An Interview with Author Kiki Denis


Life is Big by [Kiki Denis, Liya Kebede]

1. What inspires you to write?

I get inspired by life, everyday experiences and, of course, whatever I’ve read or reading.
For instance, while I was working on the first chapter of my latest novel, “Life is Big”, I began reading “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson. I love that book. So while I was reading that book I recalled an article I’d read sometime ago about Kurt Gödel and his incompleteness theorem and the perception of time. I think it was in Scientific American magazine. In that article it was mentioned that Gödel and Einstein were good friends. That relationship of these 2 great but very different men intrigued me and I thought why don’t I explore this in my novel?  So when I was ready to begin working on the 2nd chapter of “Life is Big” I knew that Albert Einstein would be the narrator of that chapter. 

 2. Please tell us about your work, including your latest book.

I wrote my first novel, “The Last Day of Paradise”, just after 9/11 had happened.  I was living in NY City at the time. I am still in NYC. Anyway, then I didn’t know much about the publishing industry so a friend suggested to look into Indie literary awards. And so I did. I submitted “The Last Day of Paradise” to about ½ a dozen of literary awards I found over the Internet. “The Last Day of Paradise” was shortlisted in two of them and won one (the 2005 Gival Press Award). I signed a contract with Gival Press  (http://www.givalpress.com/) and Gival Press published my novel the following year.

For my 2nd, latest novel, “Life is Big” things happened differently. I finished that novel 7 years ago, the spring of 2013.  I sent it to many literary agents. One of them, in England who I love and admire a lot, was very interested in it but then she moved to another, smaller agency and decided not to take me on.  I remembered her saying that “Life is Big” is a bit too creative and it would be hard to sell. Anyway, at that time my twins were born and 6 months later our adopted son from South Korea came to our family. So I didn’t have time to work but I kept sending “Life is Big” to friends because I wanted to hear their thoughts, their opinions. A good friend, Liya Kebede, who read it, loved it and suggested I should self-publish it. I have to add here that Liya has written the foreword for “Life is Big.” It took me sometime to decide what to do but when corona-pandemic started in March I just felt that it was the right time to publish it and that’s what I did. “Life is Big” is an optimistic book, my attempt while I was writing it was to show that human connectivity is a very powerful thing. It can be more powerful than death. 

3. What are you reading now?

I am reading “The Selected Letters” of Ralph Ellison. I am the US representative of a very selective boutique French publisher, Les Editions du Portrait (http://www.leseditionsduportrait.fr/). Les Editions du Portrait buys rights of English non-fiction works and translates them into French. Ellison is one of many black American writers whose work is not that well known to French readers. So Les Editions du Portrait is very interested in his work and that’s how I began reading “The Selected Letters”. When I was an undergraduate student at Mount Holyoke College, I read “Invisible Man” by the same author, I remember I really like that book.


4. What is next for you?

I am working on a science fiction novel, with the working-title “Charley”. The idea for Charley came to me many years ago, before my first novel.

Charley is the story of 5 teenagers (one of them is Charley) who live in a fictitious, Internet-like world. These 5 friends are born in the www world (3w World), where they travel from site-to-site chatting, playing and learning. Physical interaction is replaced by electronic communication, thus experience builds via icons on the screen.   In this kind of weird world, language has a neutral form; it is free from any gender bias. There is only one pronoun used for the third person: it/its (he/him/his and she/her/hers do not exist). Thus any characteristics are purely associated to a person and not to the gender of a person.

I am only in the first 50 pages of the story so I don’t know what it’s going to happen. Or how it will end but till now it’s going well.

5. Where can we go to find out more about your work?

You can find both of my books on Amazon

I have to add that my publisher (Gival Press) is running a sale now till the end of August for the ebook of  “The Last Day of Paradise” so it’s offered for only $2.99 now.
Also I am collecting photos with “Life is Big” and post them on my website. So please if any readers like the book and would like to send me their photo I’ll be happy their photo to my website.  The link for my website is: www.kikidenis.com. I’ve already almost 100 photos from readers from all over the world there.