Friday, September 20, 2013

SAFE KEEPING: The beautiful face of my new novel

I’m thrilled to share the gorgeous cover art for my new novel, SAFE KEEPING, coming from MIRA in April, 2014.

My son is a murderer….

When I first wrote that opening sentence for this novel, it sent a chill down my spine. I have sons and couldn’t imagine it, ever having to consider that one of them was capable of anything so horrible. I wondered why I even wanted to. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to go on. The first chapter fell out onto the page through Emily Lebay’s, the mother’s, point of view, and it has remained very close to its original expression through multiple rounds of edits.

Here’s the gist of the story from the back flap copy:

Emily Lebay always thought of her family as ordinary. Sure, they’ve endured their share of problems, even a time of great trouble—what family hasn’t? But when a woman’s body turns up in the dense woods near their home, and Emily’s grown son Tucker is accused of murder, Emily is forced to confront the unfathomable, and everything she believed about her life is called into question.

I spent a lot of time with this family, Emily, her husband, Roy, her daughter, Lissa, and son, Tucker, and I grew to love them even though my heart ached for them. I think we must at times cross paths with people like the Lebays, we live on the same street with them, or pass time chatting with them in the grocery store line. They appear very ordinary, but we never really know what they might have endured, the same as they may not know the sorts of calamities we ourselves have somehow managed to survive. I imagine the many, many acts of courage that happen every day across America and around the world that go mostly unremarked and unreported. SAFE KEEPING is about that. It’s about courage and the indomitability of a mother’s and a sister’s love and the resilience of the human spirit.

I’m so eager to share this story with you. It’s available now for pre-order at Amazon, and I know I’ll be sharing more about it as the birthdate for it draws nearer. In fact, very soon, I’ll have some special news to share about EVIDENCE OF LIFE, too. In the meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dare to Dream: The Key to Passion

Like thousands of others around the world, I was inspired recently by Diana Nyad’s record-breaking Florida Straits swim. Watching her complete the final few strokes, stagger to her feet, unaided, and walk into the arms of one of her support team members brought me to tears. And when she spoke, as whipped as she was, her very first words were focused, unbridled joy, celebratory and inspiring. Paraphrasing, she said to never give up; she said you are never too old to chase your dream, and she said that while swimming looked like a solitary sport, it was a team effort. (She might as easily have meant life, that life is a team effort.) There she was, just out of the water after a grueling journey that lasted 52 hours and 54 minutes, and she was cheering us on! She’s 64. 64! And she did that. At another point, she raised her fist and said, “Boomer power,” I think it was. Something like that. It made me laugh. I fell in love with her. She’s wonderful! She’s an antidote...

Against so much of the conditioned thinking in our society about aging that writes off a person over 60. Heck, you’re 40 and in some people’s minds, you’re done, especially if you’re a woman. (Sorry, guys, it’s true.) It’s easy as you’re getting older to allow that mindset to overcome your imagination. (Does imagination age?) You can lose track of the kid in you, the thing inside that feeds your passion. In fact, Diana did. She quit swimming for thirty-one years. I didn’t know that until I watched her TEDx talk. I’m sharing it here, because I was so lit up by it.

It meant so much to me because I’m embarking on my own version of Diana’s swim, uprooting my life and relocating to another part of the state. And not only that but designing and building my house, a garage + potting shed, and a new garden. I’m going to be helping my son who is in the start-up phase of building his aquaponics farm venture, which I’m thrilled about. I’m working on a new novel, too, and I’m so excited about writing it. And lately another idea for an equally exciting story came to me. Suddenly, I’m on fire with all I can do. I’ve re-ignited my passion. I didn’t have words to describe all that I’ve been feeling just lately, and so much of it has been confusing to me, and a little unnerving, but then Diana Nyad did her incredible swim, and she described her process in this TEDx talk, and she gave me the words. Every time now I think I can’t do this, I’m too old, too tired, only one person, blahblahblah, I think of Diana, and her three things: don’t give up; you’re never too old; it takes a team. Following one’s passion is hard, grueling, beautiful work. It takes grit, so much grit. It’s messy and joyful. I hope I can always live it, and I hope you’ll tune in and watch Diana’s TEDx talk. It’s wonderful!