Debut author Tamara Valentine's What the Waves Know tells the story of a young woman's quest to recover her past and find herself after an incident when she was six years old robbed her of her voice. The novel went on sale earlier this year to great praise: Kirkus Reviews called it, "A novel rich in mythology and childhood secrets.... This dreamy coming-of-age mystery unfolds in tantalizing waves with keen insight and lush prose," while Booklist said, "With the sass of Fannie Flagg and the subtle magic of Alice Hoffman, this short but powerful book should find readers of many generations." Tamara has stopped by LLF today to share a behind-the-scenes look at What the Waves Know and her own history with libraries.
Where I come from people aren’t born—they sprout. I grew up traipsing through thousands of acres of farmland, barefoot and bareback, astride a buckskin quarter horse in the heart of apple country in upstate New York.
A person can only watch apples grown for so long before it loses its entertainment value, so those who settled the region became skilled story builders, crafting such a rich array of folk religions that by the time the Erie Canal made it to town filled to the brim with barges and missionaries, there was nobody left to convert. My town is home to Mormonism, the Millerites, the Fox sisters’ spiritualists, the Publik Universalists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Shakers, the Oneida Society, an active Iroquois nation, thriving Amish and Mennonite communities—and the list goes on. It is the reason I integrated a plethora of lore from diverse traditions in What the Waves Know.