"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Pen and Muse Interview : The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity

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Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!I was born in Eunice, Louisiana, and raised in Kansas City, alternating back and forth between Missouri and Louisiana until I left for college at Georgetown. Graduate school at Yale, then professor at Occidental College for twenty years until I left to become a producer and literary manager.

How do you create your characters?
I think of someone I know well and care about, use them as a starting point, shaping them  as the story demands.

Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
In Jesuit high school, my teachers kept comparing Jesus Christ to Julius Caesar. Then I ran into research that led me further into the connections between Augustus and Christianity. The more I read, the more the story leapt out at me.

What inspires and what got your started in writing?
My mother told me I had a terrible imagination, and urged me to start writing stories as she and her south Louisiana siblings did with their front porch tales.

Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
No. I write everywhere. Love writing on the plane, and in exotic locations looking out at wonderful sights like Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, Campo dei Fiori in Rome, or the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.

How do you get your ideas for writing?
Things that intrigue me, and that I’m willing to spend a year on, are candidates for a new story. Ideas are everywhere, as omnipresent as air.

What do you like to read?
When I’m not sneaking time to re-read a classic like Don Quixote, I prefer thrillers and historical nonfiction, like William Manchester’s The Death of a President, which I recently re-read as background for the film we’re developing, The Kennedy Detail, based on Jerry Blaine and Lisa McCubbins’ bestseller by the same name.

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Don’t let a single day go by without writing. Never give up. Don’t hesitate over rejection, but go out and get as many nos as you can before you get to the yes you need.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Go for it! Use yourself up, body, mind, and soul. That’s what we’re here for.

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