“Thread for Pearls: A Story of Resilient Hope” Lauren Speeth | Elfenworks Productions Paperback | 978-0-9997071-0-4 | $16.95 | Sept. 6, 2018 eBook | 978-0-9997071-1-1 | $9.99 | June 4, 2018 Historical Fiction | Coming of Age
Debut novel journeys through eras of political turmoil with a message of overcoming struggles while finding yourself
SAN MATEO, California – Set during one of the most politically divisive eras in American history, Thread for Pearls is a coming-of-age tale that takes the reader on a wild ride as they experience for themselves what it was like to be a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Readers follow young heroine Fiona Sprechelbach as she experiences bomb scares and be-ins, ashrams and acid trips, finding her path to adulthood.
“Those were unsettling times to grow up in, and many were left feeling a bit estranged and unseen, like unicorns,” author Lauren Speeth said, adding, “I wrote the book to help heal that feeling, while still honoring that unique element in us all.”
Like the book, the author book tour will celebrate resilient hope and post-traumatic growth. Author readings will take place at selected nonprofits whose issues resonate with the storyline in some way. All of the proceeds from audience purchases during those evenings will be gifted to the nonprofit host.
Lauren Speeth has shared her stories in film and print over the years with audiences around the world, to critical acclaim. Her diverse storytelling interests cover many mediums: from books about the American experience to 3-D films about Irish spirituality, to music about love and life. In this, her first novel, she shares what she has come to understand as the fundamental human experience of resiliency and hope. When not dreaming up stories, Speeth leads Elfenworks Productions, LLC, a pro-social business with internationally acclaimed media content, and The Elfenworks Foundation, where she has assembled a team of social entrepreneurs who work together daily on projects that foster the greater good.
About the Book
A near-death experience in a car with her mother; running from tear gas at a Vietnam War rally hand-in-hand with her pop; a year in India learning side-by-side the country's "untouchables;" the highs and lows of living on a rural Pennsylvania commune... and all before Fiona Sprechelbach's thirteenth birthday.
Set during one of the most politically divisive eras in American history, Thread for Pearls is a coming-of-age tale that takes us on a young heroine’s journey to faith and freedom amidst a turbulent family dynamic. Two decades of American history, 1962 to 1982, are conveyed through the eyes of young Fiona Sprechelbach. It’s a story of resilient hope that questions whether it’s the events of our lives that define us or the thread on which we choose to string them.
About Lauren Speeth
An Interview with Lauren Speeth
1. How long did this book take to write?
It took about ten years. Why it took so long is that I had a lot of research to do, and I did it in fits and starts, also taking care of the other responsibilities of my life.
2. You have a very busy life. When do you make time to write?
I write on Fridays. I carve out the day and don’t go in to work at all.
3. Why did you write this book?
Why does anybody write anything? I wrote because it just had to be written. There was a story that wanted to be told and wouldn’t let me alone until I told it.
4. Any suggestions for would-be authors?
Get started. Just get everything down on paper. Then, you can edit later. Don’t be your worst critic.
5. What are your hopes for this book?
I love getting lost in a book, and entering another world. I wanted to try my hand at giving people that. My hope is that people will immerse themselves in the world of young Fiona Sprechelbach, and emerge with more hope – plus a few tools for life’s journey.
6. Who’s the audience?
Everyone... I hope. But seriously, maybe students who are the same age as Fiona towards the end of the book, or else people who’ve lived through the times I tell.
7. There are some very hard moments in the book.
Yes, there are. But then, every one of us faces hard moments. A book without them wouldn’t be very interesting or real. It certainly wouldn’t be a book that would interest me to write.
8. Why did you include the ones you did?
Fiona is a young girl, and as the #metoo movement has shown us this past year, it felt right to touch on something that’s so common as to be almost universal in our consciousness. But I could have chosen any number of other issues to write about the aftermath. What do you do with such experiences? That’s a key question explored in the book. I speak to students all over the world and some of them have faced things that are much worse than I depict in Thread for Pearls. Some are almost crushed by them. Others seem so lost and depressed. I think we could all use more stories of hope. I have tried to craft a book with post-traumatic growth, ending it on a strong note of hope.
9. Do you think a book set in the 1960s and ‘70s has relevance? Absolutely. I started
with the idea of focusing on a time in our American history that was quite difficult in a lot of ways, to bring an overarching message of transcending our circumstances that is always relevant. But as the writing progressed, I began seeing so many echoes from the ‘60s and ‘70s occurring today. There are protests, unrest, war... so many parallels to those days. Let’s see if the readers agree.
10. Why did you choose some of the character names that you did? I tried to choose
names that told you a little about the character you were meeting. For example, I had a lot of fun with a character who nicknamed himself “Cassowary” Cass. People who know their zoo animals understand that the cassowary is a bird that can be deadly, so this fellow was trying to say, “Look out!"
11. Last book to make you cry?
The book by Ursula LeGuin called No Time to Spare, because I was reading it at the time I found out she passed away. She was one of my favorite authors, growing up, and I’d so wanted to send her a copy of my book, imagining that somehow, she might say something kind to me about it. I miss her, even though I’ve never met her. Getting to know an author feels personal, somehow.
12. What genres do you avoid?
As a reader, I find I avoid horror. I have a vivid imagination, and my mind tends to run with the images I see, so I like to feed myself images of consolation, not desolation. That said, horror can be a great genre for really exploring some important social issues. In my own case, though, I opt for a sci- fi setting, because it helps me remember that what I’m seeing isn’t actually real.
13. What’s the most interesting thing you learned in a book recently? Madeleine
Albright’s most recent book, Fascism, A Warning, gave me a great new definition of the word. To her, a fascist is “someone who identifies strongly with and claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use whatever means are necessary – including violence – to achieve his or her goals. So, a tyrant needn’t be a fascist, though a fascist is very likely a tyrant. I love language, and this definition really fascinated me.
14. Best book you’ve read about cooking?
Oh, that’s a funny question. It’s an open secret that I’m a terrible cook. I’ve actually shattered Pyrex with my attempts. My first cookbook was The Joy of Cooking, though “joy” and “cooking” don’t really go together in my mind. I love cleaning up after other people cook.
15. What’s something readers don’t know about you?
I have always had dogs, but I’ve always secretly wanted a kitten, even though I’m very allergic to cats. I just think they’re so adorable. I guess The Rolling Stones were right that you can’t always get what you want. I do have what I need though, with my two puppies, Ginger and Nutmeg. They’re the best.