“Charity is achingly believable. I liked her spunk. Future Girls
“Wow, Catharine! Great story. I think you have a winner.”
Charity slipped into room 509 and closed the door quietly behind her.
For a minute she thought the old woman was already dead. The TV was turned up, the Preacher bellowing about the sanctity of marriage and the exalted position of Mothers in the Kingdom of the True God. After they were dead.
“It’s Charity,” she kept her voice as low as she could. “Now tell me what you know about Mirabella.”
The woman smiled. “You’re getting feisty, that’s good.”
“Oh stop. Just tell me.” Charity’s urgency propelled her to the edge of the bed and she unconsciously picked up the woman’s good hand. It was blue veined and thin. The skin felt like the soft paper of an old book.
“Okay, Go. The old university is the easiest place. And go change this.” She rolled her eyes to indicate the whole the room, maybe the whole of the city. “We don’t have to live like prisoners, we don’t have to just be mothers.”
“But we’re protected, we’re safe, we have peace.” Charity automatically protested.
“Safe. Prisoners. Same.” The woman dismissed Charity’s reflexive response. “Just go. I know this is hard and you don’t understand. We aren’t told anything at all, never will, by the way, and there isn’t much time. You remember Hannah Vandermere? She did okay. I haven’t heard about Mary or Honesty. But you need to go back. You’ve read books, you’ll be able to cope. Just try to get to the 21st century, not far. The 19th isn’t where the change is.”
“What are you talking about?” Charity glanced back towards the hall, but it was still empty.
The woman closed her eyes. “Please, for me. For Mirabella, if you will. Go.”
A tingling ran up and down her arms and spread over her whole body. Go where? What did the old woman mean? She glanced back at the sleeping woman and almost shook her awake. But in the space of a heartbeat, the old woman’s breathing had stopped.
FROM THE AUTHOR
I agree with Madeleine L’Engle,
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
I had been writing adult mystery novels and self-help for writers. The Real Estate Diva Mystery series is doing well but sometimes you don’t know where your mind will take you. I started Future Girls during NaNoWriMo and began with the small idea: what if the future sucked? And what if you could change it? I love the film Back to the Future that was part of the inspiration for Future Girls.
I also love books with strong female heroines. When I was a young adult reader, books with a kick ass heroine were more difficult to find than they are today, that’s probably whey they are so cherished. The not to subtle message of Future Girls is you can change the future, and it doesn’t need to be a big war, or a small dragon. Change can come from inserting a different idea, showing one person a different way to see things. In the Future Girls series, women work to change the future, because historically women often have much more to change, we have more at risk. It is said that children are our future, but that attitude seems too passive for me, at the very least, too passive for a novel.
I started this book two years ago as a NaNoWriMo project and met the publishers for Damnation and Eternal Press at a local book festival. I glanced down at their book display and said, hey, I think my book would fit into your collection. I sent them Future Girls and they accepted it. Publishing with a small publisher is great, but it is a slower process if you are accustomed to publishing your own work. But in the end I was quite happy with the results.
The second book in the Future Girls series is Future Gold, set in the Gold Country in 1861. And I am working on the third book, Future Run, a weird Mad Max- like road trip across the western states.
Catharine Bramkamp is a writing coach and podcaster specializing in Newbie Writers. She is the author of hundreds of articles and a dozen books including The Real Estate Diva Mystery series, two essays in the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, Don’t Write Like You Talk and the poetry collection, Ammonia Sunrise.
She holds two degrees in English, and is an adjunct university professor of English and writing.
She lives with her husband, Andrew Hutchins in Sonoma County and Nevada County, California.