A deeply poetic, riveting debut novel. Once you enter this world, you won't want to leave until the last mystery is solved.
Odd things happen in Kiminee, Illinois. Lilacs bloom in winter. Gravel glows golden on occasion. Pigs play kick the can. So when Carly Mae Foley learns to read at age two and masters multiplication at age three, the town’s quirky, tight-knit denizens take it in stride and embrace her with pride. But when a terrible twister tears through, Carly Mae is maimed, dashing hopes for her future. Her father is swept away and assumed dead. And her mother slinks off after creeping, naked, with her lover from the remains of a ruined home. It’s up to Carly Mae’s grandmother and a devoted, one-eared dog to hold what’s left of the family together. But not everyone is rooting for them, and when an appalling crime occurs, long-held animosities boil over. Will the good folks of Kiminee pull closer together now—or be torn apart?
Influenced by folklore and magical realism, The Kiminee Dream is a lyrical story with characters equally charmed and challenged while living where the ordinary and miraculous coexist seamlessly. It is also a multi-generational Midwest tale about a family torn apart by tragedy and secrets, and how they come together again. If you like depth as well as whimsy, arresting twists, and details that rouse your senses, you’ll love what is both an eloquent exploration of acceptance and a tender tribute to the people of Illinois.
I believe stories can spark our deepest, truest selves—sometimes momentarily, sometimes indelibly—and I strive to do this every day. I'm now at work on a novel inspired by magical realism and folklore. It introduces a quirky, sometimes contentious cast of characters in a fictional river town where forces beyond everyday reality both help and hinder, and secrets surface, testing the community's mettle. The book is with beta readers now. Previously, I've published two memoirs, a collection of flash fiction, and an anthology on sisterhood that contains the work of 76 writers from across the globe. I also enjoy writing short plays and have had several produced locally. In addition, I edit full time for a financial services trade publication, serve as a judge for short fiction contests run by a global arts organization and occasionally copyedit novels written by local authors. I feel it's worth pursuing our dreams through all of life's ups and downs, even when they seem lost to us, and if my persistence in pursuing a creative path can help you on your journey, that will fill my heart with gladness.
Most of us have probably left a place at some point in our lives for what we expected would be the last time. I remember when I was eighteen having my clothes (I didn't have many) spread out on my bed, dresser and rug and draped over curtain rods so I could see all of them and decide what to take with me and what to discard when I left my childhood home. This brief excerpt from The Kiminee Dream's third chapter describes a similar point in the life of Velda, one of the book's central characters. She was in her twenties and left everything behind—even her children.
The Kiminee Dream
In a hastily scribbled good-bye note, she said everything she saw made her feel guilty—the steep bannister she slid down every morning when she was small and fearless, lilacs by the front porch that bloomed year round, her deceased father’s long-forgotten shaving kit in the medicine cabinet—at every turn, she perceived not beauty, but blame. Even the rings she’d special ordered for her children weighed on her. Instead of creating the bond she’d hoped for, they reminded her she’d never know whose arms had brought her into the world and why she’d been left to freeze to death, saved only by chance by a priest with insomnia.