When author Paul G. Bens, Jr., was growing up in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, he always knew that one day he wanted to be a novelist, but like all young boys he also wanted to be a policeman, a fireman, an astronaut and a paleontologist.
Well, some 40 years later, Bens has come full circle, with his first novel, "Kelland," being released on September 1, 2009, by the cutting edge small press, Casperian Books. "It took me a while," said Bens, who since relocating to Los Angeles in 1986 has worked as a bartender, casting director, film producer, and paralegal. "But I finally got around to being what I always thought I would be…a writer."
Bens began exploring his suppressed literary bent in 1999, churning out short stories and, shortly thereafter, he found himself published is markets as diverse as the groundbreaking Cemetery Dance Magazine and the award-winning e-zine, Outsider Ink. "I was very lucky," Bens remembers, "that I found editors who liked my slightly dark and twisted view of the world."
But all of that, Bens said, was practice for "Kelland," his very first novel-length work. Combining elements of horror and mystery with current events, Kelland centers on four unique story lines: two brothers from Viet Nam who relocate to Kentucky, a little boy, and a mother reeling from a recent tragedy in her life. Each of them meets Kelland, an enigmatic stranger with the power to expose all the secrets of their lives, and the common thread tying all the divergent stories together.
So, is "Kelland" as "dark and twisted" as his short stories? "Somewhat," Bens admits. "It is a story about truth and lies and the horrors that emerge when those two opposites collide. It can be very, very dark and it deals with serious subject matter, but in the end it is a story about relationships and love and a redemption of a sort." Is Bens going to give away any more of the story? "Nope," he laughs.
"Part of the mystery is unearthing who each of the characters in "Kelland" are and how they are connected."Bens, who graduated from the Covington Latin School and Thomas More College, is hopeful that the novel will speak to people and he seems to be on the right track.
Award-winning novelist Noel Alumit has praised Kelland as "an engaging read with characters that simply won't let go of you," and Bens is extremely flattered by that blurb. "From a writer I admire, that's the highest praise. It may have taken me a long time to get from small boy in Kentucky to published author, but I'm finally feeling that I'm in the right place."
Readers can find out for themselves all the mysteries of "Kelland" on September 1, 2009, when Casperian Books releases the novel in trade paperback format across the U.S. and Canada.
*****About Kelland: When the Truth Is All That MattersThe truth begins with a family evacuated from Saigon during the final days of the Việt Nam War. Or perhaps it begins later, with a devoutly Catholic child with the voice of an angel who is troubled by visions both sacred and profane.
Or perhaps later still, with a couple drifting apart following a tragedy.Kelland appears to them all in the guise of a small boy, a lover, a priest...Kelland is an enigma, a puzzle, and an almost imperceptible presence. Kelland is violence, sorrow and joy. Kelland is the common thread tying five disparate strangers together. http://www.whoiskelland.com/
****About Casperian Books: Based in Sacramento, California, Casperian Books is a limited liability company dedicated to publishing quality literary and genre fiction that the mainstream publishing houses often overlook. http://www.casperianbooks.com/
****About Paul G. Bens, Jr.: Born in the Commonwealth of Kentucky far too many years ago to be honest about, Paul G. Bens, Jr., has spent the majority of his adult life in the entertainment industry. As a Casting Associate, Bens worked for three years on the NBC hit series Night Court, as well as the short-lived series Walter & Emily, Good & Evil and Room for Two.
As a film and television Casting Director he was responsible for the principal casting of numerous low-budget features, as well as the television series Ned & Stacey, Malcolm & Eddie, Likely Suspects and Murder in Small Town X. Outside of casting, Bens has been many things: a film producer, a file clerk, an altar boy, a bartender, a boy scout and, for a second-and-a-half, an actor. Currently, he works in the new media division of an historic Hollywood film studio and lives in the Los Angeles area with his boyfriend. http://www.paulbens.com/