The Author: Zach Powers
The Book: First Cosmic Velocity (Putnam/Penguin, $26)
The Genre: Historical fiction
Lives in: Arlington
Bio: Powers, who is the communications director at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda and a writing teacher at NOVA Community College, published his first novel, Gravity Changes, in 2017. It won the BOA Short Fiction Prize. He’s led the writers’ workshop at the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home in Savannah, Georgia, won an Emmy for TV writing and has been a columnist for the Savannah Morning News. He moved here when his partner got a job in NoVA.
The Story: Set in 1964 USSR, the new book tells the story of the secretive Soviet space program—and how sets of cosmonaut twins were able to cover up rockets that never made it back from space. “There is a real conspiracy in the novel, but not based on a real one. In the Soviet space program, there are a lot of secrets kept … Any of the space failures were covered up, and we never heard about them. So, the novel is inspired by all of that secrecy, and the people that have been lost to history.”
Author Inspiration: “I like to read upstairs at Northside Social [in Arlington]. Grab a coffee or beer and find a seat at the bar … I do most of my writing at The Writer’s Center. On weekends, I write at The Java Shack in Arlington.”