Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Above Us Only Sky

Above Us Only Sky is the epic tale of the Vilkas women, separated by oceans, generations and war, but connected by something much greater—the gift of wings. 

In 1973, Prudence Eleanor is born with wings in Nashville, Tennessee.  Considered a birth defect, her wings are excised shortly after her birth, leaving the ghost of them behind. 

Living on the eastern coast of the Atlantic, she grapples with the wings that only one other person can see, but Prudence can feel.  At age sixteen, she comes face to face with another winged girl, an apparition beneath Atlantic waters.  Who is she? 

This same year, Prudence meets her Lithuanian grandfather, a WWII survivor whose family was murdered under Soviet orders.  Through her grandfather, Prudence discovers a miraculous lineage beating and pulsing with past Lithuanian birds: storytellers with wings dragging the dirt, survivors perched on radio towers, lovers lit up like fireworks and heroes disguised as everyday men and women.  In a small oceanfront town, the unexpected and unimaginable have bubbled up from the depths to confront and enlighten Prudence, and this is only the beginning.  She is set forth on a quest to discover her lineage, to find out who the other winged girl is, and ultimately to find out where she belongs.    

Above Us Only Sky is a story of mutual understanding between the old and young; it is a love story; a story of survival, and most importantly a story about going home.  Again.   

Advance Praise
"Above Us Only Sky is a raw, beautiful, unforgettable book that folds unfathomable horrors and unfathomable love into a story of incredible power. Young-Stone is a master writer, and her deft control of this novel's many moving pieces puts her in the highest echelon of our craft. Yet at the center, literal and figurative, of this novel is a story so brilliantly simple and deeply moving, you'll forget you are reading a book. This story shook me to my core, and I can't wait for the rest of the world to experience it."  -Lydia Netzer.  
Author of Shine Shine Shine.  The Wall Street Journal calls Shine Shine Shine "decidedly weird and entirely winning".  People Magazine says, Shine Shine Shine is a "A delightfully unique love story and a resounding paean to individuality."

“The beautiful prose in Michele Young-Stone’s Above Us Only Sky flies off the page. A stirring meditation on resilience, the ties that bind us to our past, and what it means to have wings.”—Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds, a brilliant debut, Best Indie Book, highly praised by O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Booklist, and the San Francisco Chronicle--to name only a few.   

Library Journal:
VERDICT Young-Stone has written a novel that's both fanciful and brutally realistic, soaring as it does between angelic beings and heartless dictators. From America to Lithuania, from past to present, this is a heart-wrenching tale for literary fiction fans and particularly for readers interested in World War II.—Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Univ. Law Lib., Malibu, CA

Bank Square Books:   “Simply beautiful and exquisitely crafted. Combining history, love and loss with the story of a young woman born with wings and growing up in low income Florida is not an easy feat to pull off but Michele Young-Stone has done so without a flaw. I loved this novel, fell in love with Prudence and her wings and so will you. And I feel like I know much more of Lithuania than I ever thought I would!”—Annie Philbrick

Bank Square Books, 53 W. Main Street, Mystic, CT 06355,

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Moon Sisters land on earth, March 4th, 2014, and Therese Walsh talks character(s)--how they stick with her.

Therese Walsh’s second novel, The Moon Sisters, will be published in hard cover on March 4th, 2014 by Crown (Random House).  TODAY!!!!!!!!!

Her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books of 2009, was nominated for a RITA award for Best First Book, and was a TARGET Breakout Book.

Therese is the co-founder of Writer Unboxed, a site that’s visited daily by thousands of writers interested in the craft and business of fiction.

What Therese has to say about CHARACTER:

"When I’m ready to start a new story, I sit with ideas but not crystal clear ones. Rather, these ideas are like partially formed apparitions; they blink and sway and leave me feeling both unsure about my vision and entranced by it.

When I first sat to write 'The Moon Sisters,' I had a fairly good idea about the book’s themes and who one of the sisters would be—a dreamy synesthete named Olivia Moon, who could see music and smell her mother on the sun and knew the taste of hope. Her sister, Jazz, was much less revealing, which made things interesting when she claimed the first chapter for her own. She was angry, this sister—bitter and put upon.  She didn’t want to cooperate with me any more than she wanted to cooperate with Olivia, who had plans to track down a legendary will-o’-the-wisp light—a different sort of partially formed apparition that blinks and sways and lures with false promises. Olivia wanted to find one of these wisps because it was her mother’s dream to see one, and her mother had died without this wish fulfilled. Though Olivia believed that seeing a light would help in some significant way, I couldn’t pinpoint the why of that, exactly; and every time I tried to saddle Olivia with a simple reason, like a desire to lay her mother’s spirit to rest, it rang hollow.

Whatever Olivia’s fuzzy logic, Jazz was not interested in the trip. She let me know, almost immediately, that she had other priorities, like starting her new job at a funeral home—the same funeral home her mother’s body had been laid out in just a few months earlier. She wanted to work there, but she wouldn’t tell me why. Fascination with death? Obvious. But why?

Each chapter of The Moon Sisters begins with some form of reflection from either Olivia or Jazz. Sometimes these reflections are a single memory, sometimes they're puzzle-piece realizations about how life up to that point created the person they had become. I fell in love with these segments, and would look forward to writing them and learning more about the girls and their troubled mother, Beth, as the story progressed.

And eventually—eventually—there it was, toward the end of my draft. Illumination. When I realized why Jazz wanted to work in a funeral home, I cried. When I realized why Olivia wanted so desperately to connect with a will-o’-the-wisp light, I cried again.

If you’re a writer, and you’re one who knows all that’s needed about a canvas of characters before you begin writing, then I applaud you. I am not like you, though. I have to muddle through until my characters trust me—or until my subconscious bubbles to the surface. I have to write and write to learn why because it does not come any other way, and never easily.  And perhaps I’m a touch masochistic, but I think I like this blink-sway process. As the characters come to trust me with their issues, I come to trust myself with them as well."