Author Kevin Wilson

The novelist several leading critics say wrote one of the best novels of 2011 makes his first and only appearance in Iowa tonight.

Despite the book’s name, “The Family Fang,” author Kevin Wilson makes a clear point, it is -not- a tale of vampires. The story follows two parents, Caleb and Camille Fang, who he describes as twisted performance artists who have gained wide fame.

“The reason they’ve become so famous is they used their children, Annie and Buster, as props in these chaotic, public performances,” Wilson says. “This has ruined the children in some ways and the story switches back and forth between when they were children and now that they’re adults, having trouble living normal lives.”

Wilson says he’s used to the ribbing about vampires but insists, Fang is just the name he chose for the family and there’s no biting or blood-sucking in this comedy.

“The original title of the book was just, “Fangs,” and the publisher very quickly said that was a terrible idea and no one is going to know what this book is about,” Wilson says. “We changed it to, “The Family Fang,” but I still find people asking me if it’s a vampire book. That’s the price of doing business. I guess I should have thought of a better title.”

Actress Nicole Kidman and her production company, Blossom Films, have already bought the movie rights to “The Family Fang.” Wilson says he’s thrilled his book has garnered such attention from a Hollywood celeb.

“They’re really aggressively moving forward to get it made,” Wilson says. “They have a screenwriter who’s working on the script and they’ve been really gung-ho about it which is kind of fun. It’s a weird thing to get an email from Nicole Kidman. It’s not what you expect when you start out writing a book all by yourself in your cabin.”

Kidman reportedly wants to star in the film, too, as the mother, Camille.

TIME, People, Amazon and Esquire all called this New York Times bestseller one of last year’s best books. It’s Wilson’s first novel and given its wide acclaim, he’s continually asked if there will be a second.

“God, I hope so,” Wilson says, laughing. “That’s the idea. It’s harder to actually make that happen than it is to hope that it happens. I’m in the process of writing something new and hopefully, that will be the second book.”

Will it follow the Fang family? “No, something entirely new, maybe just as weird,” he quips.

The 33-year-old Wilson is a lifelong Tennessee resident who teaches fiction at a small college.

Wilson will be appearing at 7 PM at Prairie Lights book store in Iowa City. Learn more at

AUDIO: 4:00 MP3 interview of Kevin Wilson by Matt Kelley