William Least Heat-Moon (Photo Credit: Dave Leiker, PrairieDust.net)

Credit: Dave Leiker, PrairieDust.net

Over at Talking Writing they just posted an interview I did with the great American travel writer and chronicler of deep culture, William Least Heat-Moon. I had a lot of fun researching and preparing for this Q&A session. I think Bill had a good time answering my questions.

We talk about his newest book, the need to write with care, book categories, and digital publishing, among other things. Here’s a snip from my introduction. You can read the whole piece over at TW right now. Just follow the link at the end of this cut.

I highly recommend purchasing Writing Blue Highways and Blue Highways itself as holiday gifts this year. These are true examples of great writing by one of this country’s most distinguished bards.

William Least Heat-Moon: “Damnable Speed”

TW Interview by David Biddle

December 10, 2014

In 1982, the Atlantic Monthly Press and Little, Brown published Blue Highways: A Journey into America. It’s William Least Heat-Moon’s account of a three-month, 14,000-mile road trip he took in a converted mini-van he called Ghost Dancing. Heat-Moon drove the back roads designated as blue lines in his Rand McNally Atlas.

Blue Highways surprised the publishing world. It was hard to categorize yet sat on the bestseller list for nearly a year. Part social history, part travel writing, and part spiritual odyssey, Blue Highways offers tales of America’s forgotten “outback” and the people still connected to that fading world. The writing is lyrical, full of life lessons, and informed by a strong environmental ethic. Heat-Moon went on to publish many other works, including the recent An Osage Journey to Europe, 1827-1830, coauthored with James K. Wallace (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013).

His latest project is Writing Blue Highways (University of Missouri Press, 2014). It’s an autobiographical tale of the trials and tribulations of a then-unknown author struggling through nearly four years to write (and rewrite ten-plus different times) an acceptable manuscript for publication. But more important, Writing Blue Highways is also the definitive story of how a work of literary art, from conception to publication, comes to be. Read the rest in Talking Writing’s Holiday Issue 2014.

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