Amtrak's California Zephyr crosses the desert near Floy, Utah.

(Photo: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

There’s something about riding a train and watching the scenery fly by that inspires deep thought. At least that’s what Boulder writer Erika Krouse hopes. She’s one of 24 writers recently selected from more than 16,000 applicants to participate in Amtrak’s first literary residency program.
 
For Krouse, the author of an acclaimed collection of short stories, “Come Up and See Me Sometime,” it’s like winning the lottery. She and the other winners will take a free, round-trip excursion on an Amtrak route, with a sleeper car and meals included. And during the residency, they’ll be free to write. Krouse hopes to board Amtrak’s California Zephyr, travel to San Francisco, then backtrack to Chicago, and return to Colorado.
 
Krouse, whose first novel, “Contenders,” comes out next year, intends to use the time on board to work on her second novel, set in the mountains of Colorado. She also hopes to combine the residency with a whistle-stop book tour to promote “Contenders.”
 
She calls the residency “an amazing gift.”
 
“And who doesn’t like trains?” she adds.