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Title: For Good
Author: Karelia Stetz-Waters
Publisher: Hachette Book Group (Forever Romance)
Genre: Lesbian Romance
Release Date: 07/05/2016
How do you choose between your life . . . and your heart?
In this too-small, dusty town, brand-new district attorney Kristen Brock knows she’ll never fit in. Still, the job will look great on her résumé—if she can just keep her head down and play by the rules. Because in a town run by a self-serving, powerful family, the last thing Kristen needs is trouble . . . but one kiss from the beautiful ex-rodeo queen Marydale Rae turns her world upside down. And Marydale is definitely trouble.
Marydale didn’t intend to hide her past from Kristen, but the prospect of a friend who doesn’t know she spent time in prison is too tempting to pass up. Add in the passionate night they share, and Marydale never wants Kristen to know the truth. But small towns don’t keep secrets, and the powerful Holten clan is determined to destroy anything and anyone who makes Marydale happy.
On Writing For Good
I never identified with writers who said their characters took on lives of their own. I’m organized. (Some would say anal.) Things don’t get away from me. My cat comes when called, and that’s how I like it. But Marydale Rae, the ex-felon rodeo queen in my fifth novel, For Good, got away from me. She was supposed to be a professor, maybe a graduate student, maybe an art dealer. That is to say, she was supposed to be me: middle-class, respectable, and definitely unfamiliar with the inside of a prison.
When I look back, I was fated to write a prison narrative. I was binge watching Orange Is the New Black. My wife worked for the Parole Board. One day, a friend from work asked me if I’d like to go to a poetry reading at the maximum security prison. If there’s one thing I believe all writers must do, it’s seek out experiences. If it’s edible, eat it!
I said yes, and, on the appointed day, gave up my purse, my keys, my phone, my underwire bra, the change in my pocket, and my driver’s license in return for a visitor’s badge. I expected that when confronted with the inmate poets, I would see only their sins, but it was hard to see past their nervousness and their clear and earnest desire to share their poetry. They reminded me of my students.
Soon thereafter, several of my colleagues banded together to help plead for clemency for a young woman sentenced to twenty years for being present at a robbery in which her abusive older brother shot and killed a man. She was sixteen. He was her only family. Her clemency was denied.
Many women are in the system because of the actions of men. People of color and sexual minorities are disproportionately represented among the incarcerated. My wife, who has worked as a judge and an attorney, has noted that felons are one of the most courteous demographics she has encountered in law, far more likely to say “yes ma’am” than people contesting a traffic ticket or an unemployment ruling.
Through this kaleidoscope of experiences and observations, Marydale Rae was born. A hotheaded lesbian teenager in a small, conservative town she refused to be closeted, and for a few years her kindness, beauty, and prowess in the rodeo pageants made her untouchable. But when a powerful businessman’s son finds out that Marydale has seduced his girlfriend, he wants revenge. Marydale kills him in self-defense and the town and its inbred court system turn against her and convict her of murder. An early parole only expands the size of her prison cell. The conditions of her parole require that she stay in the county—a pariah and an object of pity—and that she refrain from associating with any lesbians or gays or any woman she might be interested in dating. Her parole officer looks for any possible reason to throw her back in jail. Her life seems to have stalled…until, Kristen Brock, an ambitious district attorney moves to town and unwittingly wins Marydale’s heart.
About the Author
Karelia Stetz-Waters is an English professor by day and a writer by night (and early morning). She has a BA from Smith College in comparative literature and an MA in English from the University of Oregon. Other formative experiences include a childhood spent roaming the Oregon woods and several years spent exploring Portland as a broke twentysomething, which is the only way to experience Oregon’s strangest, most beautiful city.
Her other works include The Admirer, The Purveyor, and Forgive Me if I’ve Told You This Before. She lives with her wife, Fay, her dog, Willa Cather, and her cat, Cyrus the Disemboweler.
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