A thumbnail bio
& and a thumbnail photo
At the beginning of my writing career, I worked as a free-lance journalist in the Rockies, and wrote about endangered species. That's how I came across the true story that grew into to my first novel, Pleasure of Believing. My second novel, Small Kingdoms is set in the Middle East, where I lived for five years between the two Gulf wars. It was inspired by real events too. Most recently, I lived for three years in Norway. I'd like to write about that beautiful place, too, but my current work in progress, The Lost Art of Blue, is set here at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's an intense story, the first I've ever tried in first person, so it's a first-first. You can read about it below. It's just about done.
The story at the core of this book was inspired by an incident I learned of at first hand during my five years in the Middle East. A young Indian housemaid is held captive in a Kuwaiti villa. Beaten, tortured, and raped by her legal employers, she is one of the legions of migrant workers in the Middle East who live on the edge of brutal slavery. It's a story of attempted rescue. A wealthy Kuwaiti housewife, a young American mom, and a rebellious Palestinian woman, are brought together by a teenaged Indian girl, who risks everything to save her desperate friend locked in the villa next door.
"Captivating . . . . Hobbet gracefully renders her diverse characters and all their competing prejudices . . . ." --The New York Times
Roberta Shea's neighbors call her the bird-woman and think she's a little bit nuts. Maybe she is. She's given up her heritage--the Uncle John Ranch--and converted one of her barns into a hospital for injured birds, many of them gunshot by locals. Working with a young local vet, she begins training her niece, who's visiting Wyoming from California, to help her care for the birds. When more than a dozen rare bald eagles are found dead in a nearby canyon, Roberta immediately suspects her neighbor Carl, a life-
long friend, of poisoning the birds to protect his sheep. Roberta's decisions threaten all her relationships, including her marriage and the balance of the community that has supported her family for more than a hundred years. The true incident, a mass poisoning of eagles in Wyoming, galvanized passage of the Endangered Species Act.
"Suspenseful, wonderfully written . . . . " --Kirkus Reviews
And the novel I'm working on now
It's not true that time heals all wounds. If your mother dies when you're a little kid, and everyone around you falls silent for decades, the passage of time only blurs the critical details they should have passed on to you. It's like living at the bottom of an old meteorite crater: the result of the impact remains, and the horizon is always above you.
Ginnie remembers her mother's gentle smile--maybe. She was only three at the time. Raised by her restless, irritable father and his tyrannical mother, she finds herself, at 38, alone and unable to curb her increasingly acerbic, impatient personality. The one man she wants to keep in her life has left her; her beloved younger half-brother is off on another assignment as a war zone photojournalist; and her only close friend is being threatened by his ex. The things that used to keep her steady in bad times don't help anymore--art, books, movies, and mountain hikes. Not even the family heirloom she's always cherished helps her now, a glowing piece of cobalt blue glass from an ancient French chapel. When both her father and grandmother fall dangerously ill, she realizes that all the family history they've never talked about will die with them. But what exactly is there to know?
For Ginnie, the answer may lie in the blue glass.