In Another Sun
Tortoise Books, 2020
In Another Sun tells the story of Vanessa Ochoa, the American-born only child of Mexican immigrants, who thinks she knows what she wants–until she gets it. The nonlinear narrative weaves in and out of key moments of her youth and adult life, including her decision to leave where and with whom she grew up, her successful ascension at a Denver PR firm, and a crisis that stirs her to redefine her life. This lyrical novel explores the themes of time and fate; family and complex characters; the emotions of place and memory; and hopeful perseverance against odds in pursuit of fickle desire.
In Another Sun tells the story of Vanessa Ochoa in a simultaneously urgent and unhurried voice, as she searches for a bridge between the known and the unknown in a too-short life. The novel pulses between the past and future, disappointment and possibility, with the steady surge of the Pacific toward which Vanessa is steadily aimed. In chronicling her journey with grace and empathy, Auten also shows how the American Dream, hatched in hope, can sour within a generation. It’s a moving, heartbreaking, and thoroughly immersive story. I’ll miss Vanessa, her insistent voice and her lost chances haunting long after the last page.
—Jeff Ewing, author of The Middle Ground
William Auten’s In Another Sun burns with haunting fire; it reminds us that our lives are often only truly experienced in fragments. We exist through the shards of our memories, through snippets of conversations, through what is and what could have been. Auten’s prose thoughtfully explores the powerful notion that, perhaps above all, our heart’s desire is simply to be known.
—Debbie Graber, author of Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday
Auten’s writing is lyrical, propulsive, and alive. In Another Sun is peopled with characters that will be familiar, but this is not a story you’ve read before. I was reminded of C.E. Morgan and that is high praise. Read this book.
—Alex Higley, author of Old Open
The ephemeral meets the inevitable in William Auten’s novel, In Another Sun. This story is a gift of words, strung together like beads on a twisting strand, leading us forward and backwards through Vanessa Ochoa’s life. Her reflective journey is an ode to time and grace, a story of lives intersecting and loves lost, of treasured connections and faith restored. Beautifully rendered and mesmerizing, In Another Sun is a book to treasure.
—Alice Kaltman, author of Staggerwing and Wavehouse
Black Rose Writing, 2016
2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist for Contemporary Fiction
Charlotte Alexandra Long is determined to create her own life, but severe reverberations await her at the crossroads of each decision and always the possibility that the very thing she put in place on her own terms could be wiped away by an uncertain future. As Pepper’s Ghost weaves in and out of her experiences as a teen and young adult, and locations in the South and Midwest, Alex emerges from the remains of young Charlotte, but her evolving identity will never escape being an outsider in society’s eyes. After a series of ill-fitting jobs, Alex joins a traveling amusement company as a sideshow performer, where illusion and reality interplay through the metaphor of an old theater trick. She faces challenges from her troubled but devoted father, her self-absorbed mother, a spectrum of circus employees, and emotional ties to memories and places that give solace in times of ambiguity and loneliness.
An immediately absorbing read, Pepper’s Ghost is a deftly crafted and consistently compelling novel that reveals author William Auten as a genuinely gifted and impressively skilled storyteller.
—Midwest Book Review
Pepper’s Ghost will lure readers into its depth. The young character is unlike most leading female characters. William Auten portrayed the realities of life along with fantasy in way that made readers like myself more curious. Memories and emotions were strong: it was easy to be swept up within them. Pepper’s Ghost is entertaining, mysterious, and deep.
—Urban Book Reviews
Bluestem, BULL, Crab Orchard Review, District Lit, Gravel, Illuminations, McNeese Review, the museum of americana, Permafrost, Sequestrum, Sliver of Stone, Slush Pile Magazine, Solstice, Split Lip, Superstition Review
“Moonflowers, Illuminations, 35, summer 2020
“Start of the Season,” Valparaiso Fiction Review, volume 9, issue 2, 2020
“Dioramas,” Tupelo Quarterly, 20, 2020
Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
Page 1, Albuquerque, NM
Chaucer’s, Santa Barbara, CA
Star Line Books, Chattanooga, TN
BookExpo America/BookCon, Chicago, IL
North American Review Bicentennial Celebration, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Bridgewater International Literature Festival, Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, VA
40th Annual Literature and Culture Conference, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Awards and Distinctions
“One Swift Effort,” honorable mention, 2019, 47th New Millennium Writing Awards
“Many and Many a Year Ago,” winner, 2019 Norton Girault Literary Prize in Fiction from Barely South Review (Old Dominion University)
“Sun on Snow on Mountains,” finalist, 2019 Great Midwest Writing Contest, Midwest Review
Pepper’s Ghost, finalist, 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award for Contemporary Fiction
Authors Talk, Superstition Review, 2018 (mp3, 6 mins.)
“Drop Off,” Sandy River Review, 2015 (mp3, 5 mins.)