Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A 'Tree' that bloomed early

I had originally planned this one for August. That was back in the tentative days of October, when I thought I would need ten months to plan, write, and edit a novel as long and expansive as River Rising.

Then something surprising happened. A book came together quickly. Inspiration came, ideas gelled, and words that so often escape me came knocking on my door. By the middle of February, the first draft of my twelfth novel, my most ambitious to date, was a reality.

Today, that work, The Memory Tree, goes live. Set in North America and Europe in 1918, the second book in the Carson Chronicles series literally continues where River Rising left off. It is a story that follows Tim and Caroline Carson and their time-traveling children through numerous trials as they try to reunite in the tense final months of World War I.

Like the parents they hope to find, the siblings search for answers in different places. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Tim's native northern Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in Caroline's ancestral home of Baja California. In the raw, bustling town of Tijuana, he finds love, adventure, and a slew of potential enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to wartime France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin renew a friendship with a Gilded Age friend. Like their older sister, they are haunted by the losses and missed opportunities of 1889 and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the setting of their first time-travel experience.

Though family is an important theme in all of my books, it takes center stage here. In The Memory Tree, readers see the Carsons grow as individuals, experience their highs and lows, and meet distant relatives who come to life. They meet the war heroes, the eccentric heiress, the shrewd businessmen, the beloved matriarchs, and the devoted nurse. They meet them in the times and places that made them family legends and the objects of frequently told stories.

Settings also share the spotlight. Mount Shasta, Redding, Flagstaff, Sedona, and New Paris, Pennsylvania — important locales in River Rising — make encore appearances in The Memory Tree. Duluth, Minneapolis, Gettysburg, El Paso, and Coronado, California, are new. So are the international venues. In the second book, readers will see the Carsons travel to great lengths and push boundaries, both literal and figurative, in an attempt to bring their family together.

It is my hope that others will enjoy reading The Memory Tree as much as I enjoyed researching it and writing it. The novel, the second of five planned for the Carson Chronicles series, is available as a Kindle book on Amazon.com and its twelve international sites.

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