A Watershed Year, my debut novel, was published on March 1, 2011, after many years of writing and editing and many rounds of publisher submissions.
The story of this novel actually begins in 1997, when my third child, Claire, was born just a few weeks before I lost a dear friend to cancer. I remember traveling from Connecticut to the funeral in Baltimore and having no place to put all my emotions as I bumped around the packed church with a diaper bag as my purse. Years later, as I was beginning to work on short stories with the ultimate goal of writing a novel, I thought about that experience and poured those feelings of grief mixed with motherhood into a fictional character, Lucy McVie, in a story I called Intercession.
To my great surprise, the story was accepted by the journal Inkwell, which gave me my first real fiction publication. Several years and many short stories after that, I decided to put my efforts into a novel, and I came back to that first story.
Lucy McVie is a woman in her mid-thirties who loses her best friend, Harlan, to cancer. But Harlan comes back to her through a series of emails he wrote before he died, and he inadvertently advises Lucy to think about becoming a mother. This begins her journey to adopt a young boy from Russia as she works through her grief over Harlan and starts a new relationship that may or may not work out.
A Watershed Year, at its heart, is a love story, and a story about all the ways that we interconnect in this world of both too much and too little communication.
A Watershed Year won the gold medal for novel in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition in 2006 and was short-listed that year for the Peter Taylor Prize. This novel would not exist without the support of the Faulkner Society and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, which awarded me an artist fellowship in 2007.
I’ve had the good fortune of talking about the book on several television shows and hearing it recommended on WNPR’s Faith Middleton Show. Please visit these links for a view of my good and bad hair days, and the NPR plug:
And please visit my contact page to tell me what you thought of A Watershed Year or to arrange for a book club visit.