We’re so pleased to have author Nancy J. Hedin dropping in today on the tour for her new release, Bend, from Riptide Publishing. Enjoy her guest post and then be sure to check out details for the great giveaway at the end.
Is Bend a Spiritual Statement?
There will be some talk about my treatment of the church in this novel. Bend is fictional and it is also part of what is intended to be a trilogy. Stray and the final book of the trilogy, Rise, will show more layers of Lorraine’s spirituality and the values of the local pastor and the other characters in the story. The drive to live in concert with what we believe is the will of God isn’t easily reduced to black or white in life or even in novels.
Lorraine, the protagonist is a spiritual person. She is trying to reconcile what she knows about God and herself with what others are professing to know about God and queers like her. I was aware that I loved women in high school, but I didn’t know there was anyone else like me in the world. I heard unkind remarks and insults toward a teacher who was presumed gay, but I didn’t know what to call myself or whether it would always be like that for me. I certainly knew enough not to say I had crushes on girls. I had crushes on boys too, but not as intensely. Personally as a teen, the church saved my life. It was my faith and the kindness of people at my church that got me through depression and worries about sexuality and my family problems.
In college, my faith kept me alive even while I wrestled with the thought that I should die, because I was a lesbian and the church was saying to be gay or lesbian was against God. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t against God. I loved God. I also knew that I didn’t choose to be lesbian. It was something I’d known about myself since I was very young and long before I heard any of the names for it. It was something I prayed would go away. What kept me from killing myself was believing that God would not make me this way and also condemn me. That wasn’t the God I knew from my hometown church and the spiritual example of my maternal Grandmother. However, I felt very alone.
My novel isn’t an indictment of the church or small towns. It is just a story about the struggle of living life in the context of our families, our community, and the larger world. For some people the chance to experience diversity happens through fiction and other types of art.
About the Book
Lorraine Tyler is the only queer person in Bend, Minnesota. Or at least that’s what it feels like when the local church preaches so sternly against homosexuality. Which is why she’s fighting so hard to win the McGerber scholarship—her ticket out of Bend—even though her biggest competition is her twin sister, Becky. And even though she’s got no real hope—not with the scholarship’s morality clause and that one time she kissed the preacher’s daughter.
Everything changes when a new girl comes to town. Charity is mysterious, passionate, and—to Lorraine’s delighted surprise—queer too. Now Lorraine may have a chance at freedom and real love.
But then Becky disappears, and Lorraine uncovers an old, painful secret that could tear the family apart. They need each other more than ever now, and somehow it’s Lorraine—the sinner, the black sheep—who holds the power to bring them together. But only if she herself can learn to bend.
About the Author
I grew up in a small town in central Minnesota. That small town sensibility informs my writing and gives me interesting voices in my head and I strive to choose which voice to bring to the page.
I live in St. Paul with my partner, two daughters, one dog, one beared dragon, and two cats.
I have worked as a mental health crisis worker for over twenty years.
I love reading and getting my books signed by the author. I daydream about my own stories in book form and having others read them.
To celebrate the release of Bend, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 13, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!