Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Small-town living is a ‘Volt’ to life

Award-winning author Alan Heathcock to share his story


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Author Alan Heathcock will give a presentation at The Community Library on Thursday, March 31, at 6 p.m. Courtesy photo

Boise author Alan Heathcock's new book, "Volt," is creating an electric shock through the literary community way beyond his Boise home. Heathcock will be present to discuss the book at The Community Library in Ketchum on Thursday, March 31, at 6 p.m. for a free event.

"Volt" is a collection of eight short stories that provides a slice of small-town living and all the strange and odd circumstances that many a small town endures.

"Volt" has been picked as a New York Times editor's choice, and it is in a third printing—it's only been available for three weeks. One of its stories, "Peacekeeper," won a national award, and the book has been selected by Barnes and Noble as a Best Book of the Month for March. In addition, Heathcock is a winner of a National Magazine Award in fiction.

"I worked on the book for 12 years," Heathcock said. "I could have published the stories as stand alones, but they are highly specific commentary. The stories all together add up to something more powerful."

Heathcock said if the stories were one novel, it would have been too intense.

"The title of the book, 'Volt,' other than being a nice word and it looks nice, is the final story in the book," he said. "It's the time in our lives when something happens, and it turns us. Something puts a volt in you and you're changed."

Heathcock is the Writer in Residence for the city of Boise, a Literature Fellow for the state of Idaho and teaches fiction at Boise State University.

"Boise is an incredible place," he said. "We are in a great period of time."

Heathcock said his students are being accepted into more MFA programs and the literary scene in Boise is very encouraging.

"When I had my book launch Chicago, 100 people came," he said. "In Boise, I had a launch at the Linen Building and 325 people showed up. Boise is a very special place."

Besides Boise being a city that reads, Heathcock said, it's very cool to be part of a scene where everyone wants each other to succeed. He said he's lived all over the country but enjoys his Idaho life because he draws inspiration from the wide-open spaces of Idaho.

"When I pour through my imagination, I think about what will be interesting to play out in a story," he said. "The feeling of Idaho with the distances, open spaces and lonesomeness is how it feels. There is something about Idaho that is good for drama."

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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