This has been a really exciting couple of weeks. Two “babies” have been released, nearly simultaneously. These are projects that have meant so much to me and occupied my days, and I am tickled to finally be able to share them.
American Circumstance (Sense Publishers) is my second novel, and the fourth title in the Social Fiction series. This book is a love letter to the people I grew up with, I hope you know who you are. Although it is written in a fun chick-lit style making it a good beach read, this novel explores appearance versus reality in people’s lives, how our lives and relationships look to others versus what we experience, and a large part of this is how social class shapes identity. Social class is such an important issue with far-reaching consequences and yet it’s often difficult to get at, reflect on and discuss. I think there is a lot that goes unspoken about social class in the United States and I wanted to bring some of that out, including the replication of power and privilege. I also wanted to expose and disrupt stereotypes about social class and provide a subtext about class and gender in a global world, showing how all problems are relative. In light of the economic changes of the past few years, as well as our growing awareness in the US of how inequitable development is cross nationally, it seemed like a timely subject to tackle. American Circumstance also explores issues of friendship, family, sexual violence, healing and the things we say and don’t say to each other. I hope that the book will be read for pleasure but I also hope that professors in the social sciences and gender studies will use the book as supplemental reading in their courses as a springboard for reflection and discussion. American Circumstance is available from all major online retailers but as a thank you to readers, if you buy it from Sense you get 25% off using check-out code 192837: https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/social-fictions-series/american-circumstance/ Thank you to Peter de Liefde, Paul Chambers, Bernice Kelly and the entire Sense team for all you have done to see this book to fruition.
I am so proud to simultaneously release Fiction as Research Practice (Left Coast Press). This book offers an overview of how fiction can be used as a research practice across the disciplines. The book includes a discussion about the entanglement of fiction and nonfiction in genres like historical fiction and creative nonfiction, strengths of using fiction to illuminate human experience, how to methodologically design a project, how to access this kind of work and exemplars of short stories, novellas and novels that are all research-based. I’m really excited about this book, although I must confess it wasn’t my idea. Mitch Allen, the owner of Left Coast Press, who is someone I respect and had worked with on another project, approached me with the idea for the book. It was a tall order to write a book like this. There are so many ways one could approach it, and so much of what I read couldn’t be included in one volume. Also, there can be such resistance to challenging commonly held assumptions about facts, truth and imagination. With this said, I didn’t hesitate because it’s important to synthesize, document, chronicle, explain and analyze the work that arts-based researchers are doing. I hope the book is of value to the ABR community as well as creative writers more generally. By the way, if you’re interested in picking up a copy or ordering it for a class, if you get it directly from www.lcoastpress.com you automatically get 15% off of all online orders.
Thank you for your support and I hope you love these books as much as I do.