From the Publisher’s Desk: After Launch

The Hour of Daydreams, by Renee Macalino Rutledge, is out now! This exquisite debut novel reimagines a Filipino star maiden folktale through the perspectives of newlyweds, their family members, and villagers. It’s a book about community, as all our Forest Avenue titles are.

Here’s an excerpt published this week on Literary Hub.

Renee’s friends, neighbors, and family came out in force–an overflow crowd of 115–for her launch at Books Inc. Alameda on March 14, and the store sold out of all seventy books.

As our first author from outside Oregon, the Books Inc. event was our first out-of-state launch party. I knew I needed to be there, so I could support and celebrate her as her publisher, but I never imagined how emotional being there would make me. Renee and I have worked together for two intense years, but many of the people in that room had known her for many years, supporting her writing, appreciating her warm and generous spirit, and being part of her life in meaningful ways. This was her event–and her community turned out.

Now that The Hour of Daydreams has launched, and we’re approaching an April 3 Powell’s Hawthorne reading, I’m marveling at how our Forest Avenue community has grown since its beginnings as a grassroots, local bootstrap effort to build one more home for literary fiction. We have a brand identity, a business model, and a distributor. We have a fifth anniversary to celebrate in June. We have articles and reviews in major publications. We have a following–a community of fans, readers, and authors, and those authors’ communities.

And it’s the community that can–and must–propel The Hour of Daydreams. Not just Renee’s community, or my community, or Forest Avenue’s community, but all of us together telling our friends about a debut novel that delves into issues of identity and trust in a marriage, one that plays with language and structure, twisting from a folktale’s bright insistence into a darker, more turbulent and troubling series of questions about what’s really true, and how we protect ourselves through storytelling.

The Hour of Daydreams is available at bookstores across the U.S. thanks to our distributor, Legato Publishers Group. A list of some stores carrying it can be found here, although many more have it on the shelves, and if your local store doesn’t have a copy, the staff can order it through the store’s favorite wholesaler. The same goes for libraries–go check out The Hour of Daydreams, or put in a request for the library to order it if it’s not yet available. Community must feed itself to be sustainable, and we at Forest Avenue have always urged our readers and authors to buy local, to live local, to support the people around them instead of an online giant.

We are this book’s best advocates in the world, so tell your friends and family, post links and photos on social media using #thehourofdaydreams hashtag, and take a few minutes to write a review. Her story matters, not just to us, but to all the readers who have yet to find The Hour of Daydreams, those who will find it and find themselves changed by it.

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