Rita, my dear friend, always hosts the best Christmas Party—with tons of delicious food and drinks, and the presence of what seemed to be hundreds of interesting people through the revolving door. But last Thursday, the party was more like a book salon, attended by more than two dozens of people, for the launch of a new novel and emerging author.
Asher‘s Fault, a young adult fiction, is Elizabeth Wheeler’s first book. I had met Elizabeth before, at Rita’s previous Christmas Parties, and heard about her writing. It was great to see years of intense labor in print.
We all chatted over a variety of cheese, Hors D’Oeuvres, fruit, and wine, and eventually settled in a semi-circle to listen to Elizabeth reading a scene from the novel, the description of a couple of life changing incidents happened at a pool.
Elizabeth is an English teacher in a suburban school and a former actor. Her voice, soft and clear, went slightly up and down, capturing everyone’s full attention with the development of the event until its final climax.
We were all mesmerized. It took a moment for us to applaud enthusiastically when she finished reading.
Many in the room were writers or avid and critical readers. The feedback was all extremely positive. People commented on the pace, simplicity, and natural flow of the story. What struck me most was the dialogue, which, brief and carried out in teen style, not only smoothly moved the story forward but also demonstrated the personalities of each character.
The selected section that Elizabeth read was about Asher, a 14 -year-old boy, who was supposed to be babysitting his brother at the pool. When he ended up in the pool’s locker room and had his first kiss, with another boy, his brother accidently drowned. He felt it was God‘s punishment for his behavior.
“Tell me that didn’t grab you! And, this is just the impetus for Asher’s journey in this beautifully written tale of an adolescent coming to terms with life, fallibility and forgiveness,” Rita said.
Elizabeth thanked Rita for her support over the years when she worked on the book. “It’s a myth that writers work alone. Without the support of many friends, there wouldn’t be this book…”
I concurred from my own experience. Rita, among a small group of close friends, have supported me all these years since I started writing 12 years ago. I thanks Rita and congratulated Elizabeth.
Like many people present Thursday evening, I bought a copy of Asher’s Fault and had Elizabeth signed it. I can hardly wait to read it.
Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning feature-length documentary movie by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit www.mulberrychildmovie.com for more information.