January 19, 2016

The Edge of Nowhere by C.H. Armstrong

The Edge of Never
C.H. Armstrong
Historical Fiction
Penner Publishing
January 19, 2016

The year is 1992 and Victoria Hastings Harrison Greene—reviled matriarch of a sprawling family—is dying.

After surviving the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Victoria refuses to leave this earth before revealing the secrets she’s carried for decades.

Once the child of a loving family during peaceful times, a shocking death shattered her life. Victoria came face to face with the harshness of the world. As the warm days of childhood receded to distant memory, Victoria learns to survive.

No matter what it takes.

To keep her family alive in an Oklahoma blighted by dust storms and poverty, Victoria makes choices—harsh ones, desperate ones. Ones that eventually made her into the woman her grandchildren fear and whisper about. Ones that kept them all alive. Hers is a tale of tragedy, love, murder, and above all, the conviction to never stop fighting.

Is it me or does The Edge of Nowhere by Ms. Armstrong remind you of Gone With The Wind? Family, survival, love, a woman's destiny is about to be revealed... interesting story don't you think? Let's see if my impression has any substance to it.

Today is an exciting day for me! Today is release day for my novel, The Edge of Nowhere! This is a novel that is especially close to my heart because it was inspired by my own family’s experiences during the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.

Though I’ve written for nearly my whole life, I’d never before written a single sentence of fiction before sitting down at my laptop to write The Edge of Nowhere. In fact, it wasn’t really my initial intent to write a novel for publication. My original goal was to try to better understand how my own grandmother managed to survive this era completely alone with twelve children and no support system in place. They were quite literally dirt poor, and yet she managed to keep the family unit in tact. I think that’s an extraordinary accomplishment when you consider the hardships she faced.

 So one day last January – almost exactly a year ago, to be quite honest – I sat down and wrote the outline for the letter that opens The Edge of Nowhere. Through the words of Victoria, I was attempting to channel my deceased grandmother; or, in more plain terms, I was trying to imagine myself in her shoes in an effort to better understand the woman I knew until her death. Before long, the story took on a life of it’s own. Somewhere by the end of my first chapter, I was no longer directing the plot and found myself just along for the ride as my characters took over and dictated what I should write. I know that sounds rather crazy, but that’s exactly what happened. I wrote nonstop for four weeks until I finally typed my last word. During this time, I quit being a 9:30 to bed woman and found myself still typing at three or four in the morning. Sometimes, I’d go to bed only to find myself laying there until the sun started peeping through the next morning because I couldn’t stop the ideas from floating through my head. It was both exhausting and exhilarating.

I finished typing my first draft of The Edge of Nowhere in the first week of February 2015 and then found myself wondering what to do next. Was I done, or did I want to see if it was worthy of sharing with the world? After several more read-throughs and what felt like a gazillion edits, I finally began looking for an agent or publishing house. I was one of the lucky ones, and I knew it even then. I received my share of “no thank yous” from agents, but I also received more than my share of requests. Finally in May, I received an offer from Penner Publishing. Exactly eight months ago today, I signed my contract, and today my book is in the hands of readers worldwide. I couldn’t be happier.

The Edge of Nowhere tells the story of a young woman struggling to support herself and her children after the death of her husband just as the one-two punch of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression kick into high gear. With her husband’s death, she’s left with a mortgage she can’t pay, a farm that won’t produce, and nine children she can’t feed. It begs the question: Is there anything a mother wouldn’t do to provide for her children. Better yet, is there anything you wouldn’t do in the same situation?

I hope you’ll give my novel a read, as it’s a novel that should appeal to men, women and even teens.

C.H. Armstrong is an Oklahoma native transplanted in Minnesota. A 1992 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, "Cathie"is a life-long lover of books, and staunchly outspoken on subject of banned and challenged books. The Edge of Nowhere is her first novel and was inspired by her own family's experiences during the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.

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  1. Inspiration from your own family's life, that's nice

  2. Oh how interesting it was inspired her family's real story. I love historical fiction but haven't read one in a while, so I might have to look into this one.

  3. This sounds like an amazing story of courage and strength! As a mom, I know there really is nothing I wouldn't do to take care of my children and I think this story would be inspirational. That the story itself was inspired by family history makes it that much more special. Great post!

  4. I always think it fascinating to disocver a period like that in a book and to see how everyone was living. Plus it's a really interesting one, so many things!

  5. Wow How cool that this is inspired by the author's own story. I want! ;-) Thanks!

  6. I love how this started as one thing and then took on a life of its own. This has a gorgeous cover and I love the premises. I think I'll have to pick this up!

  7. I think it's great blending family history into this one. Great post!

  8. Other than being in Oklahoma, this sounds like my great grandma. She was in ND and her husband was in a mental hospital and she had to care for 12 children on her own (and a farm). I can't even imagine! Sounds like I could connect to this and feel like I maybe get a taste and idea of what my great grandma went through.

  9. I find this era fascinating and yet there is so little written about it. I also like the sound of this being based on real life family experiences. I will have to check this out.

  10. And this reminded me of my own gran trying to survive during those years. I'm very interested in reading this.

  11. Oh wow! This sounds like a heart wrenching read! I cannot imagine being in that situation... my three kids are enough, but nine! Wow!


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