Friday, June 20, 2008

Tiny Posts

So I haven't posted in--yikes. Been working on getting novel two done by summer's end, turning it over to my amazingly patient editor at St. Martin's. The bigger reason for no posts is this: I tend to write full-fledged essays that drain all my writing energy. So, the solution: more updates and posts will mean smaller posts. Maybe the occasional 1000-word outburst, but mostly little bitty ones. So here's the news lately:

I'm finally going to get to be what I've been working toward for too many years. Only my quest to be an Author has gone on longer. In two months, I begin my first tenure-track gig as a creative writing professor at Eastern Kentucky University. It's been a long haul toward this day, and I'm glad to be settling down with EKU and in a small city called Richmond, 2o miles south of Lexington, Kentucky. It's no Atlanta, but I won't miss the traffic and the heat. Plus, there's always Lexington when I get a hankering for big city life.

EKU has just started a low-residency MFA program for creative writing, and I know it's going to be a monster success. They've hired three new writers--myself, Julie Hensley and R. Dean Johnson--to join stellar poet Young Smith in this new program. Not everybody's down with the idea of trucking off to school to learn to write for a stretch of years, so low-res might be the answer (if you choose to go the MFA route at all). EKU's program is particularly affordable, and you can do almost the whole thing from the comfort of your own home. Plus, you'll get a chance to imbibe the wit and wisdom of my colleagues and myself. Just saying.

Bought my first house--an older, but spacious (five bedroom) crib overlooking a beautiful rolling hill. It's even got one of those ubiquitous Kentucky horse fences in the backyard, though no horses. My favorite parts of the house are the wet bar in the living room and the office in the garage, perfect to set up shop for writing. Luckily, the wet bar in not in the office. That, as you know, is an occupational hazard for writers. Home ownership's no picnic, but I've been renting for fourteen years, and this is long past due.

I'm also thrilled to report that this week I joined the ranks of a few dozen talented and lucky-ass writers who are represented by super-agent David Hale Smith of DHS Literary. Friends kept recommending him, I sent him my stuff, he claims he loved it, and the rest is history. His clients and my pals Theresa Schwegel, Duane Swierczynski (some day I'll learn to spell that without having to look it up), and J.D. Rhoades can't say enough good things about him, so I'm happy to join the party.

David is also the agent for the elusive and massively talent writer Boston Teran, whom I've never met or even seen a picture of. Frankly, I'm skeptical he exists, though somebody wrote an unbelievably dark and compelling novel called God is a Bullet under his name (not to mention three other novels). I picked it up after a few readers compared my Pyres to that novel, and I must say the comparison is much too kind to my book. More on that some other day.

God is a Bullet
will apparently be a movie next year, directed by Nick Cassavetes, son of one of my favorite directors of all time, John Cassavetes. I have to admit I've not been a huge fan of Nick's work as of yet (i.e. The Notebook), but he's also not trying to be his dad by any stretch of the imagination. He's rumored to be directed the upcoming Captain America feature, for goodness sakes. At any rate, I hope Nick will find a way to do justice to Teran's brilliant material.


Chad Simpson said...

I started reading Pyres last week, and I'm two-thirds of the way through it. I loved that scene (around page 180) between Luc and Mason so much that I read it three times. About to go read more for a few hours while I also watch the Cubs take on the Sox.

I was visiting the Amazon page for Pyres and saw the comparison to Teran and have to admit I became intrigued by the guy. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, and I spent more than a few minutes tracking down what info on him I could.

As for Cassavetes...Don't tell me the ending of The Notebook didn't make you tear up. I didn't love the movie by any means, but I did think it was pretty moving at the end.

Maybe I shouldn't have admitted that.

Brett Battles said...

Congratulations on the new gig!!! And the house! How cool is that? I know you're going to have tremendous success there at EKU.

Derek Nikitas said...

Chad--yes, Mr. Teran seems to be elusive. The name would have to be a pseudo, I'd imagine. Whether he's a known writer in other contexts, I wonder. Even the story behind the "real life" events that inspired God is a Bullet are shrouded in mystery. I'm reminded of the real life events that inspired Fargo. Ahem. If all of Teran's bio is true, then he's serious business, and I'm all the more impressed.

Okay, time for my own admission: I've never watched one minute of The Notebook. I just hate it on principle. That's totally shallow of me, and now I have to go watch that fucking stupid movie I haven't seen, just to make up for my judgmental attitude.

And, Brett--great to see you on my own little blog here! I'm ecstatic to be owning a house, though I know the first repairs I have to do or pay or myself will put a damper on that honeymoon.

I ought to say--for the five or six of you reading this--that Brett's pulse-pounding sequel to his debut thriller The Closer (not to be confused with the two movies by the same name) comes out in a few days. It's called The Deceived, and it's getting great reviews everywhere. Starred review in Booklist. Check that bad boy out.

Derek Nikitas said...

Sorry, that's a starred review in Library Journal, not Booklist. I'm sure the Booklist review is just as stellar, though!

Patry Francis said...

Congrats on the new agent and the new house. I really related to what you said about being using up your novel-writing energy essay style blog posts, but they seem to be the only kind I know how to write.

S. Craig Renfroe, Jr. said...

Congratulations all around.