From the Publisher’s Desk: Characters with Wings

Renee Macalino Rutledge and I had lunch in Berkeley last month, when I was in town for sales conference.

This winter, I told a friend that The Hour of Daydreams (March 2017) is a reimagined Filipino folktale about a woman with wings. She immediately offered this remark: “My mother told me when I got married that my husband would take my wings, and I’ve been trying to regrow them ever since.”

That was a breathtaking moment for me, contemplating how this book delves into this age-old archetype about freedom versus responsibility, wings versus grounded reality.  We all have assumptions about our own identities, creativity, and spirits, and relationships can alter those beliefs. Renee Macalino Rutledge’s beautiful debut, set in a village in the Philippines, hits all those chords. The novel features newlyweds Manolo, a reason-driven doctor, and his new bride Tala, who he swears he saw flying to the stars at night with her sisters before they married. The villagers share their own versions of this relationship, as they see it, as do the couple’s relatives and the family housekeeper.

When I first encountered The Hour of Daydreams during our first national open submissions period, back in 2014, I fell in love with its lush and luminous prose, and how it twists into dark and unexpected places. It also reminded me of the gorgeous novel by Leslye Walton, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, which won a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award. Ava Lavender has wings, and the delightful spirit of the novel also takes a darker turn as the story progresses.

It’s a huge honor to announce that we just received the following endorsement from Leslye:

The Hour of Daydreams is a gorgeous read that should be relished as one would a piece of dark chocolate cake. Rich with tantalizing characters and delicious prose, this is a novel that readers, both young and old alike, won’t be able to help but savor.”

We’re savoring this moment, that’s for sure!

If you want to support a debut novelist, if you’ve never read a novel set in the Philippines, or if you’re curious about the Main Street Writers Movement we’re launching on Feb. 9, then we urge you to visit your local indie bookstore and pre-order The Hour of Daydreams. Here’s the book’s IndieBound page, where you can type in your zip code and find your closest store, or pre-order it from a bookstore that ships if you don’t live near one.

We’ll leave you with another reason to reserve your copy now. Author and folklorist Kate Ristau recently named The Hour of Daydreams an essential read over on the Literary Mama website, saying:

“Personally, I’ve had a devastating month, with deaths and illnesses that have rearranged me. Everything has felt too real, too awful. It didn’t seem like magic was possible. To have the pleasure to slip into a story where the very city is recreated and where magic can literally move mountains—well, that was exactly what I needed. It reminded me why I write the stories I do, and how words really do have the power to change the world. As we step into a new year, with a new president, and a new understanding of our country and of each other, I encourage you to pick up The Hour of Daydreams from Forest Avenue Press, and think about the stories you want to tell. Words matter. They create and they can destroy. It’s my hope that we can keep working together, building worlds of wonder and possibility.”

From the Publisher’s Desk is a new column from Laura Stanfill, publisher of Forest Avenue Press, as well as an award-winning journalist, a novelist, and the founder of the Main Street Writers Movement.

Join the Main Street Writers Movement

Forest Avenue Press is the home of the Main Street Writers Movement, which launched Feb. 9. (Parades welcome.)
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