Category Winner - Horror
By Derek Vasconi
Winner: Horror | Purchase →
The bastard child of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 and Stephen King’s CARRIE, KAI explores how one innocent girl becomes the target of enormous rage living inside another girl-who is seemingly from another world.
Satsuki Takamoto is an invisible otaku teenager in Hiroshima. The only thing she has going for her is the upcoming birth of her sister. No longer will she be alone. But when her mother has a gory miscarriage right in front of her, Satsuki loses her one chance at happiness. She spirals into a deep depression, shutting out everyone and everything by locking herself inside her bedroom-for good. Her sadness, however, pales in comparison to her uncontrollable anger. It spreads like a nuclear fire, ambivalent to what or who it destroys, and won’t stop until Satsuki accepts her sister’s death.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Evanston, Illinois, Seul Bi Rissiello can’t sleep because every time she closes her eyes, she relives her adoptive parents’ gruesome deaths. Why is she thinking so much about them now, ten years afterward? As she struggles with working at a clinic for the mentally disturbed, Seul Bi starts to unravel under the weight of living a lonely life and being twice an orphan. Her life devolves into a series of ominous and dangerous hallucinations that threaten not only her sanity, but her very existence as well.
As both girls struggle to understand what is happening to them, their enigmatic connection comes into focus, raising the question: What if all the suffering in your life was carefully choreographed by somebody you’ve never met?
About Derek Vasconi
Derek Vasconi was raised in Sharon, Pennsylvania, a small town near Pittsburgh, PA. He didn’t stay there for very long, as after graduating from high school, he co-founded the metal band, From A Second Story Window, and went on tour for most of his early 20’s. In 2006, Derek made the decision to move on from the band and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development, which he achieved, at Penn State University. After doing this, he went to Japan to live on and off for the next five years, and life has never been the same for him since. Derek has accomplished a myriad of things in his life, including founding a traditional, independent book publishing company, creating an iphone app (eMobo, which brought the Japanese cell phone novels, or “keitai shousetsu,” to the Western world), and now, has pursued writing himself. His first book, KAI, showcases Derek’s passion for both Japan and horror, as he blends them seamlessly in an unforgettable and jaw-dropping debut book about one girl from Hiroshima who wants to destroy the world. Additionally, Derek is currently working on several more horror novels, and when he’s not writing, he spends his time hopelessly devoted to all things otaku, listening to JPOP music, and hanging out with his little daughter and pet cat, Gachapin, who hates all humanity.