We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.
— Ursula K. Le Guin
The best part of the Books by the Banks book festival at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio was meeting so many engaging and interested readers!
Nearly every visitor who passed my table stopped to say, “Tell me about your book.” One woman was riveted when I told her about Angelica’s story. “I have to have this,” she said, glancing at her distracted, long-haired teenaged daughters. Later, she returned, without her girls, to tell me an eerily familiar story about recent revelations about her ex-husband’s past that left her daughters reeling. We discussed my fictional character’s journey and how she learned to deal with her unsettling truth, and eventually heal. I explained that Angelica learns to accept evil things happen in life, but there are always possibilities for goodness, too. She was excited to read it and share it with her daughters.
A gentleman who was captivated by the story behind In the Context of Love bought a copy to donate to a domestic violence shelter. My book is about the need for women to be able tell their stories without shame, which happens to be a timely subject during the 2016 presidential election!
I had the pleasure of sharing a table with D.C. author Herta Feely. Her novel, Saving Phoebe Murrow, centers around cyber bullying and how it can affect an entire family. For parents of adolescents, this is also a timely, and very important subject. I picked up a copy and can’t wait to read it.
The Healing Power of Fiction
Charles William Eliot said “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
Fiction can give us the courage to examine subjects we might otherwise be afraid to look at, such as domestic violence, bullying and shame. Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people. It also helps us forgive ourselves. Fiction can help us in a way that non-fiction often can not: when we vicariously experience life through a fictional character, we learn things as the character learns them without feeling we’re being taught or preached to. There are many lessons we can glean from good fiction without feeling like we’re working at it, and we can reject whatever doesn’t feel right without feeling we’re being judgmental.
It was a grand weekend that made me feel honored to be an author.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of In the Context of Love, adult contemporary fiction
2016 ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD FINALIST
2016 READERS’ FAVORITE BOOK AWARD FINALIST
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River, and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters
“Stories of women who have suffered sexual abuse have been at the forefront of media recently. How do we empower these women to find strength within darkness? How do we ensure that they are heard? Those are questions Sienkiewicz has us think about in her debut novel.” ~Jennifer Bairos, A Splendid Messy Life blog