Monday, February 13, 2023

ANGELINE, by author ANNA QUINN (debuted February 7th!)

A moving, lyrical, melancholy, and spiritual novel by the acclaimed author of The Night Child, in which Sister Angeline, unwillingly sent to a radical convent and confronting her tragic past, asks the deep question, follow your heart or follow the rules?

After surviving a tragedy that killed her entire family, sixteen-year-old Meg joins a cloistered convent, believing it is her life’s work to pray full-time for the suffering of others. Taking the name Sister Angeline, she spends her days and nights in silence, moving from one prayerful hour to the next. She prays for the hardships of others, the sick and poor, the loved ones she lost, and her own atonement.

When the Archdiocese of Chicago runs out of money to keep the convent open, she is torn from her carefully constructed life and sent to a progressive convent on a rocky island in the Pacific Northwest. There, at the Light of the Sea, five radical feminist nuns have their own vision of faithful service. They do not follow canonical law, they do not live a cloistered life, and they believe in using their voices for change.

As Sister Angeline struggles to adapt to her new home, she must navigate her grief, fears, and confusions, while being drawn into the lives of a child in crisis, an angry teen, an EMT suffering survivor’s guilt, and the parish priest who is losing his congregation to the Sisters’ all-inclusive Sunday masses. Through all of this, something seems to have awakened in her, a healing power she has not experienced in years that could be her saving grace, or her downfall.

In Angeline, novelist Anna Quinn explores the complexity of our past selves and the discovery of our present truth; the enduring imprints left by our losses, forgiveness and acceptance, and why we believe what we believe. Affecting and beautifully told, Angeline is both poignant and startling and will touch the hearts of anyone who has ever asked themselves: When your foundations crumble and you’ve lost yourself, how do you find the strength to go on? Do you follow your heart or the rules?


"Anna Quinn's novels dive deep into the human psyche, exploring our capacity to harm and heal. Angeline is a call to open arms, a clear-eyed view of our often-flawed humanity, and how the power of compassion can change everything. It is a novel of gorgeous sentences and beautiful messages. It left me feeling stronger, wiser, and in complete awe." --Erica Bauermeister, New York Times bestselling author of The Scent Keeper

"Sister Angeline is a character for the ages. Anna Quinn has created a deeply moving portrait of a great soul at the precipice of faith and duty and the shadows of a wrenching past. It's beautiful, and like all true beauty, the book is haunting, if not haunted." --Luis Alberto Urrea, Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author of The Devil’s Highway

"Angeline is a mystical hymn to the power of women in community, with an entry point that only the rare writer has the guts to brave. Quinn does it with empathy and acumen, never vilifying. Instead, as you read her lyrical prose, you feel her pure, seeking spirit. Her never heavy-handed, third-eye-wide-open aperture, as she links arms with you from the first sentence…all the way to the last. I loved this gem of a novel." --Laura Munson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of This Is Not the Story You Think It Is and Willa’s Grove

Author interview with Anna ~

Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

My love for writing began when I was a child. My mother taught me to write when I was four. I watched in awe as she showed me how letters could form words, could form sentences, could form language, could form stories. From then on, I wrote whenever I could. I wrote the stories I wanted to be in, the stories from my imagination, the stories I most wanted to read.

Do you have a particular writing routine?

I try to write every morning, even for half an hour but often for three to four hours, five to six days of the week. I try to take a day or two off to clear my head. Most mornings, before I write, I take a walk outside for an hour or so, ideally in nature, and take photos of anything that creates some kind of sensation in my body—patterns in the sand, a child’s sandal on a tree stump, a ripped flag blowing from the mast of a sailing ship. 

Once I’m home, I look at the photos and choose the one with the most energy and use it as a warm-up. I write long-hand—there’s something about the hand, pen, paper, mind connection that’s freeing for me. On the mornings I don’t take photos I usually free-write through my senses—what I see, hear, touch, taste, and feel in the moment. Sometimes I write about the strongest feeling I had the day before. I’ve learned a lot about how my mind works from freewriting— knowing how it works has helped me to trust the process more. After the warm-up, I read a poem or two or maybe meditate for a while. When I feel ready, I move into my manuscript.

What do you love most about writing?

I love the process of writing. I’m deeply in love with the process—the mystery and surprise of it. I love exploring my imagination and trying to recreate what I experienced in my mind into language on the page. Writing to me is freedom. I’m free to explore the things I’m drawn to, concerned about, fear, the things I love and wonder and dream about.

What was the original title of this book?


It’s always been Angeline. How and why Angeline received her name is a significant reference point and carrier of meaning in this story.


Where do you get your ideas?


Imagination, dreams, nature, conversations, traveling, obsessions, everywhere really, anything I see or hear or experience viscerally, anything that gives me an intense urge to write.


If I wasn’t an author, I might be…? An oceanographer.


Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?


My husband is my first and best reader, then my writing group, then my editor, then my agent.


What are you working on now?


A novel set in the 1500’s. That’s all I can say for now, but it’s completely absorbing me. I feel like the universe has handed me a spectacular gift.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?


Pay attention to what you pay attention to. What's calling you? What catches your breath? What are the images that show up in your dreams? Play often in your imagination. Allow it to run wild. Read, read, read. Get out and live life. Be willing to take risks. Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be willing to be vulnerable. Write as if no one is looking over your shoulder. Stay true to yourself rather than writing about what other people think you should write about or what you think other people think you should write about.

Try not to think too much about the end game—querying, agents, publishing—or it will get up in your head, freeze your imagination, keep you from the rich, alive work. Don’t try to cater to an audience—serve your story and your characters instead. Learn the craft but don’t become obsessed with technique. Sometimes we forget why we were drawn to writing to begin with and start following all the shoulds and how-tos and our writing becomes forced and resistant. Write what you want and stand by it. Listen to your deepest self. Cherish yourself.


Favorite book? The Bone People by Keri Hulme.


Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?


Thank you. Thank you for reading and having all the conversations. Thank you for being here.


To connect with Anna ~

author website:
instagram: annaquinnpt

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