Wascom, a graduate of Louisiana State and the MFA program at Florida State University, spent most of his childhood in Florida's Panhandle, and it is in this region, between Baton Rouge, La., and Pensacola, that his debut novel, The Blood of Heaven, is set. It takes place during the turn of the 19th century and shares the story of Angel Woolsack, a son of a corrupt preacher, who gets involved with the Kemper rebellion, a resistance against Spanish rule in Florida. Wascom, 27, will be a featured author at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 26 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
What's on your nightstand?
I've got several books. I've got The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell. I'm a big fan and go back to him for my own work. His writing has a sheer uniqueness. He definitely shows how to make a sentence do more than just one job. I've got a short story collection by Emma Donoghue called Astray. They are all historical, and they all have great language. I've also got Disaster Was My God by Bruce Duffy. It's killer. And, oh lord, the incredibly creepy, bizarre Bernard du Boucheron's Voyage of the Short Serpent. I found it on a remainder rack at a bookstore. It is translated from French.
It didn't take long to realize you're not for readers with delicate sensibilities. Some of your stuff was brutal.
That might be true. I've often been surprised that women have good reaction to my work. I think it's because women are subject to brutality, oftentimes before men are. And actually, a lot of the writers I love, like Hilary Mantel, are women who write ferociously with ferocious sentences.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer, can be reached at [email protected]