Please welcome author ML Kennedy to my blog. His book, 100 by 100: Stories in 100 Words, came out in August. You can purchase it on Amazon.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is ML Kennedy. I’ve written three books. The first is a road trip novella starring a vampire called The Mosquito Song. The second is a book called Thanksgiving for Werewolves and Other Monstrous Tales which is a collection of short stories anchored by a novelette featuring an independent pro-wrestler battling vampire terrorists. The third is a collection of 100 word stories called 100 by 100.
Additionally, I help run a writing group in Chicago on the South side called the Indie City Writers. We’ve held reading in bookstores, flower shops, and occasionally the basement of a grocery store. Our writers are aspiring, small press, independent or self-published authors, but there are over a hundred thousand copies of our books out there. With modern technology, there is virtually no gateway now between an author and his/her audience.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As a kid, I always wrote stories. They were usually two-page rip offs of one of the Hardy Boys Casefiles or homemade comic books starring Marvel super-heroes fighting some supervillains I made up.
I don’t know if any writer ever feels legitimate, but I did feel like I was on to something when I got an Honorable Mention in a Disney Adventures story contest back when I was eleven. Stephen King picked the winner! And now, to come full circle, I’ve seen my books next to his on bookstore shelves, though admittedly his are on many more shelves than mine.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
I generally have two or three projects going at once. I’ve been doing world-building for a cheeky fantasy series based on one of the short stories in my book Thanksgiving for Werewolves. That’s way down the pipeline.
I am also about two-thirds of the way through a first draft of a time-hopping, existential crisis, soft sci-fi novel. You know the sort of thing that is always called “Such and So’s Wife” or “Such and So’s Daughter”? Well, this time the woman gets to be the “such and so” and the men don’t get to take center stage.
How do you conceive your ideas?
I am often inspired by criticism. Critical analysis of a story, is a big muse for me. Mostly it serves as a jumping off point. For instance, I acknowledge a plot hole in a movie I’m watching. Then I think, “what would happen if the characters behaved logically in that moment instead of just doing the things they did to move the plot forward?” That would change X, Y, and Z. Then it becomes an instance where I start asking, “Well, does this character need to be this type of person?” “What if this situation were closer to mythology?” “Why hasn’t anybody done it like this?”
Then again, my first book was inspired by a road trip I’ve taken a hundred times, Penn Jillette, and a Talking Heads song. Basically, ideas are everywhere.
Please tell us about your current release.
My latest book is 100 by 100: Stories in 100 words. Just like it says on the label, it is a collection of 100 stories that are each exactly 100 words long. I was writing them for fun, and started using these 100 word stories as a gimmick for hosting readings with the Indie City Writers. They generally get a good response, so I figured I’d bundle them for the Kindle.
Most of the stories are light-hearted sci-fi, horror, and fantasy. It’s kind of amazing what you can accomplish with 100 words.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I research a little bit of everything, often for background details or stuff left in the subtext of the book. For Thanksgiving for Werewolves I researched Native American skin-walker lore, baseball, terrorism, pro-wrestling, hostage situations, and other stuff that probably put me on some NSA watch-lists.
The 100 word stories require the shallowest amount of research as there is no time for a lot of exposition. So instead of a normal research routine, I often ended up incorporating things I was reading at the time like Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, a book by drive-in aficionado Joe Bob Briggs, and Lawrence Krauss’s A Universe from Nothing.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
According to my wife, yes. She always tries to equate my characters with our friends. “He’s just a nicer version of Bob.” Or “I can’t believe you killed off Meridith!”
What book are you reading right now?
My stack of books currently consists of a history of recent horror films called Shock Value, books by fellow Indie City writers like KB Jensen and Jennifer Bisbing, and one of the few Roger Zelazny books I’ve never read that I found at the local Powell’s bookstore. I’m on a never-ending mission to find all the Roger Zelazny books I can get.
100 by 100 is a collection of 100 stories that are each 100 words long. Mathematically, that makes each worth 1/10 of a picture. Some of these 0.1 pictures are scary, some are funny, some are funny and scary, while others are just odd.
Possible uses include:
Causing bad dreams
Prompts for community college writing group
Bedtime stories for children with narcolepsy
Reading aloud to cats to curtail crippling loneliness
Inspiring new videos on your unpopular YouTube Channel
Conversation starters at the weddings of your spouse’s co-workers
A story-a-day calendar from January 1st until April 10th (non-leap years)
About the Author
M.L. Kennedy was born in Buffalo, New York, land of chicken wings, kimmelweck rolls, and Super Bowl disappointment. Currently he lives in Chicago, land of thick pizza, Italian Beef and rebuilding years. 100 by 100 is his third book, following his debut novella The Mosquito Song and his short story collection Thanksgiving for Werewolves and Other Monstrous Tales.
No, he doesn’t think that was a silly thing to call a book.
(Yes he does.)
Follow Kennedy on Twitter.
You can purchase 100 by 100: Stories in 100 Words on Amazon.