Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review: The Arsonist

I lovelovelove Sue Miller and her latest book, The Arsonist, lived up to my expectations. The plot, an arsonist terrorizes a small town in New Hampshire, is juicy enough. But it's Millers characters that make her a super-star.

Frankie returns from Africa to her parents' summer home where they have just retired. As she considers her next professional move and gets involved with the local reporter, her mother struggles to come to terms with her husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis.

Both women contemplate love and the future while ruminating on the lessons of the past. How does Frankie make room for another person in her life without sacrificing her need to find meaningful work? How does Sylvia continue to care for a husband she doesn't love without giving up her own identity? The mysterious fires that begin to divide the town are a backdrop to this very human story.

I enjoyed every moment of the read, but found the ending a bit of a disappointment. I do not require tidy happy endings in fiction, but this one includes a paragraph that takes all the hope out of any idea that things might work out eventually. Edit that paragraph out in your mind, like I did, and the ending is satisfying.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blog Hop!

Writing can be such a solitary endeavor. It's nice to remember we're part of a larger creative community. Robin Israel invited me to participate in this blog hop as a way to do just that and to shout out to other writers I admire and support.

LIKE: Mary Vensel White, author of HarperCollins' The Qualities of Wood (and a forthcoming masterpiece I've had the privilege of reading before publication).

AND: Juliet O'Callaghan, who has started writing again after taking a contemplative break. You can read about that and you can read her chapters.

Why are you working on the project you are writing now? Why is it important? (to you, or to the world, or…)

As of this weekend, I have finished writing Finding Charlie. (I thought it was done a few weeks ago, but it needed another chapter.)

So my new project is deciding what to do with it. I'm working up a query letter for literary agents and weighing the pros and cons of self-publishing.

I never would have considered self-publishing my first book, but with two traditionally published books under my belt and a bit of experience with social media promotion, I'm feeling more confident. It's definitely something I'll think about.

In the meantime, you can check out my first chaptersFinding Charlie opens on the mystery of 19 year old Charlie Howard's disappearance.  As the hours turn to days, older sister Olivia tries to put the pieces together.  This is a family drama that takes place in the summer in Tucson, Arizona - the longest season of the year. Readers of Jodi Picoult, Sue Miller, and J. Courtney Sullivan would appreciate this story.