Monday, January 12, 2015

Interview with Darin Kennedy, author of The Mussorgsky Riddle - January 12, 2015

Please welcome Darin Kennedy to The Qwillery as part of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Interviews! The Mussorgsky Riddle is published by Curiosity Quills Press on January 12, 2015. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Darin a very Happy Publication Day!

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Darin:  It was summer, 2003. I was stuck in a MIG hangar in northern Iraq during Operation: Iraqi Freedom with nothing to do but eat, sleep, keep our soldiers in good shape (I was an Army Doc - think Hawkeye from MASH with a little bit of Winchester), and work out. I had always wanted to write a book, so I did.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Darin:  I'm a plantser. I always map out the plot of my story in my head, but I don't write it down until I'm well into the story and I need to make sure the dates and days don't get messed up. Honestly, discovery writing is one of the most fun parts of the whole thing.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Darin:  Finding the time to do it. Being a family practice doctor is 50+ hours a week and pretty mentally exhausting. I write when I have the time and energy.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Darin:  I grew up on Tolkien, love Stephen King (Dark Tower, especially), want to be Neil Gaiman.

TQ:  Describe The Mussorgsky Riddle in 140 characters or less.

Darin:  It's about a 13 year old boy who is lost inside his own mind and the psychic that's got to go in there and find him.

TQ:  Tell us something about The Mussorgsky Riddle that is not in the book description.

Darin:  It contains elements of two of my favorite classical pieces, Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky and Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Mussorgsky Riddle?

Darin:  Honestly, I was reading the back of the CD case of Pictures at an Exhibition, looked at the titles of the various movements and thought simply, "Hey. Those are chapter titles..."

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Mussorgsky Riddle?

Darin:  I scoured the internet for information on Modest Mussorgsky, his inspiration Viktor Hartmann, Pictures at an Exhibition in all its incarnations, Scheherazade, as well as many other more mundane things to establish appropriate verisimilitude.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Darin:  The easiest? Baba Yaga. She is so delightfully wicked that I had fun generating every word that came out of her iron-toothed mouth. As for the hardest, likely Mira herself. The whole book is done in first person present tense POV from Mira's point of view. I often wondered if I was pulling off an authentic female voice. I've been assured by many female friends who have read it that I succeeded, but I sweated that issue often as I wrote this book.

TQ:  Which question about your novel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Darin:  I have been advised by my attorney not to answer this question as I may incriminate myself, or introduce a spoiler into this fine interview. ;-)

TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Mussorgsky Riddle.

"Before I can complete the thought a maelstrom of color envelopes me. Vivid and bright, muted and pastel, light and dark, the entire spectrum flies at me, a tidal wave of prismatic light. If there’s a place rainbows go when they die, it’s here. Everything and everyone fades away in the flood of color and I am alone."

TQ:  What's next?

Darin:  Up until a couple of weeks ago, I thought this story was over, had even started writing another book, when it suddenly hit me what happens next. To anyone who falls in love with Mira, I have just started new for you. Now, let's see what happens...

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Darin:  Thank you for having me! This was a blast!

The Mussorgsky Riddle
Curiosity Quills Press, January 12, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 350 pages

Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.

About Darin

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq.

His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel.

Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @DarinKennedy


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