About the author:
Henry Donigan Merritt, Jr., was born in southwest Arkansas in 1945. He has worked as a journalist, scuba diver, fishing boat captain, sailing instructor, and university professor. He holds BA and MA degrees in philosophy from Simpson College and the Claremont Graduate School, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers Workshop.
Merritt's first novel, One Easy Piece, was published by Coward-McCann in 1981. Since then, he has published ten novels, most recently Species of Feeling, published by B&B Books in 2013. He is currently living in Mexico City.
Since completing his MFA in 1981, the same year his first novel was published, Merritt has worked since as a writer, with the exception of a six-year period teaching philosophy for a university in the provincial capital of Bratislava. He has lived in Central Europe, South Africa, Germany, Washington, DC. and southern California with his diplomat wife; they have two children and three grandchildren.
About writing and writers:
Merritt says that he does not know when he became a writer because he does not believe that people become something like that. Writers are people who write, and he has always written, and thus, always been a writer. Authors are writers who have been published, but writers are simply people who write.
About teaching writing:
He believes that of course writing is taught, if one means learning the rules, coming to understand the structure of one's language, becoming comfortable with words, sentences, and paragraphs. The essentials of any craft are taught, and then enhanced through practice. But knowing how to play chords on a guitar, no matter how much and how long one practices, does not make an Eric Clapton. Knowing how to string words together does not make a James Salter. One must know the rules before having the honor of breaking them, and breaking the rules is the source of literature.
Merritt intends to use B & B Books to publish all future work. After a 30 year involvement with traditional publishing, he has decided to stop ignoring the flagrant and destructive changes in traditional publishing and take the auteur route. The changes in publishing that have been on-going for over a decade, are here to stay — there is no going back to the way traditional publishing used to be, and writers of literary fiction have essentially no place in the new publishing model, which has killed off the midlist and focused its business model on that of soap or cars or women’s clothes, the standard model of all conglomerate enterprises.
The author and his wife in Berlin.