Alec Hastings offers writing workshops (fiction, nonfiction, poetry), readings from his novel, and in-depth literature and film workshops.
Hoping to put the “fun” back in reading for some of his English students at Bethel’s Whitcomb High School, Alec Hastings started writing an adventure story and finished it six years later. The result, a big, sprawling novel titled Otter St. Onge and the Bootleggers, was published in May, 2013. Author Howard Frank Mosher said it is a book for readers of any age. Actor and writer Rusty DeWees said “This is a book that will appeal to historians and wild-eyed Green Mountain cusses alike.”
Bethel writer and historian Janet Burnham gives these highlights: “Grab a warm jacket. After all, it’s November in the year 1927. Come on, jump right in Otter’s canoe. You’re in for a wild ride down the Missisquoi River into towering trouble. You'll meet the fabled monster of Lake Champlain and a madman from the Great War who has sworn to kill Otter and all his family, and you'll witness the terrible Flood of ’27. This story is packed with memorable characters like Muff who mangles the English language; Too Tall, a giant of a man; Mary a courageous orphan; and wise old Granddad who not only farms but takes pride in brewing some prime moonshine as well. If you’re looking for adventure, you won’t be disappointed!”
Alec Hastings grew up in Happy Valley—yes, it’s true—in the Vermont foothills just west of the Connecticut River. Perhaps his happiest neighbor was the locally famous Warren Bumps or “Bumpy,” a logger and jack-of-all-trades who stood as large in the author’s imagination as Too Tall in Otter St. Onge and the Bootleggers. Warren’s father, Elmer, milked twenty-five Jerseys on a small farm near the top of Sugar Hill, and on that farm the author earned his first George Washington. The author’s grandfather, Scott Hastings, Sr., and his father, Scott Jr., were also self-reliant hill folk. His grandfather was driving logs out of the woods with horses at age fourteen. He taught his grandson the names of trees, how to sharpen an ax, and how to drive a war-surplus Jeep. His father taught him how to shoot a rifle, use carpentry tools, take books out of the library, and believe in himself. His grandmother Josephine filled him up with sour cream cookies and fresh baked bread! All these elders filled him with stories. He has six children and step-children, is happily married to Denise Martin, and is still telling stories in those same Vermont foothills.