing somewhere in the book, so THAT’S certainly interesting….

What I can say is that Collin is foremost a poet, and he makes that evident in the language of his novel. I read the Prologue several times out loud, just so I could hear the way the language flowed and the way the images emerged from the words he chose. I’ve always been impressed by the way Collin can convey images and meaning without resorting to hyperbole. His metaphors and contrasts, his meter and design, have always been exquisite and original, yet relatively simple. That translates well to a modern novel, and it bodes well for Conquering Venus.

About Collin himself, I have this to say:

Given the fact that I’ve been moving around in the Atlanta literary scene for almost 10 years, I’ve encountered a lot of talented writers, and I count Collin among them. There is a LOT of talent, recognized and unrecognized, floating around this city, which I personally don’t think attends to its literary culture as well as it should.  Collin’s talent, though undeniable and plentiful, isn’t what draws me to him time and again.

What most impresses me about Collin Kelley is his tenacity and his generosity.

Tenacity:

As a writer, I have gone through periods of feverish prolific-ness, and I’ve gone through periods of utter lethargy. Now while I’m sure Collin gets burned out sometimes, and probably has lazy days just like most of us, I cannot believe that Collin has ever really STOPPED or SLOWED down. So many times, if I’ve gone to a literary event or meeting, Collin’s there. Or he’s been there. Or he’s coming. He’s like Jim Henson with the Muppets – he has a hand in everything. Also, the man’s published several volumes of poetry, won several awards, and traveled the country on countless literary errands. Now, there’s this novel to contend with, and trust me when I say that finishing a novel and getting it published is no mean feat.

I think you’d be hard pressed to find a writer in Atlanta who works harder than Collin Kelley.

Generosity:

And not just on his own career. I’ve encountered a lot of literary types who act as if the cult of “literari” is a closed circle. I’ve probably seemed like a snob to some people who tried to approach ME, and I’m sort of an everyman type – I ought to be approachable, right?

Collin shames all of us literary snobs.

He will talk to you. He will make time for you. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, he’ll stick his neck out for you. Granted, he’s probably too busy to outright guide your career, but you ought to be doing that yourself, by God.

But if you need a hand or an ear, Collin’s there. He’s been there for me before, and I’m grateful for it.

Collin Kelley’s first novel, Conquering Venus, hits shelves this summer. For updates and information, visit Collin’s web site.