About the Author and the Book
The book is a river story based on
a true event. As I worked on Minding Henry Lewis, another river town
novel about a drowning, I was ever mindful that Daniel Landon rowed
and swam on this river as he contemplated life and tried to figure
out what the world had in store for him after the leukemia hit. The
anniversary of Salinger's death last January 27 is a permanent
beacon to me as a writer. Real people who read and think and talk
about their place in the universe can open minds and hearts to that
better understanding of what it means to be human.
The plot unfolds when Henry Lewis,
an African-American, drowns in front of his 14-year-old sister,
Meeka. Her guilt and grief over not being able to save him become
common ground with Celie, a much older white neighbor, who has just
completed cancer treatment. Meeka refuses to let anyone get close,
but another family crisis pushes the two neighbors together.
“They are forced to consider their
differences and that common ground or risk another loss.”
"Rivers are fascinating as
metaphors for life, seasons, and the passage of time, to name a few
themes that arise in river stories,” she said, adding that the
success of her previous novel, Catcher, Caught, was
partly due to the river themes and settings. The book earned a
Pen/Faulkner selection for its Writers in Schools program.
"With cancer surgeries and
treatment behind me, I'm still inspired by all the courageous people
I met, but am writing full speed ahead, albeit with a deeper sense
of the value of humor and not squandering the time we're given with
the people we love.
Writing fiction satisfies my sense of
adventure in the everyday, ordinary people put to the test in all
kinds of ways by ordinary and extraordinary events: the 14-year-old
sister who can't save her brother from drowning, the mother of a
vaccine injured baby, an old cowboy who ran away from a pregnant
wife forty years earlier, the 16-year-old boy who tells it like it
is as he struggles to live a whole lifetime in the year the doctor's
give him once he's diagnosed with leukemia."
An author with three award-winning novels, Sally writes from her
river home in Tappahannock, Virginia.
"For me, the miracle of writing is
that mere words, albeit honed with a fierce red editing pen, can
create these characters and make them friends. Let me hear from you
about Daniel, Holden, Lacy, Rhue, and all the other family of
Honenberger characters who I hope will live beyond those pages."
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