Kenny Blue is the Atlanta-based author of The Beach House, which quickly became a favorite among Atlanta book clubs in 2005. His second novel, Biker Club, was released this February through his publishing company, Journey Publishing. He is a founding member of two Atlanta-based writers groups, Indigo Ink, and Grown Folks. Kenny’s parents are nationally known ceramicists Curtis (d.) and Yvonne Tucker. He lives in Conyers with his family and is involved in his community as a USA swim coach, youth mentor, and a volunteer for Hosea Feed the Hungry.
BPM: Who are your mentors? Where do you find your inspiration?
Marissa Monteilh, Jihad, Eric Jerome Dickey, Electa Rome-Parks, and other writers have always found the time to give me valuable advice. I find my inspiration in writers of the past. Frank Yerby, Raymond Andrews, and Ernest Hemingway were all geniuses. They were master storytellers who perfected their craft through complex storylines, excellent character development, and colorful settings. My goal as a writer is to capture the fast-paced narration and grit of today’s popular street fiction and blend it with yesterday’s styles.
BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
I was pumping gas one day at a QT on Panola Road, and these biker chicks come rolling up with these colorful vests looking all fly, and everybody at the gas station is like “Whoa.” They parked in perfect formation, stepped off their bikes, took off their helmets, and walked inside with this attitude and swagger that was like “Ya’ll better respect this.” I was speechless, and I think everybody else was too. That’s when I knew that’s what my next book was going to be about. I started researching on the Internet, contacted a few female biker clubs, and the rest is history.
BPM: Introduce us to your book, Biker Club, and the main characters.
Biker Club is about an Atlanta-based motorcycle club called the Divaz on Steel. Alexis Preston, AKA “Jazzy,” is on a voyage of self-discovery after leaving her fiancée and parents behind in Ninety Six, South Carolina, to break a cycle of abuse. After landing a nursing job in Atlanta, she reconnects with her recently divorced cousin Carla, AKA “Pinky,” who takes Jazzy to a biker party and introduces her to the Divaz, and a male biker named Strap. Jazzy doesn’t want to be in a rebound relationship though, and focuses on adjusting to life in the city. After she settles into her new job, her past comes back to haunt her, signaling the beginning of an internal struggle within her conscience. Without giving too much away, I will tell you that Jazzy finds herself at a crossroads and decides to join her cousin’s biker club. From there, the drama that unfolds teaches her that the nickname “Hotlanta” is more than a reputation—it’s a way of life.
BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
I am definitely attached to Jazzy and Strap because of how their relationship evolves throughout the story, but I also like Carla because of her spunky attitude and determination to become a better mother. There are some minor characters that I like as well, such as Mr. Yocum, which might seem strange because his dialogue is very limited. I also like Tammy and Curvz, because their lesbian relationship is normalized by Curvz’ battle with cancer. I used bits and pieces of real people to develop my characters. I think all writers naturally do this, whether consciously or not. I wanted my characters to be unique, but developed enough for readers to think, “Hey, that’s something I would do,” or “My friend such and such is just like that.”
BPM: What are some of the specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
I tried to address many issues in Biker Club, because I wanted to take my readers on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Family and love relationships, self-identity, power struggles, social stereotypes, and the search for faith are all dealt with in this novel.
BPM: What was the most powerful chapter in Biker Club?
Chapter Thirty-Nine is very powerful. It takes readers from an emotional high to a gut-wrenching low, and it happens on Valentine’s Day. It took me two months to decide how to approach writing it, and when I finally did, I felt like I became part of the book. Many readers have called or E-mailed me to discuss how they felt when they finished that scene.
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to be thoroughly entertained, feel like they got to know each one of my characters intimately, and learn some life lessons along the way. If it’s as simple as repairing a broken relationship with a family member, then so be it. If it’s having more tolerance for someone from a different culture or lifestyle, then so be it. By giving readers a snapshot of the Atlanta experience, I hope they can see the common threads that bond us all together as human beings, regardless of our racial, political, religious, and social differences.
BPM: How can our readers reach you online?
I can be reached at www.kennyblue.com or on www.facebook.com. For book club discounts, E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Single purchases may be completed on my website through PayPal, or through www.amazon.com.
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