THE BOOK: To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts
PUBLISHED IN: 2017
THE AUTHOR: Caitlin Hamilton Summie
THE EDITOR: Marc Estrin
THE PUBLISHER: Fomite — a fantastic literary small press out of Burlington, VT
SUMMARY: In these ten elegantly written short stories, Caitlin Hamilton Summie takes readers from WWII Kansas City to a poor, drug-ridden neighborhood in New York, from western Massachusetts to woodsy Wisconsin, and from the quiet of rural Minnesota to its pulsing Twin Cities, each time navigating the geographical boundaries that shape our lives as well as the geography of tender hearts, loss, and family bonds. Deeply moving and memorable, To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts examines the importance of family, the defining nature of place, the need for home, and the hope of reconciliation.
THE BACK STORY: A number of these stories were written in 1992-1995, and the last one was completed in 2015, so the book took me 25 years to write. There were lots of happy interruptions along the way, of course, but I’m hoping my next book won’t take quite that long!
WHY THIS TITLE: I didn’t want a story title to be the title of the collection. Also, the best story title is actually the title of my novel-in-progress (the novel is linked stories.) So I paged through the book and chose five phrases from stories that I thought fit the book’s themes and passed them along to Marc and Donna at Fomite. They felt To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts was the strongest of the five, and I agreed. The title fits every story.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: People who don’t like short stories have told me that they like mine, and that is very gratifying and humbling. Readers seem to find the deep emotion and honesty in my characters a powerful combination. Also, for all the sadness in my book, there is always hope. That sense of redemption is meaningful to me, and I believe it’s also meaningful to readers.
“What is remembered; what is missed; what will never be again . . . all these are addressed with the tenderness of a wise observer whose heart is large enough, kind enough, to embrace them all without judgment. . . . intense and finely crafted . . . . her stories reach into the hidden places of the heart and break them open to healing light, offering a touch of grace and hope of reconciliation.”—Foreword Reviews, starred review
“The stories center on the complexity of family relationships with such empathy and humanity that novelist Steve Yarbrough called the book “nothing short of magnificent.”… Summie grounds readers in reality just as they become lost in her beautiful prose…. To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts does not shy from life’s hardest moments, but its sorrow is not gratuitous. Summie is a writer who approaches life as a whole, both good and bad, rooted in history and place, and her elegant prose shines in this collection.”—Chapter16.org (also appeared in The Knoxville News-Sentinel)
“Her compelling writing reminds us of the power of a well-delivered narrative….Summie’s stories emphasize [our] shared humanity, and there is something accessible, recognizable and timely for everyone.”—The Vail Daily
“This debut collection works together to form a Cubist portrait of grief….Summie’s ghosts linger.”—The Minneapolis Star Tribune
AUTHOR PROFILE: I earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University. My short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, Mud Season Review, Hypertext Magazine, South85 Journal, The Belmont Story Review and Long Story, Short. Most recently my poetry was published in The Literary Nest. I also have completed picture books and a middle grade novel. I lived in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Colorado before settling with my family in Knoxville, Tennessee. I co-own the book marketing firm, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, founded in 2003. The firm is probably best known for its work with new and emerging voices in fiction. Over the course of my career, in-house and solo, I have launched Emily St. John Mandel, William Gay, Susan Vreeland, Kim Church, Bren McClain, and many, many more wonderful writers. My writer website is caitlinhamiltonsummie.com.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: Thank you for giving me the chance to share my stories with you!
SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). Here is a link to my story “Growing Up Cold,” originally published in HyperText Magazine and then included in my book.
LOCAL OUTLETS: Union Avenue Books, Barnes & Noble
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Libraries, Gramercy Books, Parnassus Books, Beaverdale Books, Park Road Books, Milkweed Editions Bookstore, Amazon, bn.com, IndieBound
PRICE: $15.00 print, e-book $4.99
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: https://caitlinhamiltonsummie.com/contact/ or @csummie