Even when Peter Heller was an award-winning adventurer and outdoor journalist, he wanted to be a novelist.
âI have been a fiction writer since I was 11 years old. Journalism was a way to make a living, âhe says. âI used magazine writing as a training ground, chops as poets, and developed characters that came off the page. Even when I was writing about fracking during Businessweek, I was writing as lyrically as I could and telling the story. I knelt down. I fly fishing at the bottom of the stream. ”
The protagonist of Heller’s latest novelist, The Guide, spends many of his books on the water, also on fly fishing. But he also has to navigate the recurrent, mutant virus (this book was written before the Delta variants emerged) and how it is twisting society in unexpected ways. ..
Heller’s first novel, The Dog Stars, was a well-rated bestseller in an apocalyptic setting. âI just started on the front row, I had a favorite beat and music in that language took me into the story,â Heller recalls. âIt wasn’t until the third page that I realized it was a post-apocalyptic novel. I wanted to write a literary novel, not a genre, but the voice was so fascinating that I just wrote it.
He wields authority at one point, especially in revisions, but Heller says the key to his writing is to “tell yourself.” Most of the time, I let the language transport me to the corners of history and I don’t know what is there. I want to be as excited as the reader. ”
Each book took on a very different route: “The Painter” was about a talented but troubled artist, “Celine” focused on the private eyes of a psychic aristocrat. And, âThe Riverâ pursued two young college kids on a canoe trip, a crackling noise with danger to the environment and people. But for the first time, Heller returned to a semi-familiar place. Although Jack is thousands of miles away from his canoe trip, he is once again in play as the protagonist of a “guide” where the wealthy find new ways to isolate themselves. Self from the rest of society.
Heller explains why Zoom brought him back to Jack, the role his wife played in his job, and how he harmonizes the worst human nature with the beauty he sees every day. talked.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q. Why are you going back to Jack’s?
Jack lives in my heart like a dear old friend who knows my life, so I wanted to check out and see him. To think that way is a little crazy and very beautiful.
Some of my characters are portraits of people I know. Jim Wagner from “The Painter” is a friend of Taos and a true Jim Wagner artist. I had to ask him if it was okay – he loved the book, but what he said was very realistic to him.
However, some characters are doppelgangers to me. They love what I love and hate the same. I really have something to do with Jack. He looks a lot like me, his vigilance towards people, his passion and his loyalty are very similar to mine.
I just finished another novel that’s not about Jack, but I’m about to start the next one. You can check again what it is doing.
Q. Jack’s friendship with Win, at the heart of The Heart of a River, is based on your true friendship.
The book has a two-way story. What’s the scene where two boys roam the mountains on a college orientation and go out before everyone else? It really happened to me in first grade, and he’s still a beloved friend of mine.
But the river and canoe trip comes from what happened to my current wife. On the third day, she first had to unload the gym bag. It was very heavy and I saw him with a dagger and a shuriken. She was training to be a ninja. She looked pretty tough because she was able to protect me, and I had this assignment to canoe the Winisk River in Canada, the real version of the river in the book. So I invited her in, but found out that she had never camped or canoeed – and it’s a deep desert.
As she was packing, she said, “May I bring my eyebrow tweezers?” ” I said no. I should have been more generous – they only weigh 1 gram. She got me back. She loves fossils, and when we enter those streams, we load our boats with limestone shale rocks with lots of shells. The boat is low on the water. One morning she had a 12 pound block of limestone and a little shell in the corner. I said “Kim”. She narrowed her eyes and said, “Don’t minimize me,” and that’s when I knew I was going to marry her.
Q. Your book has extraordinary writing about nature, but it’s a tense thriller. How do you find the balance?
My wife will take care of it. I’m going to read her songs aloud and see her nod her head on the edge of the couch. Heard a tweet saying “too much fishing” so cut it in half.
But you can feel calm and escape, explore the shores of the lake and hunt the eagle, have a literal sense of timing and sense when you need to pick it up and do it. Tighten again.
Q. Jack often survives because he believes in the worst people. Is this your view of the world?
When I’m in a situation, I look more like Jack than Win.
And I feel that humans are a little wrong. What we are doing to the earth is more than a crime – I think it is a sin.
Climate change provides some form of information to almost every book I have. It hurts that tens of thousands of species are already in the dark. It’s not like the apocalypse is happening – for these species, it’s already happening. We cause evil on earth. I believe in evil. Evil like the Holocaust and Rwanda is within us.
Yet the same is true of TS Eliot and Tang Dynasty poems and kind deeds we see every day.
Q. This book also describes wealth and privilege, and the abuse of power, and I find it very relevant.
Everything that is going on in me has been expressed and I have given a lot of thought to the exhaustion of the middle class and how the rich exploit people. .. “hunger game. “ I’m really scared.
Q. But your book is neither dogmatic nor angry.
I am in love when I write. And I am not a desperate person. I find a lot of joy every day, which is usually related to nature. If you have the chance to do something rewarding, you need resilience. For this we need to have fun and take care of each other. In my writing, I am thrilled and want to take care of my readers in some way. This is the only way to overcome the toughest challenges.
Author Peter Heller says he finds joy in nature even as humans create climate change apocalypse – Press Enterprise Author Peter Heller says he finds joy in nature even as humans create climate change apocalypse – Press Enterprise