I’m thrilled to show you the cover of my new novel, The Summer of Lost and Found, available in stores May 11, 2021 and ready for preorder now.
This is my 27th book, but writing The Summer of Lost and Found has been a different journey for me. I didn’t set the story against a backdrop of a new species. Rather, as I’ve been sheltering in place this year, my attention was directed to the fascinating, even exotic, critters living in my own back yard. I’m also writing about a young generation.
The biggest shift, however, is I chose to write about the summer of 2020. I write about families, yet nothing in my experience has been as challenging as trying to gain perspective on families today as they struggle—sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding–in navigating this pandemic. Not in hindsight, however. I’ve been writing in real time. My ideas about what I wanted to say changed as my experiences and feelings evolved. What I wanted to say in March wasn’t what I wanted to say in August.
Like many of you, Covid 19 has been a roller coaster. It brought me a few delightful surprises. My two sisters who were stuck in Los Angeles and Chicago came to live with me in my mountain house for a “summer to remember.” My niece also joined as she, in the service industry, was out of work. We shared glorious moments of bonding and memories. The cottage became a workshop of writing, painting, pottery and gardening.
Then there was the tragedy of Covid 19. My brother was ill in the hospital and due to Covid, he was unable to have visitors. With dementia, he remained alone and frightened until, he passed away in September. This came on the heels of my nephew’s death—his son. And now my mother-in-law is dying alone in hospice and we cannot visit her. This is the harsh face of the pandemic. It’s very real.
What I realized in the journey of writing this novel is though we say “Hindsight is 2020,” in this year of 2020, there is no hindsight to be had! All of us are trying to make the best of this year like no other. As my character wise old Flo says in the novel, “It it’s not one thing it’s another.”
I’ve written a novel as I witnessed a nation adjusting to this new, awkward, and temporary normal. We are still in flux. It ain’t over yet.
And so, in The Summer of Lost and Found I wrote about all those elements of the human condition—love, emotion, aspiration, conflict, and mortality—that we’ve lost and found during the summer of 2020. I wrote about the good times and the bad. Relationships forged and tested. And always, the hope—the deep faith—that with our loved ones, we will persevere. For despite all the changes, one shining truth has remained constant throughout—we are all in this together.