A literary journey which traces back to the eighties, at L.T Ball Intermediate School, where Andrew Bourelle sat in study hall writing horror stories by hand with a mechanical pencil is now culminating with the upcoming release of his first novel. It’s the latest achievement in his career as a writer, after having had several short stories published and co-authoring a short novel with the illustrious James Patterson. The February release of Heavy Metal is the fruition of a dream that began to form in Tipp City.
A 1993 graduate of Tippecanoe High School, always favored English class for the opportunities it provided for him to fulfill his passion of making up stories. He credits his former English teachers; Mrs. DeMarco, Mrs. Pallant, and Mrs. Pearson for their constant support. A creative writing class taught by Mrs. Pallant really left a lasting impression on him. “I still have the portfolio of stories and poems I wrote for that class. I also have a clipping from the ‘Tipp City Herald,’ from when our creative writing class went to Nevin Coppock to read to kids from children’s books that we’d written and illustrated. The picture in the paper is of me holding up my book and reading to a group of elementary school students-my first press as a writer,” said Bourelle.
Heavy Metal is set to the soundtrack of some of the genres biggest names of the eighties, in relation to the main character, Danny, a sensitive adolescent dealing with an extreme tragedy, as well as navigating the everyday conflicts of high school. Though completely fictional, Heavy Metal occurs in a small Midwestern town during a bleak, cold winter, and is told from the point of view of a teenager who is close to the same age as Bourelle was in the eighties while growing up in Tipp. “The town is never named, and it’s not meant to be Tipp City, but when I describe the high school or the main street through town, I picture a town similar to Tipp City. The characters, events, and plot all come from my imagination,” he said.
A fan of coming-of-age books and movies like “The Outsiders” and “Stand By Me,” that evoke nostalgia, but also tells ageless universal stories, Bourelle wanted to follow in that path. “I realized one day that I was old enough that the era of my childhood was now far enough in the past that I could tell a coming-of-age story for a new generation,” said Bourelle.
After his high school graduation, Bourelle attended Ohio University, where he majored in Journalism and minored in English. With a degree from Ohio University, he moved out west in 1997 and worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. Bourelle then left journalism and returned to school, earning an MA and PhD in English from the University of Nevada. He is currently an English professor at the University of New Mexico. Bourelle’s wife is also an English professor and they have two children.
Bourelle was first published in a 2010 in a literary journal called ‘Rosebud.’ He’s continued submitting stories ever since, including last year to “The Best American Mystery Stories,” which James Patterson guest-edited, and selected one of Bourelle’s stories to be included. The excitement kept growing for Bourelle as Patterson asked him to co-author a short novel in his new line of BookShots (short novels under 150 pages). They collaborated on a thriller called ‘The Pretender’ which was published in 2016 in the book “Triple Threat” which contains three of Patterson’s BookShots. Bourelle learned a lot by working with Patterson and is grateful for the opportunity.
Published by Autumn House Press, Heavy Metal is the result of much time and effort by Bourelle which is expected to capture the attention of its readers. “I wanted to write a story that’s suspenseful and would keep the readers turning the pages to find out what happens next,” he said.