September marks the long-awaited release of Wirewalker, the first novel by Focused Inquiry professor Mary Lou Hall. The story is set in a fictional city of Jackson City, Virginia, and centers on the unexpected friendship between a vulnerable boy and a Great Dane. The publisher, Penguin Random House, describes it as “a novel about self-reliance, difficult choices, and imagination in the face of danger and isolation.”
Professor Hall spent roughly one year drafting the novel, plus another two years revising the book with guidance from her editors at Penguin.
“Prior to this experience, I’d written and shelved two novels,” says Hall. “I saw no life in them.” In these face of these stalled efforts, she began to doubt that she was “a writer.” But, says Hall, “Clarence Feather, the young protagonist in Wirewalker, led me back.”
One commonality in those three works of fiction is that all three feature a teenager as the main character. Hall sees this as a direct connection between her work as a writer, and her work in the Focused Inquiry classroom.
“FI allows me to work with young people who are are standing on the edge of their lives, looking forward into open, uncertain futures,” says Hall. “While my students are a bit older than Clarence Feather, and many of them have advantages that he doesn’t, they are still in that sweet spot of their lives, when most anything is possible. They are still defining themselves as human beings.”
To learn more about Mary Lou Hall and Wirewalker, visit: Wirewalker