WITCHES’ DANCE (Lanternfish Press, Fall 2019) explores the charged relationship between a teenage violinist named Hilda Greer and her teacher, Phillip Manns, a former prodigy who believes he is the reincarnation of Niccolo Paganini. When Phillip becomes romantically involved with Hilda’s mother,­ it causes Hilda to question her own feelings for her teacher, as well as her belief in him as Paganini. As she struggles to learn Paganini’s virtuoso piece Witches’ Dance, Hilda must contend with stage fright, her mother’s addiction, and a father who abandoned her as a child. As Phillip’s mental health deteriorates he becomes increasingly obsessed with composing his own violin concerto, while also being haunted by his beautiful, doomed mother and the witches that Paganini once dreamed into life. The climax of the novel takes place in Genoa, Italy, as Hilda prepares to compete in the prestigious Premio Paganini, the contest that began Phillip’s career and, perhaps, his madness.

 

Novel-in-Progress

THE MEMORY COOKBOOK tells the story of Brigid Bodkin, a teenage girl fleeing Ireland at the height of the Great Hunger in 1849. Brigid, the sole survivor of her family, makes it across the Atlantic in one of the infamous coffin ships only to become a domestic servant for a wealthy family in Massachusetts who demand she cast off her old world “superstitions” even when it endangers their own lives. Alternating chapters tell the story of Elizabeth Ward, a young widow who in 2017 moves with her children from California into her grandmother’s old New England farmhouse after the sudden death of her husband. Elizabeth thought she’d left behind the fairies she’d once believed in as a child – and who’d caused so much trouble for her as an adolescent – but her new circumstances force her to reckon with her ability to keep her children safe in a world where reality and make-believe sometimes overlap in strange and insidious ways.

 

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