Brian Kindall is the Indie Author reviewers are always on the hunt for. His storytelling is unique and addicting. His characters are those hidden gems that squirm their way into your psyche and never let go. Check out my review of “Delivering Virtue” to find out more.
As a young man, Brian Kindall was undone by love. Oh, was she ever divine! Dark hair. Blue eyes. The smile of an angel. But then it all fell to ruin. For years afterward, the broken-hearted sap spent his time wandering about and scribbling self-absorbed tragedies that no one really cared about. His prose was impeccable, but useless to the world. Then one day, as if by magic, he matured. He peered into the abyss, became a father, got some perspective, and has been writing nothing but brilliant, entertaining novels ever since. These books – some for kids, some for grown-ups – are brimming with the absurdity, beauty, and mystery of life. Mister Kindall has become a master at playing humor against pathos, fairytales against reality, all for the sake of a good read that will surely enhance the life of any reader lucky enough to delve into the author’s adventure-laden pages.
He is the author of adult fiction novel DELIVERING VIRTUE, a Foreword Reviews 2015 IndieFab Book of the Year Finalist, and middle grade novels BLUE SKY, and PEARL. Moving, memorable fiction all. He resides on the shores of a pristine mountain lake with his wife and three kids somewhere in the middle of Idaho.
Want to know more? Check out his website!
WARNING! This interview has spoilers!
Q – DELIVERING VIRTUE is definitely unique. What gave you the idea to begin writing it?
A – Honestly, I was just sitting at my desk one morning when this voice came into my head speaking the book’s first line. I wrote it down, read it back to myself, thought hmm, that’s intriguing. And then, with the voice still dictating, I wrote some more. In about thirty minutes I had the first chapter. That’s when the character stepped up and said, “Salutations and bonjour. My name is Didier Rain and I am in search of a medium for my long and sordid tale. I will warn you from the get-go, mine is not a pretty story. There will be myriad troubling incidents to describe. The task is bound to lead you to considerable worry, doubt, sleeplessness, and possibly some subsequent ridicule, assuming anyone should ever stoop to read it as a book. And yet, as with all soul-plumbing ventures, there will also be opportunities for transcendence, secret satisfaction, and much ribald hilarity. Are you the man for the job?”
How could I say no?
Q – Didier Rain’s name is just as unique as he is. How did his name come to you?
Rain is a poet, so it follows that his name should have a certain poetic rhythm and symbolic meaning. Didier is pronounced Dee-de-ay in French. If you say his name aloud – Dee-de-ay Rain – you will find a nice little galloping sensation happening on your tongue. Rain – the stuff that falls from the sky – plays an important role in the book. It seems emblematic of heaven-sent redemption, and you’ll notice that it’s a scarce enough commodity on Rain’s adventure. Also, Didier is derived from the word desire. No one is more full of longing than Didier Rain. He is the profound embodiment of an everyman suffering mortal desire. So Didier’s name simply means Desirous Rain.
Q – The cover of the book speaks volumes. After reading, I felt the cover works as a bit of foreshadowing. Was this intentional?
My wife Kristin designs our covers. She assures me that this one breaks many rules according to the standards of your well-educated designer. But there was something just so right about this cover that we couldn’t let it pass. It gives a sense of the book’s conflict between good and evil, it gives a sense of the book’s quirkiness and it’s one-of-a-kind flavor. Hopefully it’s intriguing enough upon first glance to suck you in. Once a reader has read the story, they’ll see that yes, definitely, the cover did indeed forebode the peculiar adventure held inside.
Q – In the book, it seems that everyone Didier has “relations” with or attempts to, passes away. Is this circumstantial or intentional? Is this a result of the prophecy?
At the outset of Rain’s wilderness journey, he is given a set of rules he is to follow according to the prophecy he has been chosen to fulfill. He is warned that carnal pleasure will lead to severe punishment. But Rain struggles with his animal nature. His carnality gets the better of him again and again. It would seem that the many “beings” with whom he couples are the real victims of his indiscretions. But if you think about it, although they die, at least now they’re enjoying paradise. Rain is the one who is truly punished. After each encounter, he is left heart-broken, confused, and a little more alone. He is left to carry on with his epic struggle through the wasteland. As to whether or not it is divine punishment, that’s a question Rain begins to consider more and more as the story goes on.
Q – When you write, is the story already present in your mind or does it slowly materialize as your writing progresses?
There are generally two kinds of writers in this regard – those who lead, and those who follow. I used to try to be a leader. I would plot out everything, make outlines, draw diagrams. That’s a safe and sure approach for getting through the process of writing a novel. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that being a follower leads to more surprises and freshness. It also takes a lot more humility and daring. It’s a little scary not knowing what’s going to happen because you have to have faith that your muse is guiding you down a worthwhile path. With Delivering Virtue, which is a road trip book, it was easier than usual because I just followed along with Rain on his trip. I knew basically where he was heading, but the many odd characters and perils he encounters along the way, as well as some of his more poetic insights and spiritual speculations, were each a big surprise. That makes writing a lot more fun. That makes you feel like you’ve hooked up with something bigger than yourself. The book probably wouldn’t have come out with such originality if I had tried to stuff it into some predesigned mold.
Q- In the story, Rain is captured and raped by three men. I felt this was a bit glossed over. Were these men a type of punishment for Rain’s debauchery?
Rain is a master of repression. All of the past traumas in his life have been submerged in the deepest and darkest regions of his soul. So when he’s abused by the three wild men, I think he just automatically dismisses it and moves on. After all, he has a job to do and can’t be bothered. But you’ll notice soon after his encounter that he turns introspective and becomes quite seriously ill. It’s as if all the poison of his sublimated sufferings are coming back to him with a vengeance. That’s when we get his long cathartic tale about his childhood. That’s when we learn why Rain is the despicable, yet empathy-inspiring, person we come to, if not love, at least like.
Q – Do you have any writing quirks?
I’d love to tell you that I always drink a tankard of blood before I sit down at my desk, or that I only write in the nude. But I’m afraid it’s not that weird. The one quirk I have is that I always work on a desk that is completely uncluttered. No pictures, no reference books, no scraps of paper with inspirational sayings. It’s just me, my computer, and a bare table pushed up against a blank wall. I try to rely completely on what I know, or what’s hidden in my memory. Call it a blank canvas. I can always check the work for accuracy later in editing. A good example is Rain’s vocabulary. It’s so much more extensive than my own. And yet it came out of me as I was writing. Somehow I knew those grandiose words from somewhere. If I had written the book with a thesaurus on my desk, continually thumbing through the pages to find just the right word, I know his language wouldn’t have been nearly so spontaneous and fun.
Q- What kind of music do you listen to when looking for inspiration?
Country music story songs – the kind with ironic endings. They’re hokey and quaint and I always feel a queer nostalgia when I hear one of them. I too often intellectualize my writing. I make it all philosophical and highbrowed. A more basic outlook on life – one infused with the virtues of a country western ballad – grounds the writing. It reminds me of the essential emotional needs of an audience. Every time I hear a country song and find myself moved, I realize people just want a good story that they can relate to, one that makes them feel something visceral, and not just intellectual.
Q – Other than writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?
Writing is so cerebral that when I’m not doing it I try to balance it out with activities that are not cerebral at all. I’m lucky in that I live in the mountains of Central Idaho at the edge of a national forest. When I’m done with writing for the day, I can push away from my desk, strap on the skis in the winter, or the boots in the summer, and just head out the back door into the mountains. Literally. I don’t even have to drive anywhere. I’ll trudge for hours through the snow, climbing, breathing hard, exploring new routes, following animal tracks.
Just for fun questions:
Q – If you could time travel, where would you go and what would you do?
I think it would be great to go back a thousand years and live as a Native American before the Europeans showed up. I know there were hardships in that life, but there was also a simplicity and closeness to nature that I sometimes crave in this mind-
boggling information age. None of the other more famous historical periods are as attractive. I’ve lost any desire to make a mark in history books. I don’t think that’s what a good life is all about. Being connected to the big picture seems more important. An elemental life seems ideal.
Q – Imagine you are stranded on an island. What three things would you most want with you? (other than people, food, shelter and the necessities for life)
It’s funny you should ask this one. In high school I wasn’t voted most likely to succeed. I wasn’t voted best-dressed or most athletic. I was chosen as the person you’d most want to be stranded with on a desert island. So I’ve had some time to consider this. I would have a hacky-sack. (I’ve always wanted to get ridiculously good at a useless skill.) I would have a language course for some obscure dead language that no one speaks anymore, like an offshoot of a language once spoken by a nomadic tribe in the taiga forests of Siberia. And I would have a copy of James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime. That’s a book I can read over and over merely because of the style and beauty of the writing. The story’s not thrilling, but the way Salter put it together has always struck me as stunning. Of course, the book is seriously erotic as well, and a man alone on a desert island could well go stark raving mad reading certain of those passages too many times.
Q – If you could shape shift into anything, what would you pick?
Either a Sperm Whale or Stephen King.
Q – If you could live in any book or movie, what book/movie would you pick?
I have an old book called Snow and Rock. It’s an illustrated manual on alpine climbing by the great French alpinist Gaston Rébuffat. It was published in the 1950s and the images of wool-clad men clamoring over mountains, captured as they were with the film stock and printing processes of the period, combine to make a dreamy Kodachrome surreality. Everything is sky blue and stone gray and snow white. Rébuffat calls it “a world apart.” I’ve always wanted to inhabit that lofty world.
Hilariously inappropriate, squirmingly irreverent, and oddly charming, DELIVERING VIRTUE will deliver you on an epic journey out of your comfort zone and into a mystical transcendence you didn’t see coming.