GV writing professor publishes third book, “Life Among the Terranauts”

Parker Learman-Blaauw

Caitlin Horrocks, an associate professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University, has always had a flair for the imaginative. 

“As a kid, I was a bookworm,” Horrocks said. “I always loved reading, I always loved writing. If there was a creative option on an assignment, I would always take it.”

Unfortunately, she didn’t always know writing was an option.

Courtesy GVSU

As a child, the idea of writing professionally was vexing for Horrocks. She said she knew it was her favorite hobby and would continue to write for years to come, but it was understood that at some point, adulthood would swing in to ruin her fun. 

“As far as I knew, there was no such thing,” Horrocks said. “I was gonna have to grow up, get serious, and stop.”

Luckily for the rest of the world, she never did. 

Currently celebrating the release of her third book, “Life Among the Terranauts,” on Jan. 12., Horrocks said one of her main joys in writing is the ability to reflect real-world ideas in more dynamic, fictional stories. 

While mostly written before any sort of quarantine had started in the United States, “Life Among the Terranauts” explores the significance of community and others, apropos for a time when staying in touch is more important than ever.

“With the stories here I wanted to explore how people live with each other,” said Horrocks. 

Horrocks’ previous works have landed on year-end top ten lists and editor’s choice sections in major publications such as the “Wall Street Journal” and “The New York Times.”

In order to fully appreciate Horrocks’ current success, it is important to note her dedication to creating the writing career that got her here. 

After finishing her Bachelor’s of Art in English Literature, writing was always at the forefront of Horrocks’ mind. 

She joined writing groups and continued to dedicate her free time to honing the craft — even if that wasn’t what she originally intended to do. 

All of this engagement with writing led to a moment of self-reflection.

“I noted okay, this is something that’s really important to you,” said Horrocks. 

Once Horrocks got to graduate school, where she pursued her Master’s of Fine Arts in creative writing, her eyes were opened to the business side of writing: publishing. 

Her first releases were short stories submitted to various literary magazines, and in 2011, she released her first book. 

“That was a really big moment for me,” Horrocks said. I could look at myself and say, ‘Okay, you’re a writer.’”

Soon enough teaching was introduced to Horrocks when her first job after college found her teaching English in Finland and Prague. 

“There’s a great energy that comes from talking about writing,” said Horrocks. 

Horrocks’ time abroad worked as a test run for her interest and ability to teach, and both of which turned out to be quite large. 

This later led her to GVSU, where she currently teaches classes in intermediate and advanced fiction and creative nonfiction writing. Horrocks is also constantly working on furthering her career as a writer.

Horrocks said she encourages anyone who has a passion for writing to keep it alive, and to explore it on their own time.