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Ethan Joella Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Little Hope (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Quiet Life (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Same Bright Stars (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

No Place Like Here(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Ethan Joella
Ethan Joella grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania. He teaches psychology and English at the University of Delaware and specializes in community writing workshops.

His work has shown up in The MacGuffin, River Teeth, The Cimarron Review, Third Wednesday, and Delaware Beach Life.

“A Little Hope”, as a reader, is the type of novel that he has always been interested, and these are the sorts of characters that he has always cared about: people getting by and trying their best. He doesn’t care all that much about extraordinary people. Ethan likes everyday and normal people that want simple things and have small wishes. He likes to think about somebody getting ready for work and taking on a regular household task and getting distracted by some fear or dream. He loves small details as well, and he always includes these in his writing: a basket of mints near a cash register, somebody’s doormat, and a grocery list.

Ethan was also greatly affected by losing his mother-in-law back in 2016. she was a pretty important part of he and his family’s lives and she died of leukemia before he began writing “A Little Hope”. He saw things rather differently during her illness and after she had died, and it’s possible that the novel was his way of attempting to make some sense of the way that we lose people that we aren’t ready to lose, and how we all must carry on.

Right from the moment that he began working on the novel, he wanted it to feature connected characters. He’d read a bunch of these stories, however he also wanted to return to some of the characters multiple times, something that many connected collections do not do. It was a pretty fun challenge to figure out exactly how each of these characters linked up with one another, and even when he found existing threads, he would try to add in just a few other stray ones just to really reinforce that small town feel. A character like Suzette, for example, can be connected to just about every character because of her wedding. It works that way with so many of the characters.

Ethan began writing “A Quiet Life” because this one morning he heard a man on the boardwalk say that he was making his first trip to Florida without his wife that had died, and Ethan was unable to stop thinking about the guy. From that moment on, he thought about Chuck Ayers in winter time, walking all around his house just holding onto Cat’s favorite towel, which is where the book opens.

“A Little Hope” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2021. A life affirming novel which follows the residents of this idyllic Connecticut town over one year’s time. This novel explores the intertwining lives of one dozen neighbors while they confront their everyday fears and desires: an illness, a lost love, a betrayal, and a stalled career.

Greg and Freddie Tyler appear to have everything: one beautiful young daughter, a bond which feels unbreakable, a comfortable home. However once Greg’s diagnosed with this aggressive and rare form of cancer, the sense of certainty that they used to know evaporates. Throughout their whole town, neighbors and friends face the toughest of life’s challenges and are struggling to survive all thanks to their hope, love, and grace.

This is a deeply resonant debut novel which immerses the reader in this community and celebrates the importance of small moments of connection.

“A Quiet Life” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2022. Set in a close-knit suburb in the grips of winter, this novel follows three people that are grappling with loss and finding a tender wisdom in their grief.

Chuck Ayers once looked forward to nothing nearly as much as his annual trip to Hilton Head with Cat (his wife), that yearly taste of relaxation that they had grown accustomed to after raising two kids and a lifetime of working. Now, only months after Cat’s death, Chuck finds that he cannot let go of any of her belongings (her sketchbooks in her desk drawer or her favorite towel) while struggling to pack for a trip that he cannot even imagine taking without her.

Ella Burke delivers morning papers and works at a bridal shop in order to fill her days as she anxiously waits for news (any scrap of information) about her missing daughter. Ella has been adjusting to her life in a new apartment and has been answering every call on her phone, hoping that her daughter’s going to reach out.

Kirsten Bonato, after her dad’s sudden death, set aside her veterinary school aspirations, just finding small comfort in the steady routine of working at an animal shelter. However while time passes, some new romantic interests and old dreams start surfacing, and she finds herself at another crossroads.

In this profoundly moving and beautiful novel, three parallel narratives converge in poignant and unexpected ways, while each of the characters bravely presses onward, attempting to recover something that they have lost. Infused with hope and emotionally riveting.

Readers adored this novel, finding it to be powerful as a punch and soft as silk, and Ethan never shirks away from the trauma of grief yet delivers true hope in our capacity to survive. It’s a beautifully written page turner, which is rather tough to find. Ethan’s characters help one another shoulder the burden of grief and unearthing the shards of beauty to be found in the wreckage of loss. There’s magic at the intersection of these stories, it’s an addicting and rare alchemy of ordinary moments and decisions which add up to whole, joyful, brave, and flawed lives. This novel insists on our own essential empathy, strength, and resilience in an age of isolation.

This novel is filled with characters that readers would like to meet for real. This is a reminder that life is made up of journeys, not just destinations. You’ll want to savor the details in this novel, so take your time with it.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ethan Joella

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