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Sewickley Hills' author's latest book peers into afterlife

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Author John Kichi sits for a photo inside of his Sewickley Hills home Thursday, March 14, 2013.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Hills author John Kichi stands for a photo on Beaver Street in Sewickley Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Author and cartoonist John Kichi said he will be the first to admit he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Kichi, 65, of Sewickley Hills, said he's not saying there isn't a God and an afterlife, he's just admitting, “I just don't know.”

“I think people are afraid to look into the abyss and say, ‘I don't know.' If we all said that, I think we'd be better off. We know nothing. We still can't answer the big questions. You just have to live your life the best you can and hope for the best.

“I would like to think there is an afterlife, some other mode of existence, where I could meet people I've lost and loved, but I can't pretend to know what I'm talking about. I just come up with stories I think are interesting and that appeal to me,” he said.

One of those stories is his new book, “How I Spent My Afterlife,” or “Pittsburgh vs. the Flying Saucers of Heaven.” The book, published through Pyga Media last year, can be purchased as a Kindle e-book at Amazon.com.

It focuses on Leland Heath of Sewickley, who is CEO of an environmental company, Green Babushka of Pittsburgh, and gets involved in a fight to take back the afterlife from extraterrestrials.

The book is the second in his “God” trilogy, said Kichi, who has worked in marketing, communications, public relations and broadcasting and runs John Kichi Creative. The first was “The Naked Centurion,” also published last year by Pyga Media. He wrote it eight years ago to be similar to “Ben-Hur,” focusing on two men who are involved in a plot in which the real Jesus is replaced by a look-alike on the cross.

Kichi hopes to have another book out soon to complete his “God” trilogy.

Kichi, who grew up on the South Side, said he started to think about the afterlife when his grandmother died when he was 16 and his father, John, died in 1979. When his mother, Sophie, died in 2007, he said he started forming his opinions of God and an afterlife.

He earned a bachelor's degree in speech and theater at the University of Pittsburgh and a master's in advertising and broadcasting from Michigan State University.

But writing is just one of Kichi's interests. His cartoon strips appear in magazines in Scotland, Australia and Houston.

“His work is very cutting edge and highly amusing,” said Bretty Hayhoe, publisher and editor of Q Magazine.

“I don't make a lot of money at this, but I never thought money was the most important thing. I wish I had the know-how to cure cancer, but I don't. So, I try to say something important, make an impact and try to convince people of things in my writing and cartoons.”

Kichi said he would like to come back in 100 years to see what has been accomplished in the world.

But, while he's here, he said he'd like to keep writing and drawing cartoons— doing what he enjoys.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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