Acclaimed Playwright Caitlin Hicks Signs with Light Messages Publishing for Debut Novel

CaitlinHicksLight Messages Publishing is thrilled to announce that Caitlin Hicks, an acclaimed playwright from Vancouver, Canada, will be publishing her debut novel with the press in May 2015.

Ms. Hicks’ novel A Theory of Expanded Love is a coming-of-age story featuring a feisty yet gullible adolescent, trapped in her enormous, devout Catholic family in 1963. Surrounded by twelve brothers and sisters, and desperate for attention, Annie creates a hilarious campaign of lies when the pope dies and their family friend, Cardinal Stefanucci, is unexpectedly on the short list to be elected the first American pope. Driven to elevate her family to the holiest of holy rollers in the parish, Annie is tortured by her own dishonesty. But when one of her brothers gets left behind at Disneyland and ‘The Hands’ visit her in her bed, when her sister becomes pregnant “out of wedlock,” Annie discovers her parents will do almost anything to uphold their Catholic reputation. Questioning all she has believed, and torn between her own gut instinct and years of Catholic guilt, Annie takes courageous risks to wrest salvation from the tragic sequence of events set in motion by her parents’ betrayal.

While A Theory of Expanded Love is Ms. Hicks’ first novel, she has published several short stories, including That Rescue Feeling, which was shortlisted for the John Spencer Hill Fiction Award. Monologues from several of her plays were featured in Smith & Kraus’ series ‘Best Women’s Stage Monologues’ (New York).  She also wrote the play, later adapted for the screen, Singing the Bones, which debuted at the Montreal World Film Festival to stellar reviews and screened around the world. 

 “I’m thrilled to share this quirky family with readers,” said Hicks “It’s wonderful to have a partner to help me get this story into the world.”

Light Messages Publishing is a family-run publishing company that specializes in meaningful books by emerging authors.

“Caitlin’s debut novel A Theory of Expanded Love is a gem of a book, and we couldn’t be prouder to represent it,” said Elizabeth Turnbull, Senior Editor of Light Messages Publishing.

A Theory of Expanded Love is in final stages of editing, but earlier drafts have already received tremendous praise from readers.

“In a nutshell: I love the story. The voice is fantastic,” said Erin Niumata, VP and Agent at Folio Lit.

“I love it! I love your character! I love this book!” writer JoAnne Bennison told Ms. Hicks after reading an early draft.

“Hilarious. Terrific story, bravely truthful,” enthused writer/editor Rosa Reid. “Brilliant ending.”

With cross-over appeal to both adults and young adult readers, A Theory of Expanded Love reaches across the divide of generations to tell the humorous and unexpected story of self-discovery and coming of age amidst dishes, diapers, dogma and two-piece bathing suits.

Advance Reader Copies of A Theory of Expanded Love will be available January 2015. Ms. Hicks is available for interviews. To schedule an interview or event with Ms. Hicks, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 


EXCERPTS FROM A THEORY OF EXPANDED LOVE

The pope died.

That benevolent-looking, roly-poly, fat guy in the white robes, Pope John the 23rd. And the whole thing nearly changed our fortunes. Because of his death, 1963 was the year we were the most famous Catholic family you ever heard of. 1963 was the year that the messy, lumbering lot of us finally earned some status in the world…

 

…The thing that made it such a game-changer for us, the reason for all the excitement between June 3rd when Pope John XXIII died and June 21st when the Council of Cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel to vote for a new pontiff of the Holy Catholic Church around the world––was that Stefanucci was on the shortlist to become pope! His name was in all the papers as the first American Cardinal to be considered a candidate for His Holiness! Stefanucci’s election would make 1963 just as good a year for the Americans as it was for the Catholics: Kennedy still reigned as the first Catholic President of the United States (it was only June, he wasn’t assassinated yet). And if elected, Cardinal Stefanucci would be the first American Pope––ever.

For those two weeks, it was glorious for our Dad. And for us, his faithful extras. Suddenly we weren’t on the losing team anymore. Our Dad and Archbishop Stefanucci had been best buddies. Since Pearl Harbor! And we, the unkempt gang of us were suddenly his lifelong friends: after all, he came to visit us once on Guam, just before he officially became Monsignor when our family was half the size it ultimately became. And, prior to being promoted to Archbishop, Stefanucci was again our guest for dinner in Pasadena, and Buddy, who was barely out of diapers, was so desperate for attention that he hung onto Stefanucci’s arm the entire night, until he was extricated when the Archbishop tried to put on his cape at the door…

That June, the June of 1963, all of us roused ourselves for 6:30 Mass with Daddy (to bribe God with our devotion)…

 

…The next day, as my Grade Six class sat fresh and scrubbed with our hands folded on our desks, Sister Everista opened the day’s proceedings directly to me, with ‘Any word from the Cardinal?’

“Um, well.” I said, gulping air. It was a moment––emergency goosebumps at the pin-drop stillness of my classmates and Sister Everista’s hopeful gaze.

I made stuff up.

He had called last night during the rosary, long distance from Rome. He recognized my voice. What a smart guy, no wonder they want him to be pope! So many voices to recognize and he got it right! From across the ocean! Dad got a special delivery letter in the mail with simply The Vatican as the return address: it was sealed with a red, wax seal and its embossed contents were a secret.

I never lied so much in my life, but how could it hurt? Our parish sucked it up just as much as we did; they were not above glory by association. In the end, when our prayers were answered and Stefanucci got to be Pope, I’d just go to confession. I’d say something vague like, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned, I told a lie.” Big deal! An itty-bitty venial sin!

God would have to forgive me. You can't get any closer than the Pope.

 

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