Alumni in 10

Daniel Abbott '12

Daniel Abbott '12

Title/Employer: Novelist

Degree Earned/Emphasis Area: Creative Writing (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction)


1. What has your journey been since graduation?
Since graduating in 2012, I have gone through, am still going through, the process of publishing my first novel, The Concrete which is out with Ig Publishing on May 1.

2. How has Grand Valley had a role in your journey?
I enrolled in GVSU in 2010 a raw, lyrical writer with no formal writing experience. During my time in the writing program and under the guidance of talented, passionate professors, I fell in love with the writing process and began to find my voice.

3. What is your favorite Grand Valley memory?
I loved my Intermediate and Advanced Fiction and Creative Nonfiction workshops. I studied fiction with Caitlin Horrocks and Creative Nonfiction with Sean Prentiss. There was so much talent in the program and the workshop experience was truly a family experience—one that prepared me for writing workshops at the graduate level.

4. What three words describe your experience at Grand Valley?
Life changing transition.

5. How, and why, have you stayed involved with Grand Valley since graduation?
I haven’t been as involved as I’d like to be. A year after graduation I enrolled in the MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts where I began work on my novel. From VCFA I went through the agent query process and the process of beginning a career as a working writer. I’d love to come back and visit the writing program. I’d love to answer questions about the process and tell my story.

6. Why are you proud to be a Laker for a Lifetime?
I came to Grand Valley in my early-thirties and enrolled in a program with students who were mostly ten or more years younger than me. I was accepted during a transitional time in my life, which created an environment that helped me be successful. 

7. What do you like to do for fun?
I love to spend time with my family. Whether that means trips to the park, or playing basketball, or just sitting home watching a movie. I love to lift weights and fish. I love to travel. I’m also a huge Detroit Lions fan; Sundays in the fall tend to be spent on the couch.

8. What is your favorite quote/motto to live by?
“Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda

9. What motivates you?
Purpose motivates me. I was called into my career by something greater than myself. I believe in answering that call and not letting anything get in the way.

10. What book or movie have you recently enjoyed?
Right now I’m reading Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones. It is phenomenal! The tension she builds and the sentence-level beauty of her writing…definitely worth a read for anyone who enjoys literary fiction.

March 2018

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Page last modified March 21, 2018