In 2017, while a student at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, I was sitting outside the library when a drama student started reciting lines from an Italian play she was in. I don't speak Italian, but it was truly one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. I told her that, and she thanked me. I walked away, not thinking anything of it.
Fast forward to now. That small encounter inspired my debut novel TWO, which will be available March 4th on Amazon.
This novel was three years in the making. I originally wrote it as my master's thesis at the University of North Carolina Charlotte under the mentorship of Dr. Mark West. After graduating in 2021 and starting my career as an English professor, I never gave up refining TWO as it is my most personal work to date.
The synopsis: Howl, the studious yet blunt college student, and Ella, the free-spirited art school dropout, are one and the same. Both are college-aged, aimless in life, and haunted by their pasts. They would have never met on any other day, but that changed after a surreal encounter at the park involving an Italian opera Ella could recite but could not understand. As the two investigate the mystery of the unknown opera, they travel through their home city of Charlotte, North Carolina, discovering themselves and forming a strong bond within 24 hours. When Ella unexplainably leaves Howl's life the next day, will their dark pasts test this newfound friendship?
I have been greatly influenced by life-affirming coming-of-age stories and wanted to offer subversions to the "boy-meets-girl" story trope within that genre. The novel takes place in my home city of Charlotte, NC, and features real-life locations within the city. This alone makes the story unique. There are not many coming-of-age novels that take place in Charlotte, as I learned through Dr. West. Perhaps I will write more, who knows.
More details are to come.