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Kent Wascom biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Kent Wascom
Photo: John Wang

Kent Wascom

Kent Wascom Biography

Kent Wascom's first novel, The Blood of Heaven, was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post and NPR. It was a semifinalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan Award for First Fiction. Wascom was awarded the 2012 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize for Fiction and selected as one of Gambit's 40 Under 40. He lives in Louisiana.



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Interview

Kent Wascom discusses his debut book, The Blood of Heaven, an epic novel about the American frontier in the early days of the nineteenth century, and reflects on the sources which provided the historical context to the story.

The Blood of Heaven, to be perfectly honest, does not read like a debut novel. Can you tell me about your personal reading and writing history?
Reading and writing have been a constant comfort, a security blanket of sorts. The love of both came in the learning. In the months before my father was to serve his sentence in federal prison, knowing that for the next several years he would miss many of the milestones enjoyed by parents, he decided to teach me three things: To tie my shoes, to ride a bike, and to read. All three were accomplished to varying extents before he left, but it was reading that would dominate my life. My love of books soon grew into a compulsion to write. (A sure guarantee of playground ridicule is to say you want to be a writer while others yearn to be firemen and astronauts.) When I was twelve I wrote my first novel (about Prohibition-era bootleggers if you can believe it), and by the end of college I'd written four more. The Blood of Heaven is my sixth, but the first to be published.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a story set in the frontier, your characters skirt the edge of lawfulness even on their best behavior. Can you tell us about your fascination with outlaws?
Honestly, there was no way for...

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Books by this Author

Books by Kent Wascom at BookBrowse
The New Inheritors jacket The Blood of Heaven jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Kent Wascom but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Philip Caputo

    Philip Caputo

    Novelist and journalist Philip Caputo (1941 — ) was born in Chicago and educated at Purdue and Loyola Universities. After graduating in 1964, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years, including a 16-month tour... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Blood of Heaven

    Try:
    Crossers
    by Philip Caputo

  • Charles Frazier

    Charles Frazier

    Charles Frazier was born in 1950 in Asheville, North Carolina and grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1973,  received an M.A. from Appalachian State ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Blood of Heaven

    Try:
    Thirteen Moons
    by Charles Frazier

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