a novel by Kenn Bivins


Pious is the debut and best-selling novel by Kenn Bivins, the author of the Wedding & Disaster of Felona Mabel.

Carpious Mightson is not who he appears to be, wearing the guise of a handsome leader of virtue. He seems friendly, loving, hard working, and God-fearing. Little do his neighbors, co-workers, and girlfriend know that he harbors a secret that compromises his integrity.

When Ian Kaplan, a registered sex-offender, moves into the family-friendly community of Mechi Lane, the HOA drafts Carpious to be the one to compel Ian to put his house back on the market and leave.

While Carpious is struggling to maintain his own secret, Alethea Mightson, Carpious’s ex-wife, resurfaces in an attempt to extort money from him for what he assumes is her substance addiction. She threatens to expose his past if he doesn’t comply.

A murder occurs and Carpious’s composure begins to spiral out of his control, while all that he has built threatens to topple. Will the consequences of new sins expose the old ones?

Find out in the debut novel and best seller by Kenn Bivins and see why Pious has been hailed “a caress and a punch.”

Kenn Bivins

Kenn Bivins is the best-selling author of Pious and, the highly anticipated new release, the Wedding & Disaster of Felona Mabel. He is also an illustrator whose work has appeared in comic books, advertising and broadcast animation.

Kenn’s work demonstrates that he has a penchant toward telling multi-layered redemption stories where definition between black and white is cleverly blurred.

Pious is his first novel.

Q & A with Kenn Bivins

What is the significance of the title and where did the idea for Pious come from?
The title is a play on the actual word, pious, which means pure and dutiful. It is also a play on the main character’s name, Carpious.

Pious is an amalgamation of many ideas that I had at the onset of wanting to write my first novel. There were a lot of stories that I wanted to tell with Pious and it simply and organically grew into a tale of duplicity and forgiveness.

In a novel that is thematically about forgiveness, you feature a character who is a registered sex offender. This lays the ground work for a powder keg of a story. How do you think people will respond to this character and the role he plays?
I hope that a lot of the scenarios in Pious will make people feel something strongly. The character you speak of, Ian, and the role he plays in forgiveness is not what you would expect. “Powder keg” is the most appropriate expression.

What character are you the most like?
As a writer, I find it impossible to create a character without breathing some degree of self into each one. These characters are born of my interpretation so they are like my offspring. They can’t help but look similar, talk similar, or have some similar imperfection.

So in other words, you and Carpious have much in common?
(laughter) Carpious has much in common with a lot of us. He has been defined by something that happened to him as a child that he never recovered from. The fact that he hasn’t resolved this thing, colors the decisions that he makes, even at age 45.

Speaking of characters, Alethea is quite a character. Do you know an Alethea in real life?
I do. Several, in fact. Despite being rough around the edges with a potty mouth, Alethea, as the Greek origin of her name indicates, speaks truth. I can respect the fact that she’s real without apology.

Explain the cover.
The image of a dove being released into the heavens has always evoked a feeling of peace and purity. On the cover of Pious, you have that but blood taints the whole scene. That same principle runs throughout the novel.

Book Club

Pious by Kenn Bivins was written in such a style that makes it the perfect book for being the focus of a book club read to dissect the social context, allegories, hidden treasures, moral quandaries, and so on.

The following questions are a guideline to begin to delve deeper into the world and mind of Carpious Mightson.

  1. What specific theme(s) do you think the author emphasized throughout the novel?
  2. The author also illustrated the cover. What does the illustration have to do with the story?
  3. Does Carpious seem real and believable to you? Can you relate to his predicaments and/or struggle? Did you have sympathy for him?
  4. Can you personally relate to any of the characters? To what extent, if any, do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
  5. How do the characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events triggered those changes?
  6. In what ways do events that happen in the book reveal evidence of the author’s world view?
  7. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
  8. When Ian is moving into the neighborhood, he drops a ragged, dog-eared Bible with half the cover missing. This same book appears at the end of the story in a completely different place. How did it get there? What do you think is the significance of this?
  9. Drew’s storyline doesn’t come to a conclusive ending. This is intentional because in real life, some struggles are ongoing. How do you think Drew’s story truly ends? Will Lela take him back? Has Drew accepted who he is?
  10. Could you have done what Sydney ultimately did? Do you think she displayed weakness or strength to do what she did?

“Secrets. Everyone has them.” Pious has quite a few. Here are some, in case you missed them…

WARNING: If you haven’t read Pious yet, these secrets are also known as SPOILERS.

  1. Pious takes place over the course of three seasons – Fall, Winter, and Spring. This is intentional and even in describing Carpious, Kenn Bivins is likening him (his skin color) to the Fall. Something about him is on the verge of dying as the story begins.
  2. The street name, Mechi Lane, is a nod to the practice of “mechila” which is asking for forgiveness. Mechila is given particular attention during Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days of the year for Jewish people.
  3. Admah City is a fictional metropolis named after Admah, an actual city mentioned in the Bible as one of the neighboring cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a major sea port of trade. Admah City is akin to a New York, LA or Atlanta.
  4. 361 Mechi Lane mirrors Carpious’s house number of 163 much like Ian is a reformed mirror of Carpious.
  5. Pious is told in three acts, following Richard Wright’s Native Son as a guide – fear, flight, and fate.
  6. Chapter 1 is all about facades. “You define what you want people to see,” is what real estate agent, Deidre says to Ian.
  7. Alethea is Greek for “truth.” Who she was in the beginning is who she was in the end.
  8. Carpious name is a play on “pious” and “carp,” a fish. The fish is indicative of the Christian symbol, which Carpious masks himself with.
  9. As odd as his name is, Carpious was named after his father. More irony.
  10. Carpious knows where to buy drugs and how to pick locks. These instances are a peek into the fact that he once was, or still is, someone else.
  11. Near the end, Carpious is referred to by his prison ID number, RM13911. This is a reference to Bible verses Romans 13:9-11.
    The main focus of these passages is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
  12. The cover was originally intended to be a full color painting but Kenn didn’t want the color to distract from the metaphorical meaning of the cover nor did he want Pious to be slumped into the “just another Urban novel” category. Pious is a tale that someone of any ethnicity can relate to.