‘More fun than anything I’ve tried to do’: Former WKU professor discusses his latest book

Photo+provided+by+Brooke+DeCesare.

Brooke DeCesare

Photo provided by Brooke DeCesare.

Damon Stone, News reporter

Carl Kell, retired professor and department head in the WKU Department of Communication and author, held a book reading event on Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library system. 

Kell began teaching at WKU in 1972, and leading to his retirement in 2016, he was the recipient of the Religious Communication of the Year Award from the Religious Communication Association. He also founded the WKU Spirit Masters in 1980 and served as the organization’s advisor for 22 years. 

Kell spoke about his new book, “Goodnight…Whispers of the Heart,” which compiled stories from letters that he exchanged with his wife over six to eight years. 

“As a writer, my trouble was learning how to get past six to eight pages,” Kell said, addressing his time in graduate school when he first developed a passion for writing. “[…]  I found my experience in creative fiction writing, of which I knew little about, but I had read book after book after book and I sort of had a sense of how to do it. So, I set off on my own, and in my own way of writing fiction, I borrowed [techniques and skills] from a lot of good writers.”

His previous books include “The Exiled Generation,” “Against the Wind,” “In the Name of the Father,” “Exiled,” and “On Sacred Ground.” He has helped with titling books for friends of his, and has written several books about the Southern Baptist Convention.

“The pure joy of writing what’s in your head and what you’ve experienced comes very close to the best kind of writing I’ve been around,” Kell said. “Just the notion of fiction writing has been a lot of fun, more fun than anything I’ve tried to do.”

Kell stated that organizational skills from his time as a professor have helped with planning books of his, including his decision to divide “Goodnight…Whispers of the Heart” into three parts that each convey a theme. 

Each part in the book is separated by a quill, serving as a representation for his writing method, handwriting as opposed to type, and implies “writing real notes with a ballpoint pen or a Sharpie, rather than typing the stuff on a text message or an email” Kell said. 

“Get your stuff on paper or online, however it can be done, then work with it,” Kell said, addressing what he would say to aspiring writers. “You can’t work with an idea that isn’t in print of some kind. The same with sports like football and basketball, you need to have time that you train […] Get your stuff out, don’t sit and think about it, because you can’t do anything with it if you don’t do it today.”

News Reporter Damon Stone can be contacted at [email protected]