The Texture of Place

Local author Carrie La Seur pushes her boundaries

Local author Carrie La Seur penned two novels set in the Billings area. But “author” is merely one of the many paths she’s chosen.

La Seur published “The Home Place” and “The Weight of an Infinite Sky” and is currently at work on a third novel. Her resume, however, includes a law degree from Yale, a Rhodes Scholarship, a history of advocating environmental law and a lengthy list of articles, stories and poetry published in notable journals and magazines.

The breadth of her experiences reflects her drive for pushing her own boundaries. At the same time, La Seur remains anchored by place. And that place is Montana.

“Montana has always been a place my family came back to, over and over,” she says. “I have so many complicated feelings about this place now.”

As a fifth-generation Montanan, her blood runs thick with local ties — ties that have sculpted her life and shaped the words she writes. Her roots trace back to 1862, when her great-great-great grandfather Robert Curtis first scouted the area. Those roots also include Harriet Crow (an Anglicization of the German name Groh), a Christian Scientist credited with healing the sick during Billings’ tuberculosis epidemic of 1900.

Thus, the Big Sky State hasn’t only rooted La Seur’s family but entwined this place in the family tree. And with such deep-seated history comes an awareness of the hardships so many endured. That awareness serves as a reality check when she writes. It gives her work an edge and steers her clear of romanticizing.

“There’s a lot of beauty (in Montana), but it’s harsh,” she says. “There was an instinct for survival.”


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