THE MEMORY KEEPER
My debut Middle-Grade novel, THE MEMORY KEEPER explores the power of words and the fragility of memory.
When twelve-year-old Lulu Carter develops a photographic memory the same time her beloved Gram begins to lose hers, she blames herself. Is Lulu somehow stealing her grandmother’s memory? When Lulu finds a brochure to a Nursing Home, it solidifies her fear that her parents will send Gram away if they knew how fast her memory is deteriorating. Determined to cover for Gram while searching for a cure, Lulu investigates how the brain works and what makes us keep some memories while we lose others.
Discovering that a traumatic memory can cause amnesia, Lulu is convinced all she needs to do to cure Gram is hunt down the painful memory in her past. With the help of her best friend, Olivia, she discovers a journal written by Gram when she was thirteen. The only catch is it’s written in Russian when Gram is supposed to be French. Translating the journal takes them on a journey in Gram’s mysterious past that reveals secrets she’s kept from her family.
Lulu reluctantly turns to her maybe crush, Max, to help her investigation. Lulu needs Max’s hacker skills, and his uncle’s FBI know-how to help her uncover the buried secrets. When the truth is finally revealed, Lulu realizes she has no control over Gram’s memory. Her parents help her see she doesn’t need to shoulder the responsibility by herself, and that she can trust them with her own secret.
My Young Adult novel, BIRDY’S SONG, is a 2017 Golden Heart® Winner. The Sky is Everywhere meets If I Stay.
Life for seventeen-year-old Emmaline is as unpredictable as the weather in the San Francisco Bay area. One second foggy and dismal, the next full of sunshine and possibility. Singing is Emmaline’s one constant. She sings to entertain and comfort her young half-sister, Birdy, and during the happier times, she sings with her stepfather, Hank, at his coffee shop gig. But when their family is tragically torn apart, music and singing become permanently entwined with Emmaline’s sense of guilt. Could she have done something to keep Hank from driving straight off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean with her and Birdy still in the car?
With Birdy in a coma, and their mother abandoning them in the hospital, Emmaline is forced to accept her step-grandmother, Wilma’s offer of a home. At first, Wilma’s grandson, Asher, is wary of Emmaline, observing her with a mixture of distrust that gradually gives way to admiration and maybe more. And Emmaline can’t help the millions of butterfly wings in her heart whenever Asher is around. When Birdy wakes up from her coma with a mountain of medical bills and long-term outpatient care, Emmaline latches on to the idea of entering a singing competition to help pay the bills. Except her plan won’t work if she can’t learn to control the heart-wrenching panic attacks she’s started to have every time she sings. Added to that is the sweet anguish of first love. For Emmaline, giving into her feelings for Asher and accepting his love is nearly as scary as singing in front of thousands. Only by trusting that she’s worthy of love will Emmaline be able to find her voice and sing for Birdy…and herself.