We are absolutely delighted to welcome back the fabulous Lorraine Wilson! This time it will be for the Luna Novella series! Her novella, The Last to Drown, will be published in 2024.
Luna has acquired WEL rights from Robbie Guillory at The Underline Literary Agency, and we are very excited to be working together.
Lorraine's debut novel, This is our Undoing, and second novel, The Way the Light Bends, as well as her award winning short form writings, have immediately secured her a place among the most exciting new writers out there. You can read the reviews for each novel by clicking on each title, and you will see what I mean!
When I read the novella, The Last to Drown, I went on a journey to Iceland, exploring its ghosts; by the last page I had a very different understanding of chronic pain, as Lorraine has been able to share a very personal aspect of her life through the words of this story: the way she deals with and explores grief, family relationships, and folklore is simply superb.
I asked Lorraine to tell us more about the story.
Lorraine on the novella:
The Last To Drown started out as a short story that didn’t fit its own skin. It was trying to say too much, and it was only by venturing into novellas for the first time that I could give it space to speak. It’s a story about cool Icelandic ghosts because I’ve always loved Icelandic folklore, but only discovered Icelandic lullabies since a fake one roved the internet and real ones turned out to be just as haunting! So the fabulously creepy line from one such - ‘Outside waits a face at the window’ - was a thread through the story from the beginning. I think lullabies are fascinating, they’re often pretty dark (think about the ending to Rock-a-bye-baby), and they carry associations of parenthood, protection, and comfort in the night which can all easily become eerie if you give them a twist.
But beneath the spooky, this book is about grief and PTSD and broken families; about how whole lives can be thrown off course by private cataclysms. It is also a deeply personal exploration of chronic pain. This is something I live with, and The Last To Drown is my first time writing from that part of myself. Chronic pain isn’t fun, so I’ve never particularly wanted to write it before, but the character of Tinna came to me this way and I am honestly really glad I’ve written her. It matters so much to me to have stories in the world that portray disability without dressing it up in villain or miracle cure tropes. That show the connections between pain and medicalisation and mental health. Tinna considers herself broken, but that’s as much about her mind and her heart as it is her flesh and bones. And that’s where her healing lies too - in reclaiming her self, rather than in the physical; because it’s the loss of your old self that is, in my experience, a far harder grief to carry.
I am delighted to be returning to Luna Press with this wee book, and it’s an honour to join the fabulous library of Luna Novellas. I cannot wait for you to venture with me to Iceland’s black shores.
The Last to Drown:
People from this house go down to the sea at night, and drown.
Tinna can’t remember the last words she said to her husband. That moment, and the months before it, were stolen in the crash that killed him and left her scarred and suffering from chronic pain.
She needs those memories though, so that she knows he was not alone at the end and she is not so alone now. At her brother’s suggestion, she decides to return to their childhood home on a remote Icelandic coast. Perhaps the solitude and the sea will help her heal.
But a greater grief has already taken hold here, one a century old and as powerful as the tides. It has haunted the women of Tinna’s family for generations. She shouldn’t go out at night, should never go down to the beach. And yet she does, and its whispers offer Tinna the answers she so desperately needs. If she can bear the price.
Lorraine is a third culture Scot, conservation scientist and award-winning author of speculative fiction influenced by folklore and the wilderness. She has published two novels with Luna Press - the dystopian thriller This Is Our Undoing, and the dark folkloric mystery, The Way The Light Bends. Her upcoming third book, Mother Sea, is an exploration of motherhood, climate change and belonging. She has been stalked by wolves and befriended pythons, runs the Rewriting The Margins mentorship scheme for marginalised writers, and can be found at https://linktr.ee/raine_clouds.
The Last to Drown will be out in 2024.
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