How do you say goodbye to a house? When you've created and shared so many memories within its walls, it's hard just to close the door and turn your back.
We recently moved out of the house we'd lived in for the past fifteen years and after a horrendous week clearing out all the furniture, knick-knacks, keepsakes and junk a family accumulates in that length of time, I wandered around the empty rooms and remembered. My son studying for hours on end at his desk to earn his bachelor's and Master's degrees and the many photos and keepsakes that celebrated all his volunteer and political work. My daughter sketching her first clothing designs at her drafting table under the bedroom window and the curving staircase she walked down in her grad gown and her wedding gown. The living room, dining room and family room where we celebrated birthdays, graduations, engagements, special holidays and get-togethers with friends and family.
The deep bay window that was a perfect spot for a Christmas tree and the best place to watch the snow fall on the front lawn with its towering birch tree. Then the basement that served as a party central, a great place for the kids to hang out with friends, an amazing place to watch a movie and finally as a perfect suite for my son to stay until he moved into his own place.
Though I'm already settled in our new house, I realize the old house has become part of our family history. Another layer of memories and experiences associated with that particular, special place.
I guess I was more philosophical about the move because I'd just finished my last novel, MATTIE WAS HERE, which is all about foster children who are bounced around from one placement to another, eventually traumatized by the chronic impermanence, the sense they don't belong anywhere and the lack of history and family roots. Though I haven't published this book yet, I did find a great cover for it should I decide to self-publish it. Check it out here
Traumatized by a childhood spent moving from one foster home to another, Anna Holt must revisit her painful past to find her lost twin sister, Mattie, while struggling with the unfamiliar challenges of love and intimacy with Guy, a man whose seemingly perfect family holds its own dark secrets that just might be tied up with Anna's troubled past and her sister's disappearance.
Anna is a great teacher. She can relate to the troubled kids who’ve fallen through society’s cracks because she’s been there herself and through sheer force of will she survived. But not without scars. She loathes small talk, fears intimacy and has no roots - no family. She’s a stone-faced liar and a compulsive shopper on the verge of bankruptcy.
When she meets Guy, a young prof and the son and business partner of a wealthy education guru, she can finally have a real family and live the lifestyle she’s dreamed of by moving in with him.
Anna’s damaged but she doesn’t reveal that to anyone – especially Guy. She endured violence, neglect, drug abuse and sexual exploitation in a string of foster homes but she always swore to protect her more vulnerable sister, Mattie. To hold onto her and keep the predators at bay. But when they reached their teens, Mattie drifted away and befriended Loni, a troubled, violent and manipulative drug user, shoplifter and prostitute. Anna fought to save Mattie but finally lost track of her.
Now Anna can’t enjoy her new happiness with Guy because memories of Mattie haunt her, drawing her to painful places from her childhood: crowded group homes, cheap motels, riverside hooker hangouts and a seedy downtown music store run by a suspected pimp and sexual trafficker who’s begun preying on one of Anna’s own students and has something to do with Mattie’s disappearance.
Anna must sort through a tangled web of memories to find her sister while negotiating the unfamiliar challenges of love and intimacy with a man whose seemingly perfect family holds its own dark secrets that just might be tied up with her own troubled past.
Watch out for news on this new novel. I'll keep you posted!