As of yesterday, July 6, 2021, my book The Ocean in Winter is officially out in the world. They call it "pub day," the magical day when someone flips a switch and someone - amazingly, now it's me! - goes from being an unpublished author to a published one. And the day was indeed magical. Many many thanks to EVERYONE who posted congrats on Facebook, or watched me on A Mighty Blaze talking to my darling friend author Jenna Blum, or texted me to tell me the book had arrived, texted to tell me they're READING the book, emailed me to say they FINISHED the book, (wow!) and every other way that friends conveyed the congrats and good wishes. I am truly, truly grateful.
Today, I'm posting the "Dear Readers" letter that the publisher requested. This was also posted on Facebook, so if you're following me over there, you might have already seen it. And the reason I'm posting it is because of the resources mentioned in the 3rd paragraph - which I don't want to get lost, so I'm actually going to post them by themselves in a separate post.
For now, I'll wrap up with gratitude. This is a giant day in an author's life, and I am so grateful to my agent, Steven Chudney, and EVERYONE at Blackstone Publishing for making it possible. To all the friends and family members who cheered me on, thank you so so much! xxx
I am absolutely thrilled today to introduce you to my debut novel, The Ocean in Winter. It’s the story of three adult sisters who survive a turbulent childhood in which their mother took her own life. When each of the sisters comes to a crossroads in her life, she realizes that unresolved feelings about this are keeping her from moving forward. Then, one sister stops talking to the rest of the family, and the others realize that this might mean that her life is in danger.
Writing and publishing this book has been a true journey, one that started over ten years ago, and has taken me from a small island in Chesapeake Bay to the coastal towns of New England around where I live, and then to the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan, which I visited two weeks before the world shut down in 2020. Along the way, I learned to trust my gut, trust the story to tell me where it needed to go, and trust the characters to become their true selves. It’s been a crazy ride, but I am so very grateful for all of it.
One of the themes of the book is about the experience of those who have lost someone to suicide during childhood and their journey through grief and healing. This past spring, my family lost a beloved family member to suicide. It was sudden and unexpected, and was and continues to be a tragic and transformative event. Friends far and wide, if you are having difficult or painful thoughts or feelings, or are worried about someone, please reach out to a friend, family member, counselor, religious leader, or resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), or the Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 741741), which are both free and available 24/7. You can learn more about suicide from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which has local chapters in all 50 states, as well as support for survivors of suicide loss. You do not have to go through this alone.
Thank you so much for reading!!
Elizabeth de Veer