Sally Crosiar (rhymes with ‘closure’) is thrilled to announce her debut novel, Come Back!
Although the story takes place in Iowa, Sally based her setting on her own hometown, Utica, Illinois. “We lived on a farm just outside Utica until I was 14,” she says. “So I pictured some places I knew well as I wrote – Oak Hill Cemetery, the old Flat Iron building where I had my very first dentist appointment. Doc Hansen must have been 85, and did not inspire confidence to this seven-year-old!” Sally’s great-great grandfather was one of Utica’s first settlers – another detail she detail she used for the character Ben in the story.
Told from multiple points of view, Come Back tells how Vi Masters’ reluctant visit to her hometown uncovers secrets and changes the lives of her father, stepmother, nearly-requited teen love, and Vi herself.
“Vi has a past,” says Sally. “After she ran away from home at 17 – for a darned good reason – she traveled a challenging road to survive and transform herself into a successful comic actress. I’m drawn to stories where strong women push past hardships. Vi had hardships in spades, which is what made her such an interesting character to write – especially when I realized her method of healing was so much different than one might expect!”
But the story isn’t all Vi’s. “I wanted to explore different sides of Vi’s story and it only seemed fair for her father Ben and stepmother Tammy to have their say too. Who knew they’d become such juicy characters in their own right? And although I don’t think of Come Back as a romance, I’m a sucker for a good love story – especially one that might have to conquer incredible odds! What might a woman with a past and a guy who still has teen-aged stars in his eyes need to accept in each other before their relationship might make it?” Sally laughs. “These are the questions that kept me up at night!”
Want to discuss Come Back in your book club? Find discussion questions here, and contact Sally. She loves interacting with book clubs – in person, via Skype, Facetime, email, or whatever works!
Although Come Back is Sally’s first novel, she’s no stranger to writing. Shortly after losing her first husband, Sally published Find the Love of Your Life to share how she and Dave found each other. “We’d both been hurt, and were nearly ready to give up on love. And then we both gave it one more shot. Lucky, lucky us!” That last shot at love involved a strategy Sally had never tried before. “I stopped looking for the perfect guy – and instead got really clear about what I wanted in a relationship. I set a goal for that amazing relationship – and 3 weeks later, I met Dave. He came with lots of complications, including being blind. But in my goal, I never said my partner had to be able to see! My goal kept me honest and gave me the guts to give love with Dave a try. Thank all the stars I did!”
Writing about Dave and the love story he and Sally created helped her heal after his death. “We held workshops and started the book before Dave died,” says Sally. “Writing Find the Love of Your Life helped keep Dave with me – and eventually helped me see that I’d learned too much about loving from him not to use what I learned. So I re-assessed my goal and only made one tweak that I knew Dave would want for me too. I asked for my partner to be healthy next time.” It took a little longer than three weeks the second time. “I started looking before I was really ready, is what I think,” Sally says. “But after so much grief, I did need to have fun again. I never expected dating to be fun – but it was! Maybe I just wasn’t old enough before.” Several years after Dave died, Sally met Ray. “Our relationship is different than what I had with Dave. We’re both different people. But the essential components – what I really need – those are present in my relationship with Ray. I’d say lucky, lucky us – but it took and continues to take a lot of work to be so lucky!”
In between times, Sally wrote another book that honors Dave. “I think of My Uncle Dave as a children’s book with an adult message,” says Sally. “It’s an almost true story about when Dave, the blind guy falls into the swimming pool. And not just once. Twice in a week’s time! No kidding.” The first time, it scared Dave a lot even though he was able to catch himself before he fell all the way in. “He was so angry – because he was so afraid. I had to tiptoe around him for about three hours! But then a week later, he plunged headlong into the pool – and thought it was the funniest thing in the world!” Sally laughs. “As he says in the story, it’s now what happens to us, it’s how we react that makes all the difference.” Ted Williams’ illustrations bring the story to life. “I told Ted I didn’t care what anybody looked like – as long as Dave looked like Dave. And Ted captured him perfectly. When I look at some of the pictures, I can almost hear Dave cackle!”
In 2002, Sally teamed up with Dr. Sidney B. Simon of Values Clarification and Realization fame to co-author Love Builders: Tools to Enhance Any Relationship. She has also co-authored numerous health and youth development curricula as a consultant for Cornell University, including: Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness (2015), Choose Health in 4-H Clubs (2012), Youth Development Foundations for 4-H Camp Staff (2003), Growing Healthy Girls (2002), and more.
Sally lives in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York where she loves being in and on the water, creating wearable art, and savoring fine red wines from sunnier climes. In addition to writing, she teaches health, play, and after-school programming for Empire State College and the Network for Youth Success.