Shepherd’s Derelict: A Novel

What does it take to build a life from broken pieces? For Michelle Shepherd, the question is essential. On the foundations of an erratic and sometimes violent childhood, Michelle has created surprising success as an artist in British Columbia while caretaking her elderly father and his expat Vietnam war buddies. Michelle’s father begins drinking and making risky, possibly criminal choices just as she unexpectedly falls in love with a theater director named Celeste—two situations for which she has little adult experience and few skills. When grisly evidence of a crime washes up beneath her remote cabin home, Michelle is convinced of her father’s guilt and is forced to a reckoning with family secrets—some she’s kept from others, and some she has kept from herself. Access to the past opens up surprising possibilities but also a minefield of difficult choices. Will Michelle brave those choices, or retreat into the safety of the familiar? Dark and atmospheric, rooted in the Pacific Northwest, Shepherd’s Derelict is a portrait of a troubled found family and the sacrifices we make for love.

91,000 words. Currently seeking representation.

Sample chapter posted below.