SOLD ON A MONDAY debuts August 28th!
2 CHILDREN FOR SALE
The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931 but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.
For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.
At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.
Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.
“Kristina McMorris does what few writers can—transport me right into the middle of the story.”
—Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
“The sale of two young children leads to devastating consequences in this historical tearjerker from McMorris...A tender love story enriches a complex plot, giving readers a story with grit, substance, and rich historical detail.”
“A masterpiece that poignantly echoes universal themes of loss and redemption, Sold on ais both heartfelt and heartbreaking.”
—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale
Be sure to click on the book trailer (here) to learn more about Kristina's research for the book (great photos included!) book trailer:
Some Q & A with Kristina:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I’m a married mom of two fantastic boys, ages 12 and 14 (both going on 40), and a native of Portland, Oregon—proven by my webbed feet and principled lack of an umbrella. Before delving into the book world, I was a weekly TV-show host starting with a fun kids’ program when I was nine (which I somehow landed by falling off a chair at the audition—yes, really), then a PR Director of an international conglomerate, as well as the owner of a wedding- and event-planning company until I’d reached my max of drunken YMCA and chicken dances. As for my heritage, I’m of Irish and Japanese descent, a pretty confusing mix that should explain a lot about me.
How did you start writing?
I usually call myself the “accidental author,” since I’d never planned to become a writer. But then a handful of years ago, I was interviewing my grandmother for the biographical section of a homemade cookbook to be given out as Christmas gifts for the family. That’s when she shared how she and my late grandfather had dated only twice during WWII, fell in love through letters, and were married until he passed away fifty years later. Then she pulled out of the closet her whole collection of courtship letters, all written by a 19-year-old sailor who didn’t know if he’d ever be coming home.
When I left her house, I started to wonder how well two people could truly know each other through letters alone. What if the words on those pages weren’t entirely truthful? Before long, I decided to sit down and try my hand at writing what eventually became my debut novel, Letters from Home.
Where do you get your ideas?
For all of my stories since my first novel, I happened to stumble upon a fascinating piece of history that made me think, How did I not know about this before? Other people should know about this! For instance, the startling fact that more than two hundred non-Japanese spouses actually lived in the WWII internment camps voluntarily formed the basis of my second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves. The idea for The Pieces We Keep came to me when I discovered a declassified account about German saboteurs who were dropped off by U-Boat on the East Coast of America in 1942. And when I learned that the children of prison staff used to live on Alcatraz Island, next door to the likes of Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly, I knew I had the premise of The Edge of Lost.
In short, I like to joke that my novels are essentially literary Advil, in that readers get the sugarcoating of a story on the outside and likely don’t realize how much good stuff (i.e. history) they’re also getting until they finish the book.
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
When I sold my debut novel, I had a second book on the contract. Writing about WWII took such an incredible amount of research that I was seriously considering switching to a present-day setting for the next novel. But then I read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and I realized that, even though I enjoy reading other genres, none of them allow me to completely lose myself in a story like historicals. So, I knew that’s definitely what I needed to keep writing.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
You mean, how many letters do I have in my big ol’ rejection file? Uh… a lot. As in, at least sixty. Partly, of course, because I was still learning how to tell a story that pulled a reader in. I was also learning how to write an effective query letter. But the most common response from agents that I can now laugh at was: Sorry, but there’s just no market for WWII.
Just goes to show you: write the story that you’re most passionate about, the one you’d most want to read. Not the one that simply chases a trend.
Is anything in your latest book, Sold on a Monday, based on real-life experiences?
While the story is fictional, the inspiration for it came from a newspaper photo first published in 1948. Next to a small group of young children huddled on a stoop was a sign that read: 4 CHILDREN FOR SALE – INQUIRE WITHIN. And in the background stood a mother, shielding her face from the camera. As a mom myself, the picture grabbed hold of my heart and continued to haunt me for months. Eventually, I did some research, and in a follow-up article about the photographed kids, I read a startling sentence that completely changed how I viewed the photo. And that’s when the premise of Sold on a Monday really took shape.
Do you have any more advice for aspiring writers?
I’d say, when it comes to constructive criticism, lower your defenses and listen with open ears, but treat feedback like a cafeteria line: pick and choose what works for you. I think every writer, when coming from a place of truth, has a distinct voice, a way they see the world. So, don't let anyone edit out what is uniquely yours.
Favorite band or music? Favorite book and/or movie?
I like almost all kinds of music, but among my favorites are songs from the 1940s and ‘50s, and I’m currently obsessed with the Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen soundtracks, two of the best Broadway shows I’ve ever seen.
For my favorite book, I’d have to go with The Book Thief and for a movie… it’s a tie between Gladiator and Shawshank Redemption.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Just that I really hope they enjoy Sold on a Monday! Also, my fall tour includes about fifty events in a dozen states (yes, I’m clearly insane), so if I have an event near them, I’d absolutely love to meet in person! To find out where I’ll be, they can check out my schedule at www.bit.ly/Sold-Tour
The photo that inspired Kristina to write SOLD ON A MONDAY ~
To connect with Kristina: