When a young family goes on its first vacation, the dream itinerary doesn’t exactly include one parent absconding with their child while the other sits on the beach, unaware that her life has just been monumentally dismantled. Yet that’s where Violet finds herself in the opening of Jessica Strawser’s novel Almost Missed You (St. Martin’s Press), out in paperback February 6. Violet and Finn were the couple with a perfect story, at least as far as people knew…including Violet. But people are people, and secrets have a way of piling up.
“I wrote the book from a fascination with the concept of fate—if there is such a thing as ‘what’s meant to be’—and how fixated people can get on the idea of what might have been and searching for ‘the one,’” says Strawser, who lives in Loveland and is now an editor-at-large for Writer’s Digest magazine after spending nine years at its helm. “We talk about unreliable narrators as a trend in fiction, as if they always have to be this shocking character. But really we all are unreliable narrators of our own lives, from our own limited perspectives.” It’s a reality the characters learn as their individual pieces of the story gradually coalesce to reveal the full picture.
If your fingers are itching to keep turning pages, fear not: Strawser’s second novel, Not That I Could Tell, set in Yellow Springs, comes out March 27.