I’m excited to announce my first YA novel Whispering Through Water will be released January 4, 2023 from Monarch Press. Set in 1998, a time on the cusp of a technology explosion when youth, especially young women, were experiencing the benefits of the women’s movement fought for by their mothers and grandmothers.
The coming-of-age story follows our protagonist, Gwyn Madison, the summer after her high school graduation. While grappling with her fast-approaching future, Gwyn stumbles upon a long held family secret. She’ll have to face more than she bargained for with her Aunt Delia, the family matriarch, and in the meantime, she meets a young man that shows her that going after what she needs is worth everything. Whispering Through Water navigates family dynamics, young love, female empowerment, friendship, with a little 90s nostalgia.
I completed the initial “final” draft in 2013 (which had already seen three different versions), and in winter of 2021, circumstances prompted me to revisit this novel again, of which it went through another complete rewrite. There’s something to be said about letting work rest before approaching it again; albeit my book took an eight year nap! Now what actually inspired me to write the story would be a spoiler alert, so I’ll just say, my inspiration was prompted by an NPR interview I listened to in 2008.
I have always been interested in the concept of the “Generation Gap”. If you are a reader of history, historical fiction, or even just talked with your grandmother, there are qualities that transcend generational divide: the distinctly human drive for autonomy and agency to determine one’s own future. The lengths we will go to in order to maintain agency, and the despair we feel when we cannot. The ability to achieve autonomy is impacted by cultural norms and sometimes puts us at odds with those we love.
I am excited for you all to read this decade+ labor of love. If you are interested in joining Monarch’s ARC (advanced reader copy) review team visit: ttps://forms.gle/VGHuxmr8T9Jy3m269
Keep looking up.
Writing takes perseverance, and writing in hopes of getting published takes perseverance and an unbounded (maybe even irrational) level of hope. I’m sure when people ask me “What motivates you?” they are expecting something more complicated than simply hope, but really that’s all I’ve got. Hope that I can leave the world a better place than when I found it. Hope that I can be better. Hope that I can write something worth reading.
My Grandma Helen passed away 10 years ago at the age of 100. I’m not sure how you live to 100 without an unbounded level of hope. As a young adult, she taught in a one room schoolhouse in Western Maryland. She supplied me with poetry books, novels, and blank journals. When Grandma was in her late seventies, she went to Europe for the first time, and when she was in her early eighties, she went back. This made such an impression on me as a young teenager; she never gave up on her dream to travel no matter how long it took to come true.
Grandma had a love for Emily Dickinson, which she shared with me. Honestly I cannot remember when I started using Dickinson’s Hope 1 as a mantra, but over the years I find myself repeating these words, both during times where I feel little hope and when I feel it in abundance.
Hope is the thing with feathers That perches on the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all
I love Dickinson’s explanation of hope, because it’s not really an explanation at all. It's a metaphor, a feeling, a movement, a song with no words. You know when you have it, and you know when you’ve lost it. Hope is relentless. Hope doesn’t let go easily, and thank God it doesn’t.
Here’s to hope in 2022.
Keep looking up.