I’m so pleased to be part of the “Whispering Through Water” Book Tour for author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. Rebecca is a children and young adult author and “Whispering Through Water” is a lovely coming -of-age , young adult story: although this isn’t a genre I normally read, I really enjoyed the story and I think the novel would appeal to young adults and those who like a uncomplicated romantic novel with family dynamics and 1990s nostalgia involved 😊
The coming-of-age story follows Gwyn Madison, the summer after her high school graduation, as she grapples with her fast-approaching future. She’ll have to face more than she bargained for with her Aunt Delia, the family matriarch, who holds the purse strings and the final word. In the meantime, Gwyn stumbles upon a tightly held family secret. Could a mysterious letter provide Gwyn the leverage she desires? Will it only bring more family division? Or, maybe, the past was never meant to stay buried after all. Whispering Through Water navigates family dynamics, young love, and female autonomy with a little 1990s nostalgia.
Publisher: Monarch Educational Services, L.L.C
Print length: 265 pages
I caught up with author Rebecca to find out more about her, her book and her wardrobe! Hi Rebecca!
Hello! I am Rebecca. I was raised in West Point, Virginia, a small town in the Tidewater region of Virginia. My town is a peninsula of 6.6 square miles! Currently, I live in Durham, NC. I have worked 20+ years in education in various roles, including teaching high school English and psychology. Along the way I earned a degree in Professional Counseling, and now I work in school-based mental health. My husband is a physics instructor. We have two kids and two very spoiled Siamese cats. I am also a registered yoga teacher, and I have taught yoga for 11 years. In addition to writing, I also love baking and gardening.
“Whispering Through Water” is your young adult/teen coming-of-age story featuring family dynamics, young love, a mystery, and a touch of 1990s nostalgia. Who or what inspired you to start your writing career?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school. I remember writing my “life plan” as an assignment in 8th grade health class. I wrote that I would get a college degree and write a book before age 30 (only one of those happened according to my 8th grade timeline. haha). Books have always been an important part of my life; they are a source of connection and knowledge. I want to be able to share that connection with my readers.
I loved the love story between Gwyn and Isaac.…. in fact I found all the characters believable, including Sal from the pizza joint; Trisha and her sister, Aunt Delia were like chalk and cheese (although I did get frustrated with the way Aunt Delia acted towards her niece and frustrated with Trisha and Uncle Beckett for not being a bit more supportive); the exuberant but likeable Brenda Quigley ; and Gwyn’s best friends Denise & Danny. Did you base a lot of your characters on you and people you’ve met in life? Which character did you enjoy writing about the most? Which character was the hardest?
I love that you felt all of those feelings toward the characters! Yes, we have people in our lives that we wish were more supportive, but just aren’t. In families we do fall into roles, like we are on automatic pilot, and it helps to have some new additions in our lives to shake up the dynamic. Because of Isaac and his family, Gwyn sees a new way to relate and is able to take initiative to relate differently in her own family. You cannot control someone else’s behavior, but you can control how you react toward the behavior. If you take the initiative to change yourself, you change the world.
Gwyn was the easiest to write, probably because she is most like me. Gwyn was probably a bit bolder than I was in high school. I do love Sal Jr. He was a character of my own invention, and just makes me smile!
Aunt Delia was probably the most challenging to write. I completed the second draft in 2013, and shelved it for a while. When I re-read my draft in 2021, Delia did not read as the sympathetic character I intended her to be. I wanted readers to feel sympathy for Delia at the end. I rewrote the relationships in her backstory, so she could become who I envisioned in my mind. I have encountered people similar to Delia. I am curious as to what lies beneath the tough exterior. Bitterness grows over time.
There is no singular person that influenced a character. They are more a hodgepodge of people I’ve met over the years. Mrs. Jenkins and Brenda are an amalgamation of some of my favorite teachers. There’s a little of my college roommate in Denise, and a little of my cousin in Danny (though neither have actually met each other in real life!)
What attracted you to writing a young adult/teenage novel? What is it about this genre that appeals to you?
Adolescence is a pivotal time in a person’s life. Our experiences in adolescence certainly impacts our relationships and behavior patterns as adults. My husband likes to say, “The irony of life is that the 40-year-old must live with the decisions the 18-year-old made.” (Of course the 18 and 40 year-olds refer to the same person!) I know so many adults who love to read YA, and I believe one reason is that it helps them process what they might have experienced as a young person.
I do love the flexibility of the genre. In YA, characters can experience the coming-of-age anywhere, from realistic fiction, to a dystopian universe, to lands with fairies. And the characters can have fun!
As a teenager, books were very important to me. I grew up in a small town, and I never felt like I quite fit in. As C.S. Lewis’ character in the Shadowlands said, “We read to know we’re not alone”. Through my writing, I hope readers can find connection.
If you could visit any country/place in the world, to base a future novel in, where would you go and why?
Such a good question. Partially because I’m curious about my Scandinavian ancestry, I would love to learn more about Sweden and Norway. If someone wants to fund a trip, give me a call! 🙂
Growing up, did you always want to be a writer or did you have other career aspirations?
Since childhood, the one true thing I always knew about myself was that I wanted to be a writer. As a kid my other career aspirations weren’t as realistic (one of the humans on Sesame Street, a spy, etc). I think many creatives find themselves doing lots of other careers in hopes one day they will be able to support their creative pursuits.
Are you a bookworm? What is your favourite genre and/or authors? Kindle or actual book?
I am a pro-actual book. I will read a Kindle on a plane, and when carrying a bulk of books isn’t practical. Being on a screen too long gives me a feeling of being trapped. I like the freedom of being able to carry an actual book. Let’s face it, kindles are no fun reading in the sun.
Is Whispering Through Water available to purchase worldwide?
Yes, Whispering Through Water may be purchased from a variety of booksellers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and I like to plug independent bookstores. Find your local indie bookstore on indibound.com.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I love jeans, and I’m so glad that high-waisted jeans have come back in style. (I will still wear them when inevitably the low-waisted returns). I am a tall girl, and low-waisted just doesn’t work on me! I also love a fun boho shirt and jewelry.
I live in North Carolina, and unfortunately, at least five months out of the year it’s too hot to wear jeans. I’ve never liked shorts, so in the summer, I’m usually in a cotton dress.
My favorite shoes I own are a pair of beige and red Dr. Martens I bought in a consignment store, probably 15 years ago.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I love ThreadUp (I blame my former co-worker, Jessica, for this addiction!). I have always loved consignment stores. They encourage me to try brands I wouldn’t always try, and make pricier brands more accessible. Being more eco-friendly is a big perk too!
I love ThreadUp in particular because of the ease of searchability. You can add so many filters to find just what you want.
I also am a gardener, and I buy the majority of my seeds and bulbs from Eden Brothers. They are a North Carolina company and will ship anywhere! www.edenbrothers.com
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I have Rothy’s flats, and I would love The Chelsea high top boot.
Boots or Shoes?
Both! Depends on the hemline.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
BOOK TOUR DATES
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler; illustration by Terri Moore @mooreillustrating . Thanks also to Rebecca for a review copy of “Whispering Through Water”