This week the author spotlight is on Nicole Sorrell. Nicole has just recently published The Art of Going Home and working on the second book in that series. Nicole is giving away 2 signed copies of The Art of Going Home. Before you sign up, how about a little backstory?
An important character in The Art of Going Home is Cecilia, also known as Aunt Ceci. Her funeral is the reason Madisen Chandler must return to her tiny home town for the first time in a decade.
The first part of this vignette describes, from Aunt Ceci’s point of view, an event that takes place when the heroine Madisen is a child. The second part is a letter from Aunt Ceci left for Madisen to find after her death.
June 30, Eighteen Years Ago
It was the saddest funeral Cecilia had ever seen. More miserable than the day her husband had been buried. At least her William died after having had some chance at life, though it was too short.
But this? It was incomprehensible. How could anyone justify a life ending after barely ten years? It was difficult for Cecilia to stop herself from blaming God.
She glanced at her brother among the mourners. His face revealed exhaustion, and rage mixed with grief. She knew Rey’s anger at God would last a long time. Maybe forever. She couldn’t blame him. As a deputy in the county sheriff’s department, he’d seen some bad things. But nothing compared to this. Though he refused to discuss it, she knew he was determined to find the murderer.
Cecilia had come to the house at eleven o’clock, the same as she did every day. As she folded the laundry, Jacqueline’s screams reached her. Cecilia had never heard such an awful sound. She’d called Rey as she ran from the house, knowing she’d find something horrible.
Jacqueline had been sitting by the wading pond, drenched after pulling Angeline’s body from the water. Cecilia tried to make her let go, but Jacqueline refused to release the body. Rey arrived a short time later and confirmed the worst. Angeline had been drowned in two and a half feet of water. And poor Madisen had gotten there just before Cecilia, seeing her dead twin clutched in her mother’s arms. She’d fainted from the sight of it. When Rey picked Maddie up, Jacqueline had screamed at her, “What did you do?” As if the death had somehow been Maddie’s fault.
As Angeline’s coffin was lowered, Cecilia hugged Maddie to her. Maddie still wasn’t crying. It worried Cecilia that she didn’t express her grief. She knew the longer people suppressed their emotions, the more damage they would cause. She was truly worried for the little girl. Living in that house, with parents that not only didn’t show the child love, but were sometimes insensitive and cruel. Well, Cecilia was more determined than ever to change that. She’d love and protect this girl enough for two parents. William and Angeline had been taken from Cecilia, but no one would hurt Madisen again. Not if she could help it.
July 7, Present Day
Maddie wandered into the bedroom where she’d always slept and found a sealed envelope on the dresser. Her name was printed on it in Aunt Ceci’s familiar script. The envelope contained a letter. She sat on the bed to read it.
My Dearest Maddie,
I hope you can forgive me for not telling you when my end was close, despite the fact that I knew. Worrying never did anyone any good, and I wanted you to be carefree as long as possible.
For a while now, I’ve thought you and Zac might have a future together. I’ve known for a long time that he loves you very much. I think you love him, too. You two always sensed when the other was lonely, or sad, and made it right again. I remember when he didn’t make the varsity football team his freshman year, and didn’t tell anyone. You must have known something was wrong. You asked him to help you with your science project, making a scale using magnets. I listened in as you two worked together. You told him he was smart, that you wouldn’t have figured it out on your own, and that it was nice of him to take the time to help you. You restored his confidence, and he was back on top of the world. I saw you two do that for each other time and again. You and Zac have something special.
In this you must make your own decision, one from your heart. Whether with Zac or someone else, I want you to find your happiness and hold onto it. To live your life without sorrow or doubt.
From the first day I laid eyes on you when you were a skinny little baby, something called to me. Never forget, my daughter, that I love you more than I ever believed possible. Had you been my own blood, our bond couldn’t have been stronger.
Have no regrets, mi’ja. Don’t look back. Never be ashamed. You have more courage and are tougher than anyone I’ve ever known. I know you’ll miss me. Be happy for me. I’m at peace with my William now.
Now, get to know Nicole:
Nicole Sorrell currently lives in a rural area of the mid-west of the U.S. After living in various parts of the country and traveling abroad, she recently moved into the very same home where she spent her first 18 years. She enjoys country living: hers is a small community where everyone knows everybody. She also appreciates the culture of the city: the shopping, dining, and the opera and ballet.
She speaks Spanish and loves travelling, especially to other countries. Of course, Nicole is an avid reader, and is a published poet. She likes baking pies, and playing cornhole even though she’s terrible at it. She spends more time than she should on computer games. Her constant companion is a tiny Yorkshire terrier named Georgie Doodlebug. Nicole calls her GiGi.
Goodreads author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10220384.Nicole_Sorrell
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Sorrell/e/B00QVRHZD6