The Art of Letter-Writing: the Confessional Letter

IMG_9508Writing letters is an art that I value, and in Thorncraft, we enjoy seeing the practice within stories. How about all of you, writers? Is letter-writing part of your practice? There’s nothing like receiving someone’s handwritten thoughts in your mailbox.

I love when letters show up in books, even if it’s for a moment, as in Grace Among the Leavings by Beverly Fisher. One of the reasons I loved this novella, other than the young, inquisitive narrator Grace, was the confessional letters that were written during the events of the book. The letters reveal the central conflict and show depth of character where the readers might otherwise easily make judgments to disregard characters who commit a violent crime.

We, the readers, gain further insight into the people living in the rural south during the US Civil War by watching how they receive letters. Grace is the only member of her family who can read, and she is still in the process of learning, so the family must send for the preacher to read any letters aloud to them.

We see the dependence of the community on the preacher and those who can read and write in order to communicate for them. The novella reminds how important it is to cultivate the ability to read and to write, to correspond via letters and wait patiently for a response.

I’ll be sharing more about letters in books in the coming weeks in a series about the importance of the art of letter-writing.


Visit thorncraftpublishing here to read more about Grace Among the Leavings by Beverly Fisher. The book has been adapted to the stage by Kari Catton and Dennis Darling. It has been performed as both a one-act and a two-act play.

Flowing to the Edge

Every time I go to yoga class, the teacher asks, “So what’s new?”

And, I answer, “I don’t know where to begin.” Or, “So much!” Or, “It keeps going and going and going…”
I’ll answer in detail for my yoga teacher and you. She teaches how to flow and find your edge.

First, Thorncraft Publishing releases a new book this fall. Beverly Fisher’s novella Grace Among the Leavings is the second title I’ll publish under Thorncraft. The narrator of the novella is Grace, a child whose father fights in the Civil War. Grace Among the Leavings has received advanced praise from Barry Kitterman, Amy Wright, and Malcolm Glass, all of whom are authors living in and familiar with this region.

I’m pleased that Steven M. Walker and I are working together again on the book cover. We’re expecting to release our final version of the book cover for Grace Among the Leavings within the next month.

I think of yoga positions as design with intention. In front of my computer, I try to do the same. I toggle back and forth between writing copy and editing little commas, to designing books and a website. Yes, a website for Thorncraft Publishing. I’m slowly designing it and expect to go live within 6 weeks with an abbreviated version of what I intend for the future.

The newness blooms. My to-do list never gets shorter. My baby is making music with pots and pans, and my daughter has a (roller-skating-in-circles) summer break plan for me. Wheeeee! the calendar fills. In yoga class, I breathe and flow. Stare at the screw in the wall. Forget about layouts, HTML code, diapers, dinners, and photo sizes. Stretch my joints and limbs. “Find your edge,” the teacher reminds the class, “but only as long as it feels good,” she says.

Back at home, I look at my daughters. I remember the to-do list. For Thorncraft, I made a decision to focus on publishing women authors and make their work available as I can. Even if I’m a one-woman indie publisher, the books are still available–the voices are in the world, not silenced in journals that don’t get printed and drafts that don’t become final versions. When I think about working all hours, “what’s new” is something every moment, and finding my edge, I do feel good right now.

More info about Grace Among the Leavings by Beverly Fisher and coming soon!