Caitlin Hamilton Summie’s new book Geographies of the Heart published in January 2022. Caitlin earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University, and her short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. Her first book, an award-winning short story collection called To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts, was released in August 2017 by Fomite. She spent many years in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Colorado before settling with her family in Knoxville, Tennessee. She co-owns the book marketing firm, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, founded in 2003.
Synopsis of Geographies of the Heart from the publisher:
Sarah Macmillan always puts family first, but she can’t quite stretch her arms wide enough to hold on to everyone as they all age: her career-minded, inattentive younger sister, Glennie; their grandparents, who are slowly fading; or a pregnancy Sarah desperately wanted. But it’s her tumultuous relationship with Glennie that makes Sarah feel the loneliest. She’d always believed that their relationship was foundational, even unbreakable. Though blessed with a happy marriage to Al, whose compassion and humor she admires, Sarah shoulders both caregiving and loss largely alone and grows bitter about Glennie’s absences, until one decision forces them all to decide what family means—and who is family. Narrated by the chorus of their three voices, this elegantly told and deeply moving novel examines the pull of tradition, the power of legacies, the importance of forgiveness, and the fertile but fragile ground that is family, the first geography to shape our hearts.
Caitlin answers some questions that I posed to her about Geographies of the Heart:
1. Can you share something with me about your book that is not in the blurb?
It took me decades to write this novel, roughly 27 years.
2. What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
I would like readers to feel there is hope, for my characters and in life, hope for better communication, forgiveness, and maybe even reconciliation.
3. Do you have any say in what your book cover looks like?
I did! I found the image (do you know what it is?), but what Fomite Press did with the image for the cover art was amazing! (The image is red blood cells!)
4. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with me?
I am not working on anything new! Unlike other writers, and after having spent so much time on this novel, I think I may be done. Maybe not; we will see! I have also published an award-winning collection of short stories called To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts. I am proud of my two books, but that may be it for me. I do have two books for young readers, one done, one I may rewrite. I’d love to see them in print. But I don’t know that I’ll ever dive into anything new at this point.
5. Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I am a book publicist as well as a writer. I’m a mom. And though my book might not show it, I have a very close family, across generations.
6. What are you reading now and what have you read recently that you loved?
I read a lot for my day job as a book publicist, so I don’t get a lot of time to read for pleasure. I really enjoyed The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larsen, about the year Churchill spent trying to get the United States to enter World War 2. Fascinating read. Next up is a series of dog mysteries by David Rosenfelt that my mom just loved.
Order Geographies of the Heart from Bookshop.org here.