Born in OK; married; wife's name Conni. Education: Oklahoma State University, B.A.; Auburn University, M.P.A.
Home—Chapel Hill, NC. E-mail—[email protected]
U.S. Air Force, career officer for twenty-one years, retiring as lieutenant colonel; served as fighter pilot during the Vietnam War; served in American Embassy in Vientiane, Laos, and London, England; tested missiles at Tactical Air Warfare Center, Eglin Air Force Base, FL; also worked in city management in Oklahoma for nineteen years.
Love, Ava (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Alton Rivers is a former U.S. Air Force officer who served as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War and as a diplomat in Laos and England. His debut novel, Love, Ava, concerns Major Russ Jefferson, an Air Force pilot who is badly wounded after his plane is shot down over Vietnam. Taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese, Jefferson is held at the notorious Hanoi Hilton. After he is freed, the physically and emotionally scarred Jefferson takes a position at the American Embassy in London, where he has a chance encounter with aging Hollywood legend Ava Gardner. The pair begins a tentative love affair, though Gardner's behavior grows increasingly erratic, a result of illness and alcoholism. Jefferson also finds himself at odds with his boss, General William Eads, who blocks the approval of training plans for fighter pilots for no good reason. When Jefferson confronts his superior officer, he places his career in danger. When he threatens to resign his post, Gardner sacrifices her own happiness to save Jefferson from his own rebellious nature. "Sweet longings and patriotism do not a satisfying novel make," observed a Kirkus Reviews critic about the novel. A Publishers Weekly reviewer offered a more positive assessment, writing that "Rivers writes eloquently about air combat … but is less adept at exploring Jefferson's psyche or charting his romantic sorties."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of Love, Ava, p. 1099.
Publishers Weekly, November 6, 2006, review of Love, Ava, p. 34.
Alton Rivers Web site,http://www.altonrivers.com (June 15, 2007).