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Carly Heath Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Reckless Kind (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Carly Heath
Carly Heath earned her BA from San Francisco State University and her MFA from Chapman University. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and has taught art, design, theater, and writing for various universities and colleges.

She spends all of her time and the majority of her money tending to a menagerie of rescued farm animals.

Carly got the idea for “The Reckless Kind” after she was going through a period of her life where she kept experiencing horse-related injuries which inspired the idea of a family which everybody believed was cursed with perpetual bad luck. Then from there she had the idea for The Fuglestads, this family of vegetarians and atheists, who are known for taking in the horses that nobody else wants. They are this imperfect family, known for being outcasts and Carly believed the most interesting way to explore them would be from the perspective of two young people that idolize their unconventionality.

She was also researching the vegetarian movement in Europe that started in 1847 and was fascinated by that and some early gay activists like Edward Carpenter. He was socialist, vegetarian, animal rights activist, and was just awesome in every possible way. So this idea of the Fugelstads being this progressive however an also imperfect family was at the core of the novel. She was also reading Kristin Lavransdatter at the time and considering making something that gave her the feeling of Kristin, but feminist.

Carly wrote the first draft for the novel in about six months in 2014. Post-it notes and notecards were involved however it was primarily pantsing, her just figuring the characters and the world out as well as just how to write a novel. She spent the following year or so doing heavy revisions, ultimately preparing for Pitch Wars in 2016. In the run up to Pitch Wars, she connected with a bunch of other writers and got a bunch of feedback on her manuscript. She did not make it into Pitch Wars, however she did a bunch of revisions on the feedback that she was given.

Carly has no process of writing. All of it is mere chaos. She randomly checks out stuff on Pinterest, searches through historical books on google, scrolls through topics which randomly inspire her interest. She gets inspiration for random scenes. Her first draft is unrecognizable from the finished novel. 99% of the work is in the revision and in streamlining it into a plot. Since she has so many jobs to survive, she doesn’t write everyday. She writes and revises when she can, mainly in the morning.

To research the novel, she read a bunch of Sigrid Undset and her favorite place to research is because you can search for certain words by time period. There are also a ton of English language guidebooks for Norway written during the 1880s and 1890s which were very useful. One of her favorites was “Unprotected Females in Norway: Or, the Pleasantest Way of Traveling There” by Helen Lowe and Emily Lowe written in 1857 which gave Carly a rare female point of view.

The novel is a labor of love which took her more than seven years to get published. Even though the initial draft was finished in just a matter of months, she spent years getting feedback from her peers and making revisions on it until it finally found a home with Soho Teen. Along the way, she found the heart and truth of the story that she was looking to tell.

So much of art is beginning with a bit of inspiration and then allowing the story unfold before you, however the revision process is all about figuring out what you’re really trying to say in a certain part. And the more the work gets refined, clarified, and critiqued, the more that the artist is able to get at the heart of what their original intention was. It is a process of self-discovery and it is a very spiritual process.

“The Reckless Kind” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2021. A reckless and wild trio that fly right in the face of small town tradition, filled with love, compassion, and determination to live the lives of their choosing.

The year is 1904 on this island just to the west of Norway, and Asta Hedstrom does not want to marry Nils, her odious betrothed. However her mom believes that she should just be grateful for the possibility of any such domestic future, given her unconventional appearance, single-sided deafness, and even stranger notions. Asta would much rather spend her life performing in the village theater with her fellow outcasts: her best friend Gunnar Fuglestad and his secret boyfriend, the wealthy Erlend Fournier.

However this situation takes a dire turn once Nils lashes out in jealous, and gravely injures Gunnar. Asta, shunning marriage for good, moves with Erlend out to their secluded cabin up above town. With just few ties to their families, they’ve got a single shot at gaining enough kroner to secure their way of life: win the village’s annual horse race.

Despite Gunnar’s increasing misgivings, Erlend and Asta are intent on proving this unheard of arrangement will succeed. Asta trains hard as a blacksmith; while Erlend cares for the recovering Gunnar. However while race day approaches, the villager’s hateful ignorance just grows stronger. With this year’s competition proving to be dangerous for this trio, Erlend and Asta quickly find that they face another equally deadly peril: the potential of losing Gunnar and their found family, forever.

Three queer disabled teens forge a path of their own to family, love, and independence in a delightful, nuanced, and beautifully set historical adventure. Carly has created a folktale about found families and the breadth of love which is both timeless and immediate. The novel is filled with grit, heart, and warmth. Through some great tragedies and even greater love, it captures right from the first word with its vivid characters and stellar writing a truly beautiful tale which will wrap around your very heart and never let you go.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Carly Heath

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