By MATT CRANE
For his debut novel, Michael Kardos is hitting the road, but not in the fun-loving, friendly road trip sort of way.
Beginning 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 in the Rogers Auditorium at Mississippi State University, Kardos will host a book launch for "The Three-Day Affair."
Kardos said the idea for his novel came from a news story years ago about an emotionally charged bus driver who continued driving after missing two routine stops.
"Worried about the fallout of missing those two stops, he kept driving, until he had essentially hijacked his own bus filled with kids," he said. "The basic idea: a character who would make ethical choices give time to deliberate, but who has no time because he's driving, and each mile he travels gets him deeper into trouble."
According to a press release, "The Three-Day Affair" tells the story of a group of friends enjoying an annual guys-only weekend when all of a sudden they are involved in the kidnapping of a young woman and the more time spent trying to find resolution only makes the situation worse.
"It's about how, to use Williams Faulkner's words, 'the past is never dead. It's not even the past,'" he said. "More specifically, it's about best friends whose loyalties to one another get tested when they find themselves struggling to undo a serious crime."
Acclaimed crime author John Lescroart describes Kardos' novel as 'an absolutely first-rate effort from a debut author who, trust me, is going to be around for a long time.'
Kardos said while the praise he has received from the novel is a wonderful bonus, he knows what matters most is the work he creates.
"What ultimately matters is putting the reviews aside — good or bad — and sitting at my desk and getting to work on the next project," he said. "I know one writer who never reads a single review of his work. I'm not that disciplined — but it's an ideal to aspire to."
Assistant professor and co-director of the creative writing program in MSU's English Department, Kardos said while he has a clear passion for writing, the process is solitary and he looks forward to the engagement he finds in the classroom.
"When I teach creative writing or literature, I'm always forced to reconsider the basic questions about how and why writers do what they do: what makes a story work and why," he said. "My favorite part is actually the fact that there are several parts that inform one another: teaching my classes, learning from my colleagues and my students, then going home and trying to put new words on the page."
Kardos said his inspiration for writing comes from his wife, students, colleagues and especially the authors whose book transformed him, an example that informs his advice to beginning writers.
"My advice to young writers is to read a lot — read widely, and read with an eye toward figuring out how the story (or poem or essay or play) does what it does," he said. "And if you don't like something you read, try to figure out, specifically, why that is. And write, of course — lots and lots — but don't forget to read."
The book launch for "The Three-Day Affair" will feature a reading and question-and-answer session by Kardos, along with a book signing.
For more information, visit http://www.michaelkardos.com .