BEAVER CREEK — Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead. He lives in the hangar of an abandoned airport near Erie with his dog Jasper. His only neighbor is a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life — something like his old life — exists beyond the airport.
So begins Peter Heller’s debut novel, “The Dog Stars,” a New York Times Best Seller, an Indie Best Seller, and the iTunes Novel of the Year for 2012. Denver-based author Peter Heller wrote several nonfiction books before “The Dog Stars,” his first foray into fiction. A contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal and National Geographic Adventure, Heller is the author of many works of travel and outdoor-adventure writing. His previous nonfiction books include “The Whale Warriors,” “Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River,” and “Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life and Catching the Perfect Wave.”
In a 2012 interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Heller was asked what it was like to write his first novel after a successful career in non-fiction.
“It was like the next big adventure, something I wanted to do my whole life,” Heller said. “When I got out of college, I had to make a living, and I started writing for magazines and it felt like the perfect job. I was happily diverted from those ambitions as a fiction writer. This felt like coming home.”
While “The Dog Stars” is a heart-wrenching and richly written story about loss and survival, it is ultimately a hopeful one. The book has received glowing reviews, including one from NPR which described the novel’s hopefulness as follows: “That his story is not in the end depressing may be the most disturbing part of this novel. In fact, at times, the destruction of civilization seems to have given Hig the chance to live more richly in the present, to feel grace more acutely, to sleep outdoors and gaze up at the stars in this purged, rejuvenated universe. It is frightening to face up to the apocalypse. It’s perhaps even more frightening when we get past that and start seeing its upside.”
Heller is one of three authors to present at this Saturday’s “Books in Bloom,” an author event for book lovers presented by the Eagle Valley Library District. Joining him will be Robert Goolrick (“Heading Out to Wonderful”), and Laura Moriarty (“The Chaperone”).
“Books in Bloom” will take place on Saturday at The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, from 2:00-5:30 p.m. Books in Bloom is a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the writer’s mind, chat with bestselling authors and mingle with fellow book lovers in a beautiful mountain setting. Each author will present individually. There will be hors d’ouevres and refreshments by Grouse Mountain Grill, a cash bar, and books available for purchase courtesy of The Bookworm of Edwards. Tickets are $50 and are available at The Bookworm of Edwards or for purchase online at www.booksinbloom.cvlsites.org. Call the Avon Public Library for more information at 970-949-6797,