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In Emily Colin’s exquisite debut novel The Memory Thief, one man’s vow to his wife sparks a remarkable journey that tests the pull of memory and reaffirms the bonds of love.
Deftly weaving together two strands of plot, The Memory Thief spins an unforgettable tale of love lost and found. Though she has lived with her husband Aidan’s adventure-seeking tendencies for the entirety of their relationship, Maddie has particularly strong reservations when Aidan tells her of his plans to summit Alaska’s Mount McKinley. When she eventually gives in to him, Aidan promises her, “I will come back to you.” Yet, late one night, she receives shocking news: Aidan has died in an avalanche. Confronted with grief, newfound single parenthood, and the realization that J.C., Aidan’s climbing partner and best friend, has been in love with her for years, Maddie must swim through her swirling emotions in a quest for understanding.
Across the country, Nicholas Sullivan awakes from a motorcycle accident. Unable to remember any part of his life to this point, he finds that his dreams are haunted by images of a beautiful woman and a young boy. Feeling as though these mysterious people may hold the answers to his own problems, Nicholas is driven to find them. Nicholas’s journey leads him to great discoveries—which not only change his life, but Maddie’s, too.
Poignant, yet ultimately triumphant, The Memory Thief is a unique and compelling love story that marks Emily Colin as a young author to watch.
Clearly, these people do not know me well. I am Clumsy with a capital C, detest heights, and am not overly fond of cold, either. It’s a perfectly reasonable question, though, given that I wrote a book in which two of the main characters are alpinists—and so I endeavor to answer it, explaining the copious research I did and everything I learned along the way.
If I’ve told the story of my journey to publication, occasionally a perceptive person will say, “Okay—so really, you wrote a book about yourself.” I love it when someone says this, because they are so right. I did indeed set out to write a book about mountain climbing, grief, risk, loss and love. Instead, I wound up writing a book about... myself. And I had no idea.
How is this possible? Oh, let me enlighten you. I am what could most kindly be termed a slow emotional processor. On the whole, it takes me quite a long time to figure out what I’m feeling in any given situation. I might walk around for days, weeks or even years, thinking—something’s not quite right. I don’t feel good about this. By the time I realize what the problem is—who I’m upset with, and why—an inordinate amount of time has likely passed since the original infraction, and the perpetrator has long since moved on, leaving me to fume, stomp, and then shrug my shoulders and do the same.
Writing The Memory Thief was no different. I decided to write a book, built up my freelance writing and editing career, quit my job on the eve of the recession, and dug in, writing over 400 pages about folks who risk everything to see their dreams fulfilled. People asked me whether the book bore any relationship to my life, and I’d say no, absolutely not—because on the surface it didn’t, unless you count the fact that the heroine can’t drink the morning’s first cup of coffee without spilling it. And then I finished the book, a year or so later, and realized what I’d done.
I love when readers ask me about this revelation—or even when they state it, not expecting a response—because it shows me that they’ve really gotten what I’ve written, and what my journey’s been like along the way. It shows me that we’ve entered into a conversation, my readers and I, and that’s a satisfying thing to realize. Because to me, that’s ultimately what writing—and publication—is all about.
About the Author
Emily Colin is the Associate Director of the DREAMS Center For Arts Education, a nationally award-winning nonprofit dedicated to building creative, committed citizens through high-quality arts programming. Prior to DREAMS, she served as Editor-in-Chief of Coastal Carolina Press, and co-founder of Carolina Women’s Partnership. She also works closely with the North Carolina Arts Council. Though Colin is not a mountain climber—she’s actually afraid of heights—she spent innumerable hours doing research for The Memory Thief: shadowing Outward Bound instructors as they scaled cliffs in Colorado’s Rifle Canyon, conducting reconnaissance missions in an indoor rock-climbing gym closer to home, and speaking with alpinists who took on Alaska’s Mt. McKinley—and lost.
Giveaway runs through November 25th, 2012 at 11.59 pm (EST).
Limited to US residents only. Sorry international readers! I am not responsible for the mailing or postage of the book.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated (and you get extra entries!) ❤