Two Helena authors do reading at Brothers Tapworks

Harpole reading "Regarding Willingness"
Posted at 10:31 AM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 12:31:45-05

HELENA — Those in Helena had the opportunity to meet and listen to two local authors on Monday night at Brothers Tapworks, hearing excerpts from their novels and why Montana is a source of inspiration.

"People that live here they take on some of the flavor and character of the place. That somehow finds its way or weaves its way into [the] art, whatever that form might be. I certainly see it in my fiction," said the author of "Beyond the Rio Gila" Scott G. Hibbard.

The two authors write in different genres. Hibbard is a historical fiction writer, while Tom Harpole writes essays based on his life.

But one thing these authors have in common is the importance of remembering.

"Sooner or later it comes out on the page, details or phrasing or whatever it is," explained Hibbard. "I can't escape it, and I don't want to escape it. It's just part of who I am."

Hibbard is a third-generation Helena native, while Harpole grew up in Deer Lodge and attended Carroll College. The two met in the 80s while taking writing classes.

Now, they both reside in the Queen City of the Rockies.

Harpole started the evening by reading one work from his novel "Regarding Willingness," a collection of 17 personal essays. The book was chosen as one of four Honor Books for the 2020 Montana Library Association.

Regarding Willingness

"One thing to take away from it [is] it might explain my behavior at times because I've had a lot of head injuries," said Harpole.

Hibbard read a chapter from his 2021 historical fiction novel "Beyond the Rio Gila," about the longest march in U.S. Infantry history during the Mexican-American War.

Beyond the Rio Gila

He said, "That was really a lot of my inspiration, expose this history to people that don't know anything about it."

While some may think that lively cities fuel more inspiration for authors, both Harpole and Hibbard do not believe that is true.

"Wherever you have people, you're going to have a story. Dramas are happening with people all the time. It's just part of human nature," said Hibbard.

Harpole and Hibbard are working on new material; Harpole hopes to release his second set of personal essays this October. Hibbard is working on a sequel to "Beyond the Rio Gila," which could be published no sooner than 2026.

This is the first author reading that Brother Tapworks has had, but they hope to do more in the future.