Dear Lovely People Out There, (Especially All of You Who Are Blinking in the Sunlight Now That We Can Leave Our Homes, Sometimes Not Even Wearing Masks)
July is here!
Welcome back to the world of human in-person interaction.
It’s July, which is known for being HOT and LAZY and, this year is famous for being the month that noses and mouths are once again out in the world, uncovered. Oooh la la!
(You all have such nice noses and mouths. Your chins, too, are divine.)
For me, though, this July has brought a special surprise, in addition to my excitement over people’s lower face exposures:
My new book, THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS, is available to Amazon Prime members starting today, a whole month earlier than its publication date—aaaaaand it’s free on Kindle all month long if you select it from the First Reads program! (The fact that this was going to happen has been, like, a big secret that I was not allowed to tell anyone, but now I can.)
(FREE—meaning NO MONEY AT ALL. Like, zilch.)
And…if you are NOT a First Reads subscriber— you can STILL read it early for just $1.99!
If you’re a person who would rather hold a book in your hand (I’m like that—I love the smell and feel of a REAL book, and I adore turning actual pages), you can pre-order that now!
Whichever way you like to get your books, I hope you’ll enjoy reading THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS, which is a book near and dear to my heart. For one thing, I wrote it during the pandemic, so it’s the first book I’ve written entirely while wearing pajamas. Which gives it a kind of loose, easy-going feeling, perhaps. It was fueled by lots of hot tea and many end-of-the-day hikes in the woods during which I did not see any other souls.
Also, part of this book is about Woodstock, which I did not go to (too young, my mother said), but my uncle was a rock star who ALMOST ALMOST went. He was in a band called Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys, which was produced by Jimi Hendrix—and when Jimi Hendrix’s manager realized that Woodstock was NOT the piddly little outdoor disaster that was predicted, he had Jimi FLOWN IN by helicopter.
Sadly, as family legend has it, there was not enough room on the helicopter for dear ol’ Uncle Bob and the Newsboys (I always secretly believed that my uncle was, you know, Cat Mother)…and so when you listen to the famous Woodstock album, you will NOT hear my uncle singing Cat Mother’s top forty hit, “Good Ol’ Rock and Roll,” which is a song that still makes me want to get up and dance around the room, fifty years later.
ANYWAY! Back to THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS.
I love all the books I’ve written—like my kids, there isn’t one that is my favorite—BUT I will say that I particularly ADORE this one, and maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking about writing it for years. It rolled around in my head being all vague and mysterious, and finally this year it decided to tell me what the plot should be.
THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS is the story of Phronsie Linnelle, a woman who was conceived at Woodstock when all that peace and love and mud and music acted as a powerful aphrodisiac between two people who never should have met. What else could it have been but dark magic when Tenaj, a free-loving, witchy, tie-dye artist, met Robert Linnelle, a wet-behind-the-ears New Hampshire farm boy who was taking a post-high-school road trip with his buddy? The sparks flew, Hendrix played the “Star-Spangled Banner” in a way it had never been played before, the rain came down in torrents—and nine months later, twins came tumbling into the world, welcomed by two people who barely knew each other but who tried to make their new little family work.
Maybe Phronsie can explain what happened next, from the book’s Prologue:
“I was named Phronsie, after a character in a book that my mother loved in childhood—Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. Phronsie was the youngest—a sweet, blonde, curly-haired toddler who was doted upon by the family. And they named my brother Hendrix because—well, guess why.
Hendrix and I are from the mud and the music; we are from Tenaj’s silver bracelets and the New Hampshire dirt under Robert’s fingernails, from marijuana smoke and cornfields. We were born to a witch and a farmer who had nothing in common. Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?
But everybody knows that fairy tales don’t last. My father went back to the cows and the chickens and the dirt, and my mother drifted away with her artwork and her magic, turning found objects into art she could sell. He hardened up, perhaps so angry over this adventure he had taken, which he saw as his first and his last lapse of judgment. I’m sure, knowing him, he was ashamed of himself for the way he turned his head from his planned path in life and fell into Tenaj, so he doesn’t like to speak of her or those times to us.
All I know is that Hendrix and I crashed down to earth as surprises and complications, and we were left with magic flickering in our DNA and practicality knitted into our bones.
It’s been a war inside us ever since. And I’m not sure either one of us has ever figured out what love is really supposed to be about.”
It’s also a love story and a comic novel about what happens when you can’t decide whether you should just go ahead and get married to your best friend who gets all your jokes, or if you should maybe hold out for something that probably will never, ever come. (Hint: romance and champagne.)
Also, I need to tell you there are some gnomes in this book. And farm tractors. Some wedding dresses. A Brooklyn cab ride with a phone thrown from the window. A Charleston snowstorm that really did happen one November.
Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times Bestselling author, called it “wonderful fun.” Amy Poeppel, author of Musical Chairs, said it is “a delightful, feel-good tale of friendship and marriage, motherhood and sacrifice, disillusionment and hope.” And (one more) Barbara Davis, the bestselling author of The Last of the Moon Girls, called it a “delightfully grownup coming of age story, peopled with quirky, real-life characters.”
And I love this bit from Booklist: “Nearly until the end, readers may have the impression that they’re enjoying a typical rom-com, but unexpected decisions open the way for a welcome twist we didn’t even know we needed.”
Okay, okay, now I’m really going to stop talking about why I’m so excited about this book and urge you to see for yourself.
Have a happy, safe summer. Admire all the chins you see. Use sunscreen. Try to stay hydrated. Blix would say we should love on each other, and forgive all the things we possibly can. We’re all a little unaccustomed to “peopling” just yet.
I am so grateful to you all.