Author Event: Donna Everhart and Erica C. Witsell
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Page 158 Books welcomes Donna Everhart and Erica C. Witsell in conversation to discuss their new books THE MOONSHINER’S DAUGHTER and GIVE.
About THE MOONSHINER’S DAUGHTER:
Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, THE MOONSHINER’S DAUGHTER evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past.
Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.
Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth—one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie.
Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths—and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.
Donna Everhart is a USA Today bestselling author who writes stories of family hardship and troubled times in a bygone South. A native of North Carolina, she resides in her home state with her husband and their tiny heart-stealing Yorkshire terrier, Mister. Readers can visit her at www.donnaeverhart.com.
From Francisco’s the misty lively coast and streets and dry ranch country of rural California to San Oregon’s protective woods, Jessie and Emma are followed by the fumbles, failures, and multifaceted love of their family. The sisters are left behind by Laurel, a mother who never takes to mothering, then raised by their father and a stepmother who loves them as her own. When Laurel reappears to rekindle a relationship, they have disparate responses, but, in their love for one another, allow each other to follow their own paths. As their lives settle into adulthood along with their own questions of belonging, Laurel, desperate for another chance at family and happiness, asks for a stunning gift. The reverberations from the request and its answer will continue to transform the lives of the family.
In GIVE, debut novelist Erica Witsell wades through issues of motherhood, sisterhood, queer identity, polyamory, infertility, and infidelity while never losing sight of the important central question: how do we choose to give love? As Amy Willoughby-Burle, author of The Lemonade Year, says Give asks: “What will you give for your family—love, forgiveness, second chances? Everything you are? What if they don’t give back?” Ultimately, she says, the novel “pulls no punches, delivering an honest look into the lengths we will go for family.”
Born in Maine but raised in Florida, Erica Witsell lived in Connecticut, California, Ecuador, and Italy before settling in the mountains of western North Carolina fifteen years ago. A graduate of Wesleyan University and University of California, Berkeley, she taught high school for over ten years and now teaches English as a new language in Asheville. Her writing has appeared in The Sun and Brain, Child.
More information about Witsell and her blog on living and mothering her three children is available at ericawitsell.com.