Character preview: Meet Anniston Harlan

Though the polar vortex threatens to bring down glaciers anew upon my already ice-age-flattened state, the excitement surrounding the release of my debut novel is warming up! If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my newsletter (on the right hand navigation bar of this page) to catch the latest news and information as the March 1 release date approaches. In the meantime, over the next few weeks, I want to introduce you to a few of the key characters in the novel.

As such, meet Anniston Harlan, the leading protagonist in How Sweet the Sound.


“I thought I’d lived through everything by the time I was thirteen.”


So says Anniston in the very first sentence of How Sweet the Sound. Thirteen years old and precocious, through her eyes we watch as crime and tragedy plays out in her family. We watch as she tries to make sense of folks who believe what other people think of them is more important than standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. We watch as she finds out how mean the world can be, and that often–too often–that meanness comes from family.


She thought she’d lived through everything.

And she had, if you count hurricanes and tornadoes, riding the big yellow bus to school, playing in creeks, watching the growth and harvest, the budding and the fall of acres of pecans, and the steadfast love of a father.

She’s spunky and fearless, compliant and shy. She’s sheltered, but she’s a dreamer. She’s wise beyond her years, but young enough to hold on to hope.

This is Anniston, the girl I’ve played with, talked with, laughed with and wept with for the last few years as this story has formed.

She’s lived through everything but freedom…

 And I can’t wait for you to meet her.


“Like a pecan farmer knows in his bones when his crops are destined for a storm, I always knew something was off-kilter about my family, even before the shootings. Life around here was like a hiccuping movie reel at school, one of those the teacher tries every which way to fiddle with, turning the projector knob back and forth to try to bring focus, glimpses of clarity skipping by, crooked frames never quite settling in.”





Question for you:

If you’re a fan of coming-of-age and/or Southern fiction, who is your favorite protagonist?


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