An interview with Kenneth Kirkeby

Kenneth Kirkeby
Red Stick One

Mr. Kirkeby,

Thank you for taking your time for me ~

Who are influences?

My influences early on were mainly Robert Ruark and Hemingway. Both were unique with very different styles but they had one thing in common -- they were NOT outdoorsmen who wrote, they were writers who loved the outdoors. That made the difference.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first short story as a freshman in High School. It won $5 in the short story contest. The best part was hearing the gasps from the smart kids in the audience who always won everything. They didn't even know who I was yet I beat them at something!

How do you come up with your stories, characters, names, POV, etc.?

I've only published two novels so it takes me a long time. It all starts with a character. I spend a great deal of time thinking about that character until he begins to take on a life of his own. The stronger the character the better he'll lead me.

If you could actually meet one of your characters, who would it be? Why?

I'd most like to meet Virgil Cleary, the protagonist in Red Stick One. He's not only very interesting but a great guy!

Do you work from an outline?

I don't use an outline, just many, many notes. I have stuff written all over the place on scraps of paper and it's a total mess yet there's a weird order to it. When I write I don't always know where I'm going but I try to stay out of my character's way.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel(s).

In The Tournament my favorite scene isn't the one everyone loves, the fight with the big marlin, it's the scene in the lighthouse with Jim and Inez. I like it because I think I handled it well. In Red Stick One I like the part where Virgil is delirious due to his wounds and has to walk out of the wilderness mountain area. I don't think anything like it has ever been done. It was difficult to write but I'm happy with it.

Can you tell me a little about your writing philosophy?

My writing philosophy is pretty simple -- write what you know the truest way you can. Simply but not easy!

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?

Again, I've only published two novels but they are very different. The Tournament is a first person, highly reflective narrative about the lost love of a woman, yet it's setting is a festive blue marlin tournament. The theme is man against himself, not man against fish. Red Stick One, written in the third person, is an adventure/thriller. It's clearly man against man.

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?

Mostly, writing is a lonely, tedious process. You get brief, wonderful flashes of inspiration but they are followed by the long mechanics of carving it out. Some stretches you really luck out and they come easier but, usually, it's a very difficult process for me.

Do you listen to music as you write?

I sometimes listen to music during the rewriting. Classical, mostly.

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Again, thank you for taking your time for me. Would you care to add anything Mr. Kirkeby?

I'll say this to sum everything up the best way I can. I began to write because I know what I liked to read. I continue to write because I believe the world actually needs my stories. My job is not only to bring you a compelling story, it is to bring it to you in a unique, compelling way. I want you to look forward to opening that book again and jump back into that story. I want you with me.

Thank you!


Kenneth Kirkeby & Pesty

Visit Kenneth Kirkeby

 Red Stick One
available on Amazon

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