A unique look at the Jehovah Witnesses in the rural western United States and the logging industry in Northern California during the 1970s, By Way of Water addresses the devastating effects of poverty on rural families. Struggling to feed their children in an unforgiving California forest when there are no logging jobs to be found, Jake and Dale Colby make personal vows that only make matters worse. Jake will not accept help from the government or his neighbors, and Dale won’t allow him to hunt, believing her faith will sustain them. But one other member of the family makes a promise to herself. Seven-year-old Justy believes that she alone can hold the family together, even when her father’s violence resurfaces. With a clear insight and the deepest empathy, Justy isolates the stark realities around her, even as she dreams with her mother of a safe world that only God can promise.
How did you decide to create a trailer and what was your experience?
I am teaching a Digital Storytelling class and I wanted to learn the software; creating the book trailer seemed like a great first project. I used iMovie which was user friendly and made the process accessible and enjoyable. The image is so powerful (“Under” by Ines Batllo) so I felt it was strong enough to “carry” the narrative. It was a tremendous please to put this together, even as simple as it is, and I recommend it to any author considering creating a book trailer. The process itself was worth it.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am a firat generational college graduate and as such, I felt that education was changing my relationship to my family and to the place where I grew up. Writing this book helped me “locate” the time and place and people I come from with a sharp eye for landscape and characters caught in changing times.
Charlotte Gullick is a novelist, essayist, editor, educator and Chair of the Creative Writing Department at Austin Community College. A first-generation college graduate, she received her AA with High Honors from Santa Rosa Junior College, a BA with Honors in Literature/Creative Writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a MA in English/Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis.
Charlotte’s first novel, By Way of Water, was published by Blue Hen Books/Penguin Putnam and was chosen by Jayne Anne Phillips as the Grande Prize Winner of the Santa Fe Writer’s Project in 2002 and will be available November 2013 from the Santa Fe Writers Project.
Her other awards include a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship for Fiction, a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, a MacDowell Colony Residency, Faculty of Year from College of the Redwoods as well as the Evergreen State College 2012 Teacher Excellence Award. She has taught in the Travis County Correctional Complex and organized classes and literary events for Veterans in the Austin Community. Additionally, she has presented twice at the Associated Writing Programs Annual Conference (Washington, DC and Chicago, IL) on offering writing courses for Veterans.
She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and daughter.