Viola Shipman
AUTHOR

Viola Shipman

Dear Reader: Welcome! I'm SO glad you're here! I am the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of over a dozen books that have been translated into 21 languages. I write fiction under the pen name, Viola Shipman, as a tribute to my working poor Ozarks grandma, whose family stories, heirlooms and love inspire my novels and inspired me to become a writer. My novels are a tribute to family and our elders and meant to inspire hope. My grandma used to say, "Life is as short as one blink of God's eye, but we too often forget what matters most in that blink." As a result, my novels are meant to remind readers of what's most important in life: Each other. My new summer novel, The Edge of Summer, is a deeply personal story, woven from beautiful memories of my childhood. The novel is inspired by my grandma’s buttons and button jars. I grew up in grandmas’ sewing rooms, playing with those buttons as they sat behind their Singers making my school clothes or turning scraps into beautiful quilts. These small moments changed my life and perspective on life profoundly. My Grandma Shipman stitched overalls at a local factory until she couldn’t stand straight. And my Grandma Rouse was also an accomplished seamstress. But even after sewing all day for work, nothing brought them more joy than finding the perfect pattern or creating their own designs and taking a seat at their Singers. It represented one of the first times in my life I was able to witness in real time what happens when talent meets inspiration. My grandmothers both had Singer sewing machines, and I thought they were the most beautiful things in the world: Black with a beautiful gold inlay pattern atop the original, old treadle oak cabinet, glowing with a rich patina. Moreover, they had jars and tins – even old Crayola boxes – filled with beautiful buttons that lined their cabinets and shelves. I still have many of them to this day. As I write in The Edge of Summer, Miss Mabel tells her daughter, Sutton, the following, inspired by my grandmas’ own words to me: “Look at these beautiful buttons. So many buttons in my jars: Fabric, shell, glass, metal, ceramic. All forgotten. All with a story. All from someone and somewhere. People don’t give a whit about buttons anymore, but I do. They hold value, these things that just get tossed aside. Buttons are still the one thing that not only hold a garment together but also make it truly unique. Lots of beauty and secrets in buttons if you just look long and hard enough.” My grandmothers were like ballerinas at their Singers, their bodies in motion and in tune with the machine. It was a gorgeous dance to watch. They were also the first “artists” I ever knew, though they were never called that and would turn red today at the mere utterance of such a fancy word. But they taught me to create. To take pride in what I created. To continue perfecting my talent. The Edge of Summer is inspired by these memories. It’s also inspired by the thoughts that spun in my head as I watched them sew, especially as I grew older: What were my grandmas like before they were my grandmas? Did I know everything about them? Where did this love of – and great skill for – sewing come from? And, although I knew of their sacrifices, I wondered how much they truly had to sacrifice – and maybe even hide – in order to get here, right now, happy and sewing in a home with their grandchild watching them work? Like Miss Mabel in The Edge of Summer, my grandmothers overcame so much in their childhoods. But I know it didn’t come easy. It never does. In today’s age, we have so much information at our fingertips. We seek out our ancestry. We search to find who we were. We want to know how our families came to be. My grandma used to say, “We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know from where we came.” We seek that more than ever these days. As with every novel I write, The Edge of Summer seeks to answer an important question. In this novel, it is this: Why do we too easily and too often go in search of shinier luxuries and people— things we believe will fill our lives with more happiness and importance—when true worth already lies inside and in front of us if we are just capable of opening our eyes and hearts enough to see it? The Edge of Summer is a timely reminder of the beauty of family, faith, finding your own strength and coming home.  I wrote this novel to remind readers that families are not perfect. They never will be. But – if we were blessed to be loved by our families, as flawed as it may have been, and even if our parents were not who we wished they had been or the love they gave was not as much or as demonstrative as we would have liked – we were still blessed to be loved. At its heart, this novel seeks to ask if we should be thankful for those sacrifices and if maybe, just maybe, that love is enough for us to stitch together a beautiful life and a future. I truly hope you love The Edge of Summer. And I’m so excited my new holiday/winter novel, A Wish for Winter, will publish this fall! All my best for a beautiful, blessed spring & summer! XOXO! Here's more about The Edge of Summer! *** Bestselling author Viola Shipman delights with this captivating summertime escape set along the sparkling shores of Lake Michigan, where a woman searches for clues to her secretive mother's past Devastated by the sudden death of her mother—a quiet, loving and intensely private Southern seamstress called Miss Mabel, who overflowed with pearls of Ozarks wisdom but never spoke of her own family—Sutton Douglas makes the impulsive decision to pack up and head north to the Michigan resort town where she believes she’ll find answers to the lifelong questions she’s had about not only her mother’s past but also her own place in the world. Recalling Miss Mabel’s sewing notions that were her childhood toys, Sutton buys a collection of buttons at an estate sale from Bonnie Lyons, the imposing matriarch of the lakeside community. Propelled by a handful of trinkets left behind by her mother and glimpses into the history of the magical lakeshore town, Sutton becomes tantalized by the possibility that Bonnie is the grandmother she never knew. But is she? As Sutton cautiously befriends Bonnie and is taken into her confidence, she begins to uncover the secrets about her family that Miss Mabel so carefully hid, and about the role that Sutton herself unwittingly played in it all. “The minute I finished, I ordered copies for all my friends. It’s that good.”—Kristy Woodson Harvey, New York Times bestselling author XOXO, Viola
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