By Roger Lee Osborne/Who’s That? editor
Growing up Silas House never wanted to leave.With the woods and creeks as his playground, Eastern Kentucky became a place that will always be a part of him.
“I can’t imagine a better place to have grown up, and I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anyone’s,” House said. “I grew up playing in the woods, in the creek. I never wanted to leave and still don’t.”
House joins Eastern faculty in the fall semester as a creative writing professor.
He graduated from Eastern with a degree in English.
“I’m really anxious to get started. I’m particularly glad to be at Eastern because it’s my alma mater, and most of the people who go there are people from my part of the world; those are the people I want to serve,” House said. “There are so many great writers in Eastern’s service area, and I just hope I can help to guide them in the right direction.”
House’s first novel, “Clay’s Quilt,” published in 2001, quickly became a novel worth mentioning among book reviewers and critics alike.
For House, who had long dreamed about being a writer, the accomplishment wasn’t an easy one.
“The biggest obstacle of being a writer is that you have to be determined,” House said. “You’re going to face lots and lots of rejection before you finally get published, so it was a very long process.
The process of getting published not only included becoming a better writer but learning how to get his work read.
“I had to not only learn how to write, but also learn the business of writing: how to send out manuscripts, how to find an agent, all those things,” House said.
The job of becoming a published novelist proved to be difficult. The duties of everyday life also had to be met, but House was accustomed to hard work because he held a job from an early age.
“In the meantime, I had to make a living. I’ve kept a job since I was 16, except for a very short period of about a year in college, so the hardest thing was to find time to write,” House said.
“I would work a 10-hour day then come home and try to do the normal things you have to do – mow the yard, be a good father – and then scratch out some time for writing.
House’s main source for inspiration comes from his surroundings.
“The world around me inspires me everyday. The people I meet and know. I love hearing people’s stories and looking at the world in a very close way,” he said. “Writing is all about discovering something about yourself, answering questions for yourself, so it’s easy to find inspiration in everything.”
House credits his family as a source of help and inspiration.
“My favorite aunt bought me a typewriter when I was 10 years old, and I ended up writing the first draft of ‘Clay’ on it. I was lucky to have all this encouragement because some people don’t have that,” House said.
With the urge to give back to his Kentucky roots, House also credits wanting to be home more often with his two children, Cheyenne, 8, and Olivia, 5, as well as his wife, Teresa Gambrel House.
House’s hopes to continue writing and teaching for a while. With the release of his third novel, “The Coal Tattoo,” in September and the writing on his fourth novel, “1976,” his dream to continue writing is very much a reality.
“I just hope to keep writing and teaching and hope that I’ll be able to keep living out this dream,” House said. “All I ever wanted was to be a writer and a teacher, and right now I have my wish. I’ll hope it stays that way for a while.”
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