The Virtues of Oxygen (2014, Lake Union) had its genesis in a New York Times obituary I read in 2009 about a woman who had lived most of her life inside an iron lung. I couldn’t stop thinking about what life would be like for someone virtually divorced from their body. I paired the story of Vivian, who contracted polio at the age of 6, with that of Holly, a young widow struggling to keep her home during the Great Recession. These two women’s lives become interwoven as the town around them tries to cope with a changing economic landscape.
My debut novel, A Watershed Year, was released originally in 2011 and was reissued in November 2013 by Lake Union, a division of Amazon Publishing. In A Watershed Year, Lucy McVie is a woman in her mid-thirties who loses her best friend, Harlan, to cancer. 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.