“Going Home” A Novella by: Emma Lindhagen

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Orryn ran away from home as a young teenager. After years spent trying to forget, she is forced to face the memories she’s been hiding from.
Thea never understood why her sister left. Her childhood was happy and she lives her adult life surrounded by people she loves, but she never stopped wondering.
When the two sisters meet again, a struggle to mend the bond they once shared, and reconcile their differing memories of their childhood, begins. In a world where blending in is valued above everything else, scars can be a dangerous thing to show.
After years of drifting and hiding, Orryn returns to her homeland and must choose between baring her scars and losing her sister a second time.

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Interview with the Author:

Emma Lindhagen

How did you form the idea for this book?

This idea has been in my head for a very long time and taken on a lot of different forms. When I finally realized what I actually wanted to say with this story, it was quite a gradual process. My focus was always very much on Orryn and how to tell her story, and on how to deal with issues of memory and experiences that are shared but perceived differently. Overall, all stories set in the same world as Going Home will have being different, trying to fit in or trying to stand out, as a central theme.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

I have quite a wide taste in books and read most genres, although I’m picker with some than with others. If I had to list favorites, though, I’d say dystopian and certain types of fantasy.

Is this your first work in fiction? and/or what other books have you written or are planning to write in fiction?

Yes, this was my debut novella. I did self-publish a small collection of poetry and shorts as a teen, but that is currently not available for sale anywhere. I have a lot of plans for future pieces. I will be publishing a sequel of Going Home in late May or early June of 2015. Other planned (and in some cases partially drafted) projects include a YA fantasy series, a paranormal family saga of sorts and a drama set on a city in space (which will be drafted for Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2015).

What is your biggest challenge with writing?

That’s a really tough question and to some extent I think it varies depending on my state of mind, but right now I think what I struggle most with is finding a story that works really well and just “fits”, for lack of better words. Most of my ideas start with a setting, character or theme (or a combination thereof) but sometimes it takes a while until the actual plot becomes clear. Sometimes I even have to draft it before I know what I’m actually trying to write about.

What kind of research did you do before writing this book?

I honestly didn’t do that much research for this book. I’m not sure why, maybe because it’s so focused on what’s going on inside the characters. That’s not the case with all my stories, but happens to be the case with this one.

What advice is invaluable to a beginning author?

The advice that’s been most useful to me personally is to just draft and sort problems later. It’s so much easier to fix a bad draft than to try to write something satisfactory on the first go, and often things come up during drafting that you never would’ve anticipated or thought of while planing.

Thank You Emma Lindhagen for submitting your novella, GOING HOME,  for review and volunteering to answer some questions for our readers.

And don’t forget, keep your eye out for the GOING HOME sequel in May/June 2015!

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MY REVIEW

Orryn, our seemingly neurotic and/or paranoid main character, is on her way to visit her sister, Thea, after she left their childhood home inexplicably 20 years ago.

As Orryn arrives at the airport, we experience some unease as she flashes back to when she is a teenager, sitting in this exact airport, pregnant, talking with a strange man who convinces her to come live with him and his family. This scene is where we first experience Orryn’s dark past is full and maybe not everything is as it seems.

On her way out of the airport, we get the first inkling that Orryn is anything but ordinary, as she lights her cigarette with her finger.

Arriving at her sister’s home, it is clear that Orryn has missed much more than just her sister growing up. Thea and her girlfriend, Kella, live in a wonderful home in a commune with other families and are expecting their first child. As Orryn adjusts to her sister’s new and happy life, the pressure from Thea to explain her disappearance unearths some of the ugly secrets she has harbored all these years and challenge Thea’s memories.

When I began this book, I didn’t know what to expect. I read the author’s description over and over, but this book (or novella) completely surprised me. What I originally thought to be a story of two sister’s reconciling turned into the beginnings of heart breaking story in an extraordinary world.

My experience with this book is what I would equate a dog with a bone. While there were plenty of descriptive details, perplexing characters and an interesting story line, I couldn’t stop thinking about the supernatural abilities both Thea and Orryn possess. Why do they have them? How did they get them? What is the “Decency Office?” What do the “Wardens” do? Never mind the dramatic secrets that are erupting and changing the relationship of Orryn and Thea. I want to know more about the world where live!

Upon further exploration of my criticism of this book, I discovered that the piece I was presented with as a novella is in fact just a large excerpt of a larger drama. A novella is a short novel or long short story (provided by Google search.) This book has its roots firmly planted in the present without explaining any of its past. Novella’s typically have been used to complete a back story or side story. “Going Home” lacks a developed setting and character clarification to be considered a novella.

-JL

 

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