On July 22, 2014, Lake Union released my second novel, The Virtues of Oxygen. While I think it will attract a similar audience to A Watershed Year, it’s a very different story and one that has a basis in reality.
The Virtues of Oxygen 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 that kind of life would be like and how someone virtually divorced from their body could go on living. 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 become linked and their lives interwoven as the town around them tries to cope with a changing economic landscape. I can’t wait to see how this one fares in the increasingly crowded marketplace.
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.
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 my books or to arrange for a book club visit.