ABAC professor Jeff Newberry recently finished the first draft of his new novel “A Stairway to the Sea,” which is a reference to Edward Arlington’s poem “Eros Turranos.”
Although the novel is still a year or two of editing away from looking to be published, he has been working on this work since 2009. Newberry is also working on several other things, including a new book of poetry coming out at the end of October, “The Gulf Stream: Poems of the Gulf Coast” with fellow poet Brent House.
“It took me three years of editing ‘Brackish’ before finally getting it published. It’s difficult to find the time to write during the year with teaching five classes, so I mainly write on holidays with summer break being my most productive time for writing and editing. I always wanted to be a novelist when I was in school and, now that I am finally doing it, I feel like a pretender. I started writing poetry because I was fascinated by the lyrics in music and I just wrote about my childhood growing up on the Gulf Coast,” said Newberry.
When asked about why he focuses on the Gulf Coast and if he considers himself a regionalist Newberry said, “It’s where I grew up and where I feel like I am at home. I know the land and bounce my ideas off of it. If someone would call me a regionalist I would feel honored because at one point Robert Frost was called a mere regionalist.”
Newberry offered advice to aspiring novelists. “Just start it. Work at it a little each day even if its just editing your last chapter that you wrote. Block out outside distractions and find your voice as a writer. Read as much as you can and read like a writer.”
Look for Newberry and House’s “The Gulf Stream: Poems of the Gulf Coast” at the end of October and keep your ear to the ground for “A Stairway to the Sea.”