Dave Champoux's daughter Katie is only 2, but in his imagination, she's had some grown-up escapades, like running off on a plastic motorcycle with the undesirable toddler she met at the children's library. She was even arrested for breaking into Walmart, grabbing all the turkey-rice carrot puree on the shelves and binging on it until she vomited.
"The police found her passed out behind Pete's Tire Barn, little empty jars strewn all around. So embarrassing," Champoux writes in his mirthful short story, "No Other Baby Can Do This," a fictional account of his musings on his daughter's future.
A professor of English and a creative writing advisor at HCC, Champoux is accustomed to turning life into fiction, and he actively - and successfully - submits his work to publications around the Valley and beyond.
His piece on his precocious toddler, for instance, took first prize last fall in the Hampshire Life short fiction contest sponsored by the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton. That marked the second time Champoux won that particular contest.
A writer with humor and a great sense of what readers want, Champoux has had success with both short fiction and his first novel. He's published in upstreet, an annual literary anthology based in the Berkshires, and he also used Amazon.com's self-publishing arm to put out a book-length piece, "Ghost of a Boy," several years ago.
This book, about a young woman grieving the death of a teenager she never met, placed 50th out of 5,000 entries in a contest Amazon oversaw. Publisher's Weekly called the work, ". . . a well-thought out storyline . . . executed very well."
Champoux's now working on a second novel, a murder mystery called, "Gunnar Floss Killed Mary McCaslin," and he says this time he'll try to find an agent to place the book with a publisher. "I came very close with a few agents on the first one," he says.
Champoux has been teaching at HCC for 15 years. In addition to teaching creative writing, he teaches writing for theater and straight composition classes. The advisor for Pulp City, HCC's literary magazine, Champoux blogs about writing and posts prompts for students to get the ideas flowing.
Champoux has a bachelor's degree in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and a master's in fine arts from Emerson College in Boston.
While he's prolific, he's also modest. He didn't tell his students that he won the Hampshire Life fiction contest - twice now. He talks instead about their successes. And he puts his energy into getting his ideas and inspirations down on paper.
After he finishes his Gunnar Floss book, he says he'll put it aside for a while and start something new before going through the Gunnar manuscript again with fresh eyes and energy.
"For me," Champoux says, "writing is not about always looking for inspiration. It's about living life just like anyone else does - but then also sitting down on a regular basis, settling in and just trying to figure out what's going on in my mind and what my mind has done with the experiences I've had.
"Then I just work with all of that to see what I can make of it."
To order "Ghost of a Boy," visit Amazon.com; to read blogs on HCC's Pulp City, visit www.pulpcity.wordpress.com