Got a call yesterday from Michele Holley Jones, who lives on Molokai. “My husband is publishing a book, a debut novel, that is getting a lot of national and international attention,” she said in a voicemail message. “It might be an interesting feature for your newspaper because it is quite astonishing.”
Her husband is Brandon Jones and his first novel, All Woman And Springtime, really is getting published by Algonquin Books this spring. The novel follows the plight of two teenage North Korean girls caught in human trafficking. Now as a budding novelist who, like many, struggled to find a book publisher, Holley’s message sounded miraculous. Then I found this June 1, 2011 Molokai Dispatch article on Jones’ book.
“Jones began writing the book in February 2009, finishing nine months later,” reported Mark Hayden. “Ordinarily, the book industry ‘moves at a glacial pace,’ according to Jones. He talked to countless numbers of literary agents, only be denied with the ‘default answer in the publishing industry: no. Then the couple’s friend, The Color Purple author Alice Walker, stepped in. Jones said she read his book and helped him find a book agent, which then led to a deal with publishing company Algonquin Books.”
Ahhh, of course. So a complete unknown can get a major book deal–when said complete unknown is a friend of one of the most famous authors in the U.S. (on Jones’ website, Walker calls the book “One of the most absorbing, chilling, beautifully written and important novels I’ve read in many years”).
Astonishing, no, but it is interesting.
In any case, they’re holding a launch party at 6pm on Monday, Apr. 30 at the bookstore on Molokai. So if you’re on Molokai then, stop by. Looks like Jones is definitely going places.
Photo of Jones: Michele Holley Jones