Howard Frank Mosher finds storytelling compulsive

Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:15am EST
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - American writer Howard Frank Mosher says he can't resist a good story and it was this that led him to his latest and 10th novel.

Much of Mosher's fiction takes place in the mid-20th Century and in his home state of Vermont, such a "A Stranger In The Kingdom," "Disappearance" and "Where the Rivers Flow North."

His first book in three years, "Walking to Gatlinburg," released this month, chronicles the nightmarish odyssey of 17-year-old Morgan Kinneson from northern Vermont to Tennessee during 1864 to look for his brother.

Mosher, an award-winning writer known for his quirky characters, said it took him seven years to research and write this book which is a couple of years more than previous books.

He spoke to Reuters about writing and his latest novel:

Q: Why did it take so much longer to write "Gatlinburg?"

A: "It started about 10 years ago when a friend told me a story about her great-great-grandfather who had been conscripted into the Confederate Army as a 19-year-old, captured, and sent to the infamous Elmira Prison in New York -- also called Hellmira. He had a great name, Jasper Memory. He only had one item of value, a small gold button on his overcoat. In prison he asked a man who had been a dentist to fashion this into a ring for his fiancée. After the war was over, he walked from New York to the Smoky Mountains, about 1,000 miles, proposed and got married. You could not be a novelist and not want to write that story."

Q: But there was a delay?   Continued...