Sunday, May 1, 2011

Book Launch Party!

I would like to thank everyone who came out today for the book launch party at The Sly Fox bookstore in Virden. We had a great turn-out, and we sold all of the books that we had ordered! This has been an amazing adventure, and I have so many friends and family to thank. I am truly a blessed man to have such a wonderful family and group of friends to support me.

After the signing, my brother, Trevor, gave me a copy of the book that he had everyone who attended the launch party sign. It was a great surprise, an it will be a great way to remember a special day. Nate, one of my very good friends from college, wrote in the book "Don't let this be a pinnacle, make it a beginning." I couldn't have said anything more perfect to commemorate the event. Hopefully, there are many more signings to come in the future.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Quick Update

Just a quick update about the book. As far as I know, the book was sent out from the printers late last week, and it should be mailed out in the next day or two if it has not been sent already. Thanks to everyone who has supported me, and please check out other authors at Punkin House by clicking on

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lyrical Invention

With the release of the novel scheduled for tomorrow, I thought it was time to do another post. This time I thought I'd focus on one aspect of my invention process: music. As I said in my interview for Punkin House, a key aspect of my writing has always been trying to define moments of real beauty, moments that I cannot explain through traditional descriptions. In the early stages of the novel's development, the chapters were titled according to song lyrics. In fact, the original draft of the novel was even titled "A Simple, Twisted Fate" in reference to Bob Dylan, one of my favorite artists of all time. So, I thought I'd give you a few examples of the kinds of song lyrics that inspired some of the text of The Price of Loyalty. In fact, a truly careful reader may spot a few references to Bob Dylan, or Pearl Jam, or Phish, still implanted within the text.

Bob Dylan, "Visions of Johanna"
"Voices echo, this is what salvation must be like after a while.

Phish, "Rift"
"...and silence contagious in moments like these, consumed me and strengthened my will to appease."

Ben Harper, "Glory and Consequence"
"Every moral has a story, every story has an end. Every battle has its glory, and it's consequence."

Bruce Springsteen, "Devils and Dust"
"I've got my finger on the trigger, and tonight faith just aint enough. When I look inside my heart, there's just devils and dust."

Jack Johnson, "It's All Understood"
"And fact is only what you believe, and fact and fiction work as a team."

Counting Crows, "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby"
"If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts."

Coldplay, "Til Kingdom Come"
"I don't know which way I'm coming, I don't know which way I've come."

Everclear, "Fire Maple Song"
"Turn away from the pain you don't want, Turning down to avoid them when they call."

Ben Folds Five, "Brick"
"Smell of cold, car seat is freezing, The world is sleeping...I am numb."

Foo Fighters, "New Way Home"
"I felt like this on my way home."

Bob Dylan, "Not Dark Yet"
"Behind every beautiful thing, there's been some kind of pain."

Ben Harper, "Please Bleed"
"Is this really living? Sometimes it's hard to tell. Or is this just a kinder, gentler Hell?"

My friend, Kyle, is most certainly the inspiration for the Dustin character in the book. After he read the manuscript, he gave me a mix CD he had created entitled, "Songs Inspired by A Simple, Twisted Fate." Though none of the songs were the same, I loved all of the songs on the album. A few even inspired a few new chapters in the novel, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Inspiration and the Free Will of Non-living Beings

Ok, so in preparation for the novel's release, I think I should be clear about one aspect of the novel's genesis. Many of the characters, and a few of Trey Kauffman's experiences, are loosely based on my experiences with Pi Pi Rho Literary Society at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL. Many of the people who have read the book have spent a great deal of time asking, "Is (insert character's name) actually based on (insert real person's name)?"

The short answer to the question is yes, but it's not nearly that simple. While a person may start as the inspiration for a character, over the course of writing the novel, those characters quite literally take on a life of their own. Very quickly, they begin to make choices. They start to walk down side streets and dark alleys that I never saw coming as the author. Like the young college students in the novel, as soon as they taste freedom, they change very quickly.

My friend, Bart, once asked, "Which one am I?" I couldn't really answer the question. The truth is that parts of Bart can be found in any number of chapters. He, like many of my Rhoer brothers, provided the background to several characters, the starting point for one story or another. My friends from those days will read the novel, and they will recognize this physical trait, or that old story, but none of the characters are strictly based on any one person. They are more like shadows from the past. As an author, I chose a few shadows, gave them a voice and an independent spirit, and they each became whatever they wanted.

