It has been a long winter and spring, and we are finally in the home stretch before The Bereaved arrives at bookstores and Kindles everywhere.
Nervous? Not really.
Big plans? Yes!
I loved this “Eye” artwork and was so happy when Sibylline’s art director chose to use it on the cover. I’m leaving the cover image large so you can see the details, and I’ll tell you more about it. Take a look at how it turned out:
The theme is Victorian mourning, and the Eye artwork centers the book cover. The background is a flocked Victorian wallpaper. It was more golden in an earlier version, but the red really pumped up the energy. The Orphan Train is the bottom photo, an old photo from as late as 1900, or as early as 1870. Hard to tell from the kids’ clothes. This is kind of the quintessential Orphan Train photo that shows up when you Google the term. On the right is a portion of the New York Home for the Friendless, which was an orphan “asylum,” or orphanage, where children who had lost their parents, or whose parents couldn’t keep them fed and housed, landed, if they didn’t make it another way. And on the left? That’s little Willie Gaston, about 8-10 years old. Hard to tell, because children dressed like undertakers in the 1860s.
William L. Gaston was my great-great grandfather, and I have several photos of him throughout his life. He married Winifred McDonald, and had two daughters, then one of them (Laura) had two daughters. Little Winifred (named for her grandma) was my Meemaw, but I never knew her; she died when I was less than a year old. The stories die out over time and no one remembers who came from where — until Ancestry came along and helped me find all the footprints and arrows and signposts.
The Bereaved is the story of how my 2x great-grandpa went from New York to Ohio as an orphan–but it’s told from his mother’s point of view. Who was Martha Seybolt Lozier? My third-great-grandmother, whose DNA runs in all my cells and mitochondria–who was this, and how did she lose her child? Read the novel and find out.
I will be posting more about my upcoming book launch, book tour, and some side quests along the way, to illuminate Martha’s story, and Will’s, and my own. It’s always more complex than you think. But get this: As I learned about Martha, I also found her parents, and their parents, and so on, back to Puritan times, where another long-forgotten grandmother appeared, just in time to become my next historical novel. That woman’s name was Silence Greenleaf, and I went on a trek last fall to find her.
I’d like you to meet here here, first, and next fall (September 2024), in the pages of my next novel, Silence.
That’s the topic for another day, so I’ll leave you wondering about that, and anticipating the release of The Bereaved, my eight-years-in-progress baby. Links for preorder below. Thanks for checking in!