Since I was a little girl, all I ever wanted to do—truly, the only thing that came easy to me—was be a writer. I asked for a typewriter for Christmas when I was 7, and my parents were astute enough to know I didn’t mean a toy one. I submitted a whole novel (45 pages!) to Reader’s Digest when I was 8. The story was about a girl and her horse; I think subconsciously I wrote this to exorcise my own fear of horses. I illustrated it myself and quickly learned I have no artistic ability.
Several years ago I finished a novel, Mt. Moriah’s Wake, several decades in the making. I am the proud owner of a stack of rejections (some flat, some quite encouraging) to my queries… proud because it’s one thing to be a writer with dreams hidden in the closet, but I feel it’s an act of bravery to actually open that door.
In early 2019, as I was dealing with the aftermath of my mom’s death and all that entailed—the estate sale, the move, the cleaning out and the cleansing grief—I discovered I had missed an email: from a publisher who wanted to move forward on my novel. In fall 2019 I signed the contract and in July 2021 Mt. Moriah’s Wake will be published by an indie press. It’s been a surreal experience, overwhelming in many ways. I never knew how extensive the process was of bringing a book to market. There is so much I have to learn, but I am beyond thrilled that the story of Mt. Moriah will be told. In many ways it is a tale I feel called to tell.
What is the book about? It’s about faith—how easy it is to lose our faith and how difficult it is to regain it. It’s about love and its different manifestations: complex, unconditional, painful, and liberating. It’s about friendship—the kind of friendship we can only hope for once or twice in a lifetime: the type of friend who knows you better than you know yourself, the kind of ally beside whom silence speaks volumes.
It’s also a love story: about the complexities of marriage, the struggle we women face as we enter the workplace and juggle a two-career family. Mt. Moriah’s Wake discusses the intangible joy of meeting someone with whom we can totally be ourselves, and how that love can become tainted by our own words and deeds. Self-sabotaged.
And, finally, it is a book about grief and loss and surviving both. The novel asks a question I myself have asked for years: when tragedy befalls us, do we see ourselves as victim or survivor? Our answer determines the life we lead.
Mt. Moriah is a fictional place and yet not for me. The novel revolves around the theme of place: how a place can become such an integral part of you that a mere sight or smell can take you back decades. There’s a specific smell that I can breathe in and be back in second grade Sunday school, crayon dust under my nubby nails. When I see a lofty magnolia I’m back on my high school campus, and when I hear certain songs I’m a sophomore in college again; I can feel that red backpack and sense the weekend anticipation.
I’ve been blogging for over a year now, and your readership and support have buoyed my confidence and stoked my desire to write more. Thank you for that. I hope you’ll give Mt. Moriah’s Wake a chance, maybe even attend my launch party (early fall), and tell your friends.
I’m working on a second novel, but it’s going slowly: The characters are not yet real to me. The fact is that it’s hard for me to get the people of Mt. Moriah out of my head. I can see and hear them; I know what they’re thinking. They became my friends, even though they annoyed me at times, and I so want to know how they’re doing now. So you can see that so much and yet nothing at all has changed since I submitted Kathy and Percy to Reader’s Digest. I still love to tell stories, and I still get lost inside them.
For more details on the book, please visit my website: http://www.melissacarro.com
And thanks for reading. Happy 2021!