- Published: 01 December 2013 01 December 2013
Meet Jeff High, author of More Things in Heaven and Earth
After growing up on a farm in rural Tennessee, Jeff High attained degrees in literature and nursing. He is the three-time winner, in fiction and poetry, of an annual writing contest held by Vanderbilt Medical Center. He lived in Nashville for many years, and throughout the country as a travel nurse, before returning to his original hometown, near where he now works as an operating room RN in open-heart surgery.
His first novel, More Things in Heaven and Earth, is also the first in a new series set in the fictional Watervalley, Tennessee.
As an ambitious young doctor with a penchant for research, Luke Bradford never wanted to set up practice in a remote rural town. But to pay back his student loans and to fulfill a promise from his past, he heads for Watervalley, Tennessee—and immediately stumbles into one disaster after another. Will he be labeled the town idiot before he’s even introduced as the new doctor?
Very quickly he faces some big challenges—from resuscitating a three-hundred-pound farmer who goes into cardiac arrest to not getting shot by a local misanthrope for trespassing. He expects the people of Watervalley to be simple, but finds his relationships with them are complicated, whether he’s interacting with his bossy but devout housekeeper, the attractive schoolteacher he consistently alienates, or the mysterious kid next door who climbs trees while wearing a bike helmet.
When a baffling flu epidemic hits Watervalley, Luke faces his ultimate test. Whether the community embraces him or not, it’s his responsibility to save them. And he’ll soon discover that while living in a small town may not be what he wants, it may be just what he needs…
Favorite book as a child?
Treasure Island! I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Robert Louis Stevenson.
What are you reading right now?
Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Country Doctor, by Patrick Taylor. We both write about doctor’s in a small town and have become good friends.
Why independent bookstores matter?
Because even imaginary places like Watervalley, Tennessee need bookstores with imagination.
Favorite part of writing a book?
Writing words that genuinely make you laugh and unexpectedly make you cry.
Least favorite part of writing a book?
Knowing when you have made it the best it can be. I am a tormented rewriter, constantly, continuously, searching for the perfect sentence.
Are you working on anything new?
Yes, the sequel to “More Things in Heaven and Earth,” called “Each Shining Hour.”
Comment on the writing life...
At the end of the day, it’s just work. It requires discipline, focus, tenacity. But if you love it… it can be oh so wonderful work!
Hardest part of the creation to publication experience?
There’s a lot of waiting the process… waiting for edits, waiting for pub dates, waiting sales info, …waiting for this sentence to end.
Why do you write?
Because I tried being other things like, you know, a ninja, cowboy, test pilot, neurosurgeon… all boring. Writing is the real challenge.
When did you know you were a writer?
Without a doubt… when I was fifteen or sixteen. That was forty years ago. Okay, I’m kind of a procrastinator.