Alyssa Warren spent a muddy, scruffy, happy childhood in the creeks and abandoned homesteads of South Dakota, before completing a BA in English Literature at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, and an MA at the University of Sydney, Australia. She has taught creative writing and modern British literature at the Universidad San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador, and has served as a contributing editor for Surface magazine, covering art, design and fashion. She is an artist, printmaker and photographer based in East London, where she lives with her husband and three sons.
Her debut novel, Not the Only Sky, was published by Black & White in April 2017.
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NOT THE ONLY SKY — Buy it here
‘Wait. Patient. Now. Not long. Good girl. Wait here. Brave girl. Think of it as a vacation.’ ‘Back in a jiffy.’
Big Bend, population 500, South Dakota, 1988. Eight-year-old Tiny Mite lives in a ramshackle farmhouse next to her grandfather’s crashed airplane and the pine tree where she trains as a spy. Goddamn is her favourite word. Taking pictures with her camera made of aluminium foil and a tin can is her new big thing. She lives with Bee, her apocalypse-obsessed grandmother and Luvie, her hard-drinking great-aunt. And then there’s her mother Velvet, beautiful and desperate, still in love with her high school boyfriend who she left to have a brief fling with Tiny Mite’s absent father. One night, Tiny Mite hears a cry, but it’s not what she imagines. And nothing will ever be the same. Six years later, Clea won’t let anyone call her Tiny Mite anymore. Luvie has fallen in love with a pastor, and Bee’s health is failing. Velvet is gone, and nobody except Bee, who can’t bring herself to turn her back on her daughter, will even mention her name. Containing a wonderfully engaging and eccentric cast of characters who live long in the memory, this is the story of mothers and daughters, people bound by blood and geography, moments captured and lifetimes lost, and things never quite turning out as expected.
“Not The Only Sky is not only beautifully and poignantly written, but also provides fascinating insights into life in rural America. Alyssa Warren captures perfectly the profound vulnerability of her characters, particularly that of Tiny Mite and her mother Velvet. Tiny Mite’s voice is highly original, as she gives meaning to a life and childhood experiences that might otherwise be impossible to make sense of.” – Juliet Conlin, author of The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days
PUBLISHER: Black and White Publishing
PUBLICATION DATE: 27 April 2017