Monday, July 6, 2015

Brian Kevin

Brian Kevin is the author of The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America

What are your ties to Maine or the Boothbay Peninsula?

I live just up the road, in Damariscotta. I've lived in Maine for about 5 years now, since my wife (who grew up in Cape Elizabeth) found me in Montana and convinced me to give the East a try. I'm also an editor at Down East magazine, so a lot of my writing life lately is Maine-centric.

What is your favorite thing about writing in Maine?

The psychographic diversity of this state appeals to me quite a bit, the way you can spend a weekend hanging around Portland, another visiting Rangeley, another on the midcoast, another passing through Washington County, and another exploring the County, and feel like you've drifted through five pretty distinct micro-cultures.

What are the most important themes in your work?

I'm a pretty loud and proud generalist -- I try to cover as diverse a slate of topics in a given year as I possibly can, and I try to keep the formal approach fresh. That being said, I think a lot of the stories I'm most drawn to have something to do with displacement and/or slippery definitions of wildness.

Tell us about the book you will be signing at Books In Boothbay this year?

I'll be signing copies of The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America, a travel book published last year, which finds me retracing the route that a young Hunter S. Thompson traveled as a freelance foreign correspondent in the early 1960s, long before he came to fame as a self-proclaimed "gonzo journalist." It's a road narrative that explores culture, politics, and ecology in 21st century South America, with Thompson's ghost as a traveling companion and guide.

What do you hope readers will discover in your latest book?

I think the book raises a questions about what it means to be an American abroad, about how immersion in a foreign culture changes a person and how it doesn't, and about how travelers leave their mark on the places they pass through. I hope readers come away from the book with a punch of potential answers to these questions they hadn't otherwise considered.

What do you feel about the future of our local libraries?

I haven't given it a lot of thought, but I know I'm fond of my own local library, Skidompha Public Library, here in Damariscotta. I imagine the big challenge before libraries is how to remain relevant in an increasingly digital age — not just because of ebooks, but because of the many digital commons available to us that fill some of the roles libraries once filled. I do hope that bigger institutions especially manage to keep a focus on being research repositories, rather than shifting their emphases to say, DVD lending or internet access in the name of attracting the most patrons.

Come meet Brian Kevin and other Maine authors this Saturday at Books in Boothbay!

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