Emma Augustine – 1851 Staff
Kenneth Calhoun’s ability to multi-task is truly baffling. His office at Lasell reveals clues to how many talents he utilizes as a professor, graphic designer, author, musician, and film-maker. This month is especially exciting for Calhoun, whose first novel, “Black Moon,” was released in early March. “Black Moon” will now join the list of works that Calhoun has already published in magazines and short story anthologies.
It’s hard not to scan his office full of visual art, academic degrees, books, movies, and instruments, while he discusses his life as a novelist and the process that led him to today. Calhoun snacks on some almonds as he explains the process of creating his first novel. Calhoun’s ability to visualize and create within the context of graphic design showcases his ability to construct articulate sentences and narratives.
Calhoun is persistent with his writing. Hearing about the four-year process of writing, editing, finding a publisher (and then more revising) seems daunting while working a full-time job. For Calhoun, however, it appears writing and storytelling are necessities; it is not habitual, but natural.
Calhoun’s debut novel is attracting readers from the United States to the United Kingdom. It addresses apocalyptic anxiety within the context of an insomnia epidemic. Calhoun’s sentences are crafted in a way that is both dreamlike and realistic – a paradoxical concept that each character deals with based on their ability (or lack of ability) to sleep. The novel’s premise is especially enticing because it raises questions that are not only about sleeplessness, but simple human behavior in complex circumstances.
What happens when sleep becomes a highly demanded commodity? What happens when Reality becomes intertwined with the subconscious realm of dreams? Can relationships withstand the fog of a mind in subliminal space? When everyone’s reality is turned upside down all at once, is it possible for anyone to survive? “Black Moon” explores these questions with a captivating and relatable voice.
Calhoun’s initial interest in creative fiction developed while he was an undergrad at Emerson, where he began writing a series of short stories that were later published. After his charming and nostalgic “Nightblooming” appeared in The Paris Review, he was approached by an agent who hoped to work with him on a novel. While working with agent Claudia Ballard, Calhoun used several short stories and concepts he had previously written, transforming them into one cohesive novel. Since the release, “Black Moon” has received compelling reviews internationally. Calhoun mentions a radio show in New Zealand where the reviewer comments, “It get’s a bit nutty,” but concludes that it was a thought-provoking read. One can stroll into an obscure bookstore in New York and see where “Black Moon” is featured as a staff favorite and suggested read. The bookstore ensures that one will not get a wink of sleep until he or she reads the book cover to cover.