Tuesday, 6 October 2020

New Book Release Spotlight and Author Guest Post: Winter Light by Martha Engber

In junior high school, my teacher would have us get ready to go home ten minutes early. Then we’d sit in our desks as she read to us from The Outsiders, the novel written by high schooler S. E. Hinton and published in 1967.

That was the only time my class would truly quiet down. We all wanted to hear the story of troubled Ponyboy Curtis and his friends trying to make their way in a world where they’re have-nots.

The book woke me to what I’d never contemplated before, that while I’d always thought of myself as quiet and boring, I was lucky. I had parents who loved me and expected me to go to college. Our family had enough money to live in a nice home and go on vacations.

The thought that other kids might not have that love and support seemed like a radical idea. But then I began to watch kids around me with a keener eye. I began to see hints of darker realities: the girl and her sister up the street who lived with their mother with no mention of a father; the large family down the street where the kids dressed shabbily and lived in a house almost bare of furniture. When I got to high school, I saw kids who were high almost every day, their eyes red and mouths relaxed into checked-out smiles. They were usually smart, witty kids, which made me wonder why they didn’t try harder to do better.

Only when I began to write Winter Light did Mary Donahue, the protagonist, show me she and her kind are not weak and lazy, but instead just trying to deal with the daily burdens they carry. I owe a lot to Mary for opening my eyes.

And maybe that’s why coming-of-age stories hold such a special place in people’s hearts, because they remind us of when our eyes first opened — really opened — to the harder truths of the world and people around us.

For readers: If you read Winter Light and enjoy it, please leave a review on GoodReads, Amazon or your favorite review sites.

For Ellesea: Thank you for inviting me to visit and share my journey with your community.

For aspiring writers: Here’s a parting note of encouragement: keep at it! I worked on Winter Light for 10 years, endured a wrong-minded professional edit and queried 187 agents until finally submitting directly to small publishers, where the story got snapped up. If a story sticks with you for that long and through that much rejection, that’s a story worth telling. Hang in there!

Winter Light by Martha Engber

Fifteen-year-old Mary Donahue of suburban Chicago is a kid on the cusp of failure during the brutal blizzard winter of 1978-79, the end of a hard luck, hard rock era sunk in the cynical aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Though a smart, beautiful kid, she’s a motherless girl raised by an uneducated, alcoholic father within an extended family of alcoholics and addicts. Aware that she’s sinking, she’s desperate to save herself and so reaches out to an unlikely source, Kathleen, a nice, normal kid from English class.

But when the real storm hits, the full force of a harsh adult world almost buries Mary. Only then does she learn that the only difference between life and death is knowing when to grasp an extended hand.

Amazon UK           Amazon US 

Martha Engber’s next novel, WINTER LIGHT, will be published Oct. 6, 2020, by Vine Leaves Press. She’s also the author of THE WIND THIEF, a novel, and GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS FROM THE GROUND UP. A journalist by profession, she’s written hundreds of articles for the Chicago Tribune and other publications. She’s had a play produced in Hollywood and fiction and poetry published in the Aurorean, Watchword, the Berkeley Fiction Review and other journals. She’s also a freelance editor, workshop facilitator and speaker. She currently lives in Northern California with her husband, bike and surfboard.

Website: http://marthaengber.com

Facebook author page (Martha Engber’s Creatives): https://www.facebook.com/MarthasCreatives/

Facebook timeline: https://www.facebook.com/martha.engber.1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marthaengber

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marthaengber/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martha-engber-a2a429a/

GoodReads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/674291.Martha_Engber

Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.co.uk/marthae0023/

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Giveaway to Win an e-copy of Winter Light (Open INT) a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway to Win a Book Club Chat from Martha Engber (Open INT) a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway to Win a free hour book development consultation with Martha Engber (Open INT) a Rafflecopter giveaway