J. Eliza Wall joins the Author Spotlight to chat about her latest book, Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel
Author Name: J. Eliza Wall
Book Title: Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel
Book Genre: Young Adult Fiction and Adult Fiction
Release Date: May 15, 2022
Publisher: Little Creek Press
Welcome, Joy! What sparked the idea for this book?
Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel comes on the heels of Like The Sun Holds The Moon: A Children’s Book, which addresses similar themes of separation and divorce:
A little girl comforts her younger brother with a story about how their parents met and why they cannot stay together. This story broaches the topic of separation (divorce or adoption) with young children in a magical and kid-friendly way. It can allow for conversation about a subject that can be very challenging. It is meant to comfort and inspire.
How long did it take for you to write the book?
Writing this coming-of-age story has been a coming-of-age experience for me. I conceived of my novel ten years ago and am a different person today than I was when I started this project. I’ve grown as a storyteller, artist, and person alongside this project. I’ve learned so much about myself along the way. Writing and art-making have always been comforts that have gotten me through challenging times. This novel is rooted in real trauma that my family faced, but the characters have taken off on their own journeys over the years. I’m so thankful for the lessons they have taught me.
What drew you to writing fiction?
Like The Sun Holds The Moon: A Novel is in no way a memoir, and this is what makes writing fiction so freeing and liberating. It allows you to explore other possibilities. Working with universal themes of family dynamics and mental and physical health, I’ve learned that even though intergenerational trauma is genetic, so is intergenerational resilience, and that is what is most important. We are the stories we tell ourselves and creation myths are one way we can take some control back in our lives. I’m thankful for years of good mentors who helped me become grounded and adaptable by making order from the chaos.
My novel sits on the fine line between Young Adult Fiction and Adult Fiction since it is a coming of age piece where the main character is on the cusp of adulthood. Lyrical prose inevitably shows up in my writing because I have a background in writing poetry. We need more Young Adult novels that address and depict divorce and chronic illness (mental and physical) in an unflinchingly yet loving way. My book also features excerpts of the main character’s journal entries as a narrative device. Journaling and sketchbooks are a large part of my creative process and I really enjoy writing Epistolary fiction.
What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
One central theme of my book Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel is self-actualization. My main character transforms from passive to active through the heroine’s journey and through the magic of tarot (fool reversed to the magician upright). My main character (Ava Luna) embodies a version of myself that was still defining their identity, lacked agency, and narrated her mother’s story rather than being the main character in her own story. She starts off living as a sort of conduit for her mother, suppressing her desire for independence to care for others. Her willingness to sacrifice everything to hold her family together is at odds with her desire to go away to school and have a relationship of her own. My novel has its roots in my past but has grown into its own story over the years. I hope this coming-of-age story can help others find their agency to become The Magician and take control of their own destiny despite any odds they may face. My goal is to comfort and inspire.
Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.
Akira Serene (Illustrator & Educator) and I are excited to share our new kid’s book we’ve been working on! TRASH CRAB is all about sustainability and upcycling to inspire the next generation to be the heroes and innovators we need to save the planet! When Akira and I first started collaborating, I got some hermit crabs to make our story come to life! We fittingly named them Kat and June after our two main characters! Our story is inspired by real-life trash crabs who hide in beach litter.
Where can readers find you?
Stay in touch about events, giveaways, and new creative projects by signing up for my newsletter! My goal with this newsletter is to help you move in the direction of your dream, make time for magic, and reflect. Each month, I share a newsletter for the Full Moon (to celebrate) and New Moon (to set intention). Throughlines and traditions are important to mark the passage of time and make order from the chaos. My newsletters also focus on a bit of chakra work with suggested action steps that have made me stronger since I started this practice. My monthly chakra work and painting series started off as a way to send good vibes to a friend in need and ended as a life-changing way to go through each month. I also sprinkle in some astronomy and astrology to ponder and reflect on. Sign up for my newsletter today!
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Audiobook: My audiobook version of Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel is available on all audiobook streaming platforms! Shout out to my collaborators Everloft Studios and Asher Brooks Productions!
Thank you, Joy! Like the Sun Holds the Moon is OUT NOW.
Eighteen-year-old Ava Luna puts her future on hold to care for her mother in the days leading up to a risky surgery. Coinciding with the seasons and cycles of the moon, the four parts of this novel tackle family dynamics and mental and physical health as it follows Ava Luna’s quest for independence, assertiveness, and wholeness.
Writing in her journal, Ava Luna tries to make sense of her life. Her parents split when she was thirteen in a bitter divorce that tore the family apart. She comforted herself by creating her own story for why they could no longer be together, where she likened her mom to the moon and her dad to the sun. In this delicate and magical tale, Mama Moon and Papa Sun are independent forces that remain separate, but can briefly exist together in harmony. As her mom’s surgery looms, Ava Luna sees the cycle begin once more as her dad lends his support, and her brother, Ray, sets his resentments aside and they start feeling like a normal family again. Adding to Ava Luna’s renewed hope, she has secretly rekindled a relationship with a past boyfriend, Sol, at the weekly contra dance her parents attended when they dated. She hopes this period of alignment will last forever.
Tensions mount when her mom is not recovering as planned and deep-seated resentments amongst Ava Luna’s family come bubbling to the surface. She tries to hold the remnants of her family together, but a breach of trust threatens to cause a permanent rift between everyone. Ava Luna runs away in an attempt to find clarity from the moon, the ocean, a psychic, and her lingering lost love, only to find the answers in an unexpected place: herself.
J. Eliza Wall (Joy Elisabeth Waldinger) is a Philadelphia artist, writer, filmmaker, and art educator. Her work explores various topics—the human condition, family dynamics, relationships, nostalgia, connection to nature, and mental and physical health—in an attempt to restore connections in a fractured world. She believes that art is a powerful tool that can generate change and healing on a local and global level. Her short films have won awards in national and international film festivals and she has been published in a variety of literary magazines. In 2020, she published Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Children’s Book, which addresses themes of separation and divorce, and for the May 2022 Lunar Eclipse, her book Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel was published by Little Creek Press. Her newest children’s book (TRASH CRAB) will be coming out on Earth Day 2023.