In his debut novel, My Absolute Darling, Salt Lake City writer Gabriel Tallent explores the life experiences of a 14-year old girl being raised by an abusive single father and her journey towards independence and safety. He is now working on a book about (rock) climbing.
Gabriel enjoyed what he describes as a free-range childhood, with ample freedom to explore the rich wilderness around Mendocino, California, where he grew up. He spent hours exploring the land and hunting for creatures of all sorts, such as salamanders and garter snakes, and taking notes about all of it in his journals.
“My mom was a great storyteller who read to me from a very early age so telling my own stories is something I come by naturally” – Gabriel Tallent
One of Gabriel’s favorite locations for his writing is in the local canyons, particularly Little Cottonwood Canyon. Tallent says, “I’m a big believer in taking the time to get to know places. I’ve found, with research, that it’s important to me to have a serious and original insight into my writing. I didn’t just want to rely upon common or secondhand knowledge – that I wanted to know how things felt. For me, good writing proceeds from having an original insight into your material.”
A strong believer in hard work, Gabriel consistently carves out time to write and isn’t prone to making excuses in order to take a break from writing. “You write wherever you can. I’ve done a lot of writing in dirty hotel rooms in between shifts serving at a restaurant.
I’ve done a lot of writing at the bar. I used to go to the coffee shop next to the restaurant where I was working, get a latte, and write there. They aren’t the perfect circumstances but you write in the opportunities you have.”
Riverhead Books (his publisher)
The Kings English Bookshop (his favorite local bookseller and host for his readings)
Credits: Produced and edited by Jenny Mauro, Videography by KUED Digital Media, and field audio by Will Montoya.