Lorraine Tyler is the only queer person in Bend, Minnesota. Or at least that’s what it feels like when the local church preaches so sternly against homosexuality. Which is why she’s fighting so hard to win the McGerber scholarship—her ticket out of Bend—even though her biggest competition is her twin sister, Becky. And even though she’s got no real hope—not with the scholarship’s morality clause and that one time she kissed the preacher’s daughter.
Everything changes when a new girl comes to town. Charity is mysterious, passionate, and—to Lorraine’s delighted surprise—queer too. Now Lorraine may have a chance at freedom and real love.
But then Becky disappears, and Lorraine uncovers an old, painful secret that could tear the family apart. They need each other more than ever now, and somehow it’s Lorraine—the sinner, the black sheep—who holds the power to bring them together. But only if she herself can learn to bend.
How long did it take to write Bend?
Bend took me over twenty years to finish and find a publisher. I started the book while I was taking a class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. The Loft provides classes to improve the writing and advance the writing careers of writers in the community. I was taking a beginning fiction class with Ellen Hawley, author of The Divorce Diet, when I first heard what ended up being the narrator’s voice for Bend. At first I thought it was going to be a collection of stories about the momma, but over time the story took a different shape.
Mary Logue taught a class on plot for the Hamline University MFA program. That class helped me write a complete first draft of my novel. That was just the beginning of the revision process. I have over fifty electronic drafts of the novel before I found an agent. Then, my agent and I revised the novel. It took another couple years to sell. Next, I worked on revisions with my editors at Riptide. It was a long process. I can say that after completing my MFA at Hamline, I was able to write a first draft much more quickly.
About Nancy J. Hedin
I grew up in a small town in central Minnesota. That small town sensibility informs my writing and gives me interesting voices in my head and I strive to choose which voice to bring to the page.
I live in St. Paul with my partner, two daughters, one dog, one beared dragon, and two cats.
I have worked as a mental health crisis worker for over twenty years.
I love reading and getting my books signed by the author. I daydream about my own stories in book form and having others read them.
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To celebrate the release of Bend, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 13, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!