K G (Ken) Follett has lived in Rockford, Illinois for over thirty years. Born in the Chicago area, he moved to Rockford after growing up in the suburbs and exurbs. He graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1980, with a BS degree in business/marketing, and worked in the banking and marketing fields for over fifteen years. After his move to “the Forest City”, he obtained his ADN from Rock Valley College in 1997, and began working as a Registered Nurse. He now lives with and is happily married to his partner of nearly twenty years, Brent.
Follett started writing the short story about a gay man named Brad Kelly the mid-1990s as an “escape” during a difficult time in his life. (He had been told in school that he had a good “conversational” writing style, but never attempted anything beyond his school assignments.) During the Clinton years, with the AIDS crisis still out of control, the term “family” was being hijacked by various socio-political groups to be used to “morally” bash LGBTQ and other alternative family structures. Follett felt compelled to write something positive about being LGBTQ in modern “middle” America, and his original short story began to grow. Hence the concept of A Different Kind of Family as a novel was born.
However, as the new millennium dawned, Follett put the story aside due to positive changes in his life. The story lay forgotten for nearly two decades, until he rediscovered the unfinished manuscript in a file cabinet in his basement in early 2017. Inspired by the ever-increasing numbers of gay romance novels he had been reading, and by numerous gay feature and short films he had watched on the internet, Follett decided to revisit Brad Kelly’s life in earnest. He revamped his original concept and completed the book, publishing it that September.
Shortly thereafter, he realized he had grown attached to a number of peripheral characters in the novel, and he launched The Bears’ Den series of books devoted to them. After publishing the third The Bear’s Den book in the spring of 2018, Follett revisited his original story. He found that his characters still had more to tell about themselves. Hence, A Different Kind of Family: The Trilogy was born, delving more deeply into the lives of Brad and his “family”. He split the original novel in to three free-standing books, each covering a different “era” of Brad Kelly’s life.
These two series of books are the author’s attempt to reclaim the term “family” to be used legitimately for any kind of family structure in today’s society. He also hopes to shed light on how LGBTQ life has improved over the past five decades, what challenges the LGBTQ community still faces, and what could be lost if we do not remain vigilant in these tumultuous times. He has since gone on to write an historical fiction account of the early AIDS crisis, a gay themed SciFi story about time travel and artificial intelligence, a story of unexpected love with a paranormal twist, a modern day fairy tale, and a story of unrequited high school love finding its happy ending at a class reunion. Stay tuned for more to come.