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Sarah Henstra Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Mad Miss Mimic (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Red Word (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
We Contain Multitudes (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Sarah Henstra
Author Sarah Henstra is a professor of English at Ryerson University, and teaches classes in Fairy Tales & Fantasy, Women in Fiction, and Gothic Literature. Some of the best story ideas she gets come from discussions she has in one of her classes.

She also finds that the best writing she is capable of producing comes when she sets herself a challenge or a dare to follow right at the limit of her own ability, and she pushes herself to follow it all the way through to its logical conclusion. And it is only then that she will show it to anybody else.

That said, the whole time they are reading it, she thinks to herself that the story isn’t going to work, and that she won’t be able to pull it off. That she is going to need to rewrite the whole thing. For Sarah to totally commit to this dare, one hundred percent and not waiver one bit, if she lets someone read it to see, she would be much too inclined to try to please or compromise. In order for her to take risks as a creative writer, she can’t be pondering what the right answer is. Her pleaser personality is the opposite of what she needs to draw on in order to take creative risks.

What made it possible to be a writer to begin with was learning what it means to have a writing practice. It isn’t so much outcome or project based, rather it’s based on practice. It means Sarah shows up, almost everyday, and she writes. She gets good and bad ideas, but she shows up and does her practicing and that is how she is able to access the magic of slow accumulation. Penning a novel is just a massive long haul sort of project. You finish one little by little, year by year.

She had a breakthrough moment while being busy raising her kids and teaching and she never had a day off when she could sit and write for a day. She would have these week long writing retreats that she would want to set up, but they never worked. She was able to do some math, and it made her realize that if she wrote just 250 words each day, she would have her novel by the end of the year.

Sarah knew it was something she could do. It’s just a page. She knew that was an amount she could write on the streetcar, and once she realized that, that was the secret to slow accumulation.

“The Red Word” won the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award, and has been nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award for “We Contain Multitudes”.

Sarah’s debut novel, called “Mad Miss Mimic”, was released in the year 2015. She writes young adult fiction and historical fiction.

“Mad Miss Mimic” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2015. Leo, who was born into an affluent family, appears to be a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s. She lives with Christabel, her wealthy married sister, and doesn’t lack any trinkets nor dresses. Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it tough for her to speak yet oddly allows her to mimic other people’s voices without fail.

She is called “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back by the ladies and servants, and they watch while she scares off each potential suitor. Only Mr. Thornfax, the impossibly handsome, appears to be interested in Leo. But why’s that? Does he have any connection to the mysterious Black Glove group that holds London in its horrifying grip?

Stuck in a city under siege by terror attacks and gripped by opium fever, doctors (including her brother-in-law) race to patent the injectable formula, and Leo has to look for the truth in increasingly dangerous situations. In order to do so, she has to find her own voice.

“The Red Word” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2018. While Karen’s sophomore year begins, she enters into the back-to-school revelry, especially at a fraternity known as GBC. She wakes up one morning on the lawn of Raghurst, which is a house of radical feminists, and she is given a crash course in the state of feminist activism on the campus.

GBC is a notorious place, she is told, and has been nicknamed “Gang Bang Central” and is a rather prominent contributor to a list of date rapists compiled by the female students. She dates one of the brothers and continues to party there. At the same time, she is equally seduced by the indomitable spirit and intellectual stimulation of all the Raghurst women, who surprise her when they want her to be a housemate and recruit her into the upper-level class of the charismatic feminist mythology scholar that they all adore.

While Karen finds that she is caught between two increasingly polarized groups, Dyann, ringleader housemate, thinks she has the perfect way to expose then bring down the frat as a rape culture symbol. However, the war between these two houses is going to exact a horrible price.

This novel is a dark, smart, and no-holds-barred look at rape culture and all the extremes that ideology is able to go, making this a campus novel like no other.

“We Contain Multitudes” is the third stand alone novel and was released in the year 2019. The novel is about a growing relationship between two teenaged boys that is told through the letters that they write to each other.

Adam “Kurl” Kurlansky and Jonathan Hopkirk are partnered up in English class, and writing letters to each other in a weekly pen-pal assignment. With every letter they write each other, they start developing a friendship that transforms into love. With bullying, homophobia, and devastating family secrets, they struggle in order to overcome all of their conflicts and hang onto their relationship as well as each other.

This rare and unique novel celebrates both life and love with some engaging characters and its stunning language.

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