My second novel, Penelope’s Daughter is coming out in a few weeks (the launch is September 24, and official pub date is October 5). Those who read it will note that the dedication is “to all the children left behind when mothers and fathers go off to war.”
That dedication came from my heart after spending so much time with Xanthe, the heroine of the novel. She is the daughter left behind when Odysseus went off to Troy, the daughter he does not even know exists, because Penelope was too early in her pregnancy to be able to share the news.
I thought a lot about what it means to dedicate a book in this fashion. I do not want it to be an empty gesture, an easy thing to say and no more. I am still pondering how to use the platform the novel could provide, as a means of advocating for the dedicatees (is that a word?) So far the best idea I have come up with is to create a website for readers of the book (and others), focusing on resources and information that will help increase awareness of the difficulties faced by children of our own service personnel deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.
It’s very much a work in progress, but I launched it today. Take a look at Xanthe’s World, and if you have ideas, please let me know. I disable comments here because of problems with spam, but I’d love to hear from you! If you don’t have my email address, there’s a link on the “Contact” page of this site.