Meet the Author - Alan Heathcock

Our local authors are always up to interesting things and Alan Heathcock is no different. Just check out those amazing wings!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 is 40's Book Birthday and there will be a release and signing party at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2 in the sanctuary ballroom at TRICA, located at 1406 Eastman St. in Boise. The event is free and open to the public. Rediscovered Books will be on site selling copies of Heathcock's books and Alan will be doing a book signing at the event as well.  This "book birthday" is also a benefit for Radio Boise, and Mr. Grant Olsen will be playing live music.

40 is currently available for preorder.  We are running a special promotion through July 25, 2022 for personalized copies with the additional $5 benefitting Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates - West, the organization of Alan's choice.

  1. How would you describe what you do?

Alan:  I use story and language to express my interests, concerns, and hopes. 

  1. What do you like best about what you do?

Alan: I can peer into everything that scares, confounds, and inspires me, and use story and language to give shape and order to the light within the dark.

  1. What is the hardest thing about what you do?

Alan: To peer into everything that scares, confounds, and inspires me, and use story and language to give shape and order to the light within the dark.

  1. Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser”?

Alan: I outline a plot but typically break from the outline while writing. Then I redraft the outline only to break from the outline once again. Then I redraft the outline only to break… 

  1. What does your writing process look like? Do you write with regularity or when the inspiration strikes?

Alan: I only write when inspiration strikes, but I actively try to provoke inspiration (mainly by consuming enormous amounts of story–books, films, podcasts, plays) on a daily basis. It’s a rare day I’m not inspired, so it’s a rare day I don’t write.

  1. Do your characters come to you fully formed or do they evolve as you write?  Do they ever surprise you? 

Alan: They never come to me fully formed. I’m not sure how that would even happen or if I’d want it to happen. The exploration of character through the events of the story, and all the ways they surprise and challenge me, is one of the great joys of writing. I evolve as my character evolves.

  1. When you write dialogue for your characters, do you hear your voice or theirs?

Alan: When I write I try to remove myself completely. I’m not there. Only the character is there. It’s their voice I hear.

  1. What is the best piece of advice about writing that you ever received?

Alan: Pick a project that you have to build your capacities to write. Build your capacities by writing the project and facing each challenge with patience and high standards.

  1. What is the biggest change that you have made in a piece that you were writing?

Alan: I threw the entire thing out and started from scratch. With this novel, I did that five times.

  1. What authors most influenced your decision to become a writer?

Alan: Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison, Denis Johnson, Virginia Wolff, James Salter, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, William Shakespeare (to name a few).

  1. What book do you recommend that everyone read?

Alan: I don’t think there’s a single title that everyone should read. We’re all different, with different backgrounds, ethnicities, histories, wants and desires. The idea of recommending a book that everyone should read feels a bit presumptuous to me. To answer this question differently, and maybe in the spirit in which it was asked, I greatly admire the tragedies of Shakespeare for the elegance of the language and the depth in which they probe the human condition. 

  1. What is a project that you haven’t done yet, but have always wanted to do?

Alan: Write for the stage. I’ve written short stories, a novel, essays, screenplays, but have never written a play for the stage.

  1. What is currently on your bedside table?

Alan: How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich, and The Stahl House by Kim Cross. All three are wonderful for very different reasons.