Jul 24, 2014
Wayne Harrison is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop whose stories have appeared in The Atlantic, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares and Narrative Magazine. His debut novel, THE SPARK AND THE DRIVE, is about lonely 17-year-old Justin Bailey, who is captivated by legendary muscle car mechanic Nick Campbell and his wife, Mary Ann. But when Nick and Mary Ann’s lives are struck by tragedy, Justin’s world is upended. In this fascinating interview conducted by Bookreporter.com’s Bronwyn Miller, Harrison talks about how nostalgia for his years working as a mechanic --- “some of the most sincere of my life” --- inspired him to write this story and the surprisingly inelegant art of choosing the perfect book title. He also discusses his experience as a literary late bloomer, how teaching writing informs his own work, and the age-old question of whether or not fiction can be taught.