Wednesday, April 26, 2017

VBT: The Promise of Pierson Orchard by Kate Brandes

The Promise of Pierson Orchard
by Kate Brandes


GENRE: Women's Fiction



In the novel, Green Energy arrives, offering the impoverished rural community of Minden, Pennsylvania, the dream of making more money from their land by leasing natural gas rights for drilling. But orchardist, Jack Pierson, fears his brother, Wade, who now works for Green Energy, has returned to town after a shame-filled twenty-year absence so desperate to be the hero that he’ll blind their hometown to the potential dangers. Jack also worries his brother will try to rekindle his relationship with LeeAnn, Jack’s wife, who’s recently left him. To protect his hometown and to fulfill a promise to himself, Jack seeks out his mother and environmental lawyer Stella Brantley, who abandoned Minden—and Jack and Wade–years ago.

When LeeAnn’s parents have good reason to lease their land, but their decision leads to tragedy, Jack must fight to find a common ground that will save his fractured family, their land, and the way of life they love.


Excerpt Two:

The barn sat at the end of a long lane. Gray, weathered wood lit by a single pole light. Only the cars parked in the grass on Thursdays differentiated it from any other barn. Inside the smells were not of hay and animals, but the stink of sweat and adrenaline, stale beer and cheap perfume. Two spotlights illuminated the ring, which was bordered by a rectangle of straw bales and surrounded by metal folding chairs five deep.

The crowd included a few girlfriends, but mostly men coming to watch and bet on what they were too afraid to try themselves. Jack didn’t know or care why the other fighters came. Fate brought him to this barn to fight.

Some sat and others stood, money and beer cans in hand. Two young kids were at it in the ring. Both fighters were so intent on not getting hurt that they took more of a beating than necessary. The blonder one favored his right side, probably because of a previous punch to the ribs. Another left jab would finish him. And the darker-haired boy couldn’t see well out of his right eye, making him wide open on that side. These two were here for the money, paid to fight by the guy who owned the barn. But Jack wasn’t there for cash.

Rage sheltered in him, like it did in anyone. Except his had been drawn to the surface by love held out of reach.

He looked for the John Deere hat and headed toward Bob, the man who owned the barn, ran the fights, and, judging by his belly, drank most of the beer. Jack told Bob who he wanted to fight. Bob would do what he said. Jack was the reason people came.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

An environmental scientist with over 20 years of experience, Kate Brandes is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wildflowers.

Personal Links

Buy Links

Interview with Kate Brandes
How did you do research for your book?
I did some formal research and visited some small towns where fracking was taking place, but mostly I drew from my own experiences.

I have a graduate degree in geology and worked in that profession for a number of years on groundwater contamination and supply problems in the subsurface. So I understand what happens underground with rock, fractures, and water.

Also, from the time I was in middle school, I lived in a small rural Pennsylvania town, much like the one portrayed in the novel.

Do you have another profession besides writing?
I’ve worked all my life as an environmental scientist. I have a graduate degree in geology and I’ve worked as a geologist for a number of years on groundwater problems. I’ve also spent a lot of time in the water conservation field. I still work part-time as an environmental scientist.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
This may sound boring, but I don’t think I’d go back in time. As a women, I’m not sure I’d want to visit a time when we had less rights than we do now.

What is your next project?
It’s another book club novel with an eco bent. It’s partly inspired by Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

Probably Kent Haruf’s novel, Plainsong. I think it’s a beautiful story, with spare writing that rings like a fine bell.

What made you want to become a writer?

It took me a long time to think of myself as a create person, since I’d always identified myself as a science type. But it turns out I like to make stuff. I love to bake and build beautiful gardens, and paint, and dabble in textile arts and I like to tell stories. Trying to figure out how to tell a compelling story in the novel form is the ultimate creative process for me. I truly enjoy it.



Kate Brandes will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.