Katherine Andraski, an instructor in Northern Illinois University’s English Department, has penned a novel, The River Caught Sunlight.
Andraski will be discussing the book at several upcoming events at Barnes & Noble booksellers, including a 6 p.m. book signing Thursday, Nov. 20, at Rockford’s Cherryvale Mall location (7200 Harrison, Rockford) and a 7 p.m. book signing on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at Oakland Place Shopping Center, 2439 Sycamore Road, in DeKalb.
“For me, writing for me is a healing art. This was such a painful time in my life that the novel wouldn’t release me until I was dumped into a deep peace. But it took thirty years of writing and rewriting to make the story come right,” Andraski says.
The River Caught Sunlight chronicles a young woman’s struggle to balance her values against the conflicting demands and expectations of her family, faith and career. The overview of the book reads as follows:
“Sometimes a person has to leave home, even if that home is the most marvelous place she’s ever lived, even if her mother will be diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her beloved farmer, a man she’s loved for years asks her to marry him. Janice Westfahl feels called to publicize Godspeed Books, a small evangelical publisher outside Chicago, a good thousand miles away from upstate New York. The job fits her, a woman who loves God and books.
“But Janice finds herself working with Jeremiah Sackfield, a radical right-wing activist, who toys with revolution. Even though she is a brilliant publicist, Janice feels like she is betraying herself by promoting a cause she doesn’t believe in. Like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son story, her brother has stayed home, furious his sister has dodged the painful months of his mother’s dying, while earning their father’s favor. When her father dies, they must settle the estate with this jealousy flickering between them.”
The River Caught Sunlight is a fictional retelling of Andraski’s work with Frank Schaeffer.
He comments, “It’s odd to find my darker self fictionalized. But in another life (as it were), Katie and I traveled together when she was doing publicity work for my right wing evangelical crusades. Like all good writers, Katie has plucked her story from her life. This book has a piercing insight at its heart as humane as it is damning of religion gone off the rails.”
Andraski teaches rhetoric, composition and developmental writing at NIU. She worked for several years as a publicist in Christian publishing where she convinced editors at Newsweek, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Moody, and Christianity Today to publicize her company and authors. She has an MFA from the University of Arkansas. Her collection of poetry, When the Plow Cuts, was published in 1988 by Thorntree Press.