Tuesday, March 11, 2014

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO - Karma or Coincidence? Countdown (Grant Jerkins)

If you've read this intro more than twice, I forbid you to read it again. Just go straight to ordering my book. ;

As some of you may know, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, my second novel for young adults officially comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Skybut also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all be coincidences, “but something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and/or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question, “Karma or coincidence? Random or something magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.

- gae

Ah, today I have my friend Grant Jerkins, author of the seriously page-turning crime novels, A Very Simple Crime, The End of the Road, The Ninth Step, and a forthcoming one in January 2015.  If you've missed any of them, what is wrong with you?

At any rate, Grant has his own interpretation of this topic (and so, I may have felt the need to chime in at times. . . that's me in red. . . and, um, I may have added a footnote or two. Grant knows why. . . ) Anyway, here he is:

Gae asked me to contribute some kind of spook story to her blog. 

(Gae: That is a LIE. Nobody said "spook story," but whatever).

Well, okay. I’ll share a story. This story is not going to end with the words, “And it was the ghost of Abraham Lincoln!” though. I can tell you that much.

(Ahem. Fine. Whose did? Whatever. Just share!)

The thing is, I don’t really believe in all that crap. Except I kind of do. I don’t have some big drawn out story about how the spirit of my aunt Edna intervened from beyond the grave and saved my life.

(For a guy without a big drawn out story, you sure are talking a lot. But, seriously, Grant, who does? Have a drawn out story, I mean. We ALL have an aunt Edna, don't we? fn1. The stories shared thus far have been short and sweet and subtle, right?)

could this be a sign of Grant's mother?
But I do have little things I’ve experienced over the years. Like walking into an empty room to find that it smells strongly of a man’s cologne, and my immediate thought being that my long-dead grandfather was in the room with me.

Or watching a tiny fluffy feather float down and land at my feet, and for some reason believing that my mother just wanted to let me know that she was still with me. That she watched over me. 

Or how sometimes a Cardinal will alight on the handrail of my back deck, its deep red plumage demanding my attention. The bird seems to be watching me. And I always think the Cardinal has been sent by a friend who, in life, took great pride in dressing up in bright colors and making herself beautiful.

See? That's all I meant. No "spook stories."

So maybe all that stuff is real, and maybe it’s not. More important, I think, is if we choose to make it real. Because we can do that, you know. We can make it real.

We can choose to believe.fn2 Whether it’s really real is beside the point. Are you feeling me?

(I believe it is you, feeling me).

If a feather floats down through the air and lands at your feet, and your first thought is, “That’s Aunt Edna,” then go with that. Feel the love.

Or if someone close to you passed away and you feel guilty because there were bad feelings between you, and that feather makes you feel like the person is trying to tell you that you’re forgiven, then go with it. Feel the forgiveness. Because the feeling—that love or that forgiveness—it’s real.

(Yay, you're with me, Grant! You are with me! See?!) 

I remember one time, I was walking through the parking lot of our local Big Lots, and I looked down. There was a penny on the asphalt. Bright and shiny and glinting in the sun. It caught my eye.

I reached down for the penny. It was face-up. And so I stopped and wondered who would have put that penny in my path so that it would be there for me at that time on that day. And it was the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.

- Grant

(and, gae).


1. I don't really have an aunt Edna, don't tell anyone.

2. Actually, when I talk about THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, this is one of the things I talk about... that I didn't necessarily set out to answer the big questions of reincarnation in the story, so much as explore how we are open to magic and connections when we need them the most, and so, in the end, whether those connections are real or perceived is actually beside the point. So, good work here, Grant. ;) 

Please check out THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO and all of Grant's books including his newest, THE NINTH STEP. 


  1. Grant is rye and wicked Gae! But loveably funny. You on the other hand do appeal to my thoughtful spiritual side. I absolutely believe some of the most thrilling things Grant said... The longer I live the more cynical I become in a big way but in direct juxtaposition I also have totally become to believe in many of the spiritual things like friends I haven't talked to in twenty years or even thought of calling the next day after I did...Happens too often. Knowing just when a family member passed. That is real! GHOSTS...maybe all Grant and my mind will see is birds trying to communicate. Ive never seen anything else but I had a psychic tell me many things she couldn't have known... I am and will always be sick and torn because I thought she was an incredible flake but the things she said she could not have known. She told me my mother was gravely il. My mother called within the week with leukemia diagnosis. She told me my mom bought a new instrument she played like piano. She had just bought and I didn't know. I was at the ade to behave like an over educated pessimist and did. I am still unsure I could treat her better and she knew much more she couldn't know. Maybe she was a statistician but would not explain. What to believe in? I don't know but I don't like to think of what can be real! Humor...the great protector!

  2. Love your moments, Louanne! I'm like you, half skeptic, half total believer. Can I be both?! :) And, I agree about humor. Without it -- and compassion -- we are lost. Thanks for reading and sharing. xoxo