Before and After

Workshops put on by Highlights Foundation in the Pocono Mountains promise and deliver expert advice, beautiful surroundings, excellent food, and quiet writing time. Sometimes, there’s a surprise as well, like the one that turned up at our August 2014 Carolyn Yoder Alumni Workshop.

Our editor/instructor Carolyn used the galley of Like a River by Kathy Cannon Wiechman as an example of forthcoming works published by Calkins Creek. The next morning, one of the attendees brought a copy of an entry in her cabin’s guestbook – written by Kathy in March 2011 BEFORE she had a published book. One of her back-to-back workshops was “Life in the Spotlight” with Peter Jacobi.

Her comment about the workshop reads in part, “It seems as though I’ve put the cart before the horse. When an opportunity comes along to fill your cart with valuable stuff, sometimes you just have to do it and hope you’ll get that horse soon. Or maybe I’ll have to buy a mule.”

Four years and one month later, almost to the day, we get to AFTER. Like a River has a release date of April 7. I’ve read that galley of an intriguing novel of two Union soldiers who should not be in the Army – Leander who is underage and Polly (AKA Paul) who manages to keep it secret that she is a girl. Kathy takes the reader through hunger and thirst, death, and Andersonville Prison compelling the reader for “just one more chapter” in hopes of finding some relief for Leander and Polly/Paul. The satisfying conclusion leaves the reader thinking of where they proceed from here, not quite wanting to let them go.

I’d say Kathy doesn’t need to buy that mule. She already has a thoroughbred heading into the home stretch of the Derby.