Andrew Baltzegar was born and raised in the Augusta, Georgia area and has spent his career in the natural sciences. For many years he studied marine life, getting his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston before relocating to Raleigh, NC to successfully pursue a doctoral degree from NC State University
One of his “unequivocal moments in life”, as he calls them, was a college semester spent at sea (Sea Semester,R/V Westward), going “down island” along the Caribbean Antilles. “It wasn’t a pleasure cruise,” he notes – “there was no air conditioning, and everyone took showers and washed their clothes in salt water. You worked 6-hour (on and off) watches, pulling sail ropes and collecting oceanographic data, and doing sextant plots for celestial navigation. Tired, sunburned and seasick – you couldn’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else – it was that fun.” Andrew currently works at a molecular biology and genomics laboratory in the Research Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham). His lovely wife, who he adores, also has a PhD and is pursuing her career in academic research. They have three spoiled fur babies (Sadie, Sasha & Skyla) and a flock of chickens, the latter hopelessly addicted to mealworms.
Writing has been a life-long hobby for Andrew. In 2006, he self-published his first novel, Itapi, a story he was compelled to write after reading and studying about the ecosystems of the rainforests, and of those who engage with tribal shamans to learn about medicinal plants – capturing knowledge that has been passed down from shaman to apprentice over millennia, but which is rapidly becoming lost to the world. In graduate school – when time permitted – he wrote many short stories, of which A Drive Down 95 is his first. Based on his many drives (down Interstate 95) to visit his future wife, the short story takes a dark twist on that lonesome stretch of road. For many of us, the pandemic has fostered a period of mass introspection and reflection on what is important in life. For Andrew, it has reminded him of his love for writing, and his hope to one day become an established and successful indie author.
Andrew is currently working on his second novel, and in the interim, he has many other short stories to share with us, including A Boxer’s Praise, the Lights of Parker’s Ferry, Heavy Louis, and many more (coming soon)…