I was born, raised, and still live in the South, a place with which I’ve had an extremely roller coaster-ish, love-hate-love (again) relationship for way too many decades. With roots deep in Southern dirt, I suppose I’m genetically imbued to believe everyone carries around a decent story to tell, and we have an obligation to listen to it. The stories I choose to tell originate from a very specific mantra: write what you know well enough to lie about. I’ve been telling lies about the places and people I know for a number of novels and story collections now. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.
This new novel, Peace Like a River, revisits a setting from an earlier collection of stories. It’s a place that will always mean a lot to me personally—the South Carolina Lowcountry, with its syrup-slow rivers and Cypress swamps and odd collections of personalities. The novel concerns a father and a son and a grandfather—all labels I possess—and the spaces they occupy at a particular, dramatic point in their lives. And it’s about different types of love—young love; comfortable, quiet love; love still undiscovered. Ultimately, the book is about how the past breathes life into the present and vice versa. (Oh, and there’s some funny stuff, too.)
Early on, I wanted to be a poet, so I went to graduate school at the University of South Carolina, where I studied with James Dickey. There, I gave up on poetry (or rather, it gave up on me) and started writing stories under the mentorship of William Price Fox, a Southern writer who deserves a fresh renaissance. Years later, after the births of daughters and a 15-year employment tumble into the abyss of advertising, I returned to teaching and completed an MFA at Warren Wilson College. (Go Wallies.) For the past twenty-something years, I’ve taught creative writing at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities.
My previous books include a memoir, Things That Crash, Things That Fly, the novels, Whereabouts and The Hammerhead Chronicles, as well as the story collections, Strangers to Temptation and Idiot Men. I’m a multiple winner of the S.C. Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship in Prose and a recipient of the S.C. Academy of Authors Fiction Fellowship. Other stuff includes a Memoir Prize for Books, an IPPY Award for Southern Fiction, an Eric Hoffer Book Award for fiction, and the Larry Brown Short Story Award. Right now, I live in Sans Souci, South Carolina. The house has a big porch. Come visit, but bring a story.
Regal House Publishing is proud to bring you Scott Gould’s Peace Like a River in 2025.