MANZANITA — Two long-time local writers and emerging new publishers, Elia Seely and Nancy Slavin, will celebrate the publication of their novels, respectively titled “Whisper Down the Years” and “Moorings,” 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4 with a Press and Book Launch at the Hoffman Center in Manzanita.

The two writers created Feather Mountain Press as a publishing venue dedicated to writers whose novels are well-written, literary and include soulful characters and storylines.

“I am the queen of super-nice rejection letters,” Slavin says. “I had many reputable editors and agents say that my novel is lovely and good, but not sellable enough for today’s market. Elia and I understand what drives the popular market, and we know publishing has changed dramatically in the past few years. Our novels don’t include zombies, werewolves or over-descriptive sexual content, and we weren’t interested in writing those books. We decided to start our own press because we whole-heartedly believe readers still want stories that transport them to compelling places and include people with struggles and transformations they can relate to in their current lives.”

“There are many writers like Virginia Woolf who started their own presses,” Seely adds. “They published their own books and then published the works of other authors who came to be well-known.”

Seely’s novel, “Whisper Down the Years,” is a literary mystery set in Orkney Island off the coast of Scotland, where the protagonist, Finn Ross, has retreated to find clarity about his dissolving career and marriage. Ross unwittingly discovers the body of a local eminent musician and his involvement in the case thwarts his desire to return to his native Belfast. An enigmatic island girl and her grandmother join Finn in his pursuit of the mystery, and all three find themselves caught in a web of lies and secrets, revealing threads of old sins and links to shadowy witchcraft.

Slavin’s novel, “Moorings,” follows a young woman, Anne Holloway, as she journeys from the lower 48 up to Alaska to find her biological father. While unraveling the violent, deceitful truth about her family’s history, Anne’s presence precipitates break-ups, boat crashes and even unexpected storms. By making the journey, Anne discovers true identity can be found within.

For both novels, setting plays a big part in the story. In “Whisper Down the Years,” the barren, windy landscape of Orkney, plus the presence of folklore and ancient ruins, make a compelling backdrop for the questions of murder, power and justice. In “Moorings,” the small fictional fishing village of Snug Harbor is surrounded by misty fjords, receding glaciers and wild animals, mirroring the town’s volatile past and tightly-held secrets two decades after a major oil spill, but also pointing toward the possibility of healing for both the environment and the locals.

Feather Mountain Press’s goal is to provide a platform for other writers who are writing in traditional genres – mystery, western, commercial, etc. – but who are stepping out of the box and elevating their stories with intelligence and finely-wrought themes. “In the U.S.,” Seely notes, “it can be hard to get a mystery published that isn’t one car chase after another or purposefully silly. We want to encourage writers who transcend the conventions of popular genres.”

By the end of the year, Seely and Slavin look forward to finding new books for Feather Mountain Press that can really soar.

The Feather Mountain Press Book Launch is open to the public and refreshments will be served. After Seely and Slavin read from their novels, there will be time for a question-and-answer session. Book sales will be provided by Cloud and Leaf Bookstore in Manzanita. The Hoffman Center is located at 594 Laneda Ave. in Manzanita. For more information visit feathermountainpress.com

  

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