Kent Wascom was born in New Orleans in 1986, attended Louisiana State University and received his MFA from Florida State University. He was awarded the 2012 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize for Fiction. The Blood of Heaven is his first novel.
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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 ...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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