Ambush: Author David Keck on Fame and Obscurity

Intheeyeofheaven     Treason_2  

As part of a new feature, I'll be checking in on various writers and asking what's currently on their minds. Think of it as a literary ambush, Amazon-style. To kick it off, I pinged critically acclaimed fantasy author David Keck earlier today, author of the highly recommended In the Eye of Heaven and the forthcoming In a Time of Treason, and he had this to say:

"Today, I’ve been thinking about every writer’s nightmare: obscurity...At this very moment, my wife is climbing around our bookshelves (reorganizing our little library in preparation for a move). And, as she turns over the stack, I keep spotting books that I’ve never heard of. Magical novels plastered with rave reviews--that never quite caught on. All around the room are award winners whose fame vanished with the echoes of the authors’ acceptance speeches. Smiles, applause, and then poof! Obscurity is a little like death for the book that is its victim. And so, for a writer, thoughts along these lines can become like a morbid fear of germs. You don’t want to end up locked in your penthouse breathing through a literary dust mask. Really, you don’t. Of course, the reading public can help writers avoid obscurity through any number of simple and inexpensive means. Buying books is one, of course. Talking about books is another. And we live in such an interconnected age, that a little spark of goodwill can prairie-fire its way around the world. It’s easy to follow our various curiosities and to seek out new and interesting work (even if no ad company ever knew its name). As for the writers themselves, I have a sneaking suspicion that every writer keeps a secret and egomaniacal flame deep inside that tells him that his book must live forever. That his book is different."

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Every true artist - writer, or otherwise - has some "egomaniacal flame" burrowing like trench worms for relevance. There is really no cure for this ailment, other than youth and ignorance. I'm 52 and, by most accounts, have the world at my feet. But I am convinced that the same world would be even more appreciative of my existance if I had accomplsihed all this at 25. Alas, the conundrum.

Posted by: Jay Rusovich | Monday December 17, 2007 at 9:23 AM

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