Whipple Hall is more concrete example of inspiration within the novel. During my time at Illinois College, Whipple Hall was the home for Pi Pi Rho, a literary society at Illinois College. It isn't a fraternity, as anyone who has ever been a member of a literary society would tell you, but it's the easiest way to describe it. Though I could spend an entire post describing literary societies, I will just say that for the majority of my time at I.C., and for some time after I graduated, Whipple Hall was a second home.

In the novel, Trey is drawn to "The Hall." It's a place where he finds acceptance, it's a place where he finds deep friendship, and it's a place of tremendous growth and change. In that respect, Whipple is more than a physical inspiration for a place in the novel. I have always said that I learned a lot more outside of the classroom than I ever did during all of the lecture time combined. During the days I spent at Whipple, I met a group of men that I still consider dear friends to this day, but I also learned how to be a better person. Pi Pi Rho was a society filled with men of very diverse backgrounds and many very different personalities. In order to function as a society (to put together literary productions, service projects, and, yes, parties), we had to learn to get along. We had to put aside our differences and function as a single group. In doing that, I not only gained a group of fiercely loyal friends, I also grew up and deeply changed as a person.

In the end, it is impossible to separate my experiences with Pi Pi Rho from the characters and events in the novel. I can, however, assure you that the illegal activities performed by "the brothers" in The Price of Loyalty are complete works of fiction. As I said, the characters made choices all their own, and I really had no idea where the dark alleys would lead. Though there were some literal dark alleys when I was at Illinois College--and certainly a few bad decisions--nothing came close to the actions of the brothers. We were, however, a very loyal and protective group. A girl at I.C. once called the Rhoers "scary" because we were too loyal to one another. That comment served as the starting point for the conflict in the novel.

A few years ago, Illinois College moved the Rhoers out of Whipple Hall so that they could renovate the building. Like many of the structures on Illinois College's small campus, Whipple is a historic site. Eventually, someone decided that it could serve a better purpose than the home to weekend parties and mid-week diversions for a small group of college guys. Perhaps they were right, but if the novel says anything, it is that there are more to the parties than beers and loud music. Those parties are the proving ground for young people who are very slowly becoming adults. I'm glad that I had Whipple for my proving ground, and I hope that a part of it lives on through the novel.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Launch Party

Just a quick note. There will be a launch party for The Price of Loyalty on May 1st at The Sly Fox Bookstore in Virden, Illinois at 1:00 p.m. I will post more information and a flyer in a few weeks.

By way of introduction...

With the April 5th release date of The Price of Loyalty quickly approaching, I decided that it was about time to start utilizing this blog space. So, I thought the most appropriate opening post would be a quick introduction.

I am a thirty-one year old teacher, football coach, father, and part-time English professor living in Williamsville, Illinois, a small town a few miles north of Springfield. I have been married to my wife, Molly, for five years. We met in a sociology class at Illinois College in the fall of 1998. Though we didn't start dating for three years, there is no doubt that she has been my biggest fan, constant supporter, and my muse for the better part of the last ten years.

The most important moment in our journey together occurred in October of 2008. That is when we discovered that Molly was pregnant with our son, Alex. His birth on June 1, 2009 was the culmination of a two-year struggle with infertility, and he has, without any doubt, been the single greatest blessing of my entire life. In October of 2010, Molly and I were thrilled to discover that our blessings would continue. Our second child is due on June 13, 2011. For those who may be wondering, the answer is no, we do not know what we are having. Both Molly and I prefer to be surprised when the big day finally comes.

Over the coming weeks, I plan to do a few posts that let you know a little more about me, my family, and my book. Thanks for checking in with this blog, and don't forget to check out The Price of Loyalty and other authors on

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Price of Loyalty by Adam Kershaw

Just in, Punkin Artist Steve Colyer is at it again! Today, we received the first proof for The Price of Loyalty by Adam Kershaw. What an amazing group of talented folks we have!


The Price of Loyalty is the story of Trey Kauffman, a young man at odds with himself after the death of his young lover, Aimee. Leaving the memories of Aimee and his small town roots behind, Trey goes off to college where he is drawn into a mysterious and possibly dangerous group of men. As he clings to this group of new friends, Trey struggles with his past and present as he attempts to define the bonds and limits of friendship.

The bulk of this novel was written in fulfillment of a Master’s degree in English at the University of Illinois, Springfield, in December of 2009. Like most of Adam Kershaw’s writing, the novel explores the dark and twisted corners of life in rural middle America. Though it is entirely a work of fiction, The Price of Loyalty was, in many ways, born in the early morning hours at Whipple Hall in Jacksonville, Illinois, as well as the dark and quiet streets of Virden, Illinois—many years ago.