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Ronald Kidd - April 2020

In Quarantine: Fear vs. Faith

Reviewers and others have pointed out the recent popularity of dystopian fiction—stories about future worlds gone wrong—during an era when our own world has gone wrong. We read these stories looking for consolation, or guidance, or maybe just out of morbid curiosity.

My own dystopian novel, Dreambender, deals with a conflict that many of us are experiencing in these days of coronavirus and quarantine—a wrestling match between fear and faith.

In the novel, Jeremy and Callie live in a post-apocalyptic world in which a small, secret group has gained access to people’s dreams. Out of fear, the group controls dreams in an effort to keep people safe, but in the process they limit creativity, beauty, and risk-taking. Jeremy, a novice dreambender, is ordered to control the music in Callie’s dreams but can’t bring himself to do it. Defying his trainers, Jeremy seeks out Callie, and together they embark on a quest to stop the dreambenders and create a world ruled by faith, not fear.

I heard a similar message on Easter Sunday from Rev. Julia Hamilton of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara. Speaking from her home during quarantine, Rev. Hamilton urged her listeners to think of their separation not as isolation but as something we are doing for mutual support and benefit. In a strange way, our separation during these difficult times is, in fact, an expression of love.

Interviewed for the Radio Bristol Book Club

My most recent novel, Lord of the Mountain, takes place in Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia, where the “big bang” of country music took place in 1927. When I traveled there to research my story, I spent hours at the Bristol Public Library and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum (an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution). At the museum I dug through wonderful documents and displays about the Bristol Sessions, where the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Stoneman, and other mothers and fathers of country music sang their songs for recording executive Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company.

Recently I was honored to be interviewed on Radio Bristol, a joint Internet service of the library and museum, when my book was selected for the March 2020 meeting of the Radio Bristol Book Club. An excerpt of the interview is shown here, along with a link to the entire interview.   

Welcome, Ron. Our readers seem to have loved this book and the way you were able to capture so much of the feeling of the era. Talk about your initial inspiration for writing this book.  

When my wife and I moved to Nashville a number of years back, I was not a country music fan. But as I listened to more of the music, I became fascinated by the storytelling side of it and started doing some reading. I found a wonderful biography of the Carter Family, called Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music, by Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg.  

Reading that book, much of which took place in Bristol and the areas around it, I fell in love with the time and the place and that family and their music. I started imagining what it would have been like for a young person growing up in Bristol to have been in town when the Bristol Sessions took place and country music was born.

To hear the rest of the interview, click here and scroll down to “Show Archives.” Select Thursday, March 26, 2020.

Now Available

  • Lord of the Mountain
    The “big bang” of country music in 1927 at Bristol, Tennessee.
    Read more
  • Room of Shadows
    Edgar Allan Poe returns and gets the glorious death he deserved.
    Read more
Learn about my books, plays, and music at ronaldkidd.com.
Download a sampler of chapters from three of my latest books.

Copyright © 2020 Ronald Kidd, All rights reserved.


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