WAYLAND — Two authors came to talk about the adventures of storytelling at the Wayland Lowell Club meeting on Sept. 12.
Robert Sells of Geneseo and Gus Kenney of Dansville talked about their journey into becoming published authors.
For Kenney it all started with the love of a children’s book called “Stand back said the elephant I’m going to sneeze.”
Choose your own adventure books were also a huge hit when Kenney was growing up, and he read most of them as well.
“I had all of these stories in my head, and these books sparked my interest for my own adventures,” he said. “I started on my grandma’s old typewriter, and that was a very humbling experience.”
Kenney found refuge in the library surrounded by countless fantasy and adventure stories that would allow him to escape. His true love of fantasy came from “The Chronicles of the Black Cauldron” series.
Kenney recalls turning his backyard into fantasy land growing up, and using his imagination to create adventures.
Dansville Public Library became Kenney’s best job he ever had, and he would find comfort in the books there. “Reaper Man” by Terry Pratchett changed his life.
“Reading that book taught me the joy you can get from reading and writing,” he said. “Terry left the formulas in writing and took his own path.”
After a walk he was thinking about a story involving a young girl named Lucy Bison. This would be the starting point for his series “The Complications of Being Lucy.” It started with “The Cupboard and the Changeling” “The Changeling and the Borrowed Family” and “Traitor’s Niece.”
Kenney said he hopes to make a six part series out of “The Complications of Being Lucy.”
“This has been a wonderful process,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here without my authors, and I hope that I can do for others what they did for me. If I could do that it would be the best thing in my life.”
Sells spent 40 years being a physics teacher, and never thought he would ever be an author of novels.
It all started with a Christmas wish from his wife to write a book about the stories he would tell their children at bedtime.
“I would tell the kids fantasy stories that would take them from one adventure to the next,” he said. “When I saw a white deer at the Seneca Depot it got me thinking about my first story.”
“Return of the White Deer” is a coming of age story Sells wrote to spearhead his path into storytelling.
Sells said he writes each of his stories multiple times before he is happy with them. He re-published his first book recently since it had many mistakes in it before.
After his first book took off he got interested in other genres; “Reap the Whirlwind” is a thriller about the idea that technology will get so powerful it will take over, “The Runner and the Robber” is a story about growing up, and his latest is a science fiction novel called “Revelations.”
“I never wrote the story I told my children,” he said. “I got caught up in all of these other ideas.”