Featured: Susan Gabriel, author of The Secret Sense of Wildflower
As part of the Authors’ Virtual Tour, I am delighted to showcase Susan Gabriel, whose book, The Secret Sense of Wildflower, I read with pleasure. The book has earned notable recognition, most importantly from Kirkus Reviews, where it received a starred review and inclusion in their prestigious “Best Books of 2012.”
“A quietly powerful story, at times harrowing but ultimately a joy to read…Astute observations and wonderfully turned phrases, with nary a cliché to be found. She could be an adolescent Scout Finch…A quietly powerful story, at times harrowing but ultimately a joy to read.”—Kirkus Reviews
“…An eloquent and moving tale chock-filled with themes of inner strength, family and love that will resonate with teenagers and adults alike.”—Maya Fleischmann, IndieReader.com
The Secret Sense of Wildflower is southern historical fiction. It is about a girl coming-of-age who faces danger, death, and new life in 1940s Appalachia, whose life has been shaped around the recent death of her beloved father in a sawmill accident. While her mother hardens in her grief, Wildflower and her three sisters must cope with their loss themselves, as well as with the demands of daily survival. When Johnny Monroe, the town’s teenage ne’er-do-well, sets his sights on Wildflower, she must draw on the strength of her relations, both living and dead, to deal with his threat.
Ultimately, it is a story about courage, about honoring your “secret sense” and about resilience.
Susan writes about the inspiration for the book:
“Thirteen years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and heard a voice say: There are two things I’m afraid of. One is dying young. The other is Johnny Monroe. Does mental illness run in my family? Did this voice come from a dream? Was it a product of a writer’s imagination? Had one of my dead relatives come home with me after a recent visit to the family cemetery? Who knows. But any fiction writer will tell you that if you can get the “voice” of the main character in your book, it is a gift. So I followed that voice. I got up at four in the morning and began to write the story of Louisa May “Wildflower” McAllister.”
About Susan Gabriel:
Over a decade ago, Susan Gabriel gave up her successful psychotherapy practice in Charleston, South Carolina, to simplify her life and pursue writing. She writes with passion, humor, and insight about Southerners, as well as a wide variety of other ordinary, odd, and interesting characters, young and old. She lives with her family in the mountains of western North Carolina. Website (and for autographed copies): http://www.susangabriel.com