Award winning author to visit DMACC

alan heathcock

Coming to DMACC for the Literary Arts Festival is Alan Heathcock, who currently has a book out called “VOLT.” It which has won numerous awards including The Chicago Tribune Best Book award, New York Times Editor’s Choice award, and GLCA New Writer’s Award Winner.

DMACC students will get a treat in coming weeks when the Celebration of Literary Arts kicks off in early April.
Among those scheduled to speak is award winning author Alan Heathcock.
However, he did not always begin as a writer.
“I started probably my senior year, I started kind of seriously trying to do a writing, and I went out into the real world and was a real person for a few years, was a corporate management consultant guy which seems like a completely different person then, a completely different life but then I went to graduate school in 1995,” Heathcock said.
“ I was in Bowling Green University [and received] my first MFA, Master of Fine Arts, and ever since then I think writing has kinda the dominant center of my life,” Heathcock said.
His family who were the ones who inspired him to start writing.
“I come from a family who loves to tell stories, still to this day we get together and we don’t like play video games or anything like that, we sit around and tell each other stories. People always say my imagination right down on the page so I’d decided that I’d [try] my hand at writing,” Heathcock said.
“Writing would allow me to kind of confront some things that I needed to make sense of, things in the world, things that happened to me, family tragedies, things that I’d been in close proximity to that were pleasant, and that this was the best way possible for me to make sense of the world,” Heathcock said.
“It was only until I went to the University of Iowa as an undergrad and it just happened that to go to a place that is known world round for writing, and for creative writing, and I thought ‘Oh I didn’t know that creative writing was this cool, and so it was there that I got into a classroom, Heathcock said.
“I had one teacher, Mary O’Connell, who was very, very, very kind, and I told her I thought I really liked writing and wanted to be a writer and she told me she thought I could be one. And that was despite my writing at the time, which in hindsight was really, really, bad,” Heathcock said.
Heathcock currently has a book out called “VOLT” which has won numerous awards including, but not limited to: The  Chicago Tribune Best Book award, New York Times Editor’s Choice award, and GLCA New Writer’s Award Winner.
“VOLT”, is a number of stories that are set in the same town, Krafton.
“My original goal is I wanted to write the moral history of a town. I’m from the Midwest originally and I’ve lived in Iowa and Illinois, Ohio, my family is from  small town Indiana and I thought that writing about a small town was a way that I could investigate what it meant to be an American and about half of the stories are from the perspective of the town’s pastor and about half of the stories are from the perspective of the town’s sheriff, and it looks at justice and morality and faith and war,” Heathcock said.
He has some advice for those interested in a career with writing, or writing in general.
“I think the biggest thing I see with students is they generally start outside of themselves which means generally the impulse to write it you’ve read something yourself that has inspired you, some book you think is awesome, or seen a movie or a tv program; some story has come into your life that has inspired you, and so the impulse is to imitate that thing, or to look out at bookstores and say ‘well I’ve seen that this thing is very popular,”  Heathcock said.
“A few years ago teaching a got a thousand sparkling vampire stories coming in to workshop, and I always tell people, ‘Stephanie Meyer’s wrote this story cuz it was her story right, and she wanted to write a sparkling vampire story.’ I think that’s the first thing I try to get student’s to do to turn back into themselves, what is the story that you have to tell, and you can tell better than anyone else,” Heathcock said.
However in the meantime, Heathcock has slated another novel coming out called 40 and it’s about people suriving a great flood, and they don’t realize that they are a part of a great flood, but a civil war breaks out during the course of the raining and its about a young woman who tries trying with her family to survive through all the rain and the civil war.
“My fascination with floods started with my time living in Iowa,” Heathcock said.
The book he says doesn’t have a set release date yet but he hopes it will be sometime in late 2015.
Heathcock is scheduled to read from his book and sign books on Wednesday, April 9 from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is free to the public and to DMACC students.
“I’m looking forward to my visit out there and you guys do whatever you can to make sure we get some sunshine and that all the snow is melted away,” Heathcock said.

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