Monday, March 19, 2007

Kevin Shay

Kevin Shay co-edited Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans, an anthology of humor from McSweeney’s. His short humor pieces have appeared in print and online in McSweeney’s, eCompany Now, Salon, Modern Humorist, and the anthology 101 Damnations. Two of his one-act plays were performed in San Francisco in 2003 and 2004 as part of the Bruno’s Island New Plays Festival.

Kevin Guilfoile called The End as I Know It, Shay's first novel, a "terrifically funny debut."

From a Q & A at the author's site:

Randall Knight is a children’s puppeteer and performer who’s on a cross-country tour trying to get his friends, family and even his ex-girlfriend to come to terms with what he believes is the end of civil society: Y2K. It’s safe to say that Randall is obsessed with Y2K. Where did you get the inspiration for this character? Did you experience Y2K fear in the same way that Randall does in the novel?

I went through a brief but intense period of paranoia about Y2K in around the same timeframe as the first part of the novel, late summer and fall of 1998. I never embraced Y2K to Randall’s extent, or ran around trying to warn people about it, but I did have an “awakening” along the lines of his, beginning with a scary article in Wired. I eventually managed to get over my fears in somewhat the same way as Randall does, mostly by staying offline and keeping busy.

As for the character himself, I had a vague, unrelated idea for a story about a guy who travels around replacing the Gideon Bibles in motel rooms with something else. There’s that line in “Rocky Raccoon” about Gideon’s Bible. And there was a beloved music teacher and puppeteer at my elementary school who had a puppet named Rocky Raccoon. So that was the genesis of Randall’s profession.

Read the entire Q & A.

--Marshal Zeringue