Kinder, R.M. (Rose Marie Kinder)
Kinder, R.M. (Rose Marie Kinder)
Born in Bloomfield, MO. Education: University of Arizona at Tucson, Ph.D., 1990. Hobbies and other interests: Music, including the history of instruments, reading, natural science, languages, numismatics (Greek and Roman coins), acrostics, sudoku, and, traveling.
University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, began on faculty, editor of Pleiades, and developer of the creative writing program; now editor and professor emerita; reader for New Letters and for BkMk Press.
Helicon Nine Editions, Willa Cather Award, 1991; University of Michigan Press, Literary Fiction Award, 2005.
Sweet Angel Band & Other Stories, Helicon Nine Editions (Kansas City, MO), 1991.
(Editor, with others) Murder, Mystery, Madness, Magic, and Mayhem II: Triskaideka: Thirteen Selections from the Second Cave Hollow Press Anthology Contest, Cave Hollow Press (Warrensburg, MO), 2005.
An Absolute Gentleman (novel), Counterpoint (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to journals and periodicals, including Zone 3, Descant, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, North American Review, Literal Latte, and Notre Dame Review.
Contributor to anthologies, including The Deadliest Games: Tales of Psychological Suspense, The Notre Dame Review Anthology, and Circles of Influence.
Writer, editor, and educator R.M. Kinder was born in Bloomfield, Missouri. In 1990, she graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson with her doctorate. Over the course of her career, she has worked in a number of capacities at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, joining as a member of the teaching faculty and going on to design the university's creative writing program, for which she ultimately served as the director. She also served as the editor of the university's journal, Pleiades. She now holds emeritus status, both as faculty and on the journal's editorial board. She has contributed short fiction to a number of outlets, including journals and periodicals such as Zone 3, Descant, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Notre Dame Review. In addition, she has contributed several of her short pieces of fiction to the anthology The Deadliest Games: Tales of Psychological Suspense. Her stories have been collected in several volumes, including Sweet Angel Band & Other Stories and A Near-Perfect Gift, and she is also the author of An Absolute Gentleman, a novel released in 2007.
An Absolute Gentleman is a chilling thriller, the story of a serial killer, relayed entirely from the first-person point of view. Arthur Blume is a functioning human being, and outwardly appears to be calm, pleasant, and a productive member of society. He teaches creative writing at an unimpressive university in Mason, Missouri, and has a solid reputation among both students and fellow teachers. He appears to be a laid-back individual, and it is almost inconceivable, thanks to Kinder's portrayal, that this man could commit a violent act. However, the reality is much more frightening. As many serial killers do, Blume begins to reveal his dark side early on, by abusing and eventually killing animals. In addition, he was raised by a controlling mother with a cruel streak, whose behavior alternates inexplicably between loving and cold. The only outward sign of anything different or off about Blume is that he appears somewhat preoccupied with the notion of everyone around him receiving fair treatment, regardless of the circumstances. In keeping with that, he occasionally reveals to the reader that some woman of his acquaintance has slighted him or wronged another man and Blume has witnessed her behavior, grounds in his minds for making the woman simply go away. Kinder initially intended to use real-life serial killer Robert Weeks as the basis for her fictional murderer, as she has a connection to him. Her husband, who was at one time a homicide detective, actually arrested Weeks after Kinder identified him thanks to an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. However, she ultimately changed her mind, as the connection was perhaps a little too close. The result is a frightening depiction of the mind of a killer. Kinder's effort met with favorable reviews from most critics. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews commented that "the juxtaposition of the marginal ‘adjunct nomad’ experience with the casuistry of the sociopathic mind will genteelly horrify even non-English majors." Carol Haggas, writing for Booklist, labeled Kinder's effort as "a pitch-perfect rendition of the cunning malevolence that can lie hidden beneath the guise of refined civility." Luan Gaines, reviewing for the Curled Up with a Good Book Web site, praised the book for its depiction of the ordinary face of evil, remarking that "more than once, the reader must pause to consider the randomness of circumstance, the strangers we fail to notice and the existence of evil that dwells so comfortably among us." Library Journal reviewer Kevin Greczek opined that the novel "shows a sophisticated understanding of a madman's thought processes."
Kinder told CA: "My early interest in writing was shaped by my mother, a gifted singer and storyteller, who engaged me emotionally in the written word long before I could read or write, and introduced me to [literary characters such as] Cyrano de Bergerac and Quasimodo along with ‘babes in the woods,’ ‘little Cossette,’ and Tiny Tim. My adult interest was shaped by good teachers, good literature, and good fortune. My interest is still piqued every time I read or hear good prose or poetry, whether fiction or fact. Sometimes (often) I am so impressed by someone's language that my confidence dwindles, but I remind myself of William Faulkner's advice to writers to be in competition only with themselves.
"I'm influenced by authors whose works have moved me. I don't want to imitate them—and couldn't if I wished (we each have our stories and our own style)—but I do want my work to represent my values, as their works represent theirs. A few of those writers are Anton Chekhov, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, Raymond Carver, and Marilynn Robinson. Respect for the individual pervades their fiction. They see the heroisms and tragedies in everyday lives, but they also see humor and wonder.
"My writing process is largely one of discovery. I write any time of day—on the computer or on scraps of paper—but prefer the early morning hours, at a regular time. That's partly to be available for whatever my unconscious mind discovered during sleep (the ‘Eureka phenomenon’ described by Isaac Asimov: while the conscious mind rests, the unconscious works on problems in its own way). In recent years, I've discovered the power and joy of revision, too. I welcome the time to study a piece and allow all the parts to find their proper place.
"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is that writing truly is its own reward.
"My favorite book is always the one I'm writing at the moment. Perhaps, if I ever have a huge body of work, I'll have a favorite. I do have a favorite short story—‘A Near-perfect Gift.’ It's about a courageous woman, Oida, who isn't afraid to explore the truth about God, to face it, and to keep the pain of such knowledge from those she loves.
"I hope my books will meet the promise they set up, that they will entertain and move readers, and that they will be true to the human spirit."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August 1, 2007, Carol Haggas, review of An Absolute Gentleman, p. 31.
Entertainment Weekly, October 5, 2007, Ben Spier, review of An Absolute Gentleman, p. 74.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2007, review of An Absolute Gentleman.
Library Journal, August 1, 2007, Kevin Greczek, review of An Absolute Gentleman, p. 70.
New Letters, March 22, 2006, "What Their Lives Embody: Storytelling as a Gift," p. 167.
Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2007, review of An Absolute Gentleman, p. 42.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (July 16, 2008), Luan Gaines, author interview, review of An Absolute Gentleman.
R.M. Kinder Home Page,http://www.rmkinder.com (July 16, 2008).
University of Michigan Press Web site,http://www.press.umich.edu/ (July 16, 2008), author profile.
Writers Revealed,http://writersrevealed.com/ (September 30, 2007), review of An Absolute Gentleman.