Cynthia McKenzie Hilliard was born and raised in Barnesville, Ohio. She attended Marietta College for two years, before transferring to and graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Cynthia spent her 40-year working career in Information Technology sales and management. After retiring, Cynthia spent time volunteering, babysitting, and remodeling a house, until the character of Rook McFadden popped into her mind. She started writing, formed Spindlewood Press L.L.C., and launched the novel, Rook Makes a Move, in 2020.
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Tuesday | May 18, 2021 at noon
LWB LIVESTREAM: Novelist Cynthia Hilliard, Rook Makes a Move
PRESENTER BIO: Cynthia McKenzie Hilliard was born and raised in Barnesville, Ohio. She attended Marietta College for two years, before transferring to and graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She and her husband David were married in 1969, and are the parents of one son, Ben.
Cynthia spent her 40-year working career in Information Technology sales and management. She’s lived in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Colorado, and currently resides in North Carolina, near Chapel Hill. She and David live a two minute walk from Ben, his wife, and their two sons.
After retiring, Cynthia spent time volunteering, babysitting, and remodeling a house, until the character of Rook McFadden popped into her mind. She started writing scenes, studying the craft of writing, and working on a plot. She got serious about Rook in 2018: hiring an editor, a book designer, and committing herself to writing every day. Numerous revisions later, she formed Spindlewood Press L.L.C. and launched Rook into the world on September 29, 2020.
Visit her website at https://www.cynthiahilliard.com/
Rook McFadden has it all under control . . . until she doesn't. Smart and steely IT executive Rook McFadden prides herself on being logical and organized. Her husband Campbell calls her tightly wrapped, and she's fine with that. Together they've built an ideal life in Ohio, centered around their jobs, church, and friends. When their first grandchild, Max, is born, Rook decides they should move more than a thousand miles to Colorado to be near him. It's irrational, spontaneous, and is definitely not on one of her famous To-Do lists, but Rook knows she can deliver the perfect result. A horrific accident changes all that. For the first time, Rook is unsure of herself. A wave of grief and guilt engulfs her, challenging her self-control and every relationship she values. A beloved relative's quirky last request gives her a new focus, prompting her to dive deeply into her childhood memories. Guided by her faith, family, and therapist, Rook must confront the trauma of her past and make the biggest move of her life: forgiving herself.
KIRKUS REVIEW: In Hilliard’s debut novel, a grandmother boldly reorganizes her life to be closer to her grandson, but an accident upends her plan. Rook McFadden is a planner who prefers relentless completion of to-do lists to spontaneity. However, when her grandson, Max, is born, she calls the event “a fire that’s burned down my worldview.” In order to become a bigger part of his life, she decides to leave her 38-year career at a bank and risk her “upwardly mobile lifestyle” by moving from Ohio to Colorado with her reluctant husband, Campbell. Later, however, Rook is in a terrible car accident, and 1-year-old Max is in the automobile with her and is badly injured with a broken jaw. The driver of the other car, Michelle Hammond, suffers a traumatic brain injury and dies. Rook holds herself responsible for the accident, and her own son, Jay, is so upset about it that he denies her access to Max. In Hilliard’s emotionally charged drama, Rook seeks therapy as her marriage falls apart under the weight of it all and confronts a family trauma that left a deep scar on her heart. Over the course of the novel, the author combines, with considerable charm, a lighthearted storytelling style with emotionally wrenching subject matter.
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"Lunch With Books" is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. These lunchtime programs feature authors, poets, musicians, historians, and more every Tuesday at noon. Bring lunch (to your computer), feed your brain!