Profile: Michael Kardos
Author Michael Kardos has found the ideal setting for creative writing—a university environment that fosters his need to share stories and stimulates him through the teaching experience.
"I think all writers must go back to the most basic questions of what makes a good story," said the English faculty member who also co-directs the university's creative writing program and serves as editor for the Jabberwock Review, a journal of literature and art.
"Teaching creative writing makes me return to those questions and reevaluate them," he says.
His first book of short stories, One Last Good Time, was published by Press 53 in February of this year. His first novel, The Three-Day Affair, is being published by Mysterious Press/Grove Atlantic and will be on shelves in July 2012.
"I guess it's a crime novel, but I didn't intend for it to be," Kardos says, explaining that the plot involves some college friends who get together for an annual reunion. Things take a twist when one of the characters commits a crime while his friends, caught by surprise, become unintentional accomplices.
One Last Good Time garnered praise from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist as well as from other contemporary authors. One of the narratives in the collection, "Mr. Barotta's Ashes Have the Personality of a Grouchy Old Man," earned a grand prize in fiction from PRISM international, a British Columbia-based quarterly magazine that showcases the best in contemporary writing from around the world. The story was central to the other interconnected pieces in the book.
But Kardos wasn't always familiar with his inner-author. He majored in music as an undergraduate and spent eight years with a band before pursuing a master's of fine arts in fiction from Ohio State University and a doctorate at the University of Missouri.
Now, writing is a family affair. Kardos is married to fellow English faculty member Catherine Pierce, a poet. They are parents to 9-month-old Samuel, who has brought a new dimension into their daily dynamic.
Juggling teaching, editing, corresponding with publishers, and family life is just right for Kardos, as long as he still gets time to put pen to paper.
"If I can write about four hours a day, I'm a very pleasant person. If I do a lot less than that, I start feeling antsy," Kardos says.
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