Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top

Eastern Professor Talks about Newest Novel

Published on April 21, 2016

Eastern Professor Talks about Newest Novel

 Chris Torockio, associate professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University spoke to the Eastern community about his newest novel, “The Soul Hunters,” in early April in the Student Center Theatre.

“The Soul Hunters” is a story about three brothers who are cleaning out their recently deceased father’s home and mourning their loss. The brothers, all in there fifties, are dealing with endings and the process of moving on. The entire novel takes place the night after the funeral as they go through the house. Each chapter is narrated by a different character, allowing the reader to experience three different perspectives.

Torockio discussed the idea behind the book and how the characters came to be saying, “I try to separate myself from the characters as much as I can, but I end up injecting a little of myself into every single character but not specifically one.”

“The Soul Hunters” is based on a semi-true story from Torockio’s past, based on the death of his grandfather and subsequent funeral; all the characters have ties to Torockio’s real-life family members.

“This is one of the few times I used a real-life incident as a springboard for my fiction,” said Torockio. “I try not to, it makes me feel weird. I am more in the ‘what-if’ school of writing.”

Although Torockio said he preferred to leave personal experiences out of

his books. This story was inspired from an experience sitting around an invisible kitchen table. “I remember after the yard sale we went inside to sit and chat. We sold the kitchen table but not the chairs, so we all sat in the chairs around where the table should have been. I remember thinking, ‘there is definitely a story here,’ so I used that as a jumping point,” said Torockio.

Torockio expressed the difficulty he faces while writing a novel. “I’m better at capturing a single moment, which is nice because that can really carry you.” His writing career features mostly short stories that have been published in a variety of literary journals. His writing process for “The Soul Hunters” was based on a several “little moments” pieced together. He discussed how he thinks about what happens next, rather then picking an ending before the beginning. “I don’t like outlines. I write novels like I write stories, about halfway through I hope I can see the end.” Torockio took about four years to finish “Soul Hunters.”

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Torockio attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts. He also has a doctorate from Western Michigan University. He has been awarded grants from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council and the Vermont Studio Center. His writing has been published in the Antioch Review, The Gettysburg Review, the Iowa Review and other literary journals.

The English Department and Eastern’s Writer Guild sponsored this event.

Written by Christina Rossomando

Categories: English