Forthcoming from University of New Mexico Press and represented by Tracy Crow, president of Tracy Crow Literary Agency
Part coming of age, coming to terms, Llano County Mermaid Club is a multigenerational tale set in eastern New Mexico, where water and opportunity are as rare as a mermaid sighting. Grounded in reality and swimming with magical realism, three sisters and two friends form a secret club and dream of the ocean. But betrayal and broken promises threaten to tear them apart, and friendships and family bonds are tested.
Memories and a cryptic message written on the wall of an abandoned church, along with an envelope of old letters, provide a bridge between past and present as Marigold Hubbard, a ghostwriter turned memoirist, returns to her dusty railroad town of Sandhill to get to the bottom of a tragedy that took the life of her best friend, Melody, and coincided with the shocking breakup of Marigold’s parents’ marriage.
Infused with literary figures and titles of classics that have stood the test of time, the novel illuminates one woman’s search for autonomy through the art of storytelling using the oral tradition and in letters she wrote to famous authors.
llano, an open grassy plain with few trees
My baby sis, Jo Rivera, is a champion of my writing. She cross-stitched the “landlocked mermaids” — a theme in the new novel.
♫ The somber strains of her flute echo through the empty window frames of the abandoned church.
photo of Kathleen by Tom Rodgers
photo taken Sept. 2019
The public library plays an important role in the story. I grew up climbing the steps to this building that once housed the US Post Office and later the Clovis-Carver Public Library. A church meets here now, but the building lives on as a library in the novel.
The girls discuss the novel at one of their club meetings in an abandoned church in the early 70s.