Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Take and Read

Once upon a time, I wrote a novel. Very long time readers may even remember the early draft of it.

It's been a very long path, but this week If You Can Get It is available from Ignatius Press in both hard copy and ebook. It's on an early-release sale at the moment, and if you want to support the only Catholic publishers which takes the risk of printing new fiction, I encourage you to go buy it direct from their site. Amazon also has If You Can Get It available from their Kindle store, but they won't have physical copies available for another week or two, though you can pre-order.

Here's the back cover description:
Jen Nilsson has an MBA, a nice condo, and a fast-track job at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. If her big product launch goes well next month, she may finally land the marketing director job she's been gunning for. But then her younger sister, Katie, just out of college and estranged from their newly devout parents, blows through the front door, dumping cardboard boxes and a lifetime of personal drama onto Jen's just-swept floor.

Family is family, and Jen lets her sister, the embodiment of all that annoys her, move in. Maybe she'll turn aimless Katie into a model adult. But when Jen's own well-laid career plans hurtle off the tracks—a corporate buyout, a layoff, and a disastrous business trip to China—she turns more and more to Katie for support and begins to reassess the place of family, and love, in her life.

If You Can Get It explores the quirks and the humanity of the twenty-first-century business world but finds its heart in the deepening relationship of two sisters as different as Elinor and Marianne of Sense and Sensibility.
One of the things I wanted to do with this novel was address the experience of Catholicism in modern America from a somewhat outside perspective. My main character, Jen, grew up as a Christmas and Easter Catholic, but since she went to college and moved away from home, her parents have reverted to a more active participation in their faith. Catholicism is thus something that's both familiar and alien to her, and as several characters who do have conflict with the Catholic subculture come into the story, Jen is repeatedly confronted with lived Catholicism in forms that seem unfamiliar or even unsettling. With falling away, conversion, and reversion being such common experiences in the modern Church, I think this is a very common set of experiences, and one which those of us who live within the subculture often don't run into.

Another thing I really wanted to work with in the novel was the developing relationship between two sisters who are far enough apart in age that they've never really known each other as adults. Jen moved to the West Coast immediately after college, and so when her ten-years-younger sister Katie unexpectedly moves in with her, she has to form an adult relationship with someone she last lived with when Katie was eight years old.

Finally, I wanted to use the novel to provide a realistic view of the kind of corporate environment in which many of us live most of our waking hours. So often, novel heroine's either work in picturesque little cafes or bookshops, or they have "creative professional" jobs at businesses such a fashion magazines. These can provide heartwarming or comic settings, but they often don't bear much resemblance to the business world as I've experienced it, and I think that the business world can actually be a pretty interesting place, both in the challenges it presents and the human dramas that play out in it. So I wanted to show both why Jen finds her job so absorbing. Yes, perhaps she's a bit over-focused on her career at times, letting it get in the way of her family relationships, but she's also really good at it and finds it fascinating. And I'm gratified to find that many readers have found this aspect interesting as well. One of the Amazon reader reviews says, "I never thought I would love a novel that spends many pages on modern business culture, and yet HERE I AM."

I hope you'll enjoy If You Can Get It, and if you do please feel free to cry it from the rooftops and encourage everyone else to read it as well.


mandamum said...

Oh YAY! Congrats! I very much enjoyed the NaNoWriMo version. So glad both of you Darwins are writing, and that you are finding others to appreciate your writing.

eulogos said...

I got the Kindle version from Amazon. I usually don’t buy Kindle books over ten bucks but when the author is someone I know.... Sorry for not going through Ignatius, but Amazon makes it so easy. Literally one click versus entering all my information.

Bob the Ape said...

Congratulations! We'll be ordering it from Ignatius Press ASAP.

Unknown said...

Well done! I read it in a couple of days because I was enjoying it so much.