post for the Wordstock Book Festival that took place in Portland last weekend, John wrote about the genesis of the book's title.
Joanna Rose in her review of Tears of the Mountain in The Oregonian said "It's a rich story, whose characters argue and banter over religion, racism, sexism, classism and elitism." And Publishers Weekly wrote that fans of western fiction will appreciate the setting, fast pace, and Jeremiah’s sheer moral doggedness.”
John has published numerous stories and poems in literary journals and is a former poetry editor at the Northwest Review. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he now lives with his wife, Ellen, and daughter, Emily, in Corvallis, Oregon, where he teaches students with special needs. He has published two novels with Unbridled Books and is currently working on his third. In 1999 he received a fiction fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts.
His first novel was published in 2008. The Islands of Divine Music is a novel of five generations of an Italian-American family finding its place in the New World. Against a backdrop of immigration, Prohibition, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the new millennium, five generations of the Verbicaro family make their way from Southern Italy to San Francisco as each character brushes up against some aspect of the divine.
In 2008, after his first novel was published, John had these thoughts about getting published: "I am one of those people who crawls out of bed every morning at five to write before reporting to the paid work that supports a family....There has always been this secret delight in trying to write something good, in discovering something that rings true, and I could no more stop writing than reading or eating dark chocolate. Forget about it....One other piece of advice: read good books. I meet writers who don’t read, or only read what’s popular, or stare at screens. Read the good stuff. There is really no other teacher."