Rising Sun Gallery and Art Studios and the Churchill County Library will present on Saturday and Sunday author and former LVN reporter Stephanie Carroll who will read from her debut novel “A White Room.”
Carroll said she owes much of her novel’s success to Fallon where she was inspired with the initial story idea, conducted her research, and developed her writing.
“When my husband was stationed in Fallon with the U.S. Navy, I had just finished college. I had an agreement with the LVN to write one article a week and nothing else as far as career possibilities,” Carroll said. “I felt lost, overwhelmed and trapped. To deal with these emotions I did a free write about a woman who was experiencing something similar. It turns out writing about my character’s pursuit of purpose was how I found my own.”
Although Carroll holds degrees in social science and history, she had not focused on the time period she wanted the novel to take place in, so she sought out more information at the Churchill County Library.
“I still remember the first time I stepped into the local library and perused the shelves until I discovered a book about home life in Victorian America, which further fueled ideas for my story,” Carroll said. “I then spent six months researching out of that library, each new piece of history giving me another idea for the story.”
While working on her novel during her spare time, Carroll continued to pursue professional writing through journalism, slowly working her way up to part-time freelancer and full-time beat reporter until eventually she not only wrote articles but also edited the community pages. She went on to win first-place awards from the National Newspaper Association and Nevada Press Association.
“I learned so much from the LVN that has helped me with this novel, not just writing and editing, but also marketing, public relations, social media promotion, pagination design and public speaking,” Carroll said. “I have so many skills from working there that I am still using every day.”
Carroll’s novel, “A White Room,” explores America’s “Gilded Age” – post Civil War to turn of the 20th Century – through the eyes of Emeline Evans, a young woman who dreams of becoming a nurse. Her dreams are extinguished when her father’s sudden death renders her family destitute. To help provide for her mother and siblings, Emeline sacrifices her ambitions to marry lawyer John Dorr, a man she barely knows.
John immediately moves his new bride away from her family in St. Louis to the remote Missouri town of Labellum, where he has purchased a foreboding house that taunts and haunts the sorrowful Emeline. Finding no comfort from her workaholic husband or purpose in domestic life, Emeline edges toward madness; the furniture twists and turns, people stare out from empty rooms, and a wild beast lurks outside. Diagnosed with hysteria, prescribed bed rest, and relegated to seclusion in her white bedroom, Emeline further succumbs to the terrors of the house.
In a moment of desperation, Emeline flees the house and stumbles upon an opportunity to serve the poor as an unlicensed nurse. Although acts of disobedience would seal her fate as a psychologically defective woman, she finds great solace in this secret act of defiance – despite the added danger of John’s employer, who viciously hunts down and prosecutes unlicensed medical practitioners.
Carroll and her husband changed duty stations again in 2011 back to Lemoore, Calif., where Carroll finished her novel and went on to publish it.
“By the time we left, we had both fallen in love with Fallon and the people who lived there, and we were sad to leave, but so happy from the experiences, friendships, and dreams we discovered there,” Carroll said. “It’s kind of like our second home.” IF YOU GO
“A White Room” is now available in print and eBook on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The eBook is also available on Apple’s iBook Store, Smashwords, Sony, Kobo and more. Carroll will be doing readings in Fallon on Saturday at 3 p.m., and on Sunday at 1 p.m., at the Rising Sun Gallery and Art Studios. Books will be available and a portion of proceeds will be donated to the gallery for the continued promotion of the arts
Learn more at www.stephaniecarroll.net