Kevin Craig is a poet, playwright and novelist. His works have been published internationally. Kevin has had seven 10-minute plays produced. He is a four-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon's BEST NOVEL AWARD. Kevin is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Writers' Conference. He has three published novels; Summer on Fire, Sebastian's Poet, and The Reasons. Sebastian's Poet was awarded the 2007 Muskoka Novel Marathon's Best Adult Novel Award.
Kevin is a proud member of the Writers' Community of Durham Region (WCDR). He previously twice served on their Board of Directors. As of June, 2013, he is serving as their Vice President.
Kevin's 3rd novel, THE REASONS (Musa Publishing), is NOW available!
Kevin's 6th and 7th plays were performed at the 8th Annual InspiraTO Festival in Toronto, Ontario. The Festival took place at the Alumnae Theatre main-stage, and in the neighbourhood surrounding the theatre. June 1st-10th, 2013.
Lying is a slippery slope. Once you take a step and start downward, it's hard to stop yourself, regain your footing and find a way back to normalcy. This is what Zach Carson, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson must face as three friends who just want school to end and summer to begin, if only it were that easy.
Summer on Fire is a slow burn, a story that takes the time to develop character, to flesh out three very unique personalities in the trio of friends, and the secrets and lies they agree to bury in the ashes of the fire they start in the old dry Henderson barn on the edge of town. They're doing what boys do, they go off and explore, they find somewhere to go and hide, and "hang out."
I liked how the families interacted with one another, surprising me time and again with humor and wit, laughter and tears, and a whole lot of Ms. Halverton, self-proclaimed town eccentric. When the town realizes the barn is burned down, another apparent crime is uncovered. A dead body is found. Suddenly, the looming consequence is too big for the three boys, so they make a pact not to tell, and this secret tests the boundaries of all of their friendships.
SUMMER ON FIRE touches on friendship, loyalty, lying and honesty, owning up to personal responsibility, facing your problems/fears instead of running from them, and not giving up on the seemingly hopeless cause.
I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars, and that was before I learned it was a product of National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo (held every November). SUMMER ON FIRE reminds me of a more innocent (and not so innocent) time when life seemed simpler and less complicated, and boys were boys. It smacks of Stand By Me and The Outsiders. You'll be glad you read this book. I highly recommend it!
This is a lively book for Young Adults, featuring three Canadian boys, their families, and a mysterious house fire. Maybe I missed it, but I was uncertain how old these boys were, and some of the narrative seemed a tad uneven in this regard. On the one hand, they plotted their way out of trouble like seasoned veterans, on the other they seemed to cry at the drop of a hat. This is my only quibble (and I am a notorious quibbler). The book is beautifully crafted and well written, with several memorable characters, distinctive speech patterns, and fascinating local idiom.
So many books nowadays try to be clever, flashing back and forth between the past and the present or switching point of view. I usually end up being confused by these. Mr. Craig keeps things simple, telling the story in a straightforward linear style. Also, most of the books I read are too long; a few are too short. This one is just right. Why do I feel like Goldilocks all of a sudden?
Summer on Fire pulled me in from the start. This coming-of-age story surrounds three friends--Zach, Jeff, and Arnie--following the consequences of an accident; the flicking of a cigarette butt, burning the barn they hang out in to the ground. The careless act sets off a string of unintended events leading to a murder investigation. The boys struggle with what they've done, quickly becoming caught in a web of lies.
The relationship of the three friends felt real to me, down to their dialogue--the teasing and put-downs that teen boys so often engage in. It flowed well and felt natural. Also, the characters, including the adults, felt well defined, down to their quirks and idiosyncrasies. I felt like I was given a good picture as the reader of the events taking place. The action moved at a good pace, keeping me turning the pages. And it's nice to read a quality young adult novel written from the male perspective; there aren't many out there.
This coming-of-age story shows the development of not only the three main characters but two of the supporting characters as well, Zach's sister Sherry and Jeff's brother Marty--both unlikable people at first who ultimately show that they have their own redeeming qualities. Kevin Craig writes so beautifully, painting the whole picture, in Summer on Fire as well as his other published novel Sebastian's Poet. I am definitely a fan and look forward to his next book.