The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Professor’s novel gets praise

Janie Boschma

A cross-dressing televangelist wearing a wig, muumuu and pumps is found dead on a gay beach in Provincetown, Mass., with a taffeta scarf strangling his neck.

And so begins Jon Loomis’ first novel, “High Season.”

Five years in the making, assistant English professor Loomis’ mystery hit bookshelves in September and continues to receive praise.

Recently, The New York Times book review named “High Season” Editor’s Choice for Oct. 28, one week after it gave a positive review, saying “Loomis drenches the narrative with so much local color that the reader comes away feeling like a native.”

Story continues below advertisement

Among other reviews, The Washington Post gave its praise to the novel, saying “With his honed sense of humor and keen mise en scene, Loomis is a keeper.”

In its first print run, 5,000 copies hit shelves, and after those sold out, an additional 1,000 were printed.

“The numbers are all pretty small, but it’s still nice not to go straight to the remainder bin,” Loomis said with a laugh.

Loomis, who is also the author of two poetry books, “Vanitas Motel” and “The Pleasure Principle,” said he got tired of writing only poems and thought about starting a novel for a long time.

“I wasn’t really having enough fun (with the poetry),” he said.

So in 1999 he began writing “High Season,” but after the first few chapters, he ran into a road block. After putting the story in a drawer for two years, he said he looked at it again in 2001 and worked on it until 2005.

Loomis said writing the book was fun, because he put a lot of research into it to make it a believable mystery story.

“Finding out the best way to burn down a building. What happens to people when you strangle them,” he said.

Assistant professor of English Allyson Loomis, his wife, said they spent a lot of time in the evenings working out the plot.

“I feel like I know all these characters very well,” she said, adding that she’s read the novel many times. “I think it’s a really fun mystery. It’s unique also because it has so many gay characters.”

Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Michael Weil agreed.

He said he has been to Provincetown, Mass., and thought the book captured its essence.

“It was a very interesting book. It was a very fast read,” Weil said. “Boy I’d recommend it to anybody. It’s fun and he really does a great job of developing his characters.”

Weil said he sent the book to his friends in Provincetown, Mass.

“They all thought it was wonderful,” he said.

Jon Loomis said seeing his book in stores for the first time was a great feeling, although he joked about its placement.

“I felt like ‘Why isn’t this out front? Why is it stuck in the back here in the local authors’ shelf?'” he said.

Loomis said his publisher, St. Martin’s Minotaur, is looking at making “High Season” an ongoing series.

“When I sold this one, my publisher also bought a sequel,” Loomis said, adding that a second book will probably be on shelves late 2009.

Allyson Loomis said the book’s success is a testament to its different subject matter.

“The book is . special,” she said. “He wouldn’t say that, but as his wife, I can say that. It’s a good book.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Professor’s novel gets praise