Local author Zach Powers talks new book ‘First Cosmic Velocity’

Following years of experience in the literary field, Powers settles down in Arlington as a communications director and novelist.

cover of first cosmic velocity book
Image courtesy of Zach Powers

The Author: Zach Powers

The Book: First Cosmic Velocity (Putnam/Penguin, $26)

The Genre: Historical fiction

Lives in: Arlington

zach powers in front of grey background
Photo courtesy of Zach Powers

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.”

This post originally appeared in our November 2019 issue. Subscribe to the magazine here.

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