Raleigh Harmon Novels
by Sibella Giorello
When Sibella Giorella won a Christy Award for her debut novel, The Stones Cry Out, it was natural to wonder if she could maintain the momentum and continue to grow as a writer. There have been many one-hit-wonders in fiction, some by choice (Harper Lee), and others because they apparently didn’t have any more to offer.
Then along came The River Runs Dry and Sibella proved she and her main character Raleigh Harmon had a lot more to offer. Raleigh was a character with depth working in a profession where faith is hard to come by. That was followed by The Clouds Roll Away and The Mountains Bow Down. It was then that I noted in a review:
Every time I begin a novel by this gifted author I always think, “This isn’t the kind of book I usually read.” But it never takes more than a couple of pages for me to forget such a misguided notion and find myself sucked in by Giorello’s first-person immediacy, unvarnished honesty, and determination to peel back the façade of human goodness to reveal what lies beneath. It isn’t just the vain lives of the Hollywood elite who are being exposed in this story. Raleigh Harmon, a believer, is having yet another layer of duplicity scraped away in a painful process of self-discovery. And it is the depth of her character and the power of the author’s prose that keeps me coming back.
An now Raleigh Harmon is reaching the end of her journey with what is probably the last in the series, The Stars Shine Bright. I’ll be reviewing the novel in next week’s Thursday review installment. Until then, here are few things the author shared during the course of several interviews she has done with me. Once you finish reading you can listen to Sibella in an interview she granted me at Fiction Addict.
On “Christian” Fiction: “The truly great writers who were believers, like Charles Dickens and Flannery O’Connor, didn’t write explicitly “Christian” literature. They didn’t see the world in terms of “us and them.” They wrote stories that brought fractional worlds together, forming a complete picture of life. As believers, they also loved their characters as themselves. Even the bad guys. You can feel that when you read their work. So … instead of worrying about whether we’re writing “Christian fiction,” we should work at being authentic Christians who write whatever God puts on our hearts. And let it fall where it falls. The rest is just noise”.
Just for Writers: “I always want to tell fellow writers: ‘Lock and load!’ All the junk that’s supposedly keeping you from writing will always be there — always. In fact, once you get published, the challenges only grow. So if you want to write, write. Ignore that voice whispering in your ear, the one that insists ten or twenty times a day that you should just quit. Don’t quit. Fight back. FIGHT BACK.And when you need to call in reinforcements, read James Scott Bell’s “The War of Art for Writers.” You’ll see just how clearly the battle lines are drawn for us foot soldiers at the keyboard. Semper Fi, scribes. Semper Fi”.
Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mt. Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons.