Fifty-something Kate LaRue has her life pretty much in order. She owns a home on Cape Cod near her beloved gift shop, The Sea Witch Art and Gifts, in Yarmouth. She lives a quite life, keeps to herself—a little reclusive, but not unhappy.
And while that’s how a story might start out, things don’t usually stay that way. Soon Kate finds herself with custody of her young granddaughter, Glory, an introverted child who doesn’t speak. With no notion as to who Glory’s father might be, Kate tries to piece together that last decade of her estranged daughter’s life and finds herself having to reach out and reconnect to people in her life that she’d lost meaningful contact with. Drawing Glory out of her shell means drawing Kate out of hers, as well.
“Seeking Glory” is the first novel from author Patricia Hamilton Shook. Ms. Shook, who lives in Sharon, spent her summers visiting the Cape and staying at her grandmother’s cottage in Harwichport. “Those summer vacations included some of the best memories of my childhood. The cottage was on a narrow little street that deadened on Nantucket Sound. It was primitive even by mid-20th century standards—no phone, no TV, no hot running water—but we didn’t care as it was part if its charm,” she said. Ms. Shook now owns a time share on the Cape that she visits every July.
Ms. Shook rates her interest in writing just behind her interest in reading. “I love Cape Cod and have always wanted to write a book taking place there,” she said.
A psychologist by day, Ms. Shook used her background and interests to direct the novel. “I was inspired by the idea of how past experiences can affect current beliefs and behavior,” she said, adding that she loves mysteries in the vein of Agatha Christie.
With the character of Kate, Ms. Shook said, she liked the idea of an independent woman she could identify with. While the character isn’t based on anyone specific, Ms. Shook said that the conflict, for women, between work and family, is not uncommon. “I think that it’s not unusual for a successful single woman who is also a parent to run into problems where work impacts family life in a negative way,” she said. Ms. Shook said Kate’s response to her situation developed as she was writing the story.
As she still works full-time Ms. Shook said that she primarily wrote her novel when time allowed. “I don’t have a specific writing time other than primarily on weekends. Initially I had no intention to publish it. I just wanted to write it for the fun of it and because I felt inspired.”
Ms. Shook said she hopes people will enjoy the mystery element of the story but also connect with the characters, “and perhaps see something of themselves in them.”
“I would also hope my readers would all gain an appreciation of Cape Cod,” she said.
Along with “don’t give up,” Ms. Shook’s advised aspiring authors to learn about marketing before they publish, “no matter who is your publisher.”
Ms. Shook said she’s currently working on a second novel with some of the same themes, “but in a different setting.”
“Seeking Glory” is available at Yellow Umbrella in Chatham, Booksmith/Musicsmith in Orleans, Eight Cousins Bookstore in Falmouth, and Titcomb’s Bookshop in Sandwich.