Jeffrey J. Kilpatrick will soon release his debut book, a series of tales that emerge from the dark shadows of Boulevard, one of the oldest residential streets in Athens.
The book is a collection of short horror stories.
“I would equate them more to ‘Tales from the Crypt,’ ” Kilpatrick said, referring to a long-running HBO series. “They’re fun horror and not excessively gory or extremely frightening.”
“Terrifying Tales of Athens, Bloody Boulevard” will be launched in Athens at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Normal Bar, 1365 Prince Ave. The author will sign his book, published by The Garbage Factory, and read from some of the stories.
While the characters and tales are figments of Kilpatrick’s imagination, the places he names along Boulevard and the Normaltown neighborhood are real.
In actuality, Kilpatrick said these neighborhoods contain an assortment of real characters as well, “which is why I enjoy living in this area of town.”
Kilpatrick, who teaches Italian at the University of Georgia, said he is working on a second volume of horror short stories that take place in Athens’ Five Points neighborhood.
A native of Santa Maria, Calif., Kilpatrick and his wife moved to Athens in 2004, where he worked on his doctoral degree in historical linguistics with a specialty in Italian linguistics. In 2010, he was hired full time at UGA.
Kilpatrick has been fascinated with language since he was a teenager. In high school, he took French, Spanish and Italian, then he studied abroad in Italy and immersed himself in the culture.
“We’ve been back several times to live there,” he said, adding that his children also speak Italian.
About five years ago, he began writing stories, mostly short stories.
Authors who have influenced him due to their compelling characters are Stephen King, Carl Hiaasen and Kurt Vonnegut.
“One thing I liked about (King) is that it’s obviously horror and scary stories, but one thing that always drew me into his stories are the characters,” Kilpatrick said.
He recently went to see the movie “It,” based on a King novel. The novel had already been produced for a television series.
“This one takes it up a notch,” he said about the fright factor.