What will Kentucky Book Festival visitors find on your table?
Back to the Dirt (2023)-Miles Knox is a steroid addicted Vietnam vet dealing with PTSD, whose job is on the line as he searches for his girlfriend who may or may not be involved in the murder of a husband-and-wife Oxy drug ring.
The Savage (2018)-A rural version of Lord of the Flies meets Mad Max, dealing with the simple skills we’ve lost as a society, hunting, fishing, gardening and living from the land, following the main character Van Dorn, who is being hunted, as he searches for a girl named Sheldon while the country tries to survive a power grid failure.
Donnybrook (turned into a film in 2018 by IFC Pictures/book published in 2013)-Follows Jarhead Earl a bare knuckles boxer trying to raise his family in rural America during the meth epidemic, he sets out on a road trip from rural Kentucky to rural Indiana to fight in The Donnybrook, the biggest bare knuckles boxing tournament in the Midwest, where if he wins, he’d get himself and his family out of poverty.
Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories (2011)-Interlinked action packed short stories about the struggling and working class dealing with the ever changing climate of the rural America, the heartland, such as meth, job loss, marijuana farming, child prostitution, cancer, addiction, war, PTSD and murder.
Whom do you invite to stop by? Who will benefit from reading your book?
Anyone. But especially those who enjoy action adventure with an edge of literary/grit lit. But also, folks who’ve dealt with mental health issues, fought in a war to serve their country, endured physical/mental abuse and watched jobs disappear. This is a book about what people carry with them after a horrific or traumatic event and trying to make sense of it. But it’s not just a book about war. It deals with addiction. Strife. Loss. Survival and the things working folks have lost as a whole.
Could you please tell us something curious about you and/or your book?
The factory explosion in the book actually happened to me. I ripped an AC unit from an office wall and crawled through an AC duct to escape the explosion. The main character, Miles Knox, is based upon my time in the factory, the stories I’ve heard and things I’ve seen and dealt with myself but also my father’s time as a Combat Engineer in the US marine core while serving in Da Nang. As most of my novels are personal, pulling from my own life and flipping it upside down, this by far the most auto-biographical book I’ve written to date.
Is this your first time participating in Kentucky Book Festival? If yes – what are you looking forward to the most? If you’ve participated before – what was your favorite experience at the Festival?
I actually participated in this festival back in 2011 when it was held in Frankfort, Kentucky. And for me it was a big deal, I’m a huge fan of Chris Offut, a Kentucky native. But I’m also a fan of Silas House and I got to meet him, shake hands, get some pictures together and discuss author Larry Brown.
Frank Bill is the New York Times bestselling author of The Ravaged. He lives and writes in southern Indiana. Back to the Dirt: A Novel is a story about the struggles of a Vietnam vet to keep his job and relationships.