Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Erin Bartel’s new book, We Hope for Better Things.
Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature.
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Erin Bartels has been named one of “the greatest up-and-coming fiction writers today” by the Saturday Evening Post. In her debut novel, We Hope for Better Things, Bartels offers an expertly crafted story that blends family drama, mystery, and romance in a richly satisfying, multifaceted novel.
When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, he poses a strange request—that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos. This appeal doesn’t seem worthy of her time until she loses her job and finds herself with nothing but time.
Elizabeth’s journey takes her to her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse, where she uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.
Bartels has stated that her goal in writing is to deliver a novel “that captures the big emotions inherent in small moments and to tackle sprawling issues in specific details.” She has masterfully achieved her objective in We Hope for Better Things. Readers will be transported on an emotional journey through time—from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War—to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.
Q&A with Erin Bartels
I know an idea is good when…it won’t leave me alone.
The best day of my life (so far!) was when…I married my high school sweetheart.
To de-stress, I like to…get outside and take a solo walk at the nature center.
I stay in touch with the world through…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more…really, it’s too much and were I not a writer with a great writing community I interact with largely online, I think I’d delete the whole mess and go off the grid.
I want to see…all the big National Parks out West.
I keep organized by…purging everything I don’t need—emails, papers, the general sort of stuff that accumulates throughout life. Unfortunately, my purging impulse is in direct opposition to my husband’s hoarding impulse.
I wish I could travel to…Scotland.
Three guests at my dream dinner party would be…my husband and our best friends, Ted and Kristin, who moved away a few years ago. I never have more fun than when we’re all together.
Erin Bartels has been a publishing professional for more than fifteen years. Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in the Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. A freelance writer and editor, she is a member of Capital City Writers and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and is former features editor of WFWA’s Write On! magazine. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with her husband, Zachary, and their son, Calvin, and can be found online at www.erinbartels.com. We Hope for Better Things is her first novel.