© 2021 Elise Atchison













novel forthcoming from

Sowilo Press










Artists Field Guide to Greater Yellowstone

anthology forthcoming from

Trinity University Press












Unearthing Paradise: Montana Writers in Defense of Paradise


Elk River Books Press









An Elk River Books Reader: Livingston and Billings Area Writers


Bangtail Press









Montana Quarterly









Elk River Arts & Lectures





Crazy Mountain


“All stories are wild.” William Kittredge


“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.

I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality.

It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.” Flannery O’Connor






Pleased to announce that my novel, Crazy Mountain, won the 2019 Eludia Award and will be published by Sowilo Press, an imprint of Hidden River Arts Press, 2021. Crazy Mountain also received the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Award for work in progress and was a finalist for several other awards.


Crazy Mountain tells the story of a rapidly changing place and community through the diverse and conflicting stories of the people who live in a fictional mountain valley in Montana over nearly half a century (1970-2015). Montana is a land in constant flux, a place where the primal wild bumps up against newly built roads and ranchettes and resorts. As the rural landscape transforms into subdivisions and McMansions, the conflicts escalate between locals and newcomers, developers and environmentalists, the wealthy and the homeless. Through multiple perspectives we hear the voices of ranchers, real estate agents, carpenters, artists, New Agers, Native American activists, landscapers, movie stars, musicians, pizza delivery drivers, gun-toting fundamentalists, and others including Kate, a troubled young woman who becomes homeless over the course of the book and whose own story in many ways mirrors the destruction and resurrection of the land. These varied threads weave together into a rich tapestry of place, exploring timely themes of housing booms and homelessness, cultural clashes, loss of open land to development, and the correlation between how we treat the natural world and how we treat each other, especially the most vulnerable among us. What does it mean to lose a place we love, and what does it mean to gain from it? Perhaps it depends on perspective.


Crazy Mountain is similar to Barkskins by Annie Proulx, The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, and Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout in that it chronicles a rapidly changing place and community through the multifaceted voices of the people who live, work, and play there. Each chapter is told from a different point of view at a different time, offering fifteen clashing perspectives on the shifting realities of contemporary Montana.