Cliff Ashpaugh on his debut novel "Josh's Wall"
Cliff Ashpaugh talks about his debut novella, JOSH’S WALL (Spout Hill Press; July 2014). Set in the early 1960s in the wilds of San Gabriel Valley, it’s a coming-of-age story about a boy who wakes up to a world of bullies, liars, and strangers—including himself.
At age six, Joshua Crass is reborn—after nearly dying from an allergic reaction to penicillin. Struggling with lingering anemia and amnesia, he leaves the hospital with three people—Mom, Dad, and brother Sammy—who might as well be Martians. Apart from his beloved Nanny (the only family member he remembers), Josh feels like an orphan in his own home.
Josh's life takes a dramatic turn when he becomes a master at karate. And later after a life-shattering accident he learns a huge lesson about humanity.
Cliff Ashpaugh grew up in the wilds of the 1970s San Gabriel Valley, dodging bullets while driving around in his 1964 Pontiac low-rider. Since then, he’s progressed from low-riders to motorcycles to airplanes to scuba diving to sailboats. After flunking his first attempt at Freshman Composition, he’s won a few literary awards, including five in the last year, has published in magazines, has organized and moderated writing critic groups, and has participated as a guest speaker at literary events.