I want to share my latest news with you about my third traditionally published novel, Mourning Dove, whose release date was June 29, 2018. I am happy to share the news that just yesterday, Mourning Dove won its 7th book award. Above is a Mourning Dove video to show you sliding images of those 7 awards.
I went into the writing of Mourning Dove wanting to write about two subjects: the social mores of the Deep South as exemplified in the setting of the old guard, as its known, and the dynamic between siblings. What fascinates me the most about siblings is the idea that they come from the same history, are cut from the same cloth, yet often turn out differently. The question of why this is led me through the writing of Mourning Dove, and although I have never said this publically ( and probably never will) I wrote down three themes to guide me through the book, otherwise written without an outline. The themes were this: the search for home, the search for identity, and, very loosely, the search for God, as in finding some semblance of understanding as to who’s really in charge, along with the question of what it is that shapes a person; whether it’s nature or nurture?
And with regard to the South with all its traditions, history, and rife population of characters peacock proud to call themselves “Southern,” I thought it best to show the South through the eyes of two siblings named Millie and Finley Crossan, who were born in the North, and come to the South as outsiders during the formative stage of adolescence so they could view their environment without a filter while trying to fit into the culture.
The sibling dynamic is a significant one to those of us lucky enough to be born to it. We learn who we are in relation to those closest to us, and when it comes to siblings, I believe there is a certain type of mirror imaging at play that helps to define us. I’ll say this about siblings: they never let you forget where you came from.
Mourning Dove’s book description says this:
“An accurate and heart-wrenching picture of the sensibilities of the American South.” Kirkus Book Reviews
The heart has a home when it has an ally.
If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday.
Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world as they find their way to belonging.
But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?
Here is one poignant reader review of Mourning Dove:
“Style and substance are the two necessary ingredients any book must have. This book exemplifies both. I was charmed and delighted by the author’s descriptive abilities. Her use of language, metaphors, turns of phrase kept me turning each page. She can make a table sound interesting.
I now know what it was like to be a Southern Belle. There’s a lot going on more than meets the eye, which is why this is so engrossing. The reader is dropped into the life of the upper crust, replete with a big back story and complicated family life. What characters they are. Posey, the mother, is all about refinement and a survivor. Finley, the bother of narrator and protagonist Millie, is a compelling, complicated, charismatic, enigma, bearing a resemblance to Holden Caufield. Then there is the Colonel; let’s just say he doesn’t come across as a nice guy. There are other supporting characters and they all move the story along.
I enjoyed reading every sentence, and some of them are downright extraordinary and wise.
Claire Fullerton is a bright new star. I’ve read her last two books, and they are great, but this one is a masterpiece.”
I made this book trailer to give the reader an idea of the setting of Mourning Dove.
I hope you enjoy watching the Deep South as I know it!