Tag Archives: Torrey House Press

Thinking Big Thoughts: An Interview With Charlie Quimby

Author Charlie Quimby swung by the Consortium offices today to sign advance copies of his newest novel, Inhabited, a sister novel to his earlier work, Monument Road, both from Torrey House Press. While visiting, we got to sit down with him and talk about writing, roots, and radical change.

charliequimbyWhat inspired you to write this book?

Inhabited came from two sources. Once I finished Monument Road, I discovered I had a lot more to say about that place, its culture, and the sort of colonial relationship it has with the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, I was blogging about some volunteer work I do in a Minnesota family shelter and a Colorado day center for homeless adults. I considered a nonfiction book project about homelessness, but I couldn’t find a satisfactory balance between the factual and emotional dimensions, the big forces driving homelessness and the intimate realities of people’s lives.

So I chose to dramatize the complexity of what I was experiencing and free myself from making a particular case. The values collisions that occur in Inhabited are not just about homelessness. They express a common search for belonging, for feeling secure, for overcoming our bad luck and bad choices—the stuff of novels.

What is it about the West as a setting that draws you?

I grew up there, so it’s in my bones, and fiction writers draw from that bone place.

But I also write about the region because it contains so many contradictions. The West’s beautiful, dramatic places draw people who then find out they can’t eat the scenery. It’s home to this libertarian myth of self-sufficiency, while being dependent on the federal government and outside money—tourists and extraction industries. Class warfare plays out differently there. And that landscape! You can’t spend any time in the West without thinking big thoughts about your place in creation.

How did you come to work with Torrey House?

They’re based in the intermountain region and they have a mission to conserve the earth—especially the imperiled lands of the West. We batted eyes across a crowded literary room and recognized each other as people who shared a set of values. We’d love to move lots of books but we’re even more interested in moving hearts and minds.

Are you currently on tour?inhabited charlie quimby

I’m planning for the October launch of Inhabited, and I’m excited that we’ll be doing a swing west from Minneapolis to Denver and Tacoma for Heartland, Mountains and Plains and the Pacific Northwest book shows. Right now, it looks like there’ll be bookstore stops in Utah and Colorado and the Bay Area, before I return to Minnesota. I’ll have the events schedule up at charliequimby.com as soon as the major dates are finalized.

Any sneak peeks at what you’re working on now?

Let’s just say I’m mining another claim somewhere out west. It may have something to do with how, after your first couple hundred million, you buy a ranch with perfect picture-window views of the mountains so you can pretend you’re a conservationist. I haven’t decided yet if it’s a satire or a tragedy.

That’s some pretty powerful stuff to look forward to. Thank you, Charlie Quimby, for your time and your work!

Inhabited will be published on October 11, 2016. In the mean time, find out where to purchase Monument Road and other titles here on the Consortium website.

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Torrey House Press Talks with Publishers Weekly About Becoming a Nonprofit

Kristen Johanna Allen and Mark Bailey. Photo Credit: Publishers Weekly

Kristen Johanna Allen and Mark Bailey. Photo Credit: Publishers Weekly

Think about the last time an environmental title made a top seller list or was recommended as “the next best thing” by a friend. Chances are, those instances are few and far between. Torrey House Press in Utah, however, is striving to change this lack of recognition. Since its conception in 2010, Torrey House Press has been publishing titles that promote environmental activism through fiction and nonfiction, and in September, Torrey House Press is becoming a nonprofit so that they can focus on their mission and develop stronger bonds with the Utah literary scene and conservation groups.  Mark Bailey and Kirsten Johanna Allen, the founders of the press, sat down with Anisse Gross for Publishers Weekly on August 28, 2015 to discuss the shift to nonprofit.

The decision to become a nonprofit started with Bailey and Allen realizing that because of their specific niche of environmental and conservation titles, they were “in a no-man’s-land between having commercial success and success in conservation,” according to Bailey. Allen said that when the couple started the press, they didn’t fully grasp “how difficult publishing is,” learning through trial and error. As a nonprofit, they can expand their network and relationships with conservation, environmental, and literary groups. They have plans to partner with some of the major literary and environmental players in Utah, “with the goal of creating the strong literary ecosystem” that Bailey and Allen feel Utah needs. They also hope to provide a paid internship to engage with local students.

Now that Torrey HHowl cover final 8-12.inddouse Press is a nonprofit, opportunities for grants and funding have opened up, which allows them to expand their influence in the literary and conservation realms. Literature – both fiction and nonfiction – has a tremendous power and influence in terms of social change, something Allen and Bailey are acutely aware of. For example, one of their upcoming titles, Howl: Of Woman and Wolf by Susan Bird (October 2015) explores our relationship to wolves and nature while highlighting important issues in conservation. This is just one example of how Torrey House Press’ titles engage readers with compelling and thought-provoking stories.

Bailey and Allen are also focusing on the big picture in terms of social justice and change, looking towards the future for ways that Torrey House Press can have a major impact. Allen’s goal is “to be the publishing arm of conservation,” releasing climate-change fiction (“cli-fi”), literary fiction, and creative nonfiction that entertain and educate. Their new tagline is “conservation through literature,” and it will be exciting to see how the small press will continue to evolve and contribute to the expanding genre of environmental literature.

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Torrey House Press Featured in the Utah Review

THPlogo The Utah Review, an online arts and culture magazine, featured one of our amazing publishers, Torrey House Press, who is “fostering an intellectual climate behind the most critical aspects of today’s activism and advocacy in the American West.” The article details the support THP has received from independent booksellers and environmental groups, and the important transition from print-on-demand to Consortium Book Sales & Distribution. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1E6xPWT!

Learn more about Torrey House Press and the amazing literature they’re publishing.

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Bookslinger Update: “Deadheading”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from Grind by Mark Maynard, published by Torrey House Press. Convicts round up wild mustangs, a schizophrenic homeless man wins the jackpot and disappears, a truck driver with a child’s mind spends his last hours in the embrace of a prostitute’s photos—disparate and vivid, Mark Maynard’s characters intersect in the new wild west of Reno, Nevada.

“Throughout the volume’s eight tenuously linked tales, lives and fortune are lost, and the city of Reno emerges as a locus of shattered souls. Maynard’s debut collection bursts with idiosyncratic characters…packs a strong emotional punch…is strangely entertaining.”
—Publishers Weekly

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Bookslinger Update: “The Legend’s Daughter”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from The Legend’s Daughter by David Kranes, published by Torrey House Press. The stories in The Legend’s Daughter inhabit present-day Idaho where fires, streams, and landscapes ask–even demand–that individuals reconsider and reorient their lives. An award-winning playwright, David Kranes infuses this collection with swift dialogue and complicated characters, including a kayaking actor, a rebellious high school teacher, and a lipstick-loving fly fisherman.

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Bookslinger Update: “Persuasion”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from Recapture by Erica Olsen, published by Torrey House Press. The Utah Canyons WildMall gives tourists exactly what they want. An archivist preserves a rare map of a vanished Lake Tahoe. The Grand Canyon can only be visited in replica form. These stories—lyrical, deadpan, surreal—blur the line between the natural world and the world we make.

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