It is difficult to have the luxury of writing every day, but it is key to the writing process when the writer can follow through with a thought, “locking into whatever one needs”. Matt Pavelich, a Hot Springs, Montana author, has discovered that he requires the quiet and solitude of early mornings to find his creative flow. His beginning struggle starts with paper and a pencil that often takes 30 to 40 hours per page before he is satisfied.
“I have to back up and try it a couple times,” he said. “It’s like being the ugly kid at the prom.”
Matt believes that if he works hard, his reader will not have to fumble through the story.
“I want prose that people can plummet through, prose that doesn’t get in the way,” he said.
Matt’s latest book, Survivors Said, a collection of 19 short stories, will be published this fall. Also, a collection of stories, Matt’s first book Beasts of the Forest, Beasts of the Field won the Montana First Book Award. His two novels are Our Savage and most recently, The Other Shoe. Matt was awarded the Michener and Montana Arts Council fellowships. In addition to his writing career, he works as a Lake County Public Defender.
I was surprised to discover that my writing hasn’t financed itself yet, so I have to work for money,” he said.
Support the creative endeavors of local artists by purchasing their work. Matt’s books are on display, along with other Hot Springs authors, and can be purchased from the glass case at Wall Street Place. His books can also be found at the Preston Town County Library.
One of Montana’s and the West’s finest fiction writers, Matt Pavelich is an author of universal appeal. His earlier books, the collection of stories, Beasts of the Forest, Beasts of the Field, and the novels, Our Savage and The Other Shoe, have been acclaimed by both reviewers and fellow authors. Now, with the publication of Survivors Said, his best stories written over four decades, Pavelich reveals extraordinary range and penetrating vision.
As the novelist Gish Jen, author of Typical American and The Love Wife, writes, “What writing! The stories in Survivors Said are of the young and the old, of people getting out and people getting by. . . . [A]ll of them are vintage Pavelich: sharp-sighted and phrased just so, they are singularly alert to the worlds in a word.” In praising Pavelich’s second novel , Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone, wrote, “Matt Pavelich is a native Montanan, he knows that world inside and out, and The Other Shoe is rich with details that convince, insights that amaze. His prose is among the most impressive now being written, elegant, nuanced, rough when needed, the high and low of language. The Other Shoe, is a brilliant novel of crime, love, and the American West, and it deserves a wide readership.”
Henry Brusett is the only one who can explain the mysterious death of Calvin Teague. He’s the only one who truly knows how the young man came to be bloodied and lifeless on his land in Montana’s vast backcountry. But Henry won’t say anything. His silence and its ripple across his small community form the heart of Matt Pavelich’s engrossing second novel, The Other Shoe.
Henry never wanted much more than a family and his days spent as a sawyer deep in the wilderness. But by middle-age Henry is divorced, disabled, and isolated on a remote plot of land in Montana. After years of self-imposed loneliness, Henry meets Karen, who’s half his age and knows nothing but her own willful solitude. Their union is the unlikeliest of bonds, a mix of comfort and guilt for Henry who believes he’s too old for Karen. But it’s also the spark of his undoing, a decision that leads him toward one of his greatest regrets.
As members of Henry and Karen’s small town try to both uncover and cover-up the truth surrounding Calvin Teague’s untimely death, The Other Shoe moves toward the inescapable and shines in the rarity of Pavelich’s assured and haunting style.
In 1865 a baby—too large a baby to pass through anyone’s hips—is born to a couple at the crumbling edge of Europe where the horror of pending war is already in the air. By any measure too large, our hero can develop no patience for his determined, dinky fellows, and so from the Balkan backwater of his birth and his youth as a precocious highwayman, to intrigues at court in Vienna, the problem remains the same—he is by one means or another continually wearing out his welcome.
In this bawdy first novel by Matt Pavelich, Danny Savage migrates to the New World in 1899, where he finally settles an empty, rough corner of Wyoming with his epic shrew of a wife, Stoja. In Savage's wake are spent empires, ruptured families, collateral lives that have touched and fallen away.
Matt Pavelich has given us a giant's coat tails to ride upon, let us wear for a while his seven-league boots.