If you’ve only known me as an adult, you might not know that my full name is Allison. I was named after a Gordon Lightfoot song and I spent my childhood listening to old folk records as if they held the secret to fixing everything that was wrong in my life.
Folk songs are essentially stories, and I think the time I spent with my ear pressed against the stereo speakers, trying to hear every squeak of fingerprint ridges against guitar strings, every word, breath and hesitation, shaped the way I see the world and what I want a story to feel like.
For over a decade — since before I finished STAY — I’ve been writing about April Sawicki, whose best understanding of the world comes from Bob Dylan songs, who doesn’t fit in the life she was born into, who has a fierce little heart that pushes her to want something more for herself.
I have loved all of my books, but I loved writing this one so much that I wasn’t certain I’d ever want to let it go. It’s been the story that fills my head in all the in-between times — between other books, other projects, other heartbreaks. I promised myself that for April, there were no compromises. So, I have fought to free the spaces in my heart, and the spaces in my career to allow this book to be true to itself, true to me, and true to my favorite imaginary friend. I know this may sound crazy, but for all these years, I’ve felt like April Sawicki was in the woods and I had to write her out.
So, it is my greatest, strangest pleasure to finally tell you that Gallery Books is publishing my long term project – THE PEOPLE WE KEEP – in August 2021. I found the right partners to help me get April out of the woods and into the world. My agent and editor and everyone at Gallery has honored what this book is and what it means to me. Knowing April is deeply understood by her caretakers really does fix the creaky hinges of my heart. I wish I could go back in time and tell that kid in front of the record player that someday we’d get here. My name on the cover will be Allison Larkin, because I wrote this book for the version of me who honestly believed Bob Dylan held the answers to everything.