What inspired you to become an author?
Iâve always wanted to write, although I didnât understand writers did so as a profession until I was 11 or 12 years old. I guess m inspiration was how much I loved losing myself in a book; I wanted to be able to provide that for other people.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My two published works are both memoirs, and in both I have an open, story-telling style. Iâm not yet certain if I have a specific style for writing fiction. I guess Iâll figure that out in the next few years.
Do you write in different genres?
I write fiction, satire, non-fiction, and memoir. The non-fiction Iâve written professionally is all related to economics and markets, and requires a very different skill set than the writing Iâve done on my own.
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
I donât have a favorite genre, which might be surprising when you consider the only books Iâve published under my own name are memoirs. But my favorite writing involves humor, whether itâs over-the-top, satire, or dark sarcastic humor. Even in my memoirs I try to spread a decent amount of humor. Laughter keeps us young.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
I was commuting home from work, and listening to a Crosby, Stills, and Nash CD in the car. Listening to the song Helplessly Hoping, I recognized how it seemed to capture the same sort of resignation and sadness that I felt through the worst parts of my marriage. It became clear that I needed to make that the title.
Do you title the book first or wait until after itâs complete?
I may have a title in mind, but I donât choose a final title until after a book is complete. You never know exactly where the writing will take you, and I think itâs better to be open to all possibilities.
If this book is part of a seriesâ¦what is the next book? Any details you can share?
If you consider âbooks about my lifeâ a series, this would be Part 2 in reverse order. Part 3 was my first book Itâs Their House; Iâm Just a Guest. Part 1 would therefore be the story of my childhood and my family. The placeholder title for that book has always been The Screaming Adventures of the Whining Kent Pigs, but I imagine a different title will develop as I work on the book. Even as children, we found humor in just about everything. When my brothers and sisters get together, we swap stories and laugh our heads off.
What book are you reading now?
Iâm usually reading more than one book at a time. Right now Iâm rereading Watership Down and Iâve just started a biography of Clara Bow.
What books are in your to read pile?
The top of the pile has Gorman Bechardâs Good Neighbors, Walter Isaacsonâs biography on Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Sullivanâs Age of Myth, and Ben Bovaâs Mars. Iâm afraid to look further down the pile, because Iâd start to realize how long some of them have been there.
What books/authors have influenced your life?
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. has been my biggest influence; once I read Catâs Cradle I read every book of his I could find. Stephen King and Robert Adams were also favorites in my early teenage reading years. And it was Robert Graysmith who taught me that sometimes real life is scarier than anything you could possibly make up.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. His writing style was so simple, but so magical at the same time. And through him I realized you could write about things you have experienced and still make it engrossing and entertaining. The only question was how much imagination to add to a story. I should also mention that Stephen Kingâs On Writing is the best book about how to write that Iâve ever read.
Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?
The songs that play in my head are generally ones I associate with Mara and the time we spent together. I donât know how significant they would be to anyone else, or if they truly represent the book. Nearly any song my Journey or Styx could be included, as they were Maraâs favorite bands. Most of the songs Mara loved to listen to were either love songs, or songs of yearning and loss. She had a real appetite for the melancholy.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
Possibly my passion for animals. Iâve been a Executive Producer or Associate Producer on a number of films, but the two I am most proud of are the documentary A Dog Named Gucci (2015) and the upcoming film Seniors â A Dogumentary. Gucci was about animal abuse, and the fight to get the laws changed throughout the country. Seniors is a much happier documentary, exploring the wonder of senior dogs, and explaining why people should consider them when looking to adopt a dog. Theyâve got so much love left to give, and itâs a shame they are overlooked as often as they are.
When youâre not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
Iâve been involved in the Diplomacy hobby for quite a number of years. Diplomacy is a seven-player game that avoids the random aspects of dice or cards. The game combines the tactics of a map board with the skill of negotiating with other players. Iâve published various amateur Diplomacy newsletters since 1989, and currently serve as Lead Editor of Diplomacy World, a quarterly online magazine which is the flagship publication of the Diplomacy hobby.
I also love to cook and bake, although I donât do as much of either as I once did. When you cook for one some dishes simply arenât as feasible as others.
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
Iâll continue to compile notes for the memoir I mentioned earlier, The Screaming Adventures of the Whining Kent Pigs. In the meantime, Iâve just started working on a crime/suspense novel, and there are a few small-budge horror scripts Iâve been toying with.
Helplessly HopingDouglas Kent
Date of Publication: May 8, 2020
ISBN: 979-8641132112 (Paperback)
ASIN: B088CQZSD8 (Kindle)
Word Count: 114,000
Cover Artist: Shawn Burkett
Tagline: When Love is All You Have Left
High school sweethearts Mara and Douglas are young and in love, but theyâre about to discover that the nightmares of the past have a way of haunting us in the present. Together they will face the demons of Maraâs childhoodâ¦but will either of them get out alive?
A true and hauntingly candid look into the tragedy of sexual abuse and mental illness, and the struggle to stay afloat when everything seems hopeless.
One night we were lying in bed watching television. As a general rule at this stage, I would fall asleep hours before Mara would. Sheâd stay up until 2am or later watching television, unable to sleep, and instead would sleep until 10am or later in the morning, waking up only for a moment to take the handful of pills Iâd give her before leaving for work.
Mara had been strangely quiet all evening, neither laughing at the TV nor complaining of any discomfort. I rolled over, gave her a kiss goodnight, and started to settle in to fall asleep. At that point, Mara reached back and opened her own bedside drawer, pulling out the Bowie knife and showing it to me.
âTonight, when you are sleeping,â she said in an emotionless monotone, âI am going to stab you to death.â
âOkay,â I replied calmly. âAnd why would you want to do that? Did I do something wrong?â
âNo, but Iâm tired of living. And if I kill you, I wonât have a reason to live anymore. So I will be free to kill myself. And thatâs what I am going to do. Iâm sorry, but I just canât take it anymore. And I donât want to kill myself and leave you behind to deal with the guilt and the mess.â
I could actually see the warped logic of what she was telling me. But I didnât know what to do, or what to say. Life had been dragging us both down, and for a long time Iâd had no hope of things getting any better. At any rate, I was tired too, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And I felt completely helpless in my life. I didnât see how anything would ever really get better. Sure, there would be better days and worse days, but the trend was set: downwards.
I rolled over on my side and faced away from Mara. I didnât want to look at her. I just put my head down on the pillow, said âI love you,â and closed my eyes. Death has always been a huge fear for me; trying to fathom the concept of nonexistence makes me shake all over, and when that happens, I have to snap out of that quickly. I knew Mara was serious, and I felt fairly certain she would follow through with her plan. But in my state of misery, it didnât matter. The fear of death, and the thought of that knife plunging in and out of my body, barely moved the needle. I simply didnât care any longer. In only a few minutes I was asleep.
About the Author:
Born in Danbury, CT, Douglas Kent now makes his home in the Dallas, TX area with his two black cats. While he still dabbles in fiction and satire, his published works have focused on personal experiences in the form of memoirs.
He is also an avid supporter of independent film and music, and a lifelong animal lover.