The official bio:
B. Kent Anderson is an award-winning novelist, journalist, and broadcaster. A graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, he has worked as a radio announcer and producer since age fifteen, served a stint in marketing for a symphony orchestra, and has been an award-winning magazine journalist.
He is the author of the thrillers Cold Glory (Forge Books, 2011) and Silver Cross (Forge, 2012). Under the pseudonym David Kent, he also authored the Department Thirty series of thrillers, including The Blackjack Conspiracy, which won the Oklahoma Book Award for Fiction in 2006. His magazine stories have received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.
He lives with his three sons in Oklahoma City, where he is always on the lookout for more historical intrigues and is at work on his next novel featuring Nick Journey, Meg Tolman, and RIO.
The fun stuff:
I grew up in Madill, Oklahoma, a town with one traffic light. (The town is up to four lights now, but that’s another story.) It was a place where I rode my bicycle everywhere, everyone knew pretty much everyone else, and if you misbehaved, chances are your parents would know about it before you even got home. My family didn’t travel much, and I grew up believing in the exotic mysticism of big cities…places like Oklahoma City or Dallas. (These were the most exotic places I could imagine at the time.)
As long as I can remember, there were only two things I wanted to do with my life: write, and be on the radio. I started my radio career two days after my fifteenth birthday, as a Saturday morning announcer on the 250-watt AM station in my hometown. I worked full-time in radio for many years thereafter, picking up a degree in broadcasting from the University of Central Oklahoma (with a minor in American history), and working in both commercial and public radio, in formats ranging from country to classical.
As for writing fiction, it began in second grade. When finished with my assignments, I would spend my spare time making up fake newspapers. My teacher, Miss Potts, could have snatched them away from me and told me to stop that foolishness, but to her eternal credit, she carefully saved them and gave them to my parents at the end of the school year. It was the first time I got the message that writing—making up stories!—was meaningful and worthwhile. I became the quintessential bookworm.
Flash forward a few years. I’d finished my degree, done a little bit of grad school, moved to a couple of other states, then settled back in Oklahoma City. I’d been writing—songs, poems, short stories, essays—for all this time, but never attempted a novel. I started writing a thriller in 1988, still working in radio at the time. It was a truly awful novel, but I finished it and dutifully submitted it for publication. Over the next fourteen years, I finished five more novels and accumulated more than 300 rejections.
In 2002, I found a literary agent who was interested in representing the manuscript that became my first published novel, Department Thirty. When we finally sent it out to publishers, it sold in three weeks. Three more books in the series followed, published under the pseudonym David Kent. (There was another Kent Anderson who’d written a couple of similar books in the genre, and both agent and publisher were worried about confusion amongst readers.)
Of the four books I wrote as David Kent, The Blackjack Conspiracy won the Oklahoma Book Award for Fiction in 2006. But publishing is a funny business, and after my fourth book was published, I was essentially cut loose by my publisher.
At the same time, I was going through any number of “life changes” that made me take a few steps back. I changed careers in my day job, spending about a year working in marketing for a symphony orchestra, and later taking a job writing magazine feature stories. That experience made me a much better writer than before, and my stories won several statewide awards.
After a period where I thought my fiction career was over, a germ of an idea came to me during the great Oklahoma ice storm of 2007. That tiny idea grew into a contemporary thriller with its basis in the Civil War. More ideas began to tumble into place behind it, a new series that would draw links from that conflict to the present, all to coincide with the war’s sesquicentennial, and building on my longstanding interest in American history and politics. New characters, new stories, new perspectives, new agent, new publisher…the result is Cold Glory in 2011, to be followed in November 2012 by the second in the new series, Silver Cross. Also, my previous publisher has reissued three of the four David Kent books in trade paperback format. For my new work, I got my name back, too: as a kid, I always signed my works B. Kent Anderson, and now I am finally being published that way. (There’s another amusing family story about why in real life I am known by my middle name rather than that for which the B stands, but I won’t belabor that one.)
So here I am, in some ways still the wide-eyed bookworm kid from a one-traffic light town, traveling to places both real and imagined via the most powerful medium of all: stories. I still live in Oklahoma City, where I spend time with friends and my three teenage sons, I do my day job and a little radio work on the side, I read, I write, I listen to mostly acoustic music (folk, bluegrass, singer/songwriters, Celtic, classical), and I rather fervently cheer for the Texas Rangers baseball team.
If you’ve come along this far, I hope you’ll come a little farther. I have many more stories to tell. I look forward to getting to know Nick Journey and Meg Tolman better…they have many more adventures ahead of them.
All author photos by Raymond B. Miller