My Brilliant Friends: Spotlight on 3 New Books and Their Authors
As far as I know, Elena Ferrante only had one brilliant friend, but I’ve got three. It just so happens that three of my fellow writer friends have new books out this fall and I’m SO EXCITED about all of them!
Title: Mend: Poems
Author: Kwoya Fagin Maples
How we met: Kwoya and I are in See Jane Write, a community of women writers that’s online and meets in person in Birmingham, Alabama. I religiously attended events when I lived in Birmingham and even though I can’t go in person, I’m active in the group and love attending virtual events and making more writer friends through the group. That’s how Kwoya and I met and I was blown away by her talent from the start.
What the book is about: From the description on Goodreads:
The inventor of the speculum, J. Marion Sims, is celebrated as the "father of modern gynecology," and a memorial at his birthplace honors "his service to suffering women, empress and slave alike." These tributes whitewash the fact that Sims achieved his surgical breakthroughs by experimenting on eleven enslaved African American women. Lent to Sims by their owners, these women were forced to undergo operations without their consent. Today, the names of all but three of these women are lost.
In Mend: Poems, Kwoya Fagin Maples gives voice to the enslaved women named in Sims's autobiography: Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy. In poems exploring imagined memories and experiences relayed from hospital beds, the speakers challenge Sims's lies, mourn their trampled dignity, name their suffering in spirit, and speak of their bodies as "bruised fruit." At the same time, they are more than his victims, and the poems celebrate their humanity, their feelings, their memories, and their selves. A finalist for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, this debut collection illuminates a complex and disturbing chapter of the African American experience.
Publisher: University of Kentucky Press
Release date: November 16, 2018. Preorder!
Title: In The Desert
Genre: Fiction; Novella
Author: Abbey Lenzie
How we met: Abbey and I went to college together and graduated the same year. We had several creative writing classes together and even won the same creative writing scholarship and contracted independent study novel-writing classes with the same professor. We bonded over our shared love of writing and became writing partners while working on our novels. My novel from back then fizzled out (really, it was for the best), but Abbey’s is now In The Desert! I know it’s changed a lot since her early drafts, but it’s super exciting to me that this novel I got to see in its infancy is now out in the world. And did I mention it won the 2018 Plaza Literary Prize?! Yeah, she’s a badass.
What the book is about: From the description on the publisher’s website:
When Jael’s husband falls ill, there is little she can do to help him. In the post-apocalyptic desert, there are no medicines or treatments. So, after years of watching him suffer, Jael makes the hardest decision of her life.
She strikes her first match.
Jael leaves the smoke behind and flees into the desert with only one plan: to find a place where no memories haunt her. What she doesn’t plan for is Agi. An orphan on a journey of her own, Agi slowly forces her way through Jael’s walls, and the two begin traveling together. But the desert is a harsh place. And no matter how far she runs, Jael can’t escape the things she brings with her.
Publisher: 1888 Center
Release date: Out now!
Title: House of Rose
Genre: Fiction; Mystery; Urban Fantasy
Author: T.K. Thorne
How we met: I ran into T.K. in so many different areas of my life that I actually don’t remember which came first. Maybe it’s because she, too, is in See Jane Write and we met at an event. Maybe it was when I was working at an online news startup in the early 2010s and interviewed her back when she was a police officer. Maybe it was when she did a book signing at a bookstore that I was doing some events photography and social media management for. Basically, T.K. and I were destined to meet. I’ve read and LOVED her two previous books, Noah’s Wife and Angels at the Gate, so I’m super excited about this new series.
What the book is about: From Goodreads:
Rookie patrol officer Rose Brighton chases a suspect down an alley. Without warning, her vision wavers, and the lone suspect appears to divide into two men—the real suspect, frozen in time, and a shadow version with a gun. Confused by what she’s just seen, but with no time to second guess it’s meaning, Rose shoots the real suspect in the back.
Forced to lie to detectives, she risks her job and her life to discover the shocking truth of who she really is—a witch of an ancient House, the prey of one powerful enemy, and the pawn of another.
House of Rose, set in the Deep South city of Birmingham, Alabama, is the first book of the Magic City Stories.
Publisher: Camel Press
Release date: November 13, 2018. Preorder!
And in case you’re wondering, my friends didn’t put me up to this. They’re going to be pleasantly surprised when they see this post, in fact! And, no, none of the links are affiliate links. I’m legit super looking forward to reading all of these and already have copies of my own. I hope they sound as good to you as they do to me!