Set in the small, Midwestern town of Summit, Iowa, The Year of the Elm follows a young boy through twelve months of adventure and discovery. Told in a series of related stories taking place in each calendar month, The Year of the Elm touches on love, loss, violence, trust and betrayal as seen through the eyes of a child.
[Note: as of 01/03/17, The Year of the Elm is no longer available via Smashwords, or as an e-book.]
From the Afterword:
These stories began coming to me many years ago and took shape over a decade. The collection itself only came into focus toward the end, but when it did I experienced the kind of artistic conviction that acted as a beacon, guiding the work to completion.
I originally tried to interest agents and publishers in The Year of the Elm, but the answer was always the same: nobody publishes short story collections. I was encouraged to submit individual stories to literary journals, or to turn the collection into a novel, but neither solution was palatable. I wasn’t trying to publish a single story, and converting the collection into a novel would have inevitably compromised the main character’s point of view.
I put the collection away, but I never forgot it. That the internet now makes it possible for me to publish these stories as I originally intended is happenstance, but gratifying nonetheless. I find it difficult not to feel as if I am being rewarded in some small measure for remaining true to my convictions.