Author Deborah Reed used to live in Orlando back in the 1980's. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest and her book "Carry Yourself Back to Me" had just been published. She read a chapter of the book at Urban ReThink. The main character in the book is Annie Walsh, a singer and songwriter , who has sequestered herself away in a small rural Orlando home after her husband, 0wen, left her for another woman. Owen was her muse, and since he left she was unable to sing anymore. A cricket was chirping a lovely serenade under her porch and her brother, Calder, explained that only one male cricket sang at a time. The lady crickets are mesmerized by the song. The silent male crickets sneak up on the females who are lost in lust for the singer, and snatch them away. The sad part is that the singer is short lived. He dies off long before the silent types who steal the women.
The book offered a nostalgic look at rural Central Florida. When asked where the book took place, Deborah said she was describing Clermont, out by Howell Branch Road. Of course the tangelo groves she described have been replaced with strip malls and housing developments. Deborah is a big fan of the rhythmic sentence. She would go through her copy adding comas and taking them out until the sentence had just the right cadence. She isn't a songwriter herself but she does identify with Annie, the main character.
The drama escalated when Calder is accused of murder. He fell in love with a married Scandinavian woman and her husband was murdered. The number of affairs and family secrets was astonishing. I had to pick up a copy of the book and yesterday I read it cover to cover. I'm not that voracious of a reader, but I couldn't put it down. The sweet smell of citrus, the springs and an unexpected winter frost all bring Central Florida vividly alive. All of the characters made mistakes and had to live with the consequences. News of the murder brings Annie's husband, Owen back to her. But she may have been waiting for the wrong man.
Star struck, I asked Deborah to sign my sketch.