GVSU alumnus to publish fifth book

By Moriah Gilbert | 3/9/15 12:17am

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GVL / Courtesy - Chris DeWildt


Grand Valley State University alumnus Chris DeWildt has released his fifth book, "Love You to a Pulp.”

DeWildt is a 2001 film and video graduate of GVSU who is currently living his life-long dream of becoming a published writer.

After spending four years studying biology at Western Kentucky University, he was inspired to write the book "Love You to a Pulp.”

"After leaving the state, I began to miss it more than I thought I would," DeWildt said. "So I began writing stories set in the region, just to put down every detail I could remember before I could forget."

DeWildt also grasped the unsettling poverty in the more rural areas and the people who lived up to the stereotypes of southern folk.

"It was that disparity between the two feelings that truly gave birth to the novel," DeWildt said. "I wanted to tell a gritty, dirty, violent story while still preserving everything I loved about the region."

Although he never considered himself to be a crime writer, he knew this was something he wanted to do in any genre or form.

"I got bit by the writing bug in second grade and I was hooked," DeWildt said. "During my time at GVSU, I thought I'd be writing screenplays, but I fell in love with narrative prose again."

GVSU film and video professor John Philbin was an influential instructor for DeWildt because he taught the author the craft of storytelling and putting the best story forward.

"The film not being an end in itself, but rather the vehicle to express a narrative," DeWildt said.

Philbin praised DeWildt for his storytelling abilities from a film student's perspective.

"Chris was always focused on story and you need a great story to make a great film," Philbin said. "Filmmaking is a collaborative form of art and entertainment."

The professor said he thinks it is terrific that a film and video student decided to shift into another area of work.

"One of the greatest things about a liberal education at a university is the breadth of disciplines to discover and draw inspiration," Philbin said.

However, getting five books published was not an easy road for DeWildt.

"Rejection is the only constant among writers," he said. "The struggle doesn't end; we just get better at navigating it."

DeWildt had some advice for aspiring writers at GVSU.

"Keep at it," he said. "It took me seven years after graduation to get my first short story published and 10 years to get a book out."

He also suggested taking advantage of any networking opportunities, never paying anyone to look at your work and reading more books.

"Reading fuels writing," DeWildt said. "Join writing clubs, workshops and immerse yourself in the craft."

The release event for "Love You to a Pulp" will occur on March 28 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Louie's Bar and Rocket Lounge, located at 608 Bridge St. NW in Grand Rapids. DeWildt will read, sign and sell his books at the event.

"Love You to a Pulp" and DeWildt’s other books are available at www.amazon.com/author/csdewildt.

